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Bircher Muesli - The Original Swiss Recipe

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Bircher muesli

Here is the original Swiss recipe for Bircher Muesli that was developed around the turn of the century with my comments added. It's a very tasty combination when made this way, although our idea of what müsli is has changed over the years to less fruit and more grain.

Sometimes people like to add more sugar, cream and dried fruits, as well as start with a larger portion of oats than what was first published. It is interesting to note that this recipe now reflects modern food pyramid recommendations.

This breakfast is gluten free if made with certified gluten-free oats. Always check your labels.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes

Overnight soak possible: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 serving


  • 1 T. rolled oats
  • 2 T. water
  • 1 T. sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 small or 1 large apple, grated with the skin
  • 6 hazelnuts or almonds, chopped


The original recipe is a mixture of raw foods developed around the turn of the 20th century by a Swiss physician named Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner. Dr. Bircher went against the accepted medical practice of the time of thoroughly cooking food, thought to be healthier, and introduced a small bowl full of rolled oats and raw apple as an appetizer before most meals. In modern times, this is now acceptable, but back then doctors were walking out of his lectures to show their disapproval.


Mix the oats and water and let them soften overnight in the refrigerator.

I let them soften for a just few minutes. Oats do not need to be soaked for hours to make them digestible, although other grains do.

Add the sweetened condensed milk and the lemon juice to the oats and stir.

I don't always have sweetened condensed milk. Evaporated milk, cream or regular milk can be substituted but don't add the lemon juice directly to the oats and milk because it will curdle. Sprinkle it over the apple, instead. You can add 2 teaspoons of sugar to regular milk, or try honey, agave nectar or Stevia, if you would like to avoid sugar.

Add the grated apple, stir, sprinkle with raw chopped almonds or hazelnuts and serve.

People add many other things to this mixture and even serve mix-your-own müsli for breakfast with containers of seeds, grains and dried fruit set out on the table or buffet. This negates the idea of a low calorie, high energy pre-meal filler, but tastes good. Additions can be made as follows (or create your own):


  • Add a grated carrot, a sliced banana and orange sections to your oats.
  • Soften raisins with the oats.
  • Add flax, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, other rolled grains, yogurt, Dickmilch, Quark or maple syrup to your bowl.
  • Toast the grains before using in your milk.
  • Make a granola mixture and serve with milk or yogurt and fruit
  • Add flavorings such as cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla sugar or powder.

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User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Love it!, Member claudiaivonnefranco

When we were in London, we ate a similar type of yogurt at either EAT or Pret a Manger, similar to Bircher's Muesli. I tried to reverse engineer it and I was quite successful at replicating their recipe. Very similar to this but I used yogurt instead of water or milk (as in the restaurant version). I used plain yogurt and golden raisins processed to a paste to sweeten the yogurt a bit!

25 out of 25 people found this helpful.

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