This homemade granola recipe is easy and only takes a few simple pantry items. Combine rolled oats, a sweetener, oil, and your favorite mix-ins for a healthy whole-grain breakfast or snack. Then bake until crispy clusters form. That’s it!
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I love having a stash of granola to grab as a wholesome snack or to use for my breakfast cereal. Store-bought versions may be convenient but often pricey for the amount in the bag. The ingredients you need are all shelf-stable, so loading up on oats, sweetener, and oil in bulk allows you to make large batches of granola at home anytime. You’ll get way more yield for your hard-earned dollar.
There’s no stirring involved in this baked method. Combine the ingredients, press them into a sheet pan, and let the oven do its magic. I use whole almonds, sweet cranberries, and salty roasted pepitas for various textures and tastes. Once you learn the base ratio of essential ingredients, you can customize the recipe any way you like!
The essential ingredients you need
The only ingredients to make granola are old-fashioned rolled oats, a sweetener, and some oil or fat. I like to follow a ratio of 5 cups oats, ½ cup sweetener, and ½ cup oil for the base. Keeping the balance of 1 part sweetener to 1 part oil allows you to scale the recipe up or down. Make sure there’s enough to coat the oats and add-ins.
Use a neutral oil
Fat is needed to ensure the granola becomes crispy but not dry, brittle, or burnt. Any type of cooking oil that’s neutral-tasting can be selected with a moderate smoke point above 325ºF. My top picks are avocado oil, melted coconut oil, light olive oil, and vegetable oil.
Sweeteners enhance the crunchiness
Using a sweetener like a maple syrup or honey to coat the oats adds a touch of sweetness and crispiness. The type you chose is based on your flavor preference. I like maple for its deep molasses notes. The sugar solids remain as the water in the sweetener gets driven off in the hot oven.
The sugar lightly cooks and caramelizes with deep candied flavors, creating that sought-out crunch as the granola cools. To increase the base’s sweetness level, add 1 to 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, granulated sugar, or coconut sugar to the mix.
Compress for hearty clusters
Making homemade granola allows you to control the size and shape of the oat clusters. The grains pack closer and stick together with the sugar in the maple syrup by compressing the oats on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, similar to making granola bars.
Wait until after the granola cools before you break them apart so that the sugars can bind, harden, and hold the oats together. Unlike most recipes, do not stir during the baking process unless you want the mixture to be more separate and pourable.
Elevate and cool to dry
When removed from the oven, the granola will look golden brown but not dry and crisp. This is where heat transfer from the warm pan helps to dry out the rest of the moisture.
Place the tray on a wire rack to help circulate air under and around so the oats can gradually cool completely at room temperature. After about an hour, they’ll become super crunchy. Patience is important!
Get creative with different add-ins
This recipe uses whole almonds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), dried cranberries, cinnamon, and nutmeg to add flavor to the mix. However, any type of nuts, seeds, spices, and dried fruit can be substituted.
- Nuts: Almonds (raw, roasted, sliced, slivered), pecans, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, coconut flakes (toasted is delicious!). Use 1 to 1 ½ cups total of any combination.
- Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, curry powder, turmeric, black pepper, or chili powder. Use ½ to 1 teaspoon of the spice mix.
- Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds. Use ½ cup of the bulkier seeds and 1 to 4 tablespoons of flax or chia.
- Dried fruit: Cherries, cranberry, raisin, apricot, pineapple, papaya, banana chips. Use ½ to 1 cup of dried fruit.
- Chocolate: Chocolate chips (Dark, bittersweet, semi-sweet, white, mini chips), cocoa nibs, or cocoa powder. Use about ¼ to ½ cup chips and nibs and ¼ to ⅓ cup powder.
Use these oats in particular
The only type of oats that should be used is old-fashioned rolled oats. There are instant and quick-cooking options, but when mixed with liquid, they hydrate too much and can become mushy if not baked immediately. Use rolled oats as they don’t get immediately soggy when added to milk or yogurt.
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- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup avocado oil
- 5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 ½ cups almonds, raw or roasted
- ½ cup roasted pepitas, (pumpkin seeds)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the upper-middle position. Preheat to 325ºF (163ºC). Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whisk the Sweetener and Spices – In a large bowl whisk together maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the oil and whisk together until combined and slightly thickened.
- Add the Oats and Nuts – Add the rolled oats, almonds, and pepitas, and stir to thoroughly coat the dried ingredients with the maple syrup mixture.
- Spread onto Baking Sheet – Evenly spread the granola mixture onto the sheet pan. Use the bottom of a spatula to firmly press down on the mixture until the layer is about ½-inch thick. This will create granola clusters after baking and cooling.
- Bake the Granola – Bake until golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through. The granola should feel dry, but won't be completely crunchy when removed from the oven.
- Let it Cool – Place the sheet pan on a wire cooling rack. Allow it to cool completely, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The granola will dry and harden during this time.
- Finish and Store – Break the granola into clusters, then add in dried cranberries, and stir to combine. Transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature.
- Recipe Yield: 9 cups
- Serving Size: ½ cup
- Storing: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 1 month.
- Oil Substitute: Coconut oil, light olive oil, or vegetable oil can be substituted for avocado oil.
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9 Comments Leave a comment or review
What if you have only quick oats, can you still use them?
Jessica Gavin says
Hi Jim- I think it’s best to use rolled oats. The instant oats are much more dusty and small, so you may not get the nice crunchy flake texture.
Jessica said, “only old fashioned rolled oats should be used.” I’d take her word for it. She is the culinary graduate – not you, not me. Whenever I follow her recipes to the letter, they always turn out perfectly. Those are my thoughts on your question. Enjoy your day. God bless.
Can I use flahavans progress oatlets and what would you put into it to make it as a healthy bar
Jessica Gavin says
I would use old fashioned rolled oats for the best texture. You can add more sugar to make the granola stick together more, and then just break into bigger clusters.
This looks great..gotta try it! I was wondering why use avocado oil instead of olive oil? Thanks!
Jessica Gavin says
Avocado oil is really neutral and has a high smoke point. However, you can use light or regular olive oil (not extra-virgin) for the recipe and have tasty results.
Carol Costabile says
I would like the receipe for the cinnamon granola… neither of my grands eat nuts or seeds and they cant tell if there are almonds In it… thank you they love this granola in a blueberry smoothie bowl!!!!!
Jessica Gavin says
You’re welcome Carol! you could increase the cinnamon level to 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon for a stronger spice flavor.