Homemade Granola: You’ve Been Warned

January 4, 2008

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A quick warning: if you think you love cereal that comes from a box on the shelf and if you do not wish to be convinced otherwise, this is not the post for you. Come back tomorrow for a post that might make you drool, but at least it won’t put your relationship with your morning cereal in serious jeopardy.

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Wow, you’re still reading? Well, you my friend, are brave. You might think I’m exaggerating. But I assure you that this granola is that good. My own break-up story with boxed cereal began this summer, when I uncharacteristically ordered yogurt and granola when we were at one of our favorite breakfast places (Vella Cafe, which is conveniently—and dangerously—located steps from our front door). Vella’s parfait featured a local granola that is somewhat of a Chicago celebrity: Milk and Honey Granola.

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While I still don’t think any version of granola that I’ve concocted at home is quite as good Milk and Honey’s version, they’ve all been close. I’ve tried several different recipes, which—generally speaking—all contain some combination of oats (and sometimes coconut, wheat germ or bran); mixed nuts, fruits and seeds; at least one sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup); flavorings (like cinnamon or vanilla) and at least one fat (typically, a neutral vegetable oil like canola). Once I realized that the recipes were basically variations of the same theme, I created a recipe of my own that I adore.

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More than the fact that homemade granola is endlessly customizable, I love that granola is a stunning example of the sum completely transcending its parts. And it will make your house smell unbelievably good and turn your breakfast into an exciting event. This granola is even special enough to package up in a beautiful bag or jar and ship across the country as a gift or unexpected treat. Tell me the last time you did that with your “favorite” boxed cereal.

(Click “more” for additional photos and the recipe)

 

Granola

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweeteend
3 tablespoons flax seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup toasted mixed nuts, chopped (I used pistachios and almonds here)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups mixed dried fruit (I used raisins and dried cherries and cranberries here)

Preheat the oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the dried fruit. Stir well to incorporate.

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Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out into an even layer. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the depth of goldenness you’re looking for), stirring every 10 minutes.

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Remove the granola from the oven and and cool completely, in its pan, on a wire wrack. Once the granola is cool, mix in the dried fruit.
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59 Responses to “Homemade Granola: You’ve Been Warned”

  1. Monica Says:

    I’ve been dabbling with home-made granola since summer too but mine is a little more basic. I will DEFINITELY try yours. Thanks for the post!

  2. ourkitchensink Says:

    Monica: You’re welcome! I hope you do try this — and let me know how it goes!

  3. JEP Says:

    Oh, I really do like granolas! Especially with Fage yogurt. I will try your original recipe as it matches my preferences pretty darn closely!

  4. ourkitchensink Says:

    JEP: Couldn’t agree more about the Fage — that’s the lovely white cloud in the top photo. If you do try this recipe out, let me know what you think!

  5. Katelyn Says:

    This granola looks AMAZING! And since I’ve already ruined my relationship with boxed cereals through some granola-making of my own, I will DEFINITELY be trying yours.

  6. ourkitchensink Says:

    Katelyn: Thanks! And thanks too for blogrolling me!

  7. Hillary Says:

    Granola is the best! I even wrote an article about my favorite homemade granola recipes here: http://www.recipe4living.com/Common/Article.aspx?id=58314

    Thanks for sharing yours!

  8. Monica Says:

    I made it and it is delicious!!!! So much better than my recipe. The only thing I wish I had done was taken the time to buy better dried fruit (I was lazy and just bought a dried fruit mix – ugh, they still make prunes?!?). Next time b/c this batch will be gone soon.

    Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  9. ourkitchensink Says:

    Monica: Wonderful! I can’t tell you how nice it is to get feedback on recipes that are my own creation. I always kinda wonder if I’m the only one who thinks they’re delicious. Thanks for reporting back!


  10. Did a google search for “homemade granola” and found this! I have everything in my kitchen and I’m off to make it now. Except I’m leaving out coconut (shudder)


  11. OH MY GOSH! The problem is, I hardly have ANY to store. It was devoured immediately! Plus I used it to put in our parfaits for tonight’s snack.

    http://www.pediascribe.com/20080310/am-i-making-you-hungry/

  12. Penny Says:

    Any suggestions for leaving out the dried fruit? Maybe some dark chocolate? 😉

  13. Leora Says:

    Won’t it burn – or come very near it – at 375, before being cooked all the way? I’m scared to try it. Would it work cooked longer at a lower temp, d’ya think? thanks! sounds yummy!!!

  14. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Says:

    Leora: I’ve baked mine a zillion times at 375 and never had a problem. If you’re worried, you could start checking on it after 10 minutes. And I’m sure cooking longer at a lower temperature would work as well. Let us know how it goes!

  15. Dina Says:

    Yummy! This came out better than I expected and was very easy. I made a few changes based on items that I had in the house. I used chopped walnuts and vegetable oil. I omitted the coconut and sesame seeds.

  16. amycamus Says:

    Many thanks – this is the best and most reliable granola recipe I’ve found, and I am indeed addicted. I use a slightly lower heat – 350F – for exactly 23 minutes in my old oven, taking care to not let the granola around the edges burn. I’ve experimented quite a bit with the recipe, including adding more exotic dried fruits I found at my local Trader Joe’s and always, always grinding the cinnamon myself. My favorite changes (so far) have been to use a bit of blackstrap molasses instead of maple syrup and to add a “secret” ingredient to the liquids: 1/3 cup of peach juice.


  17. amycamus: Your variations sound delicious! I’ll have to give them a try. Thanks for commenting.

  18. anya Says:

    im thinking about weaning myself off boxed cereal, and this looks like a great place to start. one question…what is the best way to store granola so it stays fresh?


  19. anya: You won’t regret it! I keep my granola in an airtight plastic container (e.g. Ziploc tupperware). I usually stick half in the cupboard and half in the freezer, but we go through it so fast it’s not usually a problem. Let us know how it goes!

  20. jake Says:

    this granola looks absolutely scrumptious! my sister and i JUST came back from trader joe’s with all the ingredients and we can’t wait to start! only thing: do you happen to have the nutrition facts per serving? if not, totally okay! thanks for the great recipe!


  21. jake: I’m glad you’re giving this a try. I hope you like it! I do not have the nutritional facts for this recipe. That said, when developing this recipe, I tried to decrease the sugars and fats as much as possible, without sacrificing flavor. You’ll see recipes out there that call for staggering amounts of sugar/oil/etc. Beyond that, it’s a nutritional powerhouse, with the seeds, oats, nuts and dried fruit. Good luck!

  22. Cheeky Says:

    Wow, the pictures are fabulous and the actual granola is beautiful! I made it this afternoon, cutting out on the cinnamon, flax/sesame seeds and maple syrup, yet it turned out wonderfully! So much cheaper, tastier and healthier than any store bought cereal – thank you for the gorgeous recipe!


  23. Cheeky: Thank you! I’m so glad you liked it. You’re reminding me to make another batch soon.

  24. Betsy Says:

    I made a batch of this yesterday – my first time making homemade granola. It was so easy and delicious, but the true test will be when my husband comes home from a business trip and tries it. It definitely has less sugar than the granola we’re used to, but a much heartier flavor. I did make one small change – we try not to cook with aluminum, so I used a sprayed pan instead and it was a snap. Next time I’ll try the bars – thanks for the great recipes!


  25. Betsy: I’m glad you liked it … and I hope your husband feels the same (fingers crossed). Good to know about the sprayed pan. I think parchment would be fine too.

  26. White Feather Says:

    I realize this is an old posting, but I just found it, linked from Amy Karol’s “Angry Chicken” blog. I’ve never made granola, but I love to eat it and this looks great. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to try it without changing a single thing and see how it goes.

    Sorry, that’s wrong. I found it through a Google search, though I was just on Amy’s site….got a bit confused there.


  27. White Feather: Let us know what you think! Thanks for dropping a note.

  28. White Feather Says:

    I made the granola and it is fantastic. My husband is not normally a granola lover at all, but he likes this one. I made it ALMOST exactly as above. I couldn’t find any other (unsalted) nuts I like in my local health food store except slivered almonds, so that is all I have, but I love the texture of those. I used dried cherries and apricots for the fruits, which add some real zing and I think that’s why husband likes it so much.

    I may experiment with less oil and substitute some applesauce to lower the fat….then nearly all the fat would be from the nuts. I recently had gall bladder surgery and have no choice but to keep the fats low or I’m miserable.

    I’ve seen lots of other granola recipies, but yours has the most variety of things in it, which I think is what makes the flavors so interesting. I’d never get bored with it, especially since I can add whatever fruits I want. You could, of course, leave out the dried fruits altogether and just add fresh berries and/or bananas to your morning cereal. The grains/seeds mixture would last much longer without the moist fruits, but truthfully, I don’t think mine is going to last long anyway, as I’m going to eat it up rather quickly.

    For any nervous beginners, this is really easy to make, too. Yes, there are a lot of ingredients, but it’s all just measure, mix and bake. Couldn’t be easier.


  29. White Feather: Thanks for the great report! I’m so glad you liked the granola.

  30. toboggan Says:

    Wow! What a find! I have a wheat allergy so it’s easy for the supermarkets to rob me blind or bore me to death with breakfast cereal. I made this on Friday and it was all gone by saturday evening. Delicious! Now I just have to fend off granola induced obesity….


  31. toboggan: That’s great to hear! Thanks for reporting back.

  32. Marv N. Says:

    Is there any way to leave out or use less of the oil and maple syrup. I know I’ve seen applesauce substituted in another post, how much? Any other suggestions for substitues? Thank you!


  33. Marv N.: I tinkered with this recipe for a while, exerimenting with more/less fats and sweeteners. The recipe as you see it here was the one that I was (and still am!) satisfied with. That said, feel free to experiment yourself. And be sure to report back if you find something that works. I’m particularly interested to hear about the effect of using applesauce.

  34. Spade.Music Says:

    I am a musician. I try my best to eat healthy when I am on the road but there is one food that I cant get enough of…”granola”!

    I searched the web and came across this recipe. When I get home I cant wait to get in the kitchen and back some up. I usually buy it all the time from the local grocery. But I think its going to be so much better to be able to get it directly from home. I cant wait to smell that warm brown sugar the the air. It;s going to take me back to child hood..lol

    I’ll let you all know how mine turns out.

    .music


  35. Spade.Music: I hope you enjoy it!

  36. sj Says:

    i also just found this recipe on a google search. my husband fell in love with a container of granola from the store, however that was $5 for 14 oz of granola and it’s almost gone 2 days later. so i guess it’s time to try experimenting at home! i’m excited to try this and surprise the family!!

  37. Tina Says:

    I just made this and finished my first bowl less than 5 minutes ago! I just wanted to say GREAT job on your recipe. It. Is. So. Good!!!!🙂


  38. sj: If you can find a store with bulk bins, this can be very economical. Good luck!

    Tina: Thanks! So glad you liked it.

  39. Melody Says:

    have you ever made granola w/o cinnamon or any spice like it…my husband can’t tolerate those spices…but would love to eat granola again!
    any suggestions?


  40. Melody: I haven’t tried that, but I think the maple and vanilla add a lot of flavor here. You could boost one or both of those and would probably be fine. Let us know!

  41. Denise Says:

    This granola is fantastic! I just made a big pan of it to ‘test’ for Christmas presents! I know my friends are going to love it.

  42. Fernandsa Says:

    The granola is great. I made some changes for what I had in hand: 1) 2 1/2 cups rolled oats, and 1/2 rolled wheat and 1/2 cup rolled rye; 2) a bit less than 1/4 cup canola oil; 3) I added cashew nuts, dehydrated apple, and raisins. Also, I left in the oven for 40 minutes, at 375.


  43. Denise: Thanks!

    Fenandsa: Thank you! Your variations sound lovely.

  44. Natalie Says:

    I made this granola and it has an incredible, hearty, earthy flavor – and how can something so “professional”-looking be so easy to make! Impress your friends, all right! My only problem (but it was kind of a big one) is that mine came out too salty! Do you think it would be fine with half the salt, or no salt? I did use sea salt, but maybe not all sea salt is created equal? What do others think? Thanks kitchensink for the great recipe.

  45. Gretchen Says:

    I made this last night but got confused from reading so many granola ideas. I actually cooked the sugar, honey, maple syrup and oil and then mixed it in with the granola. I also used cardomom (just purchased some for another project and gasped at the price so I’m trying to get my $$ worth!). It was AMAZING! My 8 year old ate two bowls this morning! I love your blog…been following it faithfully for the last 2 months and tried many recipes…all keepers!

  46. Peggy Says:

    My father (now 88) used to make granola in the middle of the night when he couldn’t sleep when I was a kid. (The smell would enter my dreams!) I recently was given some great homemade granola by a friend and started searching for recipes… yours comes closest to what I remember. Can’t wait to try it and bought ingredients yesterday at TJs. Will let you know how it goes!

  47. Karen Says:

    Mine also came out too salty but when I mixed in the fruit and ate it with vanilla yogurt it was perfect! I ground up a fancy sea salt, maybe that’s the problem. I substituted less than 1/4 cup unsalted butter because I don’t like to use canola oil. And I didn’t have vanilla so I used almond extract and Grand Marnier – YUM! Thanks for the recipe!

  48. Peggy Says:

    Oops! My granola was quite “well-done” after 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Not sure why, unless it was some extra ingredients like wheat germ that I added and may have made it more dry. Still, even if a bit on the toasty side, it is delicious.

  49. Leora Says:

    N.B.! I baked this at 325– mine DID burn first time at 375 – like I suspected….😦 and watched and tossed it more often than recommended. Came out golden brown and delicious….. um, I forgot how long it took at that temp, though, since I couldn’t leave it alone and kept poking at it.🙂 Yum yum!! Thanks for great, great recipe.

  50. Marie Says:

    I’m looking forward to making this, but I’m an overall cookie newbie, so please bear with, but am I cooking the oats first??
    I found a granola bar recipe that says to rinse and oak the oats, but I don’t know if this has something to do with it being for a bar or not?
    I too have a “best granola I’ve ever tasted” and I just found the bag I saved! But I came across your recipe trying to find out how much of each ingredient to use.
    My fave is from a trip I was on almost exactly 5 ago at the Dragonfly Cafe in Taos, NM.
    Oh and I see quite a range of degrees from 325-375 and time from 20-40 minutes. I will be using a new toaster oven, any recommendations on where in this range would be a good start?
    Thanks in advance!

  51. Marie Says:

    PS – I’m on an anti-inflammatory food plan, (No wheat, dairy, sugar, etc.) so I have to use WHOLE, non-instant, non-steel cut oats, if this makes any difference in the cooking factor or not.
    Thx.


  52. Marie: I bake my granola at 375, but I like mine on the toastier, darker side. But, if you’re worried, you can always start lower and crank it up as you go if it’s not achieving the color you want. And I use whole oats, so you should be fine there.

  53. vinylhaven Says:

    when i saw how you posted this, i knew i had a kindred spirit. i too, have totally converted to homemade granola. i could never go back to “the box”. i looked over your basic recipe, mine’s similiar but i add a little minced crystalized ginger with the fruit, adds a little zing. and ‘real’ yogurt on top is a must, sliced bananas as well if i have them.

  54. Tara Says:

    This recipe is great! I just made a batch and all I can say is, AMAZING!!!!

  55. VickiG Says:

    Hi Kristin, my first batch is almost ready to go into the oven … I’m toasting the nuts right now. It looks yummy! My only comment is that in order to be beneficial, flax seeds need to be ground into meal (otherwise they go straight through you and all their great health benefits are lost). I’m going to omit the flax because we have it every morning in OJ … you might like to try ground flax seed in your recipe and see how that works. Thanks for your recipe!
    Vicki

  56. Erin Says:

    Hi Kristin,

    LOVE your website and am trying the granola bar recipe this weekend. I’ve been making my own granola after being challenged into it by a friend who hasn’t cooked in years….. I’ve made mine similar to your recipe, but I’ve recently added grated/shredded coconut and have substituted almond oil for canola. Hubbie loves the deep nutty taste the almond oil gives to the granola…… Thanks for all your recipes!


  57. Erin: I like that almond oil idea! I’ve been using walnut oil recently.

  58. Mary Sibenik Says:

    Does anyone know if Fage yogurt is available in Toronto, and if not, what a passable substitute might be? Enjoy your site very much. Cheers!

    PS. I, too, shall be making my own granola for my middle kid (21) who is addicted to it in the wee hours of the night.

  59. calamity2222 Says:

    This is yummy – almost identical the one my mom used to make when i was growing up. I just made a batch for Valentine’s day and reduced the salt and oil, added some coconut extract and almond extract with the vanilla and added about 1/4 cup of white chocolate with the dried cranberries. So beautiful and tasty. Great recipe. Thanks for putting such a versatile one out there. Oh- i think the temp is wrong in my oven though – i had to turn it down to 325 because the nuts were getting too toasted. Thanks again


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