What sets overnight bircher muesli apart from other breakfasts with oats is the freshly grated apple that brings some natural sweetness. This recipe has the perfect ratio of apples, oats, and milk. It’s rounded off with wholesome ingredients like nuts and seeds that offer a load of nutrients. Overall, bircher muesli is a really good option for healthy meal prep as it lasts 4 days in the refrigerator.
If you're looking for a “light on the tummy” breakfast option, this recipe is for you. I have tried various different oat-based recipes for breakfast and I can honestly say that Bircher muesli is lighter than overnight oats or baked oats. It's mostly due to the smaller amount of oats, and the fact that the grated apple and yogurt add volume.
What is Bircher muesli actually?
Bircher muesli is an uncooked mixture of oats, milk, and apple (and other add-ins) that rest and soak together overnight. It's usually served for breakfast or as a snack.
The original recipe can easily be made vegan by using non-dairy milk and yogurt alternatives. It can also easily be made gluten-free by using gluten-free certified oats.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Apple: This is the base of bircher muesli. You can also use pear - I like the acidity of the apple, though.
- Oats: Rolled oats and quick oats both work for Bircher muesli. If you’re gluten-free like me, use the gluten-free oats you can find at your grocery store. Personally, I like the thin texture of gluten-free quick oats in Bircher muesli.
- Almonds and sunflower seeds: For healthy fats and protein. I recommend these if you want to add some bite to your overnight muesli recipe.
- Flax seeds: These are loaded with protein – substitute them with chia seeds or hemp seeds.
- Cinnamon: This warming spice is wonderful in muesli!
- Plant-based yogurt: I love to use unsweetened soy yogurt, but coconut is delicious, too!
- Plant-based milk: Use any plant-based milk you like. Try this recipe with almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. You can also use whole milk, but then, of course, the recipe won’t be vegan.
- Add a splash of milk in the morning if you like your muesli a little runnier.
- Coarsely grate the apple, it adds more texture than a finely grated apple. I use the thick grate of my multi-purpose grater.
- I use the Zwilling Fresh & Save vacuum seal container (size M) for my Bircher muesli. It keeps your food fresh for longer and allows me to prep 2-4 servings ahead of time for the week. You can read my Zwilling Fresh & Save review for more details about the containers.
- Store it in a sealed Mason jar if you want to transport it.
How to make bircher muesli
STEP 1: Grate the apple into a large bowl or directly into your overnight container. No need to peel it if it's organic and has been washed thoroughly.
STEP 2: Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to prevent the apple from browning.
STEP 3: Add in the rest of the ingredients (plant-based milk, oats, almonds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon). Give it a good stir.
STEP 4: Finally stir in the yogurt for extra creaminess. Close the airtight container tightly and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, serve the bircher muesli plain or with extra toppings.
Bircher muesli topping ideas
- A dollop of nut butter: I like almond butter or peanut butter for a nutty taste.
- Apple sauce: Sometimes I’ll add a little homemade apple sauce for its fresh, yet creamy consistency.
- Fresh fruit: Try fresh berries like blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries. Sliced raw fruit like peaches, plums, and pineapple are tasty, too.
- Maple syrup or honey: For anyone needing added sweetness, a drizzle of maple syrup is perfect.
- Dried fruit: Great in winter – add dried apples, cranberries, prunes, and figs.
- Extra yogurt: If you want to bulk up the creaminess of your vegan breakfast, just add extra yogurt. If you choose to spoon some over the top, I recommend adding a touch of vanilla extract to level up your yogurt.
- Toasted almonds: Add these to serve, right at the end. The toasty flavor is next-level yum. For a nice texture - another option is toasted pumpkin seeds.
- Berry compote: It’s so easy – all you need to do is microwave frozen berries!
- Cacao nibs: For added indulgence and extra wellness-boosting ingredients.
Frequently asked questions
Bircher muesli has a good amount of grated apple and some oats. Overnight oats, on the other hand, are primarily oats. See my overnight oats-based recipe.
Regular muesli is a dry mix of oats, nuts, and often dried fruit. The bircher is similar but soaked with milk, yogurt, and a grated apple overnight.
In this case, reduce the amount of plant-based milk and let it sit for 30 minutes.
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Overnight Bircher Muesli Recipe (Vegan, Gluten-free)
- 1 small-medium apple
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ cup (180 ml) plant-based milk of choice
- ⅓ cup (35 g) gluten-free rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons (20 g) roughly chopped almonds or hazelnuts
- 1 teaspoon flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoon unsweetened plant-based yogurt of choice I use soy yogurt
- Grate the apple.
- Add the grated apple to your overnight container and sprinkle fresh lemon juice to prevent the apple from browning.
- Add in the plant-based milk, oats, almonds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon. Give it a good stir.
- Finally stir in the yogurt. Close the container airtighly and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, serve the bircher muesli plain or with extra toppings (almond butter, apple sauce, fresh fruit, extra yogurt).
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