I love granola, and I’ve got to tell you … my homemade granola recipe is so delicious! I’ve been making my homemade granola for about four years now, and it’s also so versatile that I like to call it a recipe blueprint. Depending on what ingredients I have on hand or what I’m in the mood for, this blueprint is my guide for making a truly special, 100% real food granola.
Now some of you may be wondering, why bother making granola when you can buy it at the store? While there are more and more higher quality granolas being made, there are still many that just don’t make the grade. What are some of the warning signs of a cheaper, more processed granola?
- Processed sugars and lots of them are a part of many commercially available granolas. For example, one brand that claims to be “America’s Favorite” granola has 14 grams of sugar in it per 2/3 cup serving. That’s a ton of sugar. In contrast, my recipe contains about 7 grams of sugar per 2/3 cup serving, although I usually try to keep my granola serving size to about 1/2 cup.
- Puffs, crisps, and clusters may taste great, but they can be a warning sign of a sweeter, more processed granola. Instead, look for granola with real, whole ingredients like nuts, seeds, or unsweetened dried fruit.
- A variety of additives are also used in some granola. Just because the box or bag looks healthy, check out the ingredient label. Here are some of the common additives that you just don’t need in granola—modified corn starch, malt flavoring, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, BHT, guar gum, and maltodextrin.
Okay, that’s enough about what can go wrong with store-bought granola. Now let’s talk about what makes my homemade granola so delicious and real!
- Rolled oats make up the base for my granola. A couple tips for choosing rolled oats —I prefer regular or thick cut rolled oats, and I’ve found the quick-cooking varieties produce an inferior granola. Also, if you’re gluten intolerant, make sure to look for gluten-free on the label since most oats are cross-contaminated with gluten during transportation, processing, and handling.
- Nuts and seeds are such a healthy addition to granola. When it comes to nuts some of my favorites are cashews, almonds, pecans, and walnuts—but seriously, feel free to experiment. For seeds, I love sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame, but again, have some fun and mix things up. 🙂 That said, I recommend choosing raw nuts and seeds if possible since pre-roasted varieties may get over-cooked and dry out when you bake your granola. Also, definitely avoid nuts and seeds that have been pre-salted or sweetened. You simply don’t need that added sugar and salt!
- Choose natural, unprocessed oils when making your granola like avocado oil, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or butter.
- Coconut and dried fruit make great additions to granola. Just try to choose unsweetened options since you really don’t need more added sugar.
- Go crazy and have fun! One of the reasons I love what I call recipe blueprints are they are serve as a delicious base to experiment and customize food to your tastes. So use this blueprint as a jumping off point for all different kinds of granola. The sky’s the limit with recipe!
Okay, just one more tip before we get to the recipe. The one fussy thing about making granola is it cooks in the oven for a little over an hour. Let’s face it, we all live pretty busy lives, so this can be pretty inconvenient. What’s the answer? I pair granola-making with another activity like reading, email clean-up, or watching some television. Lately it’s been Sunday nights while watching The Walking Dead. Zombies and homemade granola—yeah, I lead a very exciting life!
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 3 cups raw nuts and seeds (I like a ratio of 2 cups nuts to 1 cup seeds)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 6-7 tablespoons oil* or melted unsalted butter**
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (optional)
- 1 cup dried fruit (unsweetened)
- 1 tablespoon flax seed meal
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- In a large bowl combine oats, nuts, seeds, and coconut (optional), and flax seed meal (optional)
- In a separate bowl combine oil/butter, spices, salt, and maple syrup.
- Pour seasoned oil/butter mixture over the oat mixture and stir to coat.
- Spread granola on parchment lined, rimmed baking sheets (I use 18x3X1 baking sheets)
- Cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Break into small pieces and stir in dried fruit (optional).
- Store in airtight containers like zippered bags or mason jars. Will keep for about 2-3 weeks.
If you prefer, you can use honey instead of maple syrup.
Olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil work great. If using salted butter, reduce added salt to ¼ teaspoon.
Raw nuts and seeds work best. If you're adding previously roasted nuts or seeds, consider adding them after the granola is already cooked.
If using almonds in your granola, try adding a ¼ teaspoon of organic almond extract for some extra almond flavor.
I hope you enjoy my homemade granola recipe blueprint! If yes, then please share it with your friends and family. Also if you scroll down to the bottom of this post, we’ve got a beautiful graphic that makes sharing this recipe even easier, especially on Pinterest!
Finally, check out some of my kitchen tips and resources below where I share some thoughts on servings sizes and the kitchen tools I use for making my granola!
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
- When eating granola watch your serving size. In this highly processed world we live in, we’re used to consuming big portions. Granola in general is a very dense food, and homemade granola are no exception. Nuts, seeds, and dried, unsweetened fruit are all great foods, but they pack a surprising amount of calories. So I try to keep my granola serving size to about 1/2 cup. Serve it up in a small bowl with some fresh fruit or use it on top of some plain yogurt. And if you’re eating it as a snack, limit yourself to a handful or two.
- You definitely need a couple rimmed baking sheets to bake up my homemade granola since you don’t want it spilling over the sides. Try to avoid the flimsier varieties since they can bend, twist, and cook less evenly over time. You can buy baking sheets from just about any place that sells quality kitchen bakeware, but here’s a link for them on Amazon and at Williams-Sonoma.
- I line my baking sheets with parchment when cooking granola. Here’s the unbleached, Green Seal Certified parchment paper that I use.
- This OXO turner is one of my favorites for mixing up the granola while it’s cooking, but any heat-safe spatula/turner should work.
- Quart size mason jars are my favorite way to store granola, but zippered bags work well too!