Swiss Breakfast Favorites

When you think of Swiss food the first things that come to mind might be cheese fondue or chocolate right? But, have you ever wondered what a people usually eat for breakfast in Switzerland? 

Swiss breakfasts foods are rooted in rich traditions shaped by history. In fact, there is even a Swiss German term for breakfast: “zmorge.”

My Swiss husband introduced me to many of the typical Swiss breakfast foods when we moved here in 2019. Now I look forward to a Swiss gipfeli with my coffee in the morning. In this guide, we will delve into all the typical and authentic foods that many Swiss people enjoy for their morning meal.

Typical Swiss Breakfast Foods from Muesli to Rösti

From wholesome muesli to buttery zopf, we’ll uncover the secrets of Swiss breakfast cuisine. Don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Let’s dive into the world of Swiss breakfast together!

Birchermüesli – A Nutritious Start Thanks to Dr. Bircher-Benner

Traditional Bircher museli in Switzerland from a grocery store, restaurant, and a plant-based option

Bircher muesli (or birchermüesli in German) is a traditional Swiss breakfast dish made from rolled oats, fruits, nuts, and dairy products. The history of this popular breakfast book is pretty interesting. Swiss doctor Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner came up with this delicious dish around 1900. He wanted to crate a balanced, nutritious, and tasty meal for his patients and bircher muesli was born! 

Bircher muesli’s popularity has stood the test of time. Today you can find Bircher muesli in almost all Swiss grocery stores, bakeries, or at breakfast buffets in hotels and restaurants. At traditional Swiss bakeries Bircher muesli usually comes with cream, milk, or yogurt.

You’ll  also find many variations of Bircher muesli at cafes across Switzerland. You’ll even see a plant-based twist on traditional Bircher muesli at international chains like Starbucks

Homemade Bircher muesli is also a popular in Switzerland. It’s quick and easy to make and there are many different recipes to suit everyone’s tastes. My daugher’s daycare often has homemade Bircher museli on their menu for a snack. I love that’s she getting to grow up enjoying one of Switzerland’s favorite breakfast foods. 

Gipfeli – A Swiss Twist on the Croissant

A typical Swiss laugen gipfeli

When it comes to breakfast in Switzerland, there is a simple pastry that steals the spotlight: the gipfeli. This scrumptious treat is a favorite among Swiss residents and visitors alike. A gipfeli is a classic Swiss breakfast pastry that resembles a croissant in shape and flaky texture. It has a golden-brown, crescent shape, and buttery taste.

This delectable delight is often enjoyed alongside a cup of coffee or tea, making for a perfect start to the day.

Swiss bakeries have also introduced a many variations to the classic gipfeli. Here are a few popular types of gipfeli you might find:

  • Chocolate Gipfeli: These gipfeli are filled with rich, melt-in-your-mouth Swiss chocolate. The combination of the flaky pastry and luscious chocolate filling is pure indulgence.
  • Almond Gipfeli: Almond gipfeli are adorned with a generous sprinkling of sliced almonds on top. The nutty crunch adds an extra layer of flavor and texture to the already delightful pastry.
  • Laugen Gipfeli: Laugen gipfeli are a unique variation. They combine the flakiness of a gipfeli with the distinctive taste and texture of a pretzel. These pastries are typically sprinkled with coarse salt and have a slightly chewy exterior. 

Next time you’re in Switzerland, be sure to indulge in a gipfeli and experience the pleasure of this unique breakfast delight.

Zopf, Weggli, and Other Types of Bread

Zopf braided bread

You cannot talk about typical breakfast in Switzerland without mentioning Swiss bread. The Swiss often have an assortment of freshly baked bread for breakfast. Among the popular choices are zopf and weggli. 

Zopf is a soft, braided bread that holds a special place in Swiss culinary traditions. Its name comes from the German word “Zopf,” meaning “braid.” Made with a combination of flour, yeast, butter, milk, and a touch of sugar and salt, zopf boasts a fluffy texture and a slightly sweet flavor. 

