Do you love granola? Me, too! Today, I’m sharing my “basic” granola recipe, which is also the best granola recipe. Granted, I’m partial, but it really is the best and I use that term sparingly. Over two hundred five-star reviews agree!
In fact, I love this recipe so much that I shared it in my cookbook, Love Real Food. This granola makes a wonderful snack or breakfast (add your milk of choice and maybe some fresh fruit). It also stores beautifully, so it makes a great homemade gift.
Once you try homemade granola, you won’t go back to store-bought granola. It’s so much better!
This granola recipe is also a far more healthy granola option, 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 super easy to make. You’ll only need one bowl and some basic pantry ingredients. Ready to make some?
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 room to warm 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).
Chunky Granola Tips
Some of you, like me, love big clumps in your granola. Here are my tips to achieving the best clumps:
- Your oats need to be a little crowded in the pan so they can stick together, but not so crowded that they don’t toast evenly. I recommend using a basic half sheet pan (affiliate link) for this granola recipe. It’s the perfect size and the rimmed edges make sure no granola falls overboard.
- Be sure to line the pan with parchment paper so the sweetener sticks to your oats rather than the pan.
- For maximum clumps, gently press down on the granola with the back of a spatula after stirring the mixture at the half-way baking point. Then put the pan back into the oven to finish baking.
- Don’t bake the granola too long—just until it’s lightly golden on top, as described. It might not seem like it’s done yet, but it will continue to crisp up as it cools. Over-baking the granola seems to break the sugar bonds.
- Lastly, let the granola cool completely before breaking it up. I’ve even left it on the pan overnight, covered.
Even with all those techniques in place, I occasionally end up with a batch of granola that isn’t as clumpy as my others, for reasons that I can’t explain. It’s always delicious, though!
This recipe is my favorite, go-to granola recipe. Over the years, I’ve played around with it to create a bunch of fun variations. Here they are for inspiration:
- Orange and Almond Granola: This recipe includes orange zest (2 teaspoons), whole almonds and golden raisins.
- Triple Coconut Granola: This recipe calls for coconut oil, large coconut flakes and shredded coconut.
- Cranberry Orange Granola: This recipe is quite similar to this one, but a little sweeter and full of vibrant orange flavor.
- Honey Almond Granola: Just what it sounds like, plus chopped dried apricots! Delightful.
- Gingerbread Granola: This granola includes molasses and extra warming spices, plus coconut flakes, dried cranberries and chopped candied ginger.
Please let me know how this recipe turns out for you in the comments! I love hearing from you and hope this granola recipe becomes your new favorite.
The Very Best GranolaCourse: BreakfastCuisine: American
This delicious healthy granola recipe is naturally sweetened with maple syrup (or honey). It’s made with oats, coconut oil and your favorite nuts and fruit. Make it your own! Recipe yields about 8 cups granola, enough for about 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
½ cup maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup dried fruit, chopped if large (I used dried cranberries)
Totally optional additional mix-ins: ½ cup chocolate chips or coconut flakes*
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts and/or seeds, salt and cinnamon. Stir to blend.
- Pour in the oil, maple syrup and/or honey and vanilla. Mix well, until every oat and nut is lightly coated. Pour the granola onto your prepared pan and use a large spoon to spread it in an even layer.
- Bake until lightly golden, about 21 to 24 minutes, stirring halfway (for extra-clumpy granola, press the stirred granola down with your spatula to create a more even layer). The granola will further crisp up as it cools.
- Let the granola cool completely, undisturbed (at least 45 minutes). Top with the dried fruit (and optional chocolate chips, if using). Break the granola into pieces with your hands if you want to retain big chunks, or stir it around with a spoon if you don’t want extra-clumpy granola.
- Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. The dried fruit can freeze solid, so let it warm to room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.