- Food: Healthy Granola
- Writer: Nicolas Wilson
- Content-Type: Food Blog
Do you love granola? I’m the same way! Today, I’m going to share my “simple” granola recipe, which is also the greatest.
Granted, I’m biased, but it’s the best, and I don’t say that lightly. There are almost 200 five-star reviews to back this up!
This recipe is so good that I included it in my cookbook, Love Real Food. This granola is great for a snack or breakfast (add your milk of choice and maybe some fresh fruit). It also keeps well, making it an excellent homemade gift.
You’ll never go back to store-bought granola after trying homemade granola. It’s a huge improvement!
Because it’s made with whole grains, unrefined oil, and is naturally sweetened, this granola recipe is a considerably healthier granola choice. Freshly baked granola with delicious and good-for-you ingredients is hard to beat.
Plus, making homemade granola is a breeze. You’ll only need one bowl and a few cupboard staples to make this dish. Are you prepared to make some?
You can play with the mix-ins and spices to make your own granola now that you have my base recipe.
By the way, you can freeze this granola to keep the flavor of freshly baked granola. Allow it to come to room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
Ingredients for a Healthy Granola
Old-fashioned oats are heart-healthy, hearty, whole-grain oats that hold their shape when baking. If you need gluten-free granola, make sure to use certified gluten-free oats.
Seeds and/or nuts
This batch was made with pecans and pepitas (green pumpkin seeds). Walnuts, which are high in Omega-3s, whole or slivered almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, and sunflower seeds are other good choices.
Oil that hasn’t been refined
This granola is crisp and delicious thanks to the addition of oil. Unrefined coconut oil is my favorite since it tastes great (you can hardly taste the coconut, if at all) and has the ideal texture.
If you want your granola to be a little more savory, you can use extra-virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil is a better alternative if you’re watching your saturated fat intake!
Sweetener made from natural ingredients
In my granola, I like to use real maple syrup. Honey also works well. Furthermore, unlike sugar, these natural sweeteners enrich your granola with an extra-delicious flavor.
Spices and salt
Don’t skimp on the salt if you want tasty granola. If you use too little, your flavors will be muted. In this recipe, I prefer fine-grain sea salt (I generally cook with fine-grain sea salt), although normal salt would suffice (just use a little less).
For a slight warming spice, I added cinnamon to this batch. Other spices to try include ground ginger (use half as much) and pumpkin spice blends.
Dried fruit adds a layer of sweetness, a chewy texture, and a fruity flavor that’s hard to resist. For this batch, I used dried cranberries. Tart dried cherries, raisins, and chopped dry apricots are other favorites of mine.
To add a hint of citrus flavor, toss in fresh citrus zest (up to 2 teaspoons) before baking. I especially enjoy using the orange zest.
After the granola has completely cooled, you can add the chocolate chips (otherwise, they’ll melt).
If you want to add unsweetened coconut flakes for a flawlessly toasted outcome, do so halfway through baking (see recipe note).
Tips for Chunky Granola
Some of you, like me, prefer granola with large clumps. Here are some of my suggestions for getting the best clumps:
- In the pan, your oats should be a bit crowded so that they stick together, but not so crowded that they don’t toast evenly. For this granola recipe, I recommend using a basic half-sheet pan (affiliate link). It’s a perfect size, and the rimmed edges prevent the granola from spilling out.
- Make careful to use parchment paper to line the pan so the sweetener clings to the oats rather than the pan.
- After tossing the mixture halfway through baking, carefully press down on the granola with the back of a spatula for maximum clumping. After that, return the pan to the oven to continue baking.
- Don’t overcook the granola; simply bake it until it’s gently golden on top, as directed. Although it may not appear to be done yet, it will crisp up as it cools. The sugar linkages appear to be broken when the granola is overbaked.
- Finally, before breaking up the granola, let it cool fully. I’ve even covered it and left it on the pan overnight.
Despite using all of these strategies, I occasionally wind up with a batch of granola that isn’t as clumpy as the others for reasons I don’t understand. But it’s always delicious!
Variations on Granola
This is my all-time favorite granola recipe. I’ve experimented with it throughout the years and come up with a number of interesting versions. Here are some examples to get you started:
- Orange and Almond Granola contains 2 teaspoons of orange zest, whole almonds, and golden raisins.
- Coconut oil, huge coconut flakes, and shredded coconut are used in this recipe for Triple Coconut Granola.
- Cranberry Orange Granola: This recipe is similar to the one above, but it’s a touch sweeter and has a stronger orange taste.
- Honey Almond Granola: Exactly as it sounds, with the addition of chopped dried apricots! Delightful.
- Gingerbread Granola: This granola has molasses, extra warming spices, coconut flakes, dried cranberries, and chopped candied ginger, as well as coconut flakes, dried cranberries, and chopped candied ginger.
|Time to Prepare: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 21 minutes
Time spent: 26 minutes
Servings: 8 cups
Maple syrup is used to naturally sweeten this wonderful healthy granola dish (or honey). It’s created with oats, coconut oil, and the nuts and fruits of your choice.
Make it uniquely yours! This recipe makes about 8 cups of granola, which is enough for 16 half-cup servings.
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free granola)
- 1 ½ cup raw nuts and/or seeds (I used 1 cup pecans and ½ cup pepitas)
- 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt (if you’re using standard table salt, scale back to ¾ teaspoon)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup melted coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup maple syrup or honey
- ⅔ cup dried fruit, chopped if large (I used dried cranberries)
- Totally optional additional mix-ins: ½ cup chocolate chips or coconut flakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the oats, nuts and/or seeds, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing basin. To combine the ingredients, stir them together.
- Combine the oil, maple syrup and/or honey, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Mix until all of the oats and nuts are lightly coated. Pour the granola into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly with a large spoon.
- Bake for about 21 to 24 minutes, stirring halfway through (for extra-clumpy granola, press the stirred granola down with your spatula to create a more even layer). As the granola cools, it will crisp up even more.
- Allow the granola to cool completely before eating (at least 45 minutes). Add the dried fruit on top (and optional chocolate chips, if using). If you want huge chunks of granola, break it up with your hands, or mix it around with a spoon if you don’t want it to be too clumpy.
- Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or freeze it for up to 3 months in a sealed freezer bag. Because the dried fruit might solidify if left out too long, bring it to room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- USE CERTIFIED GLUTEN-FREE OATS TO MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE.
- MAKE IT NUT-FREE: Instead of nuts, use seeds like pepitas or sunflower seeds.
- IF YOU WANT TOASTED COCONUT IN YOUR GRANOLA, STIR IN THE COCONUT FLAKES HALFWAY THROUGH THE PROCESSING TIME. That way, they’ll get nice and toasty.
- SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVING: This granola is delicious on its own, with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit, or tossed into a salad for granola “croutons.”