Making food at home versus buying premade is always a question of time versus money. But if there’s one thing that is definitely way cheaper to make at home without taking a lot of extra time or energy to make, it’s granola! This homemade granola recipe is SO fast and easy, you can customize it a hundred different ways, and it’s pennies on the dollar compared to store-bought granola.
What is Granola Made Of?
Granola, at its most basic, is simply a combination of oats, nuts, seeds, and fruit coated in a mixture of sugar and oil, then baked until deliciously crispy and toasty in flavor. My basic granola formula is:
- 4 cups oats
- 1 cup nuts & seeds
- ½ cup dried fruit
- ½ cup oil
- ½ cup sugar
- Spices or extracts for extra flavor
To make different varieties of granola, I simply substitute different nuts, seeds, fruit, oils, sugars, and flavorings.
The recipe I have below is a very classic homemade granola recipe that will go with just about anything. I’ll list some other options for add-ins and flavors so you can experiment with making it your own!
What Makes Granola Crunchy?
The combination of oil and sugar gives granola that classic crunchy and clumpy texture. The oil helps the oats, nuts, and seeds toast without developing an overly dry texture, while the melted sugars help bind the ingredients into clumps and gives an extra crunchy finish. While it may be tempting to reduce the oil or sugar, keep in mind that doing so will drastically change the texture of the finished granola.
Can I Use Quick Oats?
Old-fashioned or plain rolled oats are best for granola because they have more texture than quick oats. While it is possible to use quick oats, quick oats tend to be very delicate and thin, which doesn’t provide as much texture to the final granola.
How Long Does Homemade Granola Last?
After baking the granola, make sure to allow the granola to cool to room temperature so any residual moisture will evaporate before placing it in an air-tight food storage container. Granola will stay good in an air-tight container at room temperature for about a month. It will stay edible longer, but the granola will slowly absorb moisture from the air and become stale over time.
What Else Can I Add?
Here’s the fun part. You can add all sorts of ingredients to your granola. You can plug any nut, seed, or dried fruit into the recipe below. Here are some ideas:
- Nuts: walnuts, pistachios, almonds, peanuts
- Seeds: flaxseed, chia seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
- Fruit: dried cherries, raisins, banana chips, dried apples, dried pineapple, chopped dried dates, dried blueberries
- Other add-ins: wheat germ, wheat bran, chocolate chips, citrus zest, crystalized ginger, nut butters, mashed bananas
- Spices and Flavors: ground ginger, almond extract, cocoa powder, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric
- Other sugars: maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar
- Other oils: coconut oil, ghee or clarified butter
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats ($0.93)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans ($1.18)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut ($0.84)
- 1/2 cup cooking oil ($0.80)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar ($0.16)
- 1/4 cup honey ($1.08)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract ($0.25)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries ($0.53)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, pecans, and coconut.
- Add the oil, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepot. Stir and cook over medium heat until the brown sugar is melted (about 3-5 minutes).
- Pour the sugar and oil mixture over the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until everything is very well coated in the oil and sugar.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment, then spread the granola out over the parchment in an even layer.
- Bake the granola for 20 minutes, or until it is deeply golden brown.
- Remove the granola from the oven and stir in the dried cranberries while the granola is still warm and soft. Spread it out into an even layer again and let it cool completely. The granola will harden as it cools.
- Once cool, break the granola into chunks and transfer it to an air-tight container for storage.
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How to Make Granola – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Combine the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, and seeds) in a large bowl. I used 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup chopped pecans, and ½ cup unsweetened coconut. Do not add the dried fruit yet. Stir these ingredients together well.
Add ½ cup cooking oil (or oil of choice), ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup honey, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp vanilla extract into a small sauce pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until the brown sugar is melted (3-5 minutes).
Pour the sugar and oil mixture over the dry ingredients in the bowl.
Stir the two mixtures together until everything is very, VERY well coated in the oil and sugar. Make sure no dry spots remain.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the granola out onto the parchment in an even layer.
Transfer the unbaked granola to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until it turns a deep golden brown (photo below is after baking).
Once the granola has baked and turned a deep golden brown color, remove it from the oven. Stir in the dried cranberries while it’s still warm and soft. Spread the granola out into an even layer again to cool.
Allow the granola to cool completely to room temperature. It will harden and crisp up as the sugars cool.
Once the granola is completely cool, break it into clumps and transfer it to an air-tight food container for storage. Enjoy with yogurt, milk, ice cream, smoothie bowls, and more!