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Healthy Granola Recipe: Making It Your Own

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This easy, healthy granola recipe is a whole grain, naturally sweetened, nutrient-rich breakfast or snack that’s easy to adapt with your favorite ingredients. A batch makes about 8 cups or 16 half-cup servings.

Closeup view of healthy granola in baking pan

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I just made it and it’s absolutely wonderful, I did cheat a little bit and I used sugar-free maple syrup. It didn’t affect the coating effect on the oats and nuts, and the sweetness is just right.
JOANN

We have several granola recipes here that I love. This one should be considered a basic granola recipe upon which all others are developed.

I love this recipe. It’s easy, delicious, and works every time.

And while it bakes in your kitchen, the entire house will smell cozy and absolutely wonderful.

It will be hard to wait, I promise.

Plus, it makes enough granola to last days and days—easy breakfasts with a bit of milk or wonderful snacks for that 3 p.m. slump.

Are you ready to make some granola?

Here are the basic ingredients you can adapt and make this granola your own special blend. I’ll show you what I added to mine in the recipe card below!

Healthy Granola Ingredients

Oats

Old Fashioned Oats are heart-healthy, whole-grain, and super hearty. 

Nuts and/or Seeds

While I don’t always use either nuts or seeds, when I do, I love pecans and walnut. But honestly, any nut and/or seed is delicious. Think about adding almonds, cashews, peanuts, even macadamia nuts. All kinds of seeds work great like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or pepitas. Get creative! 

If you love nuts, you might want to see our post on 5 Healthy Nuts You’ll Want to Eat Daily.

Cooking Oil

Granola depends on oil to keep it crisp and delicious. Unrefined oil, like coconut oil, is delicious and healthy. But extra-virgin olive oil works equally well. The flavor leans toward savory with olive oil.

In a pinch, canola or vegetable oil works fine too.

Natural Sweetener

My favorite granola sweetener is pure maple syrup. It’s just the flavor I always love in granola. But honey is a superb choice too. Natural sweeteners give the granola a depth of flavor that sugar does not. 

Salt and Spice

Salt is super important as it brings out the natural flavors of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, so don’t skip it! Add enough to enhance the flavor. Sea salt is best but table salt works fine too. 

For me, cinnamon is always a warming spice I love to add. 

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit gives granola its extra special flavor and texture. Cranberries, raisins, tart cherries, dates, and dried apricots are great choices. Make it your own signature granola! 

Getting Creative with Mix-Ins

When I’m gifting granola or during the holidays, I will often add citrus zest to granola. About 2 teaspoons of freshly zest citrus peel add a delicious, unexpected flavor. 

And then there are chocolate chips. Um – it’s almost always a great idea! Just be sure to add them after the granola has baked and cooled.

Finally, I almost always add sweetened and unsweetened coconut flakes, depending on what I have on hand. I love that bit of toasted flavor it adds. 

Close view of chunks in healthy granola

Do You Like Chunky Granola? 

I love chunky granola, do you?

Here are some quick tips to make this granola clumpy. 

  • I bake the granola in a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan to crowd the oats a bit so they can stick together. But a half-sheet or quarter-sheet baking pan works fine too.
  • Line the pan with parchment paper so the maple syrup sticks to the oats and not the pan. 
  • Halfway during baking, after stirring the granola, gently press down with the back of a spatula. Return the granola to the oven to finish baking.
  • Bake only until the granola is lightly golden on top. It will continue to crisp as it cools. 
  • Here’s the hard part… let the granola cool completely before breaking it up.
Healthy Granola in a Brown and White Teacup

More Granola Recipes

Healthy Granola Ready for Breakfast
Healthy Granola in a Brown and White Teacup

Easy Healthy Granola Recipe

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This easy, healthy granola recipe is a whole grain, naturally sweetened nutrient-rich breakfast or snack that's easy to adapt with your favorite ingredients. A batch makes about 8 cups or 16 half-cup servings.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts and/or seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9" x 13" baking pan with parchment paper for clumpy granola. Otherwise, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, salt, and cinnamon; stir.
  3. Pour in the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir until everything is lightly coated. Pour the granola into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
  4. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 to 24 minutes. Stir halfway through baking. For clumpy granola, stir and then gently press the granola with the back of a spatula.
  5. Once baked, remove from the oven and let sit for about 1 hour. The granola will crisp up in this time. Although it's difficult to leave undisturbed when it smells that wonderfully!
  6. After the granola has cooled completely, top with dried fruit. For clumpy granola, break into pieces with your hand. Otherwise, stir with a spoon.
  7. Store for 1 to 2 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature. For longer storage, freeze for up to 3 months. Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before eating to warm up the nuts and fruit.

Notes

GLUTEN FREE: Use certified gluten-free oats.

NUT FREE: Use seeds, like pepitas or sunflower seeds, instead of nuts.

Addition Ideas:

  • toasted coconut
  • chocolate chips
  • chia seeds

Serving Ideas:

Perfect as a snack, but delicious with milk, as a topping for yogurt or ice cream or on fruit. The serving size is about 1/2 cup.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 259Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 171mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 5g

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2 Comments

  1. I just made it and it’s absolutely wonderful, I did cheat a little bit and I used sugar-free maple syrup. It didn’t affect the coating effect on the oats and nuts, and the sweetness is just right.

    1. Hi JoAnn! Thank you for trying this recipe! I love it too and have plans to make it again this week. Using sugar-free maple syrup is brilliant! Thanks for letting us know how that turned out.

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