Muesli Recipes: Make Your Own Homemade Muesli!

[ 21 ] October 5, 2008 |

Muesli is an inexpensive and flavorful way to get your daily grains. Learn how to make homemade Muesli with these five easy recipes.


Okay, it has a funny sounding name. But if you are looking for a high-energy, whole-grain food that will also help you get your daily dose of healthy fats and soluble fiber, and fuel your training and workouts, you have to try a bowl of Muesli … or two bowls.

Store-bought Muesli can be expensive (a 1 lb, 18-serving bag, for instance, can cost nearly $5 dollars) so it really pays off to make it yourself. Also, making your own Muesli allows you to customize the recipe based on your own particular preferences. 

And making homemade muesli is also easier than making homemade granola, since you don’t have to bake the mixture in the oven. Basically, you take the Meusli recipe ingredients, toss them together in a bowl and bag it. That’s it. It’s really that simple.

But before we actually get to the Meusli recipes, let’s take a look at the history of this cereal, as well as the health benefits that make this a great fitness food.

The Muesli Story

Muesli (pronounced muse-lee) is a breakfast cereal that has been popular in Europe — especially Switzerland — for over 100 years. It’s made from raw, rolled whole grains like oats, barley, rye, triticale, and wheat and typically contains nuts and dried or fresh fruit.

Muesli was developed by the Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner around 1900 to serve to patients in his hospital in Zurich. The diet that Bircher-Benner prescribed to his patients was heavy on whole-grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, and Bircher-Benner came up with idea of Muesli after being served a similar dish during a hike in the Swiss Alps.

While popular in Switzerland and parts of Europe for decades, it wasn’t until the health food movement of the 1960s that this tasty and uber-nutritious cereal started to gain fans in the United States. Since then, Muesli has become much more widely available not only in health food stores, but also in mainstream markets and grocery stores.

In the late-80s, Kellogg even tried to cash-in on the healthy reputation of Muesli by developing a boxed, cold cereal version of muesli called Mueslix. Unfortunately, the cereal shared very little in common with the traditional Muesli recipe, and instead had more in common with Corn Flakes than with the whole-grain masterpiece from Switzerland. Kellogg still markets Mueslix in the US and Canada, although their version is a pale-imitation of the real deal.



Health Benefits of Muesli

Muesli is an ideal health and fitness food.

Why?

It’s a great source of sustainable energy from slow-burning, complex carbohydrates; has plenty of trace vitamins and minerals; and meets the criteria of a “whole food” because it’s minimally processed. Depending on the recipe, the health benefits of Muesli include:

Fiber: Depending on the mixture of whole grains and fruits used, Muesli is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. When prepared with oats and barley flakes, Meusli is very high in viscious soluble fiber (also known as “sticky fiber”) which research has shown can help control blood sugar, reduce serum cholesterol levels and aid in digestion. The soluble fiber in Muesli can also be increased through the addition of fresh or dried fruits like dates, raisins or fresh apples.

Whole Grains: The USDA recommends that Americans should eat 6-11 servings of grains each day, preferably whole-grains that contain the entire grain kernel: endosperm, germ and endosperm. Whole grains are not only a great source of fiber, but they also contain trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as hundreds of different phytochemicals that scientists and nutritionists believe work together syngergistically to reduce the risk of certain diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Because Meusli is made with raw, whole-grains that are rolled, you get the maximum health benefits from the cereal. And because the original nutrients are kept intact, it’s not necessary to replace them with synthetic vitamins like you find in many fortified, pre-packaged cold cereals.

Sustained Energy from Complex Carbohydrates: If you’re looking for a superb pre-workout meal to fuel your training at the gym, high intensity interval training or biking, Meusli is second-to-none. Because it’s made from whole grains and fruit, Meusli is a fantastic source of slow-burning complex carbs that will keep your energy levels stable over the duration of your exercise. The high fiber content of the cereal, combined with the healthy fats, also places it much lower on the glycemic index that most cold cereals. This reduces blood insulin spikes that can leave you fatigued later in your workout.

Healthy Fats: Because nearly all Muesli recipes include nuts and seeds, Muesli is also an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats, as well as heart and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts, especially walnuts, pecans and almonds also contain powerful phytochemicals and antioxidants that may protect the body from tissue damage as well as cancers. Walnuts, for example, have been shown to reduce the damaging effects of meals that are high in unhealthy saturated fats, and a study conducted by Dr. David Jenkins at the University of Toronto and published in the AHA journal “Circulation” demonstrated that almonds can help reduce blood cholesterol levels. Nuts also have been found to decrease feelings of hunger.

