If you make a batch of granola from scratch I can almost guarantee that you will never buy that tasteless store bought stuff again. If you can find good granola expect to pay up to $10 per pound for it. And the cheap stuff…have you ever tried to read the ingredient list for most of them? There are very few things I recognize. When you make your own granola you can customize it so it’s just the way you like it. Nuts…no nuts. Chunky…no chunks. Whatever you like. Very early in my life as a farmers’ market vendor I added granola to the items I sold in my booth because I couldn’t find any brand of prepared granola that I liked. After a lot of experimentation I developed this recipe that seemed to suit most of my customers. There is a ratio of basic ingredients: grains, seeds and nuts, sweetener and oil that always turns out perfect and you can add all the extras you want to suit your own taste.
Step 1: Rolled oats are the base of any good granola. To them you can add wheat germ, chia seeds and flax seed for a little extra nutrition, but it isn’t necessary. Buy good quality, thick cut, old fashioned rolled oats like those from Bob’s Red Mill. They carry gluten-free oats too if that’s your preference. I started with 6 cups of oats in this recipe, but if you want to make less just cut the recipe in half. It keeps well so as long as you are making it you might as well make enough to last awhile.
Step 2: Add 1 to 1-1/2 cups mixed nuts and seeds: good choices are pecans, slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peanuts, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds and raw hazelnuts. The nuts and seeds are my favorite ingredients in granola so I’ve been know to add an extra handful or two. There is no right or wrong…it’s all what you like. Now is the time to add coconut if you like it and I usually toss in about 1 cup for 6 cups of rolled oats.
Step 3: The last ingredients to go into the mix are the sweeteners, oil, salt, cinnamon and vanilla paste. I used honey and brown sugar in this batch (1/4 cup of each), but maple syrup, brown rice syrup and agave syrup are other choices. The sweetness of these products differ so you will have to taste as you go. I don’t like my granola too sweet. Combine the sweeteners with oil (I used 1/2 cup vegetable oil) and you can substitute coconut oil for some or all of the vegetable oil. Add salt, cinnamon to taste and vanilla bean paste or extract. But if you don’t like those flavors, don’t add them. The oil is what makes the oats crispy and clumpy so if you add less you will have granola that doesn’t stick together. I have heard that adding a lightly whipped egg white to this step will also help to produce a clumpy granola, but I haven’t tried that.
Mix the grains, seeds and nuts and coconut together in a large bowl. Stir in the sweeteners and oil until well mixed.
Spread the granola out on a large baking sheet. If the pan isn’t nonstick line it with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake in a 300 degree convection or 325 degree standard oven until the mixture is golden brown. Stir every 10 minutes until done, about 45-60 minutes. If you like your granola clumpy don’t stir it after you take the pan out of the oven. Let it cool undisturbed and then break into pieces.
You can go crazy with the dried fruits if you like then. Good choices are kiwi, cantaloupe, blueberries, cranberries, ginger, apricots, pineapple, dates and golden raisins. I added cranberries, dates, kiwi and pineapple (1-1/2 cups total) to this batch
They are added AFTER the granola has baked in the oven and while it is still warm. If you bake dried fruit with the granola the pieces will most likely be completely dried out and hard as little rocks that can easily break a tooth.
Homemade granola, if stored in an air tight container, will stay fresh for weeks. If you use nuts that are high in fat such as peanuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts or hazelnuts I recommend storage in the refrigerator. They have a tendency to turn rancid and if you have ever eaten a rancid peanut you know how awful that taste is. I store granola in heavy duty zip lock food grade bags and also pack some in little zip bags that hold about a tablespoon, just the right amount to top off a small container of yogurt.
Just so you know: Occasionally I mention product names in my blog posts. I often promote Oregon companies because I believe their products are the best available and they are ingredients I always have in my kitchen. Bob’s Red Mill and Singing Dog Vanilla are two of my favorites and I sing their praises whenever I can. Chobani isn’t an Oregon company, but I love their coconut yogurt, especially with a bit of homemade granola on top. I don’t receive compensation of any kind from these companies for this. If I host a giveaway then I receive the products I’m writing about but I’m not compensated for blog posts like this one.
- 6 cups grains
- 1 -1/2 cups nuts and seeds
- ½ - ⅔ cup sweetener
- ⅓ - ½ cup oil
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 cup coconut
- ½ - ¾ cup dried fruits
- Combine grains, seeds and nuts in a large bowl. Combine sweeteners and oil, salt, cinnamon and vanilla bean paste and mix into the grains.
- Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees convection or 325 degrees F in a standard oven for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown. Stir every 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and gently stir if you like a loose granola or let it cool in the pan undisturbed if you like it clumpy.
- Store in airtight containers.