Ready to make a big batch of flavorful granola in the slow cooker? It’s an easy recipe! Just sprinkle some spices over old-fashioned oats and combine with maple syrup, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Let the Crock-Pot do all the work creating a wholesome tasty snack.
The slow cooker is not just for savory meals, this handy device can also make some incredible homemade snacks. If you’re a fan of meal prepping, or just have a craving for crunchy granola, you’re going to love this grab-n-go treat or breakfast topping for cereals or yogurt.
In this recipe, I use warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger for flavor. Each serving also contains oats, nuts, maple syrup, coconut oil, and superfoods for extra nutritional benefits. All you need to do is drop in the ingredients and stir occasionally.
How to make granola in a slow cooker
The moderate heat and prolonged cook time crystalizes the sugar and creates crispy flakes of oats. I use a 6-quart Crock-Pot and add all of the ingredients except the coconut flakes and cranberries. It’s important to stir the granola periodically every 30 minutes for evenly coating and cooking.
The lid is also kept slightly open to allow steam to escape and to prevent the grains from getting soggy. Once the cooking time is complete, about 2 hours on the high setting, spread the mixture on a sheet pan and cool completely to solidify the sugars.
Oat selection is key
The types of oats you choose can have an effect on the final texture of the product. In this case, old-fashioned rolled oats are my favorite choice. The grains are partially cooked, flat whole pieces with an oval shape. Their sturdy structure ensures a crispness that won’t absorb moisture too quickly when combined with wet ingredients. Varieties like instant oats will get soggy and clumpy.
Boost the nutrition
Superfoods are nutrient-rich ingredients that are considered to be especially beneficial for well-being. For this recipe, I chose chia seeds, oats, dried cranberries, cinnamon, sunflower seeds, and almonds. Collectively these ingredients provide extra fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, plus healthy saturated fat from the coconut oil, vitamins, and minerals.
Let the air escape from the crockpot
Normally I would tell you never to take the lid off when using a slow cooker, but not this time. You need to allow the hot steam that’s generated inside the pot to escape, or you’ll end up with oatmeal instead of crunchy granola. Put the cover on, but leave it ajar about 1/4 to 1/2-inch on one side throughout the entire cook time.
Stir and let it cool
About every 30 minutes, check the granola and give the mixture a stir. This will ensure even-cooking and minimize portions of the granola getting burnt if stuck to the sides of the pot for too long.
Once the granola feels dry to the touch and crisp, scoop a single layer on a sheet pan until no longer warm. This cooling process maximizes the crunch-factor. Afterward, transfer to an air-tight container. If the granola is left out for too long it can pick up moisture in the air.
Comparing cooking methods
Each has its unique advantages, but all yield a delicious product. It really just depends on the equipment you have, and the amount of time you want to dedicate.
- Baked Granola: Cooks the oat mixture at moderate heat, about 325ºF (163ºC) for just under an hour with a little or no stirring for larger clusters. The only downside is that it requires the most energy to prepare.
- Stovetop Granola: By far the quickest method, just 10 minutes to cook. The only setback is you may be limited to the amount you can make at one time due to pan size. One to two cups of oats max.
- Slow Cooker Granola: (This Recipe) Made all in one pot, uses minimal energy, can make an enormous amount, but it takes about double the time and more stirring.
Different ways to use granola
- Use it as a topping for yogurt parfaits or acai bowls.
- Add it into popsicles for more fiber and flavor in each serving.
- Sprinkle on top of fluffy pancakes for some crunch.
- Make desserts with cooked fruit (apples, peaches, pineapples) topped with granola.
Perfecting ingredient ratios
Use a ratio of about five parts of dry ingredients to one part wet. For example, 4 cups oats, 1 cup nuts/seeds plus 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey. When scaling the recipe up or down, use around the same amount of dry (oats, nuts, seeds) to liquid (oil and sweetener).
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Slow Cooker Granola
- 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup nuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts or a combination
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- ¼ teaspoon ginger, ground
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste
- ½ cup pure maple syrup, or honey
- ¼ cup coconut flakes
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Coat the sides and bottom of a 6-quart or larger sized slow cooker with cooking spray, vegetable oil, or coconut oil.
- Add oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and vanilla. Add to the slow cooker and stir until evenly combined.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker with it slightly ajar to allow steam to escape, about a ¼-inch opening, the entire duration of cooking. If you do not do this, the steam will not escape and make the granola soggy.
- Cook mixture on HIGH setting for 2 to 2 ½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes and leaving the lid ajar. The granola should feel dry when touched, and the nuts will be toasted and crunchy. When the granola is done cooking, add in coconut flakes and cranberries, stir to combine.
- Transfer to a sheet pan and allow to cool completely.
- Recipe yield: 9 cups
- Serving size: ½ cup
- Store in an airtight container for two weeks, or freeze in resealable bags for up to 3 months. Make sure to defrost before serving.
- Grapeseed or light olive oil can be substituted for coconut oil.
- Any dried fruit can be substituted for the cranberries like blueberries, apricot, mango or chopped figs.
- If desired, you can use gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats.
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