Fruit: The USDA also recommends that people eat at least seven servings a day of fresh fruits and vegetables. “Fresh” includes dried fruits, as well as frozen — which may actually have higher vitamin and mineral content due to their ripeness and how they are preserved.  While dried fruit is found in many Muesli recipes, the addition of fresh fruit like chopped apples or blueberries is also a great addition. Fruits and vegetables are not only good sources of fiber, but also are high in healthy antioxidants that can aid with recovery and repair post-workout.

Milk/Soy Milk Protein: Skim milk, which Meusli is often served with or soaked in, is a good source of calcium and slow-digesting casein proteins. Having plenty of protein available during your workout or training can help with muscle repair and recovery and preserve lean tissue, even under stress. Substituting soy milk every now and then (or always, if you are a vegan or vegetarian) also can have health benefits, especially around controlling or lowering cholesterol. If you want to boost the protein in your Muesli even more, consider adding a scoop of whey protein to milk.

Lowering or Controlling Cholesterol:  The combination of soluble fiber and nuts in Muesli can work together to help control or reduce serum blood cholesterol levels, especially if you serve it with soy milk.  Soy has been shown to be one of four cholesterol-lowering “superfoods” that when combined into a portolio diet with other cholesterol-lowering foods like nuts, viscous fiber and plant sterols, can reduce blood cholesterol levels as effectively as prescription statin drugs. Muesli is a nearly perfect “portfolio meal” for lowering cholesterol because when served with soy milk, it has three of the four key cholesterol-lowering foods already in it.

How To Serve Muesli

Muesli can be served as either a hot or cold cereal.

If serving Muesli hot, you can prepare it just as you would oatmeal, cooked in either water, skim milk or soy milk.

As a cold cereal, you typically will want to let the milk or other liquid soak into the cereal for about 5-10 minutes before serving, however, I frequently eat it right away.

A more traditional way of preparing it cold is to add the milk the night before to the Muesli and let it soak in the refrigerator over night. This actually makes a very unique, flavorful cereal in the morning — especially if there are a high-proportion of oats in the Muesli recipe. As the milk soaks, the oat flavors migrate in to the liquid, making an “oat milk” which is rich and creamy.

I’ve developed five basic Muesli recipes that use a combination of a couple of different grains, nuts, seeds and dried and fresh fruit to provide variety. If you don’t care for certain ingredients, you can feel free to substitute something more palatable. Muesli is a very “improvisational” cereal, and there are literally dozens of different varieties that you can come up with on your own.

If you have problems finding some of the rolled grains like barley, rye or tritacle at your grocery store, try a health food store or a place like Whole Foods or Wild Oats which have a wide-range of rolled grains available in bulk. If you can’t find all of the grains in some of these muesli recipes, don’t worry — simply substitute in the same amount of another grain that you do have available.

I’ve also included a list of possible grains and other ingredients that you can mix and match to come up with your own Muesli recipe creations. So have fun knowing you are making something so good for you!

Four Grain Muesli Recipe

This Muesli recipe uses four grains as well as some dried fruit and nuts and seeds to make a very flavorful cereal.

Ingredients

1 cup medium or thick rolled oats/oat flakes
1 cup rolled rye flakes
1 cup rolled triticale
1 cup rolled wheat flakes
1/2 cup dried dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or sliced/slivered almonds
1/4 cup whole flaxseeds or flaxseed meal
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup raisins

Directions

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to an airtight container. If storing for longer periods, consider keeping the cereal in the freezer or refrigerator.

Hot Muesli Instructions: Add 1/2 cup Muesli to 1/2 cup water, milk or soy milk and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. You can also microwave Muesli in a large bowl on high for 3-5 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Makes two servings.

Cold Muesli Instructions: Soak 1/4 cup Muesli in 1/2 cup yogurt, milk, soy milk or fruit juice for 5-10 minutes, or soak overnight. Makes 1 serving.

Cholesterol Buster Meusli Recipe

This recipe is inspired by Dr. David JA Jenkins’ Portfolio Diet approach to eating and provides three of the four cholesterol-lowering “superfoods” recommended by Jenkins as part of that diet plan: almonds, sticky fiber from oats and barley, and soy milk. If you want to include all four cholesterol-lowering foods in The Portfolio Diet, add a slice of whole-grain or sprouted grain toast with a plant-sterol-enriched spread like Benacol alongside the muesli.

Ingredients

3 cups medium or thick rolled oats
3 cups rolled barley flakes
2 cups slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried raisins
1/2 cup dried prunes, chopped (dried plums)

Directions

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to an airtight container. If storing for longer periods, consider keeping the cereal in the freezer or refrigerator.

Serve either hot or cold, with soy milk and chopped fresh apple.

