The holidays are creeping up on us quickly, and my jeans are already snug (mashed potatoes, I’m looking at you). I’ve been perfecting this Bircher muesli recipe since I finally figured out how to make overnight oats palatable.
If you’re looking for ways to keep your desires and energy level in line this holiday season (who isn’t?), I hope this Bircher muesli recipe will be a major help. It’s basically overnight oats with fresh apple and applesauce, oats, raisins, almonds and nut butter.
Bircher muesli is a nutritious make-ahead breakfast that tastes like a holiday treat. Bonus? It’s extremely easily made vegan and/or gluten free, if need be.
Bircher Muesli History
Bircher muesli was established in the early 1900s by a Swiss physician named Maximilian Bircher-Benner. He claimed to have cured his own jaundice by eating raw apples, and advised his patients to eat raw fruit and vegetables to cure their ailments.
Bircher-Benner’s original recipe was inspired by a “strange dish” that he and his wife were served while trekking in the Swiss alps. His recipe asked for tons of fresh apple with a tiny bit of oats, lemon juice, nuts, cream and honey. He provided it to his patients as a healthful appetizer before most meals.
His concept reminds me of my mom’s counsel when I was little. When I complained that I was hungry before supper, mom constantly instructed me to go eat an apple!
The Best Bircher Muesli
My version is more close to my overnight oats recipe than Bircher’s original. I use more oats, almond milk instead of cream, and add a teaspoon of almond butter for a creamy texture.
I also added a couple tablespoons of homemade applesauce for extra apple taste. Store-bought applesauce will work, too, but homemade takes this recipe to the next level. It’s a wonderful snack to have around, too.
My Bircher muesli is thick and pleasant. It’s a breakfast that I look forward to eating in the mornings, and it keeps me going until midday.
Also read: Whole Wheat Pancakes
- ⅓ cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon raisins or dried cranberries or cherries
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, ground
- 1 tablespoon almond butter or peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons homemade applesauce or store-bought applesauce
- ⅓ cup milk of choice (I used almond milk), plus additional for serving (optional) (optional)
- 1 medium Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apple, preferably organic
- Chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds
- Drizzle of honey or maple syrup, if desired
- In a jar or bowl (a 14-ounce working jar or 1-pint mason jar is excellent), combine the oats, raisins, cinnamon, nut butter and applesauce. Stir to mix. Then add the milk and whisk to mix.
- Grate half of the apple, then stir the grated apple into the oatmeal (if you’re preparing multiple jars, just use 1 grated apple for 2 jars, and so on).
- Place the cover on the jar and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 5 days. When you’re ready to serve, chop the remaining ½ apple into matchsticks. Top the oatmeal with the fresh apple, a splash of milk and/or a drizzle of honey (both optional) (both optional). Enjoy chilled.
WHY BUY ORGANIC? Apples are #4 on the Dirty Dozen list, meaning that conventionally grown apples are generally high in pesticide residues.
MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Use certified gluten-free oats.
MAKE IT VEGAN: Choose one of the dairy-free milk options listed above. If adding additional sweetener, use maple syrup instead of honey.
MAKE IT NUT FREE: Omit the nut butter or replace it with sunbutter. Omit the nuts on top, or use sunflower seeds or pepitas instead.
WARM IT UP: Overnight oats are typically served chilled. However, if you prefer warm oats, you can heat them in the microwave before topping with fresh apple. Just use a microwave-safe jar and stir frequently while you’re warming them up. Since the oats are so thick, I’m not sure this would work well on the stovetop, but you could give it a try.