This is the perfect granola of your dreams. If you've never made it at home, you'll be surprised how easy it is and how long it lasts (hint: it can be frozen)! Crunchy, sweet but not too much, and full of your favorite nuts and dried fruit, you'll never return to the purchased stuff.
Your search for the best granola recipe is over. And for a reason: it's irresistible. Seriously.
If it's your first time making it at home, this easy granola recipe is a game changer.
The recipe is an adaptation of the now-famous Eleven Madison granola recipe, a restaurant in New York that gave their dinner guests a gift packet of wonderful granola for breakfast the next day.
I've been making it ever since. Adapting it here and there.
Why make this recipe
- Easy to make.
- Lasts for weeks and can be frozen.
- Versatile with the add-ins so you can use what you have.
Two ingredients never fail to deliver (besides oats of course), and that's the combination of olive oil and maple syrup.
It's simply the best possible thing to add to your homemade granola. So good it deserves the hype it created.
How to serve granola
- Greek yogurt: in a bowl with fresh berries, or in a yogurt parfait.
- Topping for ice cream and frozen yogurt.
- Breakfast cereal: with regular or almond milk and fresh fruit. Maybe seeds. With berries and real maple syrup or honey if you want to add sweetness.
By now I wonder who buys store bought granola, usually so lackluster, a mountain of oats with few add-ins and not exactly cheap, at least around here.
This homemade granola is SO easy to make and keeps well if done correctly. Who would want to settle for less, right?
The add-ins can be adapted to your palate and what you have at home, so the flavor possibilities to make a delicious granola are many.
- Oats: I use old-fashioned rolled oats (traditional oats) because they have more texture which is essential for a good granola, but you can use instant or quick-cooking oats.
- Olive oil: use a light one. It's one of the key ingredients.
- Maple syrup: use your favorite brand. I like to use grade A pure maple syrup.
- Brown sugar: light or dark.
- Nuts. For me, the sliced almonds are a must. They provide a crunchiness different from chopped or whole almonds. I also add hazelnuts, but the sliced almonds are essential.
- Dried fruit. Cranberries are my favorites, but raisins work very well also.
- Flavorings. Cinnamon, orange and vanilla is what I use. The combination is wonderful.
Variations & substitutions
- Different nuts: add other types instead of or in addition to the hazelnuts and sliced almonds. Almost any nut you like can work like pistachios, pecans, walnuts, cashews and macadamia nuts.
- Seeds: add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame or flax seeds to the oat mixture about halfway through baking so they don't burn or harden too much.
- Dried fruit: use dried cherries, apricots, golden raisins or dried figs.
- Oil: olive oil makes this granola recipe unique, but you can use other vegetable oils (sunflower, coconut oil, canola oil).
- Sugar: use coconut sugar or muscovado sugar instead of the brown sugar.
- Chocolate chips: add them instead of the dried fruit or substitute half of them for semisweet chunks or chips.
Though names sometimes vary depending on the country you are, there are 2 types of oats good for making granola:
- Traditional oats: also called old-fashioned, these are medium-sized, shaped like a disc but very irregular or downright broken in aspect. It's the one in the box we grew up with, that is used to make porridge (big fan here!) and many other breakfast dishes.
- Rolled oats - is coarser and thicker, the discs are more formed and need more hydration to become chewable. It holds very well with this recipe.
Instant oats - I don't recommend it for this recipe.
How to make granola at home
Keep in mind my top tips in the video below when making this recipe. It's easy, but those details make a difference.
- Drying the oats correctly. This is the key to a crunchy granola. The oats are coated with a warm mix of olive oil and maple syrup mixed with brown sugar. This sticky mess is then baked at a low temperature (very important) to dry the wet mixture, resulting in a caramelized granola that hardens and becomes crunchy as it cools down.
- Slow baking. It's essential to give it the time it needs in the oven. If it doesn't dry it will not keep well, and it will be chewy without being crunchy, like a piece of regular toast vs an oven-dried toast; the latter keeps for weeks.
- Baking pan. The type of pan/amount of oat mixture ratio is important. I use sheet pans or cookie sheets, so the granola is spread as much as it can and is more easily dried before it colors too much. A golden color is great and good for the caramel flavor, but it should be dried further. If you put too much oat mixture in a smaller pan it will take too long to dry out and stay crunchy.
