Crunchy homemade granola; just a little sweet and a whole lot of crunchy. I've baked boatloads of my homemade granola recipe for clients, friends and family. Now everyone can bake their own using healthy ingredients. My clients say it's the best granola! The house smells incredible while it is baking thanks to the maple syrup, coconut, and cinnamon.
Granola is a staple for many families, but store-bought granola is often not so healthy. This is a gluten-free granola recipe (if you buy gluten-free rolled oats), and you can make it standard or lower sugar to meet your needs.
Why You'll Like This recipe
- You control the ingredients, no refined sugars or high fructose corn syrup.
- It's an easy recipe, mostly hands off time.
- Add fruit or not, for less sugar.
- Oats are whole grains.
For a fun and more portable version of healthy homemade, granola try my chocolate chip granola bites recipe. They are sort of like granola bars but round.
- Rolled oats: If you follow a gluten-free diet, be sure to purchase certified gluten-free oats. Oats can be contaminated with gluten during growing (crop rotation), processing, packaging, or shipping. Get the standard oats, not the extra thick or quick cooking.
- Coconut: Buy the unsweetened shredded coconut, not the sticky, sugary sweetened stuff, or use coconut chips.
- Nuts: You'll need chopped walnuts and blanched slivered almonds. They provide, nice crunch, protein, flavor, and healthy fat.
- Sunflower seeds: By raw not roasted or flavored.
- Flax seeds: I keep whole flax seed in my pantry and grind them fresh. You can buy pre-ground if preferred. Whole seeds keep longer than ground. Use an inexpensive coffee/spice grinder like this.
- Hemp seed: Buy whole, raw seeds, not powder or ground. They are sometimes labeled hemp hearts.
- Maple syrup: Buy pure maple syrup, not the fake stuff made with corn syrup. Read the label. The real stuff is more expensive, but better tasting and better for you. Note for lower sugar below.
- Fat: Extra-virgin unrefined coconut oil provides healthy fat and great flavor, or use a light, neutral oil like this one. Another option, MCT oil.
- Vanilla: Use either vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Vanilla bean paste holds up better to heat than extract does and tastes terrific. If you love vanilla, you'll love the paste. It's great to add to your pantry.
- Spices: Use pure cinnamon or a blend such as Chinese Five Spice.
- Dried fruit: Dried fruit is optional. Skip to reduce sugar. It's still delicious! See my notes below if you want to include it.
Please see the recipe card for measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
To change up gluten-free granola:
- Swap pecans for walnuts.
- Try almond extract instead of vanilla.
- Add chocolate chips (but they might melt in hot weather). Try these sugar-free chocolate chips too.
Chef's tip: To reduce sugar, use this maple keto syrup. It tastes great. Use it half and half with real maple syrup , reducing the sugar by 3 grams per serving.
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, measure out the dry ingredients: oats, nuts and seeds. A kitchen scale makes it easy.
Step 2: Whisk together the wet ingredients: maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, and your spices of choice, and a pinch of salt. Pour the maple syrup mixture into the dry mix and stir until the oats feel uniformly heavy. A large non-stick silicone spatula makes it easier. Stir really well! There should be no dry areas left.
Step 3: Spread granola mixture evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet (no parchment paper required) and bake for 2 hours in total until golden brown, turning the maple granola over at 1 hour.
I use a metal spatula (sometimes called a turner) to loosen the granola from the pan and my hands to mix. The pan is hot but the granola is not too hot for your hands.
Step 4: Cool gluten-free granola completely after baking, then mix in dried fruit if desired. See tips on choosing dried fruit below, or skip it to reduce sugar. It's delicious either way. Store in an airtight container.
Tips on Choosing Dried Fruit
Other dried fruit options not shown above are chopped pitted dates and dried cherries. Read package labels for added sugar and sulfites or look for unsweetened brands of dried fruit.
Golden berries and dried white mulberries are lower sugar options and they taste great. Tart golden berries are lower in sugar than many dried fruits at only 2 grams of sugar per ¼ cup.
What About Sulfites in Dried Fruit?
If you have asthma or sulfite sensitivity, read labels and choose dried fruit without sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide is a preservative in many dried fruits. It also keeps many dried fruits (like dried apricots) a pretty color. Sulfite-free dried apricots are usually brown. Not as nice looking, but sulfite-free if you need it.
Sprinkle homemade granola over yogurt, eat some at snack time, or create beautiful breakfast parfaits with Greek yogurt. Enjoy it like cereal with almond milk, coconut milk, or dairy milk. It's delicious over frozen yogurt or ice cream for dessert.
Skip the dried fruit and serve this crunchy gluten-free granola with fresh fruit like raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or blackberries.
Chef's Note: Homemade gluten-free granola is a terrific gift from the kitchen for a hostess or holiday gift. Package it in cello bags and tie with a ribbon. Another terrific homemade gift? So are these roasted cashews. Alway a hit.
Homemade is the key, because you control what goes into the recipe. Healthier than most store bought brands? Yes.
The quick answer is with yogurt! Yogurt adds protein. Make breakfast parfaits with granola, yogurt, and berries or other fruit. Eat it out of hand. Pour milk over the top in a bowl and enjoy with berries on top, like cereal.
To get crunchy granola, you need to bake it at low temperatures for a longer time to dry it out. It is why I do this recipe for 2 hours at just 250°F, for crunchy granola.
More Breakfast Recipes
For more breakfast ideas, check out the breakfast category for inspiration.
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Crunchy Homemade Granola Recipe (gluten free)
- 3 cups traditional rolled oats (gluten-free or not) 12 ounces
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut thread 2 ounces
- ½ cup chopped walnuts 2 ounces
- ½ cup blanched slivered almonds 2 ¾ ounces
- ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds 1 ½ ounces
- 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 3 tablespoons hemp seed
- ½ cup real maple syrup 5.3 ounces
- ½ cup melted extra virgin coconut oil 4 ounces, or MCT oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or Chinese Five Spice
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
Dried Fruit Options (omit to lower sugar)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup golden berries
- Pre-heat the oven to 250°F. In a large bowl mix rolled oats, nuts and seeds. In a large measuring cup whisk maple syrup, oil, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth. Pour the maple mixture into the oats mixture and stir until well combined. The oats should feel uniformly heavy and well coated with no dry areas.
- Pour granola on to a half sheet sized rimmed baking sheet (or two quarter sheets) and bake for 1 hour, then stir and turn over the granola with metal spatula and bake 1 hour longer until dry and crunchy. It will get crunchier as it cools.
Cool and Add Fruit
- Remove from the oven and cool, then stir in coconut shreds or chips and dried fruit if using. Store in a tightly covered container in the pantry.