Hot Muesli Instructions: Add 1/2 cup Muesli to 1/2 cup water, milk or soy milk and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. You can also microwave Muesli in a large bowl on high for 3-5 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Makes two servings.

Cold Muesli Instructions: Soak 1/4 cup Muesli in 1/2 cup yogurt, milk, soy milk or fruit juice for 5-10 minutes, or soak overnight. Makes 1 serving.

Tropical Meusli Recipe

This version of Meusli takes you to the tropics thanks to a generous amount of coconut and tropical fruits like papaya and pineapple. We give it a little extra crunch with rich, buttery macadamia nuts.

Ingredients

1 cup medium or thick rolled oats
1 cup rolled rye flakes
1 cup rolled wheat flakes
1 cup shredded or flaked unsulphered, unsweetened organic coconut
1/2 cup dried papaya
1/2 cup dried pineapple
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Directions

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to an airtight container. If storing for longer periods, consider keeping the cereal in the freezer or refrigerator.

Serve either hot or cold.

Hot Muesli Instructions: Add 1/2 cup Muesli to 1/2 cup water, milk or soy milk and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. You can also microwave Muesli in a large bowl on high for 3-5 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Makes two servings.

Cold Muesli Instructions: Soak 1/4 cup Muesli in 1/2 cup yogurt, milk, soy milk or fruit juice for 5-10 minutes, or soak overnight. Makes 1 serving.

Very Berry Meusli Recipe

If you’re a berry fan, this is the Meusli recipe for you. This one is heavy on antioxidant-rich berries, including cherries which can reduce inflammation, blueberries which pack one of the highest antioxidant punches in nature and tart cranberries that can help maintain urinary tract health. If you prefer fresh or frozen berries over dried, feel free to leave out the dried berries and just add in the fresh when you serve the cereal.

Ingredients

2 cups medium or thick rolled oats
1 cup rolled barley flakes
1 cup rolled rye flakes
1/2 cup dried cherries|
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Directions

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to an airtight container. If storing for longer periods, consider keeping the cereal in the freezer or refrigerator.

Serve either hot or cold.

Hot Muesli Instructions: Add 1/2 cup Muesli to 1/2 cup water, milk or soy milk and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. You can also microwave Muesli in a large bowl on high for 3-5 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Makes two servings.

Cold Muesli Instructions: Soak 1/4 cup Muesli in 1/2 cup yogurt, milk, soy milk or fruit juice for 5-10 minutes, or soak overnight. Makes 1 serving.

Nut Lovers Meusli Recipe

Nuts, nuts and more nuts, this Meusli recipe for nut fanatics uses sliced almonds, pecans, walnuts and pistachios to give you a daily dose of healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids and powerful antioxidants that can help you recover after a hard workout.

Ingrediants 

2 cups medium or thick rolled oats
2 cups rolled barley flakes
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup raisins

Directions

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to an airtight container. If storing for longer periods, consider keeping the cereal in the freezer or refrigerator.

Serve either hot or cold.

Hot Muesli Instructions: Add 1/2 cup Muesli to 1/2 cup water, milk or soy milk and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. You can also microwave Muesli in a large bowl on high for 3-5 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Makes two servings.

Cold Muesli Instructions: Soak 1/4 cup Muesli in 1/2 cup yogurt, milk, soy milk or fruit juice for 5-10 minutes, or soak overnight. Makes 1 serving.

Other Potential Muesli Ingredients

Muesli is an extremely versatile cereal, and there really is no right or wrong way to make it. The above recipes are simply suggestions to get you started. If you want to play around with other ingredients, here is a list of substitions you can play around with:

  • Coconut
  • Apple
  • Dried Apple Chips
  • Fresh or frozen sliced peaches
  • Apricots – dried or fresh
  • Pineapple
  • Fresh Banana
  • Dried Banana Chips
  • Dried dates
  • Dried figs
  • Prunes (dried plums)
  • Orange or grapefruit slices or quarters
  • Karob or dark chocolate chips (go easy)
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Filbers (Hazelnuts)
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Raw pumpkin seeds
  • Unsalted soy nuts
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Flaxseeds or flax meal
  • Wheat germ
  • Oat bran
  • Cherries – Dried, fresh or frozen
  • Fresh melon balls or slices
  • Raspberries – fresh or frozen
  • Blackberries – fresh or frozen
  • Raisins
  • Currants
  • Dried or fresh mango
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Category: Healthy Recipes & Snacks

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Comments (21)

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  1. Andrew (3 comments) says:

    Flaxseed meal is stored in the fridge at my local health food store. Is it safe to keep cereals containing flaxseed meal in the cupboard? (eg. for a week or two only).