Its distinctive appearance, with its beautifully braided shape, adds to its appeal. Zopf is typically enjoyed sliced with butter, jam, or honey, or cheese like Emmental, making it a delightful addition to a Swiss breakfast table.

Weggli are another popular choice for breakfast in Switzerland. These small, round bread rolls have a soft and chewy interior with a golden-brown crust and are slightly sweet. You can enjoy Weggli plain or with butter, cheese, cold cuts, or a variety of spreads. They are perfect for making sandwiches or simply as a satisfying accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea.

In addition to zopf and weggli, there are several other types of bread that you can enjoy as part of a Swiss breakfast. Some of these include:

  1. Bauernbrot: This hearty bread is made with a mix of whole wheat and rye flours, giving it a rich and earthy flavor. Bauernbrot is often sliced thickly and enjoyed with butter or cheese.
  2. Roggenbrot: Roggenbrot is a dense and flavorful rye bread that offers a distinctive taste. It is perfect for those who appreciate a more robust and hearty bread option.

Variety of Swiss Cheeses to Start the Day

Breakfast is also a time to savor the rich and flavorful famous Swiss cheeses. Here are some typical Swiss cheeses that the Swiss often serve with breakfast:

  1. Emmental: Emmential is known for its distinctive large holes. It is a beloved Swiss that has a nutty and mildly sweet flavor.
  2. Gruyère: Gruyère cheese, named after the picturesque town of Gruyères. It has a rich and creamy taste. Its smooth texture and subtle hints of fruitiness make it a favorite choice for breakfast. Enjoy it on its own or melt it into a delicious cheese omelette.
  3. Appenzeller: Appenzeller cheese has a robust and tangy flavor that adds a zesty kick to breakfast. Made with a secret blend of herbs and spices, this cheese is perfect for those who enjoy a little extra piquancy in their morning meal.
  4. Tête de Moine: Tête de Moine, meaning “monk’s head” in French. It has a unique cylindrical shape that is often served in delicate, paper-thin shavings. Its full-bodied flavor and creamy texture make it a gourmet addition to a Swiss breakfast.

These cheeses are typically enjoyed sliced or grated and served alongside freshly baked bread, croissants, or zopf. Their rich flavors and textures provide a satisfying start to the day, allowing you to indulge in the deliciousness of Swiss cheese.

Rosti – More Than Just a Potato Pancake

Rosti for breakfast in Switzerland

One dish that holds a special place on breakfast tables in Switzerland is rosti (in German you’ll see it spelled like “rösti”). This delicious and filling dish has its roots in the Swiss farming culture in the German speaking region of Canton Bern. 

Farmers needed a hearty and nourishing meal to fuel their day’s work, and rosti provided the perfect solution. Rosti quickly gained popularity due to its delicious taste and filling nature. To this day you can find rosti at traditional brunch restaurants across the country.

Rosti is made by grating potatoes and then frying them until they turn golden and crispy. The grated potatoes are seasoned with salt and pepper to enhance the flavor. The result is a potato pancake of soft, tender potatoes on the inside and a crispy, golden exterior.

Rosti can be enjoyed as a standalone dish or served as a side with various accompaniments, such as eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, or even smoked salmon.

Swiss Yogurt – A Stirred Delight 

Yogurt aisle in a Swiss grocery store

When it comes to Swiss breakfast, we cannot overlook the deliciousness of Swiss yogurt. Unlike some yogurts you may be familiar with, Swiss yogurt has a unique preparation method. Instead of being strained, Swiss yogurt is stirred.

Swiss yogurt comes in a wide array of flavors to suit every taste. Whether you prefer the rich aroma of coffee or the burst of sweetness from fruity flavors like strawberry or blueberry, there is a Swiss yogurt flavor for everyone. 

You’ll also find quark in Swiss grocery stores, it’s is an interesting variation on yogurt. Although it looks similar to yogurt, quark is technically classified as a cheese. It has a smooth and creamy texture that is incredibly versatile. One of the most beloved quark flavors in Switzerland is apricot.

