I was rummaging through my pantry the other day and noticed that I had way too many half-used bags of dried fruit and nuts, and I knew exactly what I needed to make to use up all those odds and ends. Muesli! What is Muesli? The short answer: muesli is the old-school version of overnight oats. Keep reading below for a more detailed explanation!
Originally posted 3/1/2011, Updated 5/18/2022.
What is Muesli?
Muesli is a mixture of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and fresh or dried fruit that have been soaked in milk, yogurt, or juice. This dish is attributed to a Swiss doctor, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, who fed this refreshing and filling breakfast to the patients in his hospital. For that reason, muesli often goes by the name “Bircher Muesli.”
Muesli vs. Granola
You might be asking yourself, “How is that different from granola??” While they are similar, there are distinct differences between muesli and granola. Muesli is almost like raw granola. You can turn muesli into granola by adding some sweeteners and binders, like honey or brown sugar and oil, then baking it until it becomes deliciously crunchy.
How Do You Eat Muesli?
There are a few different ways you can enjoy muesli. You can add cold milk or yogurt, stir it on up, and let it soak for just a few minutes so the oats are just barely chewy. Or, if you prefer a softer oat, you can let them soak overnight or for up to about four days. And just like the “overnight oats” that have taken the internet by storm over the past decade, muesli is a great way to meal prep your breakfast for the week.
You can also treat your muesli like little homemade instant oatmeal packets. Divide the muesli into ⅓ or ½ cup servings, place in resealable containers, then every morning add about a cup of milk and microwave for a minute or two and you have a hot bowl of oatmeal.
What Kind of Oats are Best for Muesli?
The best type of oat for muesli is, in my opinion, old-fashioned rolled oats. These oats are hearty and have a lot of texture, but still soften fairly quickly when soaked. Quick oats are very thin and delicate and will create a much mushier texture in your muesli. Steel-cut oats are very tough and will need to be soaked for several hours before they soften.
What Else Can You Put in Muesli?
Just like overnight oats, you can add so many different things to your muesli. You can add any type of dried fruit, nut, or seed to the dry mix (stored at room temperature), or once you begin soaking your muesli you can add wet or perishable ingredients, like fresh fruit or maple syrup.
- 3 cups dry old-fashioned oats ($0.68)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts* ($0.60)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries* ($0.88)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds* ($0.25)
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional) ($0.08)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon ($0.05)
- Combine the oats, cranberries, walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir until evenly mixed. Store mixture in an air-tight container in a cool dry place until ready to eat.
- To prepare the muesli, combine 1/2 cup muesli with 1/2 cup of cold milk. Let soak for 5 minutes, or up to four days in the refrigerator.
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How to Make Muesli – Step By Step Photos
Add your oats, fruit, nuts, spices, and sweetener (optional) to a bowl. I used 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup chopped walnuts, ½ cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup sunflower seeds, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and ½ tsp cinnamon.
Simply stir the ingredients together and now it’s ready to use!
You can store this mix in an air-tight container at room temperature. It will last just as long as the individual dry ingredients themselves.
To enjoy your muesli, measure ½ cup of the dry muesli mix into a bowl. Pour ½ cup of milk (or more) over top and let sit for about five minutes (or refrigerate overnight for a softer oat).
Enjoy the muesli as is or top with your favorite fresh fruit, maple syrup, or nut butter.