Do you love granola? Me, too! Today, I’m sharing my “basic” granola recipe, which is also the best granola recipe. Granted, I’m prejudiced, but it really is the greatest and I use that phrase lightly. Over two hundred five-star reviews agree!
In fact, I love this recipe so much that I featured it in my cookbook, Love Real Food. This granola makes a delicious snack or breakfast (add your milk of choice and maybe some fresh fruit) (add your milk of choice and maybe some fresh fruit). It also preserves wonderfully, so it makes a great homemade gift.
Once you experience homemade granola, you won’t go back to store-bought granola. It’s so much better!
This granola recipe is also a significantly more healthier granola choice, since it’s made with whole grains, unrefined oil and naturally sweetened. You just can’t beat freshly baked granola packed with delicious and good-for-you ingredients.
Plus, homemade granola is very easy to make. You’ll simply need one bowl and some simple pantry goods. Ready to make some?
WATCH HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY GRANOLA
Now that you have my base recipe, you can play around with the mix-ins and spices to make it your favorite granola.
By the way, you can preserve that freshly baked flavor by storing this granola in the freezer. Just let it warm to room temperature for a few minutes, and enjoy.
Healthy Granola Ingredients
Heart-healthy, hearty, whole-grain old-fashioned oats keep their shape during baking. Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats if you need gluten-free granola.
Nuts and/or Seeds
I used pecans and pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) to make this batch. Other options include walnuts, which are rich in Omega-3s, whole or slivered almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts and sunflower seeds.
Oil helps make this granola crisp and irresistible. I prefer unrefined coconut oil, which is delicious (you can barely taste the coconut, if at all) and produces the perfect texture.
You can use extra-virgin olive oil instead, if you’d like your granola to be a little more on the savory side. If you’re watching your saturated fat intake, olive oil is a better choice!
I love using real maple syrup in my granola. Honey works great, too. As a bonus, these natural sweeteners infuse your granola extra-delicious flavor that sugar would not.
Salt and Spice
For flavorful granola, don’t skip the salt! Too little and your flavors won’t sing. I prefer using fine-grain sea salt in this one (I always cook with fine-grain sea salt), but regular salt will do, too (just use a little less).
I added cinnamon to this batch for some subtle warming spice. Ground ginger (use half as much) and pumpkin spice blends are other options.
Dried fruit lends some extra sweetness, chewy texture and irresistible fruity flavor. I used dried cranberries for this batch. I also love tart dried cherries, raisins and chopped dried apricots.
For fresh citrus flavor, stir fresh citrus zest (up to 2 teaspoons) into the mixture before baking. I love adding orange zest, in particular.
You can add chocolate chips after the granola has completely cooled (otherwise, they’ll melt).
If you’d like to add unsweetened coconut flakes, you can add it halfway through baking for perfectly toasted results (see recipe note).
Tips for Chunky Granola
Some of you, like myself, enjoy your granola in large chunks. My advice for getting the best clumping is as follows:
- The oats in the pan should be slightly crowded so that they can adhere to one another, but not too crowded that they toast unevenly. For this granola recipe, I advise using a straightforward half-sheet pan (affiliate link). The correct size and rimmed edges ensure that no granola spills out.
- To ensure that the sweetener adheres to the oats rather than the pan, line the pan with parchment paper.
- After tossing the ingredients at the halfway point of baking, carefully press down on the granola with the back of a spatula for maximum clumping. The pan should then be placed back in the oven to complete baking.
- Just until it appears to be faintly golden on top, as instructed, bake the granola. Although it may not yet appear to be finished, it will continue to crisp up as it cools. Granola that is overbaked appears to have the sugar bonds broken.
- The granola should then be completely cool before being broken up. Even overnight, I’ve left it covered on the pan.
Despite using all of those methods, I periodically produce a batch of granola that isn’t as clumpy as my other batches for reasons I can’t explain. But it’s always delicious!
My preferred and go-to granola recipe is this one. I’ve experimented with it throughout the years to come up with a ton of entertaining versions. For ideas, consider these:
- Golden raisins, whole almonds, and orange zest are all ingredients in this recipe for orange and almond granola.
- Coconut oil, big coconut flakes, and shredded coconut are all required for the recipe for triple coconut granola.
- Granola with cranberries and oranges is quite similar to the recipe above, but this version is sweeter and has more flavorful orange zest.
- Honey Almond Granola: Exactly what it sounds like, plus dried apricots that have been diced! Delightful.
Gingerbread Granola: This granola has coconut flakes, dried cranberries, chopped candied ginger, molasses, and additional warming spices.
- Old-fashioned rolled oats, 4 cups (use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free granola)
- 1.2 cups of uncooked nuts or seeds (I used 1.2 cups of pecans and 1.2 cups of pepitas)
- 1 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt (reduce to 3/4 teaspoon if using regular table salt)
- 12 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- heated coconut oil or olive oil, 1/2 cup
- 12 cup honey or maple syrup
- Vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
- 2/3 cup chopped dried fruit, if large (I used dried cranberries)
- Completely optional extra mix-ins: 12 cup coconut flakes or chocolate chips
- Set a big, rimmed baking sheet aside and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine the oats, nuts and/or seeds, salt, and cinnamon in a sizable mixing bowl. To blend, stir.
- Add the vanilla, honey, and/or maple syrup to the oil. Mix thoroughly until each nut and oat is just lightly coated. With a large spoon, spread the granola into an even layer on your prepared baking sheet.
- About 21 to 24 minutes of baking time, stirring halfway As it cools, the granola will become even more crunchy.
- Untouched, let the granola cool completely. Add the dried fruit on top. If you want to keep the granola in large chunks, break it into pieces with your hands; if you don’t want it to be overly clumpy, stir it with a spoon.
- For one to two weeks at room temperature, or for up to three months in the freezer, store the granola in an airtight container. Let the dried fruit thaw to room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving because it can freeze solid.
Recipe adapted Meg Gordan’s granola, which I’ve tweaked over the years.
MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats.
MAKE IT NUT FREE: Use seeds, like pepitas or sunflower seeds, instead of nuts.
*IF YOU WANT TOASTED COCONUT IN YOUR GRANOLA: Stir the coconut flakes into the granola halfway through baking. They’ll get nice and toasty that way.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: This granola is awesome on its own, with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit, and you can even throw a couple handfuls into a salad for granola “croutons.”