I eat toasted muesli (Swiss oat cereal) every day! Muesli is a yummy breakfast that’s faster than overnight oats, and healthier than granola. I love the fresh texture and beautiful flavors and colors in my morning cereal.
diy toasted muesli ~ it’s the perfect muesli and the perfect breakfast
It’s not often that such a healthy breakfast is also utterly delicious, so listen up! Muesli is a delicious cold cereal made by soaking rolled oats (along with totally optional but totally recommended add-ins like dried fruits, nuts, and seeds) in milk or a mixture of milk and yogurt. It’s usually topped with fresh fruit.
If oatmeal is a little too…porridgey for you, I think you’ll love muesli. It’s equally healthy, made with the same fiber rich oats, but has so much more interesting textures going on. And when you layer it up with yogurt and fruit, it’s literally a superfood.
Muesli makes the best treat to have while you work from home at your desk. Oats are very satisfying and you can snack on this for hours. Heading out for the day? Make it right in a mason jar, screw on the lid, and take one with you!
toasted muesli is a cross between overnight oats and granola
MUESLI VS OVERNIGHT OATS: The difference between Muesli and overnight oats is that muesli is meant to be briefly soaked just before eating, not soaked overnight.
I know you’ve seen them…over-the-top overnight oats concoctions that try their best to convince you they taste exactly like strawberry cheesecake or a birthday cake! I’m here to tell you…not so much. My toasted muesli breakfast parfaits don’t make any outlandish promises, what you see is what you get, but what you get is pretty yummy.
MUESLI VS GRANOLA: Muesli differs from granola in that there is no oil or sweetener added. Most muesli is raw and uncooked, but mine today is toasted, which gives it added flavor and a nice texture.
the original Swiss bircher muesli recipe
The original recipe as created around 1900 by Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner as a restorative meal for his patients. The doctor was a pioneer in the health field long before it took on with the general public, and advocated a vegetarian raw food diet. The original bircher muesli recipe involved soaking raw oats in water, then adding condensed milk and lemon juice. It was topped with grated apple and chopped nuts. In Switzerland muesli is often served as dinner rather than breakfast!
what you’ll need for toasted muesli breakfast parfaits
- rolled oats ~ use the old fashioned oats, not quick cooking. You can also mix with rolled rye or barley flakes. Look for those in bulk bins or health food sections of your supermarket. Bob’s Red Mill sells them, among others.
- assorted chopped nuts (I used pistachios, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds)
- assorted seeds (I used pumpkin and sunflower seed kernels)
- assorted dried fruit (I used raisins, cherries, cranberries, apricots)
- shredded coconut ~ a little bit of shredded coconut gives a hint of sweetness to the muesli.
- milk, dairy or non-dairy ~ I’ve even made muesli with strawberry milk! Some recipes substitute fruit juice like orange or apple for the milk. I use unsweetened almond milk.
- yogurt or kefir ~ you can leave this out if you prefer but you will lose the benefits of probiotics in yogurt. A loose European style yogurt rather than a strained Greek style is best for having with muesli.
- fruit for the top ~ go with fresh in season fruit or the traditional shredded apple.
why do I toast my muesli?
Muesli is traditionally made with raw oats, and I’ve been eating it that way, both homemade and from a box, all my life. About a year ago I learned about toasting muesli, which takes just minutes. I loved the results so much that now I always toast it. It’s a similar process to making granola, except that there is no oil or sweetener added to the oats before toasting. That means less empty calories but equal flavor. Toasting gives the oats a nice nutty flavor, plus makes the cereal a little less ‘mushy’, which is just perfect if you shy away from muesli because you don’t like the squishy texture.
how to toast muesli
- Toss rolled oats with chopped nuts and seeds of your choice.
- Spread out on a baking sheet and toast in a 350F oven for about 12-15 minutes.
- Give the pan a stir once during cooking.
- If you would like to add dried fruit, add it after the muesli is out of the oven, but still hot. Add the coconut now as well.
- Let cool completely on the baking sheet, then transfer to an airtight container.
- Your muesli will last up to a month at room temperature, just scoop out what you need.
toppings for toasted muesli
There are so many topping possibilities for muesli I could do a separate post for every one, they’re so beautiful! Of course the muesli itself is jam packed with goodies, so for the final layer I usually keep it simple, with one type of fruit, but who knows? Here are some random thoughts…
When I was in college the local diner served bowls of homemade yogurt topped with oranges, wheat germ, and honey. It’s been one of my favorite food memories ever since. I’m channeling that delicious combo here with blood oranges. It’s perfect for winter.
Shredded or grated apples are traditional for muesli. Crushed walnuts and a little honey go well with them
Thinly sliced bananas and toasted coconut for a tropical getaway theme.
