The Best Homemade Granola (and How to Change it Up)
Crisp, lightly sweetened, and loaded with coconut and dried cherries, our homemade granola recipe is perfect for breakfast and snacking. Start here, then play with the add-ins, flavorings, and more!
Healthier, better-tasting meals are easier than you think with help from Yummly! Try it free now.
For years I constantly had half a bag of boring store-bought granola in my pantry. I’d buy it with the hopes of a quick, healthy, and tasty breakfast, but I was always underwhelmed. And so it would sit until I eventually tossed it, only to restart the process all over again.
At some point a light bulb went off. I discovered just how easy and fun it is to make my own delicious granola, and that I could fill it with all of my favorite things. Oats, almonds, coconut, pecans, dried cherries, and cinnamon? Yes, please. The homemade granola recipe that follows is now a staple at my house. It’s chewy, chunky, and packed with flavor. But don’t let me stop you if you’d like to customize your own house blend. Dried apricots with ginger, anyone?
Jump ahead to:
Note: The Yummly Meal Planner is available to paid subscribers.
What is granola?
Call it breakfast or call it a snack, granola is made of a combination of ingredients like oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and/or coconut flakes. It’s similar to cereal and enjoyed by itself, or with milk or yogurt. My favorite way to serve granola is for breakfast over vanilla yogurt with berries and sliced bananas. It’s such a great way to start the day!
Homemade granola ingredients
Photo by Annalise Sandberg
To make the best granola at home you need these six things:
Old-fashioned oats: Steel-cut oats or instant/quick oats won’t work for this recipe — you want regular rolled oats. Granola can be gluten-free if you look for a brand of old-fashioned oats that are processed in a gluten-free facility.
Sweetener: Honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar are all terrific options with different delicious flavor.
Oil or butter: You can use mild extra-virgin olive oil, which I’ve included in my recipe below for a fuller, slightly fruity flavor; a neutral oil like grapeseed or canola oil; butter; or coconut oil.
Mix-ins: This is where granola really gets its character, and you can use just about anything. Almonds, pecans, cashews, pistachios, pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas), sunflower seeds, unsweetened coconut, dried cherries, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, and dried blueberries are all perfect for granola. You can even add chocolate chips once the granola has cooled.
Salt: Salt helps enhance all of the flavors of this granola, so don’t skip it.
Additional flavorings: Vanilla extract is another way to boost flavor, and ground cinnamon or other spices like cardamom, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice add even more.
Customize your own granola
Now that you know what goes into granola, you can change it up to make it just the way you want it! A lot of the customization comes down to what ingredients you prefer or have in your kitchen, but here are a few things to consider:
Aim for approximately 1:1 ratio of oats to mix-ins (excluding dried fruit). This easy recipe uses 3 1/2 cups of oats to 2 1/2 cups total nuts and coconut.
Oils make for very crunchy granola, while granola made with butter is chewier.
If you want big granola clusters, use honey. It’s really good at binding everything together.
If you want really rich flavor (aka granola that tastes like dessert), use butter or brown sugar, or both of them together.
How to make granola
Photo by Annalise Sandberg
Here’s how my basic homemade granola recipe comes together. Follow these steps whether you’re sticking with the recipe as it’s written or trying your own thing.
1. Combine ingredients
In a small saucepan, warm the honey, olive oil, vanilla, cinnamon and salt over medium-low heat until smooth. (If you’re subbing in butter, coconut oil, or brown sugar, make sure they’re fully melted and dissolved.) Adding the seasonings with the wet ingredients boosts the flavor and carries them evenly throughout the granola.
In a large bowl, toss together the oats, coconut, almonds, pecans or any other dry ingredients you’re using (except dried fruit — this is important). Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl and stir until everything is mixed well.
3. Spread in the pan
Dump the granola mixture out onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and use a spatula or spoon to pat it out into an even layer.
4. Bake low and slow
Bake the granola at 300°F until it just starts to turn golden brown, then take it out of the oven and give it a good stir. Spread it back into an even layer and bake until it’s evenly golden brown and toasty.
Baking at a lower temperature ensures the granola sticks together, and then dries out and gets crispy before it starts to burn. Which wet ingredients you use (such as oil vs. butter, honey vs. brown sugar) will affect bake time, so total time can be anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes.
5. Let cool, then break into chunks
Once the granola is done, take it out of the oven. If you’re adding dried fruit, immediately scatter it over the granola and gently press it on top. Then, resist the urge to stir! Leave the granola as it is and let it cool completely in the pan. This helps clusters form. Once it’s cooled you can break it up as you like, leaving clusters big or small.
How to store granola
Keep granola in an airtight container at room temperature where it should last for several weeks (assuming your family doesn’t eat it all first!). I like to keep my granola in a jar in the pantry for easy access in the morning. If you want to store granola for longer, you can freeze it in a zip-top bag for up to 2 months.
Get our best granola recipe
If you are looking for an easy, tasty, hearty, and completely customizable homemade granola recipe, then this one is for you!
What’s your signature breakfast recipe?
Read on to try your hand at baked oatmeal, omelets, and breakfast bars.