  2. Total Lifetime Fitness (4 comments) says:

    Matt – You’re the Muesli Master! These are great recipes. I actually used to eat Bircher-Benner Muesli regularly when I was in college and when I lived in Europe. It came in a cool cardboard box covered with nutritional information. I’m favoring the Very Berry Muesli recipe because of all the phytonutrients packed into the cranberries and blueberries.

    And, your comments on “healthy fats” is right on. Too often fats are made to be the bad guys. Not so. Too much fat is the problem. Unsaturated fats are critical for building healthy brain cells and nerve cells. Fats are important components of almost every cell in our bodies – the lipid bilayer of the animal cell membrane. We could not live without fats. They’re a key nutrient.

    As a buddy of mine at Trader Joe’s says, “No fat, no fun!” :-)

  3. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Andrew, you should be fine storing cereals containing flaxseed meal for short periods of time (a couple months, max) at room temp in the cupboard. Many cereals will have preservatives (not necessarily artifical preservatives, but rather things like Vitamin E) which help stabilize oils and fats that are prone to rancidity.

    Also, I assume you are going to eat these foods fairly quickly, so we’re not talking about long storage times here.

    Flaxseed meal, on the other hand, may take you longer to go through (months — versus weeks — depending on how often you use it), so keeping it in the freezer dramatically extends its shelf-life.

    Great question and thanks for stopping by.

    Matt

  4. Matt (194 comments) says:

    "Muesli Master" … I like that.

    And you’re right, Total Fitness, around the healthy fats.  In my own diet, healthy fats actually sometimes reach almost 80-90 grams a day, which would freak a lot of people out. But my cholesterol and triglycerides are actually fantastic and I’ve never seen the additional healthy dietary fat cause weight gain. I probably eat at least two cans of mixed nuts a week, sometimes more.

  5. j. p. (1 comments) says:

    I would like to copy Kellog’s Meuslix…any suggestions?  I really need the sweetness in my cereal. 

    Thanks.

  6. Terri Heath (1 comments) says:

    I first experienced meusli on a recent cruise.  It was called birched meusli, and was sort of thick and creamy with small white-yellow smooth nuts or seeds.  What could these be?  And is "birched" meusli different than regular meusli?

  7. Matt (194 comments) says:

    Hi Terri, thanks for stopping by. What you had on the cruise was probably Bircher Muesli — named after Maximilian Bircher-Benner, the Swiss doctor who "invented" muesli. This is the "original" muesli served by Bircher-Benner.

    While there are a few different recipes for Bircher Muesli floating around out there, the recipe that most resembles Bircher’s orginal recipe is:

    - 1 Tablespoon Rolled Oats soaked in three TBS water
    - 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    - 1 Tablespoon cream
    - 1 large apple, chopped finely or grated and mixed with the above ingredients
    - 1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts or almonds

    Now, that may not be the recipe they used on the cruise, but this is the traditional Bircher Muesli recipe. On the cruise ship, it could have been mixed with anything ranging from whole milk to yogurt to cream. So it’s hard to know exactly what you had.

    Also, if you want a creamy type texture, try one of the recipes above, but mix the muesli with the milk the night before and let it sit in the fridge over night. The oats will soak up the milk and be fairly soft and creamy.

  8. Matt (194 comments) says:

    J.P. — Sorry for the delay answering your question. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for how you can duplicate Kellogg’s Mueslix cereal, because as I pointed out in my article, Mueslix doesn’t really resemble any muesli that I’ve ever ate. So I wouldn’t really want to duplicate it. ;-)

    That said, if sweetness is your issue, try one of the recipes above and add a some honey to it. That should do the trick. 

  9. jasmine (2 comments) says:

    Hi, You mentioned we can soak the oats in milk or fruit juice. Is milk or fruit juice better in fact for overnight soak? What if we soak in both milk and fruit juice? Is orange or apple juice better to soak?
    thanks!

  10. Theway, By (1 comments) says:

    Thanks for putting these recipes on the web.
    I was roaming the so-called web to find one and all i get was links to trendy books surfing on the hype of “being healthy” .
    Thanks for you time.

  11. anita fisher (1 comments) says:

    Terri, the small round yellow seeds are probably millet. I recognized the description from my own muesli autopsies!

  12. Brenda (1 comments) says:

    We were just at the Ballagio in Vegas and I had Muesli there.  I’ve never heard of it before.  I just called the hotel long distance because I couldn’t remember the name of the ‘cold oatmeal, fruit and nut’ breakfast.   They told me it is muesli, and now I’m hunting for some recipes.  This is the page I’ve been looking for!!  Thank you very much for posting these.  I’m now off to the store to buy some ingredients  :D

  13. Dr Farricilli (1 comments) says:

    Excellent!  Great articel and delicious muesli.

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