If you’re craving berries in winter, put a few frozen berries in the bottom of your glass, and let them thaw as the muesli soaks. I have bags of wild picked berries in the freezer leftover from summer and I’m looking forward to this!
muesli parfait FAQS
It translates to little mush. But don’t let that scare you 🙂 the texture is soft and delicious! With my toasting method there’s a definite bite to it.
You can definitely soak muesli overnight, just assemble it and stash it in the refrigerator. I like to add the yogurt and fresh fruit in the morning.
Muesli’s health benefits are huge. The combination of oats, milk, yogurt, fruit, and nuts covers everything you need in the morning from fiber, which helps with digestion and keeps you feeling full longer, to protein, omega 3s, and vitamins and minerals.
If you want to be authentically Swiss about it, a non-Greek style yogurt is best. European style yogurts tend to be on the loose or runny side, and that works really well to blend in with your muesli. You can use the yogurt as a topping, or actually stir it into the oats. Kefir, a liquid yogurt, works perfectly and has loads of healthy probiotics.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that have so much to offer. They help your digestive tract stay in good order, including keeping you regular. They strengthen your immune system, and promote overall health.
Yogurts with added probiotics will say so on the label. Here’s a good rundown of the best probiotic yogurts on the market. Look for the words ‘live active cultures’ and lactobacillus acidophilus.
If you’d like to use steel cut oats you’ll need to soak your muesli overnight since they are less absorbent than rolled oats.
The Swiss don’t tend to use sweeteners but Americans like their food a little sweeter than most, so feel free to add a little honey, maple syrup, or sweetener of your choice to your cereal. I find the added fruit takes care of sweetening the cereal just fine, though. You can also use vanilla or honey flavored yogurt which will give you a subtle hint of sweet.
what was the original bircher muesli recipe?
The original recipe is as follows, from Fruit Dishes & Raw Vegetables by Dr. Bircher-Benner.
RAW FRUIT PORRIDGE (Bircher Muesli) The recipe given is the portion for one person.
Apples. Two or three small apples or one large one. Clean them by rubbing with a dry cloth. Do not take away the skin, core, or pips. Nuts. Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds – one tablespoonful. Rolled Oats. A level tablespoonful previously soaked in 3 tablespoonfuls of water for 12 hours. Lemon Juice. The juice of half a lemon. Top milk and honey or sweet condensed milk (Nestlé’s) One tablespoonful.
Preparation: First mix condensed milk (or top milk and honey) and juice of lemon with soaked rolled oats. Then grate the apples including the skin, core, and pips vigorously into the mixture on a two-way grater, and whilst doing so, stir continually. In this way the apple pulp is covered by the mixture and thus is prevented from getting brown in contact with the air. It looks white and appetizing. The dish should be prepared immediately before being put on the table. The grated nuts or almonds (1 tablespoonful) which are sprinkled over the dish increase the protein content and fat. The dish is served fresh, before anything else, and is not intended as a dessert. The fact that it is cold is never harmful as long as the muesli is well chewed and thus sufficiently warmed in the mouth. For those of a nervous disposition it may be warmed, but not above 95o F, as its nutritive value would be impaired.This dish is especially suitable as a wholesome breakfast and supper for children from the age of two, for sick people with digestive disorders and for healthy people who wish to remain healthy.
more healthy breakfast ideas
- Paleo Fruit and Nut Breakfast Bread
- Papaya Breakfast Boats
- Vegan Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Tart
- Date Nut Overnight Oats
- Spiced Vanilla Pear Oatmeal
- 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, rough chopped
- 1/4 cup pecans, rough chopped
- 1/4 cup walnuts, rough chopped
- 1/4 cup pistachios, rough chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed kernels
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup brown raisins
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, optional
- milk or your choice, either dairy or non dairy
- yogurt with probiotics
- fresh or frozen fruit
make the meusli
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix together in a large bowl the oats and all the nuts.
- Spread the mixture out on 2 baking sheets and toast for 12-15 minutes, until fragrant and just beginning to take on color. Give each pan a stir once during cooking.
- Remove from the oven and then, while still hot on the pan, toss with the dried fruits and coconut, if using.
- When completely cool, transfer to an airtight container. Your muesli will stay fresh in the pantry for a month.
to make muesli parfaits
- Spoon a layer of muesli on the bottom of your glass or jar.
- Add milk of your choice to the jar, just to cover the muesli.
- Add a layer of yogurt.
- Top with more fresh fruit and a garnish of chopped nuts or seeds.
- The parfaits can be covered and stored overnight, or eaten right away. If you choose to store them overnight I would add the fresh fruit topping just before serving.
- nutritional information is for muesli only. Milk, yogurt, and fresh fruit not included and will vary according to how you prepare it.
Questions and Reviews
this was really easy and tasty. I added freeze dried blueberries after baking. We eat it mixed with orange juice and a little yogurt. Good breakfast to take camping as it packs easily.
Funny, I just made a big batch yesterday and was commenting on how great it was 😉 Thanks for the feedback.