Best granola on the planet

Fitness & Food

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Breakfast is hard.  I wake up to cranky kids who are starving and needtoeatrightnow and while I’m still rubbing sleep out of my eyes, they’re digging through cupboards and probably fighting over that last ounce of $4 chocolate bar I was saving for my next emotional crisis. 

Enter: This granola.
I’ve tweaked two of my favorite recipes (one utterly caloric and delicious, the other uber nutritious but less yummy) to make one fantastically healthy and delectable breakfast that every last one of my children begs for.
The magic of making your own granola is that you have ultimate creative license.  Hate almonds? Use pecans.  Coconut allergy?  Skip it.  Totally up to you and your tastebuds.  Go create your own concoction and have fun messing with it!

This recipe makes a pretty large batch (about 11 cups).  It lasts our family (of 7 people with molars) about a week if I patrol the pantry and don’t allow it for snacks.  Excepting myself, of course.  I’m kind of a hypocrite like that.

Best Granola on the Planet

7 c rolled oats (not quick)
4 c nuts and seeds (I like sunflower seeds, pepitas, chopped pecans, almonds and hazelnuts in any combination!  I also love shredded unsweetened coconut)
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom (optional)

1/2 c honey
1/2 c pure maple syrup
1/2 c coconut oil*
1/2 c water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 c dried fruit, such as blueberries, cherries, raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix dry ingredients together well in a large mixing bowl (oats through spices).   Add sweeteners, oil and vanilla.  If honey is very thick or oil is solid, heat briefly on the stovetop or in the microwave until pourable.  Mix all ingredients together well.  Line 2 rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners (very important!  Otherwise you’ll be scraping sticky oats off those pans until the end of the world) and spread granola equally on both pans. 

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Watch carefully towards the end as honey tends to brown rather quickly.  Remove when golden brown and fragrant.  Let cool completely and add your choice of dried fruit, if desired.  Stored in airtight containers, it keeps for about 2 weeks, although it’s never lasted that long at our house!

* You can also substitute with olive oil which, suprisingly, is pretty fantastic.  There is some concern about baking with olive oil and the release of free radicals, FYI, which is why I use coconut.
We love this as cereal with almond or rice milk but it’s also divine on Greek yogurt with honey.  I even snack on it plain with my favorite dried fruit!

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  • Reply
    March 5, 2017 at 7:46 am

    All it’s missing is – beat an egg white or two and fold through granola mixture before baking. Press all thoroughly down into the baking pan. I like to cook mine at a lower heat so that I only have to stir it once over 40 mins (~120-130) – the idea is to toast it all without burning – the middle remains a bit gooier than the crusts. Take it out of the oven and let it cool in the pan a while. Then, break up with a wide spatula, leaving as many clumps as possible.

    Clumpy granola rules!

    P.s. I like to toast some nuts separately and add them in at the end (or during ‘the stir’), as very oily nuts burn quickly and cost a gawd-forsaken fortune. Toast hazelnuts, walnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, and similar in a small pan; pumpkin, sunflour, coconut and the like enjoy sustained balmy weather.

    P.p.s. I’ve had pretty good luck playing around with sweeteners. The gooey soulfulness of date syrups, treacle, golden syrup (good for adding chewey), brown sugar, tamarind syrup, maple or birch syrup, malty honeys (buckwheat) and brown sugars all add a depth of flavours that come alive in a cold bowl of milk. Mix, but don’t over-sweeten – finding this balance is the impossible challenge of granola-making.

    P.p.s. I’ve also had pretty good luck mixing butter and oil into the mix. Oil is good for crunch, but doesn’t help the flavour or finished texture. Just like you wouldn’t butter your toast with sunflower oil. Try a glug of good alive oil or virgin canola in the mix for a dash of flavour. Warm the butter to melting and then combine all your sweeteners to the pot. Leave on the side to cool before mixing with the dry ingredients.

    P.p.p.s And shoot yourself in the foot if you aren’t mixing at least five types of grains with your oats. Even a mixture of quick-cook and stone-cut oats makes a huge difference in the mouth feel of the final recipe. I’m playing around with barleys and buckwheats at the moment.

    A little cardamon goes a long way, add it to the butter sugar mixture, along with other spices when warm.

    Nutmeg works well in proportion, Think of it like seasoning a dish with pepper.

    I believe that the perfect granola recipe remains always slightly out of reach, but this is where I’ve gotten to so far. Much further yet to go.

    • Reply
      March 6, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Wow, Ryan – sounds like you’re quite the granola connoissuer! I’m totally gonna try using butter and the egg-white trick next time. Thanks for the tips!

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