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Protein Overnight Oats (Bircher Muesli Recipe)

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Bircher Muesli is the original protein overnight oats recipe; a quick and easy recipe for a healthy, whole grain and delicious breakfast. 

Are you a breakfast lover? Try these other reader favorites: Chile Relleno Casserole, Biscuits and Gravy Casserole | Breakfast Casserole, and this delish Cherry Clementine Protein Smoothie

Protein overnight oats or bircher muesli in pretty glass jar topped with sliced bananas, oranges, blueberries and nuts.

What is Bircher Muesli?

You are probably asking, “what in the world IS Bircher Muesli!?” You might be familiar with the term muesli, but maybe not Bircher Muesli.

The name Bircher simply comes from the Swiss physician who first introduced us to this delicious idea. Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner developed this recipe to provide his patients a healthier breakfast choice while in the hospital.

I’ve been eating muesli as long as I can remember, I’ve talked about my mom, who was WAY ahead of her time with nutrition, whole foods and grains and probiotics!

Well you guessed it, we were eating familia Swiss Muesli long before it was cool! We simply poured it in a bowl and poured milk over it, nothing wrong with that at all! 

Along the way, probably after I lived in Germany, I started making it more like the Swiss, adding whole milk, probiotic rich yogurt, fresh fruit, toasted nuts, lemon juice and orange juice. 

Protein Overnight Oats – the Backstory

A few years back my sister-in-law and brother-in-law invited us to join them in Switzerland for a week of skiing — can you say, “boondoggle!!?” 

Image of Kathleen, the Fresh Cooky and husband and family skiing in Switzerland.

While we were in the beautiful ski town of Grindelwald, we experienced this marvelous Muesli once again and I was reminded of how much I love this hearty, cold breakfast! We even enjoyed these protein overnight oats at the airport in Zurich before our flight home, even airport food was fresh and AMAZING! 

So I came home and began making this for our family — okay, truth be told, my kids won’t eat it, one is allergic to tree nuts and the other doesn’t like his food combined — but that’s okay, more for me and my hubby. They love my Instant Pot Oatmeal and I’m good with that.

Image of pretty bowl filled with protein overnight oats, or bircher Swiss muesli, topped with nuts, fruit, berries and bananas.

Is Muesli the same as Granola?

Yes and no, they both use toasted oats, typically have nuts and fruit in them, but Muesli doesn’t have oil and has significantly less sugar or syrup than granola. Not that I’m dissing granola, try my soft-baked crockpot granola! It’s just different and maybe a teensy bit healthier. 

Pretty glass dish filled with bircher muesli or protein overnight oats topped with chopped nuts and fruits.

Simple Ingredients

  • Familia Original or No Added Sugar Muesli | Or other brand of muesli
  • Milk (we like organic grass fed, whole milk) | May also replace with plant-based milks
  • Yogurt | Plain is the name of the game here, higher the protein the better, you may use fruit flavored, but you will be adding sugar — try making your own yogurt! Mmmm!
  • Citrus Juice | We will use a bit of lemon and orange juice here, I used blood oranges
  • Unpeeled apples | I like crispy firm apples, use organic, wash well and keep that healthy skin on.
  • Fruit & Berries | Use what you like, I used blueberries, other berries, pineapple, pears, all delish.
  • Nuts | Use your favorite nuts, I used almonds, but pine nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts would be fabulous.
  • Vanilla Protein Powder or Collagen Powder | Optional for protein boost

How to Make Protein Overnight Oats

Now that you have a little history on this whole grain, nutrient rich breakfast, let’s get started making it!

This recipe takes a little of the prep work out of the equation, since I use the boxed familia Swiss Muesli (same that I was raised on) which you can purchase at most Whole Foods, Natural Grocers or other health food stores. Available in regular and no sugar added versions.

Process shots of making protein overnight oats, adding muesli to bowl, pouring yogurt and milk.

In a small mixing bowl (holds at least 4-5 cups) add muesli dry mix, yogurt, milk, orange juice and stir.

Once combined; add apples, other fresh fruit (see tips below), toasted nuts and stir gently to combine. Leave standing on the counter at least 10 minutes or even better, let sit refrigerated overnight.

These oats, gets better with time. The original recipe says it keeps refrigerated for 48 hours, but honestly, I’ve made a batch and noshed on it for about 4 days and it’s tasted just fine. 

Process shots for Swiss Bircher Muesli recipe, mixing ingredients together in mixing bowl.

TFC Pro Tips

  • Do not add “mushier” fruit to the muesli until ready to eat, such as bananas and strawberries. 
  • Keep muesli tightly sealed with a cover or plastic wrap, let sit overnight in fridge for best flavor.


  • Give it a stir before serving, allowing it to sit on counter for 10 minutes before serving adds creaminess.
  • Be creative; like granola, you can add nuts, coconut, fresh fruit, dried fruit to your muesli. 
  • Changing your juice and fruit will change the flavors of the muesli, so make it how you like it.
  • Use fresh or frozen cherries, raspberries, blackberries in addition or in place of the other fruit.
  • Amp up the protein, stir in some almond butter, powdered peanut butter, protein powder.

If you’d like to make your muesli oat mix from scratch, try this recipe from Cookie and Kate.

Close up of a bowl filled with protein overnight oats, fruit, berries and nuts.

Toasting Nuts | Place desired chopped nuts on a quarter sheet pan in a 325- 350° oven for 5-10 minutes, careful as pine nuts tend to brown much quicker. 

What are the Original Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats are all the rage and Bircher Muesli is no different, by allowing the muesli mixture to hang out in the liquids overnight it brings out the flavors, toastiness of the oats and the juiciness of the fruit. 

Serve it up by itself, or add additional fruit to the top, I like to wait and add my banana and additional fruit as I’m serving it, tossing on a few additional toasted nuts oh and I drizzled a little of my Immune Boosting Homemade Elderberry Syrup on top.

Why you ask? Why not! The more immune boosting factors I can add to my foods, means the more I am able to occasionally indulge in a Honey Bran Muffin, or this easy Banana Bread.

I hope you will give this healthy, crunchy, gluten-free, whole food and whole grain breakfast a try! Protein overnight oats recipe is perfect for breakfast or a mid-morning or after school snack!


Pin with 4 difference images of the process of making bircher muesli, or protein overnight oats.

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Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. When we were in Europe I fell in love with Muesli. We will just love this recipe and can’t wait to try it! Hope you are having a fantastic week and thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen