Basic Granola Formula Recipe

Granola is my safety blanket snack. I keep a big jar of it on the counter at all times, and if I run out and don’t have the time or the ingredients to bake a new batch within the next few days, I don’t feel quite myself.

There are very many granola recipes out there, and over the years I’ve tried a number of them — you can check the raw buckwheat granola I wrote about last summer — but when it comes to oven-baked granola, I find that what one needs isn’t really a recipe, but rather a formula.

Now that I have stabilized my granola formula, I rarely make the same one twice, but it is always just the way I like it: nut-rich, easy on the spices, and very moderately sweet.

The basic components of granola — rolled grains, nuts and seeds, oil, spices, sweetener — are in fact large families of ingredients that offer a myriad of options, and creating your own blend is just a matter of combining the members of those families you like and have on hand.

In fact, now that I have stabilized my granola formula, I rarely make the same one twice, but it is always just the way I like it: nut-rich, easy on the spices, and very moderately sweet.

One notable thing I do differently from what most recipes instruct is that I start the granola in a cold oven: no sense in wasting the energy of the oven while it preheats, and granola doesn’t care whether or not it is seized by heat. Your only responsibility then is to watch it closely, and stir it every ten minutes so it is roasted to your preferred shade of brown.

Granola makes a fine edible gift, and I mention this in case you’re already plotting your gift-making campaign for the holidays: the ingredients don’t cost a lot, you can make big batches at a time, and it keeps quite well. And if you can find attractive jars and pretty ribbons and tack on personalized labels — you know the drill — it’ll make a lovely impression.

Basic Granola Formula Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Makes one large jar.

Basic Granola Formula Recipe

Ingredients

  • 280 grams (10 ounces, about 3 cups) rolled grains (oat, spelt, wheat, rye, quinoa, rice, barley... or a mix thereof)
  • 170 grams (6 ounces, about 1 1/2 cups) nuts and seeds, roughly chopped (a mix of almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, macadamias, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds...)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, olive oil, coconut oil...)
  • 6 tablespoons liquid sweetener (honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, rice syrup... or a mix thereof; you can also use a fruit jam or unsweetened fruit purée, but use a little more then because they're not 100% sugar)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground spices (a mix of warm spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, pumpkin pie spice, a spice mix for pain d'épices, roasted citrus zest...)
  • 5 tablespoons ground flaxseeds, soaked in 5 tablespoons water for 15 minutes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt flakes
  • 1 tablespoon homemade vanilla extract
  • Optional:
  • 30 grams (1 ounce, about 1/2 cup) unsweetened dried coconut (I like chips better than flakes or shreds)
  • 30 grams (1 ounce, about 1/4 cup) oat or wheat bran
  • 60 grams (2 ounces) chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 120 grams (4 ounces, about 3/4 cup) dried fruit, roughly chopped if in large pieces (raisins, cranberries, prunes, dates, figs, blueberries, cherries, bananas, mangoes, apples... or a mix thereof)

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet, about 30 by 38 cm (12 by 15 inches).
  2. Place all the ingredients (except the optional dried fruits or chocolate) in a medium mixing bowl, and stir vigorously with a fork until evenly combined.
  3. Spread on the prepared baking sheet and place in the middle of the oven.
  4. Set the oven on 150°C (300°F) and bake the granola, checking and stirring religiously every 10 minutes, until the mixture is browned to your liking -- it won't get crisp at this stage. In my oven, it takes about 30 minutes total, starting from a cold oven.
  5. (If you've doubled the recipe, switch the two baking sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.)
  6. Let the granola cool on the baking sheet -- it will crisp up as it cools -- and stir in the optional dried fruits or chocolate once cooled.
  7. Transfer to an airtight container and keep at cool room temperature for up to a month or so.

Notes

The recipe may be doubled, using two baking sheets.

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  • http://www.howsweeteats.com Jessica @ How Sweet

    We plow through granola in this house! Thank you for this.

  • http://roadtothefarm.blogspot.com Anna

    Love the cold oven idea. I do that for a few things that I need to bake. I also try to combine oven uses — baking the granola (or something that doesn’t need the perfect oven temp) while the oven preheats for something else. Its always good to have more energy saving ideas.

  • http://www.gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    Thank you so much for posting this!

  • Jen

    Great formula – thanks for getting those proportions down. I love making granola but always end up putting too much of something in it — last batch it was the wheat bran! Another sweetener option I like: apple cider – gives a bit of crispness and a nice scent too.

  • http://www.healthycultivations.com Michele @ Healthy Cultivations

    I love how you called granola a safety blanket snack. Isn’t that so true? There’s just something comforting about good granola, and this recipe sounds very good.

  • http://yumorama.blogspot.com Jessica

    I was *just* looking for a granola recipe! I have some pepitas and black sesame seeds, as well as some organic tri-cale oats to use up. Thanks! :)

    …I believe you mean 150C / 300F, right? ;)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Absolutely! Thanks for catching the typo.

  • http://www.aplumbyanyothername.blogspot.com A Plum By Any Other Name

    I love to add cardamom and coconut to my granola … it’s one of life’s simple pleasures. Thanks for the reminder!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Oh yes, cardamom! I’d forgotten to include it in the list, but have added it now. Thanks!

  • http://thedelightblog.wordpress.com/ Cassandra PW

    Granola is the only breakfast that I can sometimes get my husband to put down his tartines and homemade jam for.

    Even if I am not a raw foodie, I find it helpful to do a similar granola with soaked flax seeds. It helps bind it for crunchy chunks.

  • Liza

    This recipe sounds lovely. But how do you guys eat it? Munching on the chunks? Adding to yogurt/milk? What are the best ways?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I mostly eat granola as a topping over fresh fruit and yogurt, but some people just snack on it as is.

  • http://www.everynothingwonderful.com/ Tricia @ {every}nothing wonderful

    Thumbs way up – we also go through granola way too fast!

  • Ursula

    I just recently tasted an oil free granola which was delicious, and a good way to avoid the sometimes rancid taste granola can acquire fairly quickly… It uses a “wet” mixture of honey or maple syrup, mashed banana and orange juice, both as sweetener and moistener, and a double bake (tougher dry ingredients like oats and nuts for about 20 min first, and then more fragile dry ingredients like flax seed, coconut, and wet ingredients mixed through and bake & stir until done) … then add in raisins, other dry fruit and raw cashews at the end. It’s really lovely.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Interesting technique, Ursula, thanks for sharing!

  • http://hungerandsauce.blogspot.com/ Emma

    I love the idea of giving granola as a gift! I was planning on doing chocolate truffles again this year, but I think anyone would be happy to get a pretty ribboned kilner jar of breakfasty goodness for Christmas!

    It’s nice to have a slightly healthier alternative to the usual food gifts too – I may have to rethink my strategy for this year…

    I’ve got a recipe for Christmassy chocolate fudge if you’re interested.

  • http://www.breakupwatch.com Sara

    I am so excited to try this! Any thoughts about a granola bar recipe?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m still in search of a good granola bar recipe, one that doesn’t collapse into pieces when sliced yet doesn’t involve tons of oil and sweeteners. I’ll report back when I’ve found it!

      • Patricia

        I was wondering the same thing about a granola bar! I haven’t found a good recipe yet and was wondering if you (or anyone else) had one.
        Thanks!

      • Rachel

        Clotilde, I’ve made these bars and, though they’re more crumbly than store-bought ones, they were so good they were almost off-the-charts.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          Thanks for the tip, I’ll look into those!

  • http://the-vole.blogspot.com Heather Shaver

    How appropriate.. I have that feeling right now. I came home to an empty granola jar and feel unsettled with the thought. I must get on that! I’m interested in Cassandra’s soaked flax seeds idea. I always put just ground flax seeds in, but the crunch idea is good.

  • http://dishbytrish.com Trish

    You should see my kitchen.. its lined up with dried cherries, maple syrup, old fashioned oats, getting ready to go into a granola recipe that I’ve been pushing off for days because of my laziness. I’m so glad I came across this post – we can compare notes. Yours sounds yummy!

  • Rachel

    Thank you so much for posting this – I can tell I’ll be referring to it often! My last attempt at homemade granola ended up a carbonized mess… comparing the recipe I used and your formula, I think the problem was threefold: 1. too much honey, 2. too much oil and 3. too much time in the oven. I’m glad to have a formula that is none of the above and so open to variation.

  • http://www.buttercupdays.wordpress.com Liana @ femme fraiche

    I’d put granola on pizza if I could! I love your recipe this looks great thank you!

  • alison b

    Looks great. Can you explain what you mean by ‘rolled grains’? I only know how to use oats in granola recipes. What would be the shelf name–French or English–for the rolled quinoa or rolled rice for example? Thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The oats that you ordinarily use in granola are a good example of rolled grains: the grains have been steamed and rolled into flat little flakes. The same process can be applied to almost any grain, and can be found with rolled oats in natural food stores. In France, they’re called flocons de céréales.

  • http://shawncita.wordpress.com Shawn

    This was a wonderful reminder, I’d forgotten about the joys of granola! Do you think steel-cut oats could be used? Thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Absolutely! Steel-cut oats would be great here.

  • selkie

    I mix melted frozen organic apple juice concentrate for the sweetener, and don’t use any oil. Yummy. I mix it with some flake cereal and almond milk for breakfast. If more sweetener is desired, mix a tablespoon of 100% fruit spread in with the milk.

  • Leigh

    Do you think it would be nice savoury? Literally, lift out the sweetener & vanilla? I say that because here I am 5pm-snacking on dry commercial Fruit’n’Fibre cereal with olive oil and salt (does that sound too strange?) Maybe it could even become an aperitif accompaniment when it grows up…

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It’s certainly worth a try! I think the sweetener plays a role in the crisping process, though, so if you remove it you should probably use a little more oil to make up for it.

  • http://enchantedfig.blogspot.com/ Amanda at Enchanted Fig

    Thank you Clotilde. I have been looking for a manageable formula for granola for a while. Or rather, I have been wanting one and not putting much effort into it but feeling the loss of granola all the same. Will be utilizing this one, for sure.

  • http://blog.muffinegg.com Rachel

    Awesome formula! I don’t like my granola super sweet and there are certain textures I really enjoy. I always doubt my proportions so thanks for posting a basic rubric that works!

  • http://www.bakedinmaine.com Lisa@bakedinmaine.com

    Excellent!

    I’m excited to use this “formula” to make granola for Christmas gifts. I love giving the gift of food!

    Cheers!

    Lisa
    xo

  • http://www.foodexpressed.com Val

    I’ve just realised how much I should be making more homemade granola. It is such a wonderful thing to make. I love the way you can completely play around with the recipe and it makes the most ideal gift.

  • Danielle

    Hi Clotilde! I’ve been in love with your roasted citrus zest since you first posted about it. Just last week I added lemon and orange to my granola and it was an incredible upgrade, the flavor really stands out. Another wonderful idea!

  • Lindsey

    I usually like to use a little apple sauce and citrus juice in my granola and cut down the oil and sweeteners a bit.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I live on granola. Interesting note about starting your granola in a cold oven – I should try that next time I make a batch!

  • http://www.france-travel-info.com Debbie

    I made a batch of this tonight using marmalade fruit spread instead of honey or oil. It is cooling on the counter at the moment and I can’t stay away from it. I haven’t even added the fruit or chocolate yet and I LOVE it! Thanks so much for posting!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Happy to hear it Debbie, thanks for reporting back!

  • http://www.size6after30.wordpress.com Anna @ Size 6 after 30

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful gift idea! Best from Las Vegas.

  • http://enchantedfig.blogspot.com/ Amanda at Enchanted Fig

    I just had to report back that I made a batch yesterday with almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds, with coconut oil and agave nectar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and it really was, absolutely, fabulous! Thanks again!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m delighted, Amanda, enjoy your granola!

  • http://www.absquatulate.com Kris

    I just made this granola and the taste is divine. I, however, like the granola clusters and mine hasn’t “clumped” together like I would like it too. Perhaps a little more oil and/or sweetener would make it clump more? Or perhaps trying marmalade or jam as the sweetener would also work to create clusters?

  • dory

    Have you tried the breakfast cookie bars in Mollie Katzen’s book Still Life with Menus? I am not assuming that everyone has it, so I will post it in the recipe section of the forums some time in the next couple of days. The granola bars are heavy on the grains and not super sweet, but I like them and they more or less hold together.

    Dory

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Hello Dory, I haven’t tried this recipe, and I’d be very interested to see it, thank you!

  • http://www.absquatulate.com Kris

    Ah, I think I found my mistake: I had too little of the sweetener. I mistakenly used teaspoons, not tablespoons! Even so, both my main squeeze and I are nibbling on pinchfulls each time we walk by the container. I will try again. Thanks for a great recipe Clotilde!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You’re right, both the sweetener and the fat help the granola form clusters. I’ve also read recipes in which they suggested you squeeze spoonfuls of the mixture together on the baking sheet to foster cluster formation, so you could also try that.

  • http://aehrelichgesagt.blogspot.com/ Daniel

    I used to make granola what seems like a lifetime ago. My go-to recipe was from The New Laurel’s Kitchen and simply had oats, wheat germ, honey, nuts and dried fruit. Though the nuts weren’t toasted with the granola, they and the dried fruit were added to the mix once the granola came out of the oven. It was supposed to make the fruit a bit chewier because of the heat.

    Unfortunately, the book somehow got lost in the move, so I never saw it again. I did, however, make this granola today and it was awesome- it was much easier to leave the nuts in rather than toast them separately.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m glad it turned out well, Daniel, thanks for writing in!

  • http://www.whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com gaelle@whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com

    I love granola and have been making a similar recipe for more than a year now. Since it’s my easy-happy Holiday gift, I have been baking a lot lately. Great smell! I use cardamon to spice it up! I”ll try the cold oven baking next time. Merci!

  • http://www.yourfoodchoices.com Jason @ (y)our food choices

    I use some orange juice and zest in my granola. It makes the milk taste like, well, orange milk. Here’s the link to our recipe.
    Cheers,
    Jason

  • Clau

    The first time I ever heard of granola was when I read your post on macadamia maple granola. I made it, loved it and I have been a granola fan ever since. I have to thank you for that;) And must try your formula.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I am honored to have been your gateway into the wonderful world of granola, Clau! :)

  • msue

    Thought you might enjoy this: A couple of years ago when I tested your macadamia maple granola amongst friends, it was a huge hit. I later adapted that recipe for a few different variations, and took several varieties to a women’s retreat last spring. Again, huge hit.

    As a result of your fine recipe, several of those women now make homemade granola on a regular basis. Your recipe was like a ray of crunchy goodness that connected people around the planet. There are some mornings that, as I sit with my bowl of yogurt, blueberries, and granola, I imagine the network of friends enjoying their own creations, all spurred by that original recipe.

    Thank you, Clotilde!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for sharing the story, Mary Sue, I love it!

  • http://www.dotsandyarn.com Tournesol

    Great formula! I’m about to start the third batch. Thanks for taking into account the sugar-free version. Due to medication I can’t have any real sugar or honey but I work well with jam sweetened with apple juice. I found that if you add some water to the puree it mixes more easily.

  • dana a

    Thanks Clotilde – I have a batch in the oven now. I used your formula, with Kim Boyce’s genius granola from “Good to the Grain” for inspiration for ingredients: mixed grains, all seeds, no nuts (sesame, sunflower, pepitas, poppy seed), and a good hit of cayenne. Her recipe is the best granola I’ve ever had, highly recommended!

  • Suzie

    Great formula – I’m a huge granola fan so I’m excited to try this out! I’ve made granola before with a recipe similar to this, but it didn’t call for oil and I’m a tad skeptical about that. How necessary do you think the oil is? Could I use a bit more sweetener instead, or would it maybe come out to sweet then? Thanks in advance!

  • http://www.liliannagrace.blogspot.com Lilianna Grace

    Hello lovely baker! I love this formula! I posted a link to this recipe on a post I titled “12 Links To Homemade Granola.” You can check it out @ Lavender Clouds.

  • http://180turning30.com Marla @ 180turning30

    Making homemade granola for the first time according to your formula and my specific tastes was one of the most fun times in the kitchen I’ve ever had. It tasted wonderful and my apartment has never smelled quite so good! Thank you so much!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s great to hear, Maria, thanks for reporting back!

  • http://missiongastroclub.tumblr.com/ Neil D

    Excellent!
    I served this recipe today, using rolled oats and wheat, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flaked coconut, flaxseed, some malted barley and raisins.
    I was really happy with it. I think I probably used more fleur de sel than most would, but I really enjoyed the salty kick. When I saw that you had a ratio, I jumped right on. I’m so glad you discovered it!

    Thank you so much!

    Neil

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Happy to hear it, Neil, thanks!

  • http://girlwithjavacurls.typepad.com Javacurls

    Thank you so much for this wonderful granola recipe. I love how you can get really creative with it. I’ve made it twice for my family and we absolutely adore eating it with milk or yogurt. Thanks again!

  • http://squirrelinmypocket.blogspot.com kim

    thanks for this great recipe!!!
    All time favorite!!!
    I have your cookbook too and enjoy reading it!
    Also love your yogurt cake!

  • BISOUBISOU

    Finally got around to making this! Cashews, ginger, sunflower seeds, maple syrup, cardamom pods, oats, bran flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg. Tasty – thank you!
    Next time, I’m going to try using preserves and/or fruit butter as suggested above.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Happy to hear it, and your mix sounds wonderful!

  • http://www.yshue.com/?p=581 Angelina Hue

    Thanks for sharing this basic formula for granola! I’m a big fan of cereals and granola, often ‘guilty’ of eating them out of the box, anytime of the day. I recently made my first batch of granola using your recipe – love how easy and tasty it is! I used a liberal mix of pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashew nuts, and walnuts, as well as mixed cereals (rolled oats, barley, wheat, rice and ‘seige’). Next time, I’m going to make little clusters of granola!

  • Julia

    I bookmarked this ages ago and finally made a batch yesterday… a double batch because I was sure it was going to be good! I ate it for breakfast this morning and it was delicious. So easy, so good. I used some rolled quinoa in it (flocons de quinoa) that I had laying around and it seems to help it “last” (e.g stick to your ribs)… I didn’t have time for lunch today but I didn’t get really hungry until about 4 pm anyway.

  • http://www.thisjourneymyhome.blogspot.com Adel

    Made this yesterday for the first time. Took it out after 30 minutes, but when it cooled it was still moist, so I put it back in on 200 for an hour. It turned out SO HARD. I would have thought the lower temp/longer time would make it more light and crispy. So do I just need to leave it a little longer on the 300 F?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Hm. It’s likely that the lower temp/longer time dried it out completely. I would leave it a little while longer at 300°F — maybe 10 more minutes or so. Let me know!

  • Natalie

    Hi! I was wondering what the difference would making it with or without the flax seeds, since it is optional? Is it just flavor, or do the flax seeds do anything for the end texture of the granola? thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The flaxseed have a slight “gelling” power that helps the clusters stay together. They also bring nutrition, but don’t make much difference flavor-wise. Happy granola-making!

  • http://rjrfarm.ca Marylynn

    For the rice/quinoa/barley, is that something you would put in raw? Wouldn’t that be like kinda crunchy? Does it cook at all in the baking process? I can’t imagine eating raw rice would be pleasant…

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      These are all suggestions of *rolled grains* to use — think oatmeal but made with other grains — and rolled grains don’t require additional cooking.

  • Maho

    I’ve shied away from granola recipes mostly because of the amount of oil they use (1/4c as opposed to 2tbs!). Now, I’m kicking myself for not trying this recipe sooner. You really nailed the ratio of the ingredients, and I love how it’s not cloyingly sweet.
    I’m having some now topped on yogurt, and can’t wait to try different vartiations.
    Thanks Clotilde, for coming up with such a versatile recipe!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks Maho, I’m so glad the formula is useful to you! I made a batch myself just yesterday. :)

  • Barbara

    Try as I might, I can’t find any rolled grains in the Happy Paleo Granola recipe. Am I missing something? I’ve never considered granola granola w/o rolled grains.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The “paleo” diet is grain-free, so there are no rolled grains in this recipe!

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