Healthy Homemade Granola
If you love granola, you’re going to love this recipe! Made with rolled oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and coconut flakes and naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup, this healthy homemade granola is equally delicious and nutritious.
Is Granola Healthy?
Granola can be a great source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and is most definitely a healthy choice, however, not all granola is created equal. Many brands of store-bought cereal are packed with excessive amounts of added sugars and additives making them less than ideal options. Fortunately, making healthy granola at home is incredibly easy and can be done in a few simple steps.
Why is homemade granola healthier than store-bought granola?
To be clear, not all grocery store granola is unhealthy. In fact, there are plenty of healthy granola brands you can find in grocery stores, however, making homemade granola allows you to control the ingredients and, therefore, control the total amount of added sugar, types of fats, additives, and total calories the granola contains.
What You’ll Need for Healthy Granola:
To make this homemade granola, you will need:
- Rolled Oats: Old-fashioned rolled oats make the best granola. I do not recommend using quick oats or steel-cut oats as they will not work very well.
- Almonds: For the best results, use unsalted, raw almonds. If you don’t have or like almonds, you can easily swap them for another nut, pecans, walnuts, and cashews would all work particularly well.
- Pumpkin Seeds: This recipe calls for shelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds, as I think they pair best in this homemade granola, however, you could use sunflower seeds instead.
- Flaked Coconut: Unsweetened, flaked coconut adds additional texture and flavor. Shredded coconut will also work if needed, just be sure to use unsweetened if you are concerned about sugar content.
- Cinnamon and Salt: A little warming spice for fragrance and a pinch of salt to balance out the flavor.
- Coconut Oil: Melted coconut oil helps to add additional flavor and, most importantly, soften and cook the oats to ensure it’s nice and crispy. If you don’t add oil to your granola will end up with a pile of dry toasted oats. If you don’t like coconut oil, you can use olive oil instead.
- Maple Syrup: To naturally sweeten the granola and create some chunky granola clusters. You can also use honey.
- Vanilla Extract: To enhance the other ingredients in a recipe and may impart a subtle vanilla flavor.
How to Make Healthy Homemade Granola
Trust me, making healthy granola is SO easy! If you can pour, stir, and wait, you can easily make homemade granola. Here’s how to make it:
- Mix the dry ingredients. Add the rolled oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flaked coconut, cinnamon, and salt, and stir to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients. Add the melted coconut, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture is well coated and combined.
- Bake the granola. Transfer the mixture to a lined baking sheet and transfer it to the oven to bake until golden brown.
- Add the dried fruit. Once the granola is baked, remove it from the oven and add the raisins.
- Let the granola cool. Allow the granola to cool completely before serving but be sure to sneak a bite just to make sure it tastes ok. 😉
- Serve and eat. Once the granola has cooled completely, serve it to your liking, and enjoy!
Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll realize that making homemade granola is very simple and you can easily make swaps or adjustments based on what you have on hand and what you enjoy.
Oats: Oats are the base to granola, so you can’t skip them, but you can always more or less if you’d to increase or decrease the quantity of the other ingredients.
Nuts: You can truly use any type of nut in a granola recipe, everything from walnuts to pecans to cashews to Brazil nuts will work well. It’s best to use unsalted as salted nuts will be too overpowering in flavor and make your granola overly salty.
Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds all work well in granola. Although less popular, sesame seeds can work too.
Dried Fruit: While raisins tend to be the most popular dried fruit for granola, all dried fruit and dried berries will work. Dried cranberries, dried apricots, and dried cherries will all pair nicely. If using larger dried fruit, such as dates or figs, just chop it roughly into bite-size pieces before adding it to the granola.
Sweeteners: Maple syrup and honey are the most popular natural sweeteners. If you want to use sugar, brown sugar tends to work best.
Spices: While cinnamon tends to be one of the most popular spices to add to granola, all sweet spices work well in granola including ground ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves. Not to mention, you can use spice blends, such as chai spice or pumpkin spice, to create different flavors of granola.
Oil: Neutral oils, such as sunflower oil and light olive oil, work well in granola, however, trying different oils such as extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil is a fun way to add flavor. You can also use melted butter if you like or go the extra step and make brown butter if you’re feeling fancy!
Add-Ins: In addition to the rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, you can add a wide variety of extra ingredients and toppings to your granola. This recipe calls for flaked coconut but ingredients such as dehydrated fruit or chocolate chips also work well. If adding chocolate chips, just be sure to add them once the granola is cooked, as you don’t want them melting in the oven!
This recipe is dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan. Here are some swaps for further dietary adaptations.
To Make it Gluten-Free: To ensure your granola is gluten-free use certified gluten-free oats.
To Make it Lower in Sugar: You can reduce the sugar content of the granola by reducing the amount of maple syrup and/or omitting the dried fruit.
To Make it Lower in Fat: You can reduce the fat content of the granola by reducing or omitting the almonds and pumpkin seeds by replacing them with more rolled oats. While you could slightly reduce the amount of coconut oil, do not omit it completely as it helps to cook the oats and provide the granola’s crunchy texture.
Tips for a Healthy Granola Recipe
- Focus on Real Ingredients: The key to a healthy granola recipe is the ingredients. By opting for whole foods, such as rolled oats, raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, you create endless flavors of healthy granola.
- Focus on Fiber: Using oats as the base helps to boost the overall fiber content of the recipe, which is beneficial for digestion and has been shown to help control blood sugar levels and help to lower cholesterol.
- Sweeten Naturally: Instead of using processed or refined sugar, opt for natural sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey, which are some of the healthiest types of sugar and are a great way to add flavor.
- Use Healthy Fats: When adding oil to your granola, be sure to opt for natural cooking oils and fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil. Using a neutral-tasting oil will ensure that the granola will not be overpowered with flavor, however, be sure to avoid using vegetable oils as they are highly processed, highly unstable, and oxidize very easily.
- Use Warming Spices: Warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger help to add flavor and a touch of sweetness without adding any additional sugar or additional calories.
How to Serve Homemade Granola
This magical mix of rolled oats, nuts, and dried fruit can be served in many ways. Given granola is typically high in carbohydrates and high in fat, pairing it with a source of protein helps to create a well-balanced meal.
- Pair it with Greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast or a snack,
- Add a sprinkle on top of your oatmeal for a crunchy bite,
- Make a yogurt parfait with layers of yogurt, granola, and fresh berries,
- Add some on top of your favorite smoothie bowl or nice cream recipe,
- Serve with milk as a simple breakfast cereal,
- Drizzle apple slices with peanut butter or almond butter and add some granola on top,
- Forgo the trail mix and enjoy a handful of granola instead as a healthy snack,
- Sprinkle a little on top of your favorite muffin recipe before putting them in the oven,
- Blend it up with dried dates to create homemade granola bars or energy bites!
Whether you enjoy it for breakfast, a crunchy grab-and-go snack, or a topping to a sweet treat, there are plenty of fun ways to use a homemade granola recipe.
To Store: Allow the granola to cool completely and then transfer it to a Mason jar or airtight container and store it in the pantry or cabinet at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
To Freeze: Place the granola in a freezer bag or airtight container and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, place it on the counter at room temperature for 1-2 hours to allow it to thaw completely before serving.
Here are some frequently asked granola questions.
Which is healthier granola or oatmeal?
Both granola and oatmeal are healthy options, in fact, one is not healthier than the other, they are simply different. Oatmeal is a breakfast porridge made from oats cooked with water or milk and is typically served with toppings such as fruits, a sweetener like honey or sugar, or nuts, while granola is a crunchy cereal made from rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and a sweetener like sugar, maple syrup, or honey.
Oatmeal is generally lower in sugar and calories than granola as oatmeal is simply made of rolled oats with water or milk, while granola has oil, sweeteners, nuts, and seeds mixed in, however, it all depends on what toppings you add to your oatmeal. Consumed plain, oatmeal will be a lower calorie option but once toppings are added granola and oatmeal are much more similar than they are different.
Granola and oatmeal are merely different recipes prepared with oats and other similar ingredients, and both can be consumed in a healthy diet.
How much granola should you eat?
As with all foods, the appropriate portion size for a given food is dependent upon the individual, their hunger level, the context of their entire diet, and their health goals. With that said, an estimated portion size of granola ranges from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of granola.
Unlike oatmeal, granola is often rich in fats, especially recipes with a high content of nuts and seeds, therefore, being mindful of portion size is important given fats are the most calorie-dense macronutrients and can, therefore, increase calorie intake more quickly than oatmeal is you are not being mindful of your portion size.
Is it ok to eat granola every day?
Absolutely! Granola, especially homemade, is a nutrient-dense recipe full of vitamins and minerals. While the exact nutrient content of granola will vary based on the recipe, on average, granola is a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients, specifically iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, B vitamins, and vitamin E (1). However, certain granola brands and granola recipes can have high sugar content, so it is best to read the label or recipe and opt for lower sugar versions or adapt the recipe to reduce the overall sugar content per serving.
Is homemade granola good for weight loss?
Homemade granola is made of whole foods and is a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats, and can be included in a healthy diet to support weight loss. To support weight loss, one must create a calorie deficit by ensuring they are consuming fewer calories from food and beverage they are consuming, therefore, if you are consuming granola within a calorie range that creates a calorie deficit you can safely consume granola and lose weight.
How long does homemade granola last?
Homemade granola stored at room temperature can last up to 1 month. To ensure your granola stays fresh as long as possible and does not go stale, store homemade granola in an airtight container in the pantry, or a cabinet to help preserve its freshness.
Can homemade granola be frozen?
Yes! Once cooked and cooled, homemade granola can be stored in a freezer-safe plastic bag or airtight container for up to 3 months.
Not only is this healthy granola recipe quick and easy to prepare but it stores very well in the pantry so you’ll have a healthy breakfast ready to go for days to come. Pair this granola with plain yogurt or milk for a completely well-balanced breakfast to keep you fueled and full for the day ahead.
More Healthy Granola Recipes:
This healthy granola recipe is easy to make and stores well in the pantry, fridge or freezer so you will have a healthy breakfast or snack ready for days, weeks or months to come.
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or olive oil
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, add the rolled oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, cinnamon, and salt and stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, add the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
- Drizzle the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well coated.
- Pour the granola onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and use a spatula or spoon to spread it into an even layer.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven for 15 minutes, remove it from the oven and give it a stir on the baking sheet, then return it to the oven for a final 10-15 minutes until golden brown, keeping a watchful eye to ensure it does not burn.
- Once baked, remove it from the oven, add raisins, then allow it to cool completely. (If you want the granola to be extra chunky, add an extra drizzle of maple syrup over the top of the warm granola to help it stick together as it cools.)
- Once cooled, the granola can be stored in an air-tight container in the cupboard for up to a week or frozen for up to 3 months.
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 258 calories
- Sugar: 9 grams
- Fat: 15 grams
- Carbohydrates: 26 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 7 grams
Keywords: healthy granola, healthy granola recipe, homemade granola