Besides enjoying it on its own, quark is a popular ingredient in a variety of sweet cakes and pies. Its creamy consistency and subtle tanginess add a delightful touch to these baked treats. So, if you have a chance to try a Swiss breakfast, don’t forget to sample the protein-rich goodness of quark.

Coffee – Yes Please!

Coffee in Switzerland with chocolate on top

When it comes to coffee, the Swiss have their own unique preferences. Unlike in North America, where filter coffee is popular, the Swiss opt for different brewing methods that bring out rich flavors in every cup.

In larger cities, you’ll find cozy coffee shops where baristas prepare a variety of coffee specialties. Whether you’re in the mood for a frothy cappuccino or a strong and invigorating Americano, these coffee shops have got you covered. They take pride in crafting the perfect balance of flavors, making each sip a delightful experience. In Swiss cafes, you’ll might get asked if you’ll like chocolate powder sprinkled on top of your cappuccino. Say yes, trust us it’s delcious!

At home, many Swiss households rely on Nespresso machines to satisfy their coffee cravings. These convenient machines use specially designed coffee capsules, allowing coffee lovers to enjoy a wide range of flavors and intensities. With just a press of a button, a fresh cup of coffee is ready to be savored.

Did You Know?

Nespresso capsules are made in Switzerland? There are three factories in Avenches, Orbe, and Romont.

Additionally, it’s common for Swiss households to have their own espresso machines. These machines are cherished for their ability to brew a strong and concentrated shot of espresso. Swiss people appreciate the rich and bold flavors of espresso, often sipping it as a standalone beverage or using it as a base for other coffee creations.


In Switzerland, Ovomaltine is a popular breakfast drink that provides a delicious and energizing start to the day. It’s made from a blend of malted barley, milk, and cocoa. These ingredients give it a rich and creamy taste. Packed with essential nutrients, it gives you the energy you need to kickstart your morning.

Swiss people often enjoy Ovomaltine mixed with warm milk. With its unique combination of flavors, Ovomaltine has become a beloved Swiss breakfast staple. Whether you’re a kid or an adult, Ovomaltine is a delightful treat that satisfies your taste buds and fuels your day.

Typical Breakfast in the Swiss Alps

Swiss breakfast in the mountains variety of breads

If you’re in mountain regions of Switzerland like Zermatt, you might wonder what type of breakfast you can expect. Usually bakeries and cafes offer different assortments of bread rolls and gipfeli. These are often accompanied by jams or marmalades, cold cuts, and hard Swiss cheeses.

Brunch for Breakfast in Switzerland

Swiss brunch options can be traditional (left) or modern (right)

When preparing brunch at home, many Swiss households follow the typical foods listed in this article. The usually have zopf, bucher museli, and other beloved Swiss breakfast staples. Brunch is usually a time Swiss families gather on Sunday to enjoy a meal together. 

However, when dining out at traditional Swiss restaurants and hotels, brunch takes on a grander scale. In these establishments, brunch becomes a delightful buffet affair. You’ll find a spread of all the typical and traditional Swiss breakfast foods.

In recent years, the brunch scene in big cities like Zurich has taken a creative turn. Inspired by North American brunch trends, Swiss cafes and eateries are embracing a more international flair. Avocado toast has become more popular among brunch-goers. And acai bowls offer a refreshing and healthy option for those seeking a nutritious start to their day.

Family Tip

If you’re looking for some great family-friendly restaurants in Zurich check out our guide.

Whether you prefer the traditional Swiss brunch with its comforting classics or the modern twist of international flavors, brunch in Switzerland caters to all tastes and preferences. 

There are a variety of delicious options for breakfast in Switzerland. There is something for everyone. From the wholesome goodness of Bircher muesli to the comforting taste of zopf, it’s all delicious. Have you tried Swiss breakfast? What’s your favorite Swiss breakfast dish or ingredient? Share your thoughts below!

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