- When to take it out of the oven. Follow the time given in the recipe, and stir it a few times during the baking time. It will still feel wet when you take it out of the oven, but it will harden as it cools. You'll get the hang of it when you start making it regularly. Because you will. One batch of homemade crack granola and there's no turning back. You're spoiled for life.
Frequently asked questions
With the recipe in this post! The whole recipe with ingredients and instructions can be found below in the recipe card.
Because it didn't dry enough in the oven; it's toasted but not dried. Granola needs to be baked at a low temperature so it dries out and becomes crunchy when it cools down.
Absolutely! Commercial granola can be expensive and of a lower quality, especially considering that you know what goes inside yours.
It depends on how much sugar or other not-so-healthy ingredients you add to it. Most ingredients in granola are good for you if eaten in reasonable quantities, like oats, nuts, and dried fruit. But sometimes too much sugar is added or oils that are not healthy. Store-bought granola tends to be less healthy than homemade.
Related recipes you might like:
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- 3 cups oats (traditional or rolled)
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (I buy them without the skin)
- 2 tablespoons of cocoa nibs (optional)
- ¼ cup shredded coconut (optional)
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- Large pinch of sea salt
- Zest of 1 orange
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup dried cranberries and/or raisins
- Preheat oven to 300ºF / 120ºC.
- Mix oats, almonds, hazelnuts, coconut and nibs if using, salt, zest and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Heat olive oil, maple syrup and sugar in a small saucepan just until dissolved, it doesn’t need to boil.
- the wet ingredients at once to the oat mixture and mix well with a fork or spoon, making sure it coats everything.
- on a large baking sheet (preferably with 1-2 inch borders) in an even layer, and bake for about 1 hour, removing from the oven and moving it around the pan and spreading evenly again three or four times during this time, so it bakes evenly.
- will still feel wet, but after an hour, it will be golden brown, and some parts will be dried.
- form the oven.
- the cranberries or raisins. You can add them during the last 5 minutes, but I like to add it when I take it out of the oven. Why? Because too much baking and they dry out and harden, and sometimes get bitter, especially raisins.
- the granola cool completely, moving it around at first so it doesn’t clump too much.
- Store in jars with tight lids or an airtight container at room temperature, in the fridge or freezer.
- Serve with fresh fruit, milk and more maple syrup if you want.
Add-ins. I like to add coconut and cocoa nibs to my granola. Also, use a different citrus zest, spices, combination of nuts and/or dried fruit. I do highly recommend using sliced almonds (no matter what other nut you add) because they provide a crunch that is amazing and can't be achieved with other types of nuts.
Drying the oats correctly. This is the key to a crunchy granola. The oats are impregnated with a mix of olive oil and maple syrup, that is warmed with some brown sugar. This sticky mess is then baked at a low temperature (very important) to dry the wet mixture, resulting in a caramelized granola, every part coated until it hardens.
Slow baking. It's important to give it the time it needs in the oven. If it doesn't dry it will not keep well, and it will be chewy without being crunchy, like a piece of regular toast vs an oven dried toast, the latter keeps for weeks.
Baking pan. The type of pan/amount of oat mixture ratio is important. I use sheet pans or cookie sheets, so the granola is spread as much as it can and is more easily dried before it colors too much. A golden color is great and good for the caramel flavor, but it should be dried further. If you put too much oat mixture in a smaller pan it will take too long to dry out in order to stay crunchy.
When to take it out of the oven. Follow the time given in the recipe, and stir it a few times during the baking time. It will still feel wet when you take it out of the oven, but it will harden as it cools. You'll get the hang of it when you start making it regularly. Because you will. One batch of homemade crack granola and there's no turning back. You're spoiled for life.
Oats. I recommend the traditional or rolled kind. They're sturdy and have a great crunch. Instant oats just don't work as well.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: ⅛
- Calories: 454
- Sugar: 24.4 g
- Sodium: 293.7 mg
- Fat: 23 g
- Carbohydrates: 53.2 g
- Protein: 7.3 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg