Easy Homemade Granola Recipe

Your quest for the best homemade granola can stop right here because I promise this is it! Lightly sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar, this bakes up into crunchy, chunky granola that you can break apart into big or little pieces. I stir in dried fruit at the end (dried cranberries and apricots are my favorites!) but the possibilities with this stellar base granola recipe are absolutely endless. A perfect breakfast on its own or stirred into yogurt or milk.

A bowl of yogurt topped with granola and dried fruit.

Homemade granola is something I tried time and again and was wholly unsatisfied with until I landed on this recipe. It had everything I’d ever hoped for and more – perfectly flavored without being cloyingly sweet, endless possibilities for flavors and mix-ins, and, best of all, it was the clumpiest, chunkiest granola I had ever made.

It is, without a doubt, granola perfection.

This basic granola recipe can be customized to your heart’s content based on what you have available or the flavors you’re craving at the moment.

Ingredients for granola prepped in bowls on a counter.

How to Make Granola

This is incredibly easy to make – all you need are a handful of pantry ingredients and a single bowl to mix it all in and you’ll be on your way!

  1. Combine the wet ingredients – Whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, then whisk in the oil.
  2. Add the oats and nuts – Stir in the oats and chopped almonds and mix until they are thoroughly combined and coated.
  3. Press onto the baking sheet – Turn the oat mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and press down with a spatula so it forms an even, compact layer.
  4. Bake – Until the granola is light golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool completely, then stir in the dried fruit and serve.

Wet ingredients whisked together in a mixing bowl.

Granola mixed together and on a baking sheet.

Customize Your Flavors and Mix-Ins

  • Nuts and/or Seeds: I love almonds with this combination of flavors, but so many other nuts or seeds could work, too. Try using pepitas, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamia nuts, pistachios, or peanuts. You can also add flax seeds and chia seeds.
  • Oil/Fat: Fat is essential in this recipe to keep the oats from becoming dry and brittle. You can substitute coconut oil for the vegetable oil if you prefer, though some note that the granola doesn’t clump quite as well, but it will still work! Butter will work as well; browned butter will give it a little something extra if you want to go the extra mile.
  • Sweeteners: I LOVE the maple in this recipe and beg you to keep it. You can swap in honey for the brown sugar if you want to go the unrefined sugar route. This granola is not exceptionally sweet, but if you prefer a less sweet version or one with less sugar in general, you can reduce the amounts by as much as half.
  • Nut Butters: You can swap out half of the oil and add in 1 cup of peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or sunbutter.
  • Spices: Cinnamon (about ½ teaspoon) would work really well in this recipe if you want to add a hint of warm spice. You can also use pumpkin pie spice or ground ginger (use ½ as much).
  • Extracts: I find vanilla absolutely perfect to balance the flavors, but you could substitute any other extract you’d like for flavor variations. If it’s something particularly strong like almond extract, I would recommend only using half as much.
  • Dried Fruit: Dried cranberries and chopped dried apricots are my favorites, but the possibilities are literally endless… cherries, apples, blueberries, pineapple, mango, raisins, or currants would all be wonderful additions, as would banana chips!
  • More Mix-Ins: Shredded coconut, unsweetened coconut flakes (sprinkle on top halfway through baking), chocolate chips (milk, semisweet, dark, or white – stir in after baking once cool).

Granola on a baking sheet, before and after baking.

Tips for Achieving Clumpy Granola

I don’t know about you, but the chunkier the granola the better, in my book. I don’t want loose, dry oats; I want big chunks of granola, thank you very much. One of the wonderful things about this recipe is that you can control the size of the chunks you get. Here are a few key tips to ensure you get the wonderfully clumpy granola of your dreams:

  • Do not skimp on the fat – The oil in the recipe plays a vital role in coating the oats and allowing them to adhere to one another, as well as the other ingredients. Without it, the oats will become dry and not stick together.
  • Use parchment paper – Lining your pan with parchment paper ensures that the oil and sweeteners stick to the ingredients and not the pan.
  • Press down HARD – use a super-stiff metal spatula and press the oat mixture into the baking pan to ensure it’s completely compact. You could even cover the oat mixture with parchment and use another baking sheet to press on top, or cover a potato masher with a baggie and use that to press down. You want it as tightly compacted as you can get it before it goes into the oven.
  • Do not stir – You’ll rotate the baking pan halfway through the baking time, but you should NOT stir the granola or disturb it in any way while it’s baking.
  • Don’t overbake it – The top should only be lightly browned (not golden) and it should still look a little underdone when removed from the oven. It will finish cooking as it cools.
  • Cool completely – While the granola is cooling, it’s binding together. Wait until it’s completely cool before breaking it apart.

A bowl of baked granola in a bowl.

Ways to use the granola

Whether you grab a handful as you’re walking through the kitchen or stash a baggie of it in your car for emergencies, there really isn’t a wrong way to enjoy granola, but here are some of my favorites:

  • Serve with yogurt (add more fresh fruit if you’d like!)
  • Layer it with yogurt in a jar for a homemade yogurt parfait
  • Add milk to eat it like cereal or let it soak in the milk for about 10 minutes for muesli
  • Sprinkle it on top of ice cream

A bowl of granola with dried fruit on top.

Storing granola

The granola can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

You can also freeze the granola in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before eating to allow the dried fruit to thaw.

More Delicious Granola and Granola Bar Recipes

A bowl of granola with a glass of milk and jar of granola in the background.

If you make this recipe and love it, I would so appreciate it if you would take a moment to leave a rating below. Thank you so much! ❤️️

Easy Homemade Granola Recipe

Servings 18 servings (9 cups)
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
Total 55 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: Michelle

This easy homemade granola is the best! Sweetened with maple syrup (or honey), mixed with almonds and dried fruit, it's chunky and perfect for breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • cup
    pure maple syrup
  • cup
    light brown sugar
  • 4
    teaspoons
    vanilla extract
  • ½
    teaspoon
    salt
  • ½
    cup
    vegetable oil
  • 5
    cups
    old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2
    cups
    whole raw almonds
    (coarsely chopped)
  • 1
    cup
    dried cranberries
  • 1
    cup
    chopped dried apricots

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk in the vegetable oil to combine. Add the oats and almonds and fold the mixture together with a rubber spatula until all of the oats and almonds are thoroughly coated.
  3. Turn the oat mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into a thin, even layer. Using a stiff metal spatula, compress the oat mixture until very compact.
  4. Bake until the top is lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Remove the granola from the oven and let cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour. Break the cooled granola into pieces as large or as small as you like. Stir in the dried cranberries and dried apricots. The granola can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes:

  • Oats: Use old-fashioned rolled oats. Quick-cooking oats are not recommended; they have too fine a texture for this recipe.
  • Almonds: I like the texture of chopped whole almonds the best, but you can substitute an equal amount of sliced or slivered almonds.
  • Nuts and/or Seeds: You can mix and match pepitas, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, or peanuts. You can also add flax seeds or chia seeds.
  • Oil/Fat: You can substitute coconut oil or butter for the vegetable oil if you prefer, though some note that the granola doesn't clump quite as well with coconut oil, but it will still work! 
  • Sweeteners: You can swap in honey for the brown sugar. This granola is not exceptionally sweet, but if you prefer a less sweet version or one with less sugar in general, you can reduce the amounts by as much as half.
  • Nut Butters: You can swap out half of the oil and add in 1 cup of peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or sunbutter.
  • Spices: Cinnamon (about ½ teaspoon) would work really well in this recipe if you want to add a hint of warm spice. You can also use pumpkin pie spice or ground ginger (use ½ as much).
  • Extracts: I find vanilla absolutely perfect to balance the flavors, but you could substitute any other extract you'd like for flavor variations. If it's something particularly strong like almond extract, I would recommend only using half as much.
  • Dried Fruit: Dried cherries, apples, blueberries, pineapple, mango, raisins, or currants would all be wonderful additions, as would banana chips!
  • More Mix-Ins: Shredded coconut, unsweetened coconut flakes (sprinkle on top halfway through baking), or chocolate chips (milk, semisweet, dark, or white - stir in after baking once cool) all work well.
  • For Extra Clumpy Granola: Press down as much as possible on the granola before baking, do not touch while baking, and cool completely.
  • Serving Suggestions: Plain on its own, with yogurt, in a yogurt parfait, served with milk or soaked in milk like muesli.
  • Freezing: The granola can be frozen in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition:

Calories: 301kcal
Fat: 16g
Saturated fat: 6g
Sodium: 69mg
Potassium: 299mg
Carbohydrates: 37g
Fiber: 5g
Sugar: 17g
Protein: 7g
Vitamin A: 260%
Vitamin C: 1%
Calcium: 68%
Iron: 2%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

(Recipe from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2013)

[Photography by Ari of Well Seasoned]