Muesli checks all the boxes of a perfect weekday breakfast. You can make it in advance; it's packed with whole grains, fiber, protein, and antioxidants; and it's extremely versatile, both in how you make it and how you eat it. I like to make a big batch over the weekend to last throughout the week, which significantly speeds up my weekday morning routine. It's toasty, nutty, chewy, and truly satisfying — finally, a breakfast that can hold me until lunch.
What Is Muesli?
Muesli originated in Switzerland by a physician named Maximilian Bircher-Benner. His version, often referred to as "Bircher muesli," consisted of raw oats, grated apples, and chopped nuts mixed with lemon juice, water, and sweetened condensed milk.
Today, muesli more often refers to a mix of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Think of it as a healthier, low-sugar alternative to granola. Because muesli isn't baked, there's no sugar or oil needed to bind the ingredients together — although I do like to toast the grains, nuts, and seeds before they're mixed together to bring out their flavors. It's also nice to toss the grain with a warm spice (such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, or ginger) before toasting.
The Mix-and-Match Formula for Easy Homemade Muesli
Although you can now buy bags or boxes of muesli at the grocery store, I prefer to make it at home, which allows me to customize the ingredients and keep the sugar content to a minimum. After playing around with a few different ratios, I came up with the ideal formula for perfect muesli every time, which works with any ingredients you choose to mix and match. Remember that some dried fruit contains added sugar, so be sure to check the label. Any of the suggested ingredients below can be swapped into the recipe at the bottom of the page.
Muesli formula: 4 cups grains + 1 1/2 cups nuts/seeds + 1/2 cup dried fruit
Grains: Rolled oats, wheat bran, whole rye, whole barley, sorghum flakes, quinoa flakes, millet puffs, millet flakes.
Nuts/seeds: Sliced almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes.
Dried fruit: Dried apricots, dried cherries, dried figs, raisins, golden raisins, currants, apple chips.
The Best Ways to Enjoy Muesli
My personal favorite way to eat muesli is overnight oats-style. Portion out 2/3 cup of muesli into a small lidded jar, cover with 2/3 cup milk or milk alternative, top with frozen blueberries, screw on the lid, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, you're left with a chilled, soaked, softened muesli that's especially refreshing in the summer. If you're a fan of chia pudding, throw some chia seeds on top too, which will plump in the milk overnight.
Muesli can also be enjoyed like cereal (if I eat it this way, I top it with sliced bananas or fresh berries), stirred into yogurt, or warmed up with milk or water and eaten like oatmeal. To keep my breakfast routine from feeling static, I like to switch it up throughout the week. The versatility also makes this a breakfast dish all my roommates can agree on, because we've all found our favorite way to prepare it. If you do prefer your breakfast on the sweeter side, any of these preparations can be finished with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, although I find a topping of fresh fruit provides just the right amount of sweetness.
Once you've tried the basics, try folding muesli into baked goods, packing it into energy bars, or sprinkling it over smoothie bowls, salads, or nut butter toast.
How To Make Easy Muesli
Makes about 5 1/3 cups; serves 8
Prep time: 15 minutes ; cooking time: 15 minutes
What You Need
3 1/2 cups
raw pecans, coarsely chopped
raw pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
unsweetened coconut flakes
dried apricots, coarsely chopped
Measuring cups and spoons
Large rimmed baking sheet
Large airtight container, for storing
Toast the grains, nuts, and seeds. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350°F. Place the oats, wheat bran, salt, and cinnamon on a rimmed baking sheet; toss to combine; and spread into an even layer. Place the almonds, pecans, and pepitas on a second rimmed baking sheet; toss to combine; and spread into an even layer. Transfer both baking sheets to oven, placing oats on top rack and nuts on bottom. Bake until nuts are fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the coconut. Remove the baking sheet with the nuts and set aside to cool. Sprinkle the coconut over the oats, return to the upper rack, and bake until the coconut is golden-brown, about 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl. Transfer the contents of both baking sheets to a large bowl.
Add the dried fruit. Add the apricots and cherries and toss to combine.
Transfer to an airtight container. Muesli can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
Enjoy as desired. Enjoy as oatmeal, cereal, overnight oats, or with yogurt, topped with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, if desired.
Storage: Muesli can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Serving suggestions: To make overnight oats, combine equal parts muesli and milk or non-dairy milk (I prefer 2/3 cup of each) in a small lidded container (at this point I like to top mine with frozen blueberries, too). Refrigerate overnight and enjoy cold in the morning.