Bircher Muesli is an incredibly satisfying and versatile breakfast that will get you out of bed in the morning! Mix up the grains, dried fruits, and nuts you use; choose a dairy or dairy alternative; and add a dollop of Greek yogurt and splash of apple juice for a breakfast you'll never get bored of.
(This recipe for Bircher Muesli was originally published in February 2012, but the post has been updated with new photos and content in 2018)
In so many ways, I really am a creature of habit. But that also means I can be the Queen of overdoing it. Meaning, I find a food I like and I eat it and eat it and eat it. Until I do not like it anymore.
Usually, I just need a good, healthy break before I can go back with all my previous enthusiasm. But this often puts a damper on life. Especially in terms of breakfast, which, I don't like to think about too much since I'm never that hungry first thing in the morning, but know I need a nice filling start to my day. The following is just a sampling of foods I have overdone in my life:
- Lasagna (4th grade. 5 times in one week. Ruined it for years. I finally enjoy ricotta again, but we lost so many precious years together)
- Cupcakes (seriously, I need to take cupcake breaks every now and then or they just don't sound appealing to me. Balance is key here)
- Pumpkin (again, I KNOW. That's why I pledge to only eat pumpkin from September-December. I never want to be sick of it again)
- Power Bars (in high school, I ate a Power Bar with Gatorade and coffee for breakfast every day. No, I wasn't really an athlete and this was totally not necessary. And I think one day I just realized that Power Bars are actually gross. I never did get sick of Gatorade or coffee…)
- Candy Corn (it happens every Halloween)
- Cadbury Mini Eggs (it happens every Easter)
- English muffins with peanut butter (I made one for breakfast at my office for years, with little breaks in between)
Since I'm not usually super hungry in the mornings, I like for breakfasts to be quick and easy. Now that I work from home, I'll sometimes make eggs, but most often, I just want something quick to eat so I can get some energy for the day and get going.
I've never been the kind of person to get excited about oatmeal, but bircher muesli is a whole different story. I had it for the first time at Au Bon Pain probably back in 2006 and would buy it every time I found myself in a random Au Bon. I decided I needed to make my own version and not only is it making all my breakfast dreams come true, but it's so easy to make and a much less expensive than buying it.
WHAT IS BIRCHER MUESLI?
I would say bircher muesli only has moderate popularity in the U.S. and it's not served in tons of places (though randomly, it seems quite popular at Au Bon Pain!). But this Swiss breakfast is very popular in Europe, especially in Switzerland and Germany. It's a cold breakfast cereal that's made up of rolled oats and other grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and sometimes fresh fruit, too. It has a liquid mixed in (usually milk, a little bit of juice and sometimes yogurt) to soften the ingredients and add a little sweetness.
Originally called muesli, it was developed around 1900 by a Swiss physician who wanted it for his patients since it's easy to eat and nutritious. Oddly enough, when bircher muesli was first introduced in 1900, it was meant to be an appetizer rather than a breakfast. These days, you can buy pre-made and packaged mueslis, but I love making it myself to be in control of the ingredients included and to make sure everything is fresh!
BIRCHER MUESLI RECIPE
This recipe for homemade muesli is so fun because you can do pretty much whatever you want to it. I made it the first time years ago and come back to it every few months. Honestly, I'd eat this every single morning, but I'm so terrified that I'm going to overdo it and I don't want to ruin bircher muesli for myself!
But each time I've made it, I've done it a little differently, depending on what ingredients I have on hand and what mood I'm in. If you feel like more bran or flax, add more bran or flax. If you have a completely different grain you'd like to add, add it. Get wild! If adding oats and dried fruits to bircher muesli is your idea of wild. It pretty much is for me these days.
All you need to do is put all your grains, fruits, and nuts in a big bowl, add your dairy or dairy alternative, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. My favorite combination includes oats, bran, flaxseed, dried dates, dried cranberries, walnuts, and almonds. Plus, cinnamon!
I like to use coconut milk (the kind from the carton) as my dairy, but you can use anything you prefer, including milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc. You have to let the mixture sit so they grains get nice and soft and the flavors meld together. If you can't let the bowl sit overnight, at least give it four hours.
In the morning, add in the remaining ingredients so you can dig in. A little bit of Greek yogurt adds some creaminess, and apple juice sweetness. You can also add honey if you want a little more sweet. Sometimes I grate some apple over the top, too.
I like my bircher muesli to be a little on the liquid-y side, but not too soupy. Think of it as a kind of cross between oatmeal and regular cereal and milk
I love making this homemade muesli because I can make it once and have breakfast throughout the week. I just keep the leftovers in the fridge in a covered bowl and they last for several days. I actually think the leftovers keep tasting better and better each day! It's also easy to throw in a Tupperware and bring to work for an easy eat-at-your-desk breakfast.
And it's filling; oh so filling! I mean, all the bran, flax, and oats? And dried fruit? Yes, that's a lot of fiber. Which means you won't be starving 30 minutes after you eat. Which again, has always been a big problem for me. When I worked in an office, I'd be that girl whose stomach was constantly growling at the 10:00 a.m. meeting. So embarrassing.
While this isn't a hot breakfast, I feel like it's ones of those meals that can be enjoyed year-round. Yes, bircher muesli is cold, but it's also super creamy and comforting. And it should definitely go into your regular breakfast rotation. Just make sure you don't love it SO much that you make a big bowl of it every single week and eat so much of it that you suddenly hate it. That would be a travesty. But since it's so versatile and easy to switch out, I'm not even sure it's possible to get sick of!
When I was doing my research on bircher muesli, I was intrigued to learn that it was originally soaked overnight with water and lemon juice instead of dairy. There's still often lemon involved in homemade muesli, depending on what recipe you follow.
Being able to wake up and know that you have a delicious and satisfying breakfast all ready to go in your fridge? That's enough to give you some very sweet dreams. Despite the fact that I'm never starving in the morning, I do get really excited when I go to bed and know I have something delicious waiting for me in the morning!
I also get really excited thinking about my morning coffee when I'm trying to fall asleep. Hey, it really is the little things in life, right? And that is a really good thing!
What foods have you overdone it with?
If you're looking for another easy and healthy breakfast, check out my Mocha Overnight Oats. And for a fun twist on bircher muesli, check out my Pumpkin Muesli. I also want to try this 6 Seed Super Cereal from Upgrade my Food for another super healthy and delicious breakfast!
- 1 ½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup bran
- ¼ cup flaxseed
- ½ cup dried fruit (I used dates and cranberries)
- ⅓ cup nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)
- 2 cups dairy or dairy alternative (I used Silk Coconut Milk)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- ⅓-1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice (add less for thicker consistency and more for soupier consistency)
- 1 tsp honey (optional for added sweetness)
- 3 Tbsp grated apple (optional)
- In a large bowl, mix together oats, bran, and flaxseed.
- Add dried fruit, nuts, and cinnamon to mixture.
- Pour milk into the mixture and stir. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least four hours, but ideally overnight.
- Before serving, Greek yogurt, and apple juice until mixture is a consistency you like. Stir in honey (if using),
- Serve in individual bowls and grate apple over the top.