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Homemade Granola

5/5 - (5 votes)

This wholesome homemade granola recipe is easy to make and infinitely customizable.

On my counter sits a never-empty jar of homemade granola that I’ve been replenishing every week or two for about five years. Usually, a small scoop tops a bowl of yogurt or chia pudding with fruit, but I’ve sprinkled it over ice cream, used it for some crunch on a banana covered in peanut butter, or even just snacked on plain granola in a small bowl at my desk.

During this time, I’ve tried countless recipes, mix-ins, flavors, spices, and baking times. After so many iterations, I’ve settled on a go-to method. I prefer my granola golden-brown, not too sweet, loaded with warm spices, and (a lot of people disagree with me on this) not clumpy. I like a little bit of granola in each bite, not one big clump with nothing left for the rest of my snack.

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This recipe is more of a framework, a method I’ve arrived at to achieve my idea of the perfect granola. 

  • I prefer baking the granola at a low temperature for longer—it yields reliably crunchy granola without burning. Other recipes with higher temperatures and shorter baking times come out too dark or too soft in my experience.
  • I also use less oil and sugar than most recipes you’ll find—most recipes warn that you can’t mess with the ratio of oil and sugar to dry ingredients, but I messed with them anyway. Admittedly, I wouldn’t use less than the amounts I call for. I tried, and the granola gets bland. If you prefer sweeter granola, you can increase the olive oil and maple syrup to 1/2 cup each.
  • I stir the granola—I don’t want big lumps of granola, so I stir every 15 minutes or so while it’s baking. This helps the granola bake evenly, preventing the edges from getting too dark while the granola in the middle of the sheet stays soft.

It’s a customizable guideline—the mix-ins I add to my granola depend on what I have in my cupboard, what’s opened and needs to be used up, and what I feel like that week. You can sub almost any kind of nut, seed, dried fruit, or spices. You can add sprouted grains or popped quinoa. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m curious about using flaked grains other than oats: barley, kamut, einkorn, spelt, or rye.

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Is Granola Healthy?

Granola is a treat. Think of it as a sweet breakfast, snack, or dessert. It has plenty of whole grains, nuts, and seeds, making it high in fiber. I’m not sure I would classify it as the health food it’s marketed as, but I don’t hesitate to say it’s wholesome. I did lighten how much oil and sugar I use. While I have a sweet tooth, I don’t like my sweets all that sweet. And I usually have granola with sweet fresh fruit and berries anyway.

I chose maple syrup because I like the flavor. Plus, a liquid sweetener works best in this version. Maple syrup is not a processed sugar and comes with more nutrients than processed cane sugar, but it’s an added sugar nonetheless. You could just as easily use honey or golden syrup instead.

I always use extra virgin olive oil in my granola. I use less, but still enough to crisp the granola and prevent it from sticking to the pan. Most importantly, it’s the oil I typically cook with, and I love the spicy, floral flavor, even if it’s subtle in this small amount. I’m not a big fan of the flavor of coconut oil, but if you are, you could use that instead (melted), or another, more neutral cooking oil.

What’s the Difference Between Granola and Muesli?

Both granola and muesli are a mix of oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. The main differences are that muesli is raw, and the only sweetener is the dried fruits added to the mix. Granola is baked with oil or butter and a sweetener, so it gets crunchy in the oven.

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What Ingredients Are in Granola?

Most of the ingredients for granola are pantry staples. Even better, you can customize your granola by adding your favorite nuts, seeds, or spices, and using what you already have on hand.

  • Oats: Use rolled oats or old-fashioned oats. If you’re gluten free, make sure to choose oats that are certified gluten free.
  • Nuts: I rotate through whole blanched almonds, pecan halves, roughly chopped walnuts, and pistachios in my granola. I often use a mix to finish off those half-empty bags in the cupboard. 
  • Seeds: I usually stick to a blend of raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Chia, hemp, sesame, or flax seeds are all great choices, or any mix thereof.
  • Spices: Every once in a while, I try different flavors and spices, but I always come back to a blend of cinnamon and cardamom. They’re my favorite spices and very comforting. I’m working through a giant jar of Ceylon cinnamon, which is milder than Cassia cinnamon. You can adjust the cinnamon down to 2 teaspoons if you have a stronger cinnamon and want to tone it down.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: I love the fruity, spicy flavor of extra virgin olive oil. Even if you normally prefer a neutral flavored oil in sweet recipes, the small amount of olive oil in this granola keeps it mild.
  • Maple syrup: Having grown up in New England, maple syrup is a comforting and nostalgic flavor for me. If you’re not worried about making vegan granola, you can substitute an equal amount of honey (dark buckwheat honey is especially delicious in granola).
  • Vanilla: Vanilla extract adds some warm floral flavors and enhances the other flavors in the granola.
  • Dried fruit: I love dried cranberries, blueberries, or goji berries. But you can use raisins, dried cherries, chopped dried apricots, chopped dried apples, currants—whatever your favorite dried fruit is.
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Granola Variations

Granola is one of the easiest recipes to experiment with different flavors. Here are some of my favorite variations:

  • Make it zesty: Add the zest from an orange, lemon, or both.
  • Swap the spices: make it simpler with just a teaspoon or two of ground cinnamon, or try a spice blend like speculaas, gingerbread, or chai spices.
  • Make it coconut: substitute coconut oil for the olive oil and add 1/2 cup (30g) unsweetened coconut flakes. Add the coconut flakes just for the last 10 minutes of baking.
  • Other mix-ins to try: quinoa, popped quinoa, sprouted buckwheat groats, or flaked grains.

How to Serve Granola

Granola can be eaten with yogurt, smoothie bowls, chia pudding, or even as a topping for ice cream. I love Greek yogurt with granola and fresh fruit for breakfast or brunch. One of my favorite afternoon snacks is a banana with peanut butter and a sprinkle of crunchy granola. You can also use granola as a topping for desserts like baked apples, custard, pudding, or a slice of cake with a dollop of whipped cream and berries.

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How to Store Granola

Store granola in an airtight container on the counter for up to two weeks. For longer storage, freeze the granola in a freezer container for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes for the dried fruit to soften again.

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Homemade Granola Recipe

Yield: 1.7 liters / 7 cups
Servings: 14
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

Note: In this case, the metric weights are estimates for the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. They will depend on which ones you choose. This is one of the few recipes where I rely on volume measures.

MetricCups
400g rolled oats
125g raw nuts
65g raw seeds

80ml (67g) extra virgin olive oil
80ml (104g) maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
75g dried fruit
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw nuts
1/2 cup raw seeds

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried fruit

1. Preheat the oven:

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.

2. Combine the dry ingredients:

Combine the oats, nuts, and seeds in a large mixing bowl.

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3. Combine the wet ingredients and spices:

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and vanilla extract.

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4. Mix the granola:

Pour the wet ingredients into the oat mixture. Stir until fully combined and all of the dry ingredients are evenly coated.

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5. Bake:

Spread the granola on the lined baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes so the oats brown evenly.

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6. Cool:

Let the granola cool completely on the pan, 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

7. Add the dried fruit:

Add the dried fruit and stir it through the granola to distribute evenly.

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8. Storage:

Store granola in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, freeze the granola in a freezer container for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes for the dried fruit to soften.

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Nutrition

Calories: 259kcal | Total Fat: 13.7g | Carbs: 28.8g | Sugars: 5.2g | Protein: 7.5g | Sodium: 69mg | Fiber: 4.8g

The nutrition information provided for this recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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