This Homemade Granola Recipe is an easy, nutritious breakfast or snack! This version had no oil, is quick and a great way to start your day. Makes a great snack to take to work, or pack in school lunches! This version is made with old fashioned rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dried cranberries, and maple syrup.
History and Origin of Granola
Did you know that granola (originally referred to as granula) has been around since the 1863? It was first invented by a man named James Caleb Jackson, a health advocate who believed in eating a healthy, grain based diet.
Not much later, another health advocate, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, created a similar granula recipe for his health spa (called sanitariums back then) in Battle Creek Michigan. Kellogg ended up changing the name to granola because he was sued by Jackson. By 1889, Kellogg was selling over two tons of his granola a week!
Granola's popularity waned, but was revived in the late 1960's as an alternative to sugary commercialized cereals made for kids. Today, granola is still considered a healthy breakfast or snack.
homemade granola Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
Old fashioned rolled oats - I have used different brands and the results are always the same. Be sure you buy old fashioned rolled oats not instant or steel cut oats.
Walnuts - Walnuts are mild flavored and blend well with the wholesomeness of granola. Walnuts are usually sold raw. Chop them and toast them to release their nutty, buttery flavor. Substitute with pecans if desired.
Pumpkin Seeds - also called pepitas. Pumpkin seeds are slightly sweet and nutty. I used shelled, raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds for this recipe. If you use roasted, salted pumpkin seeds then you won't need to toast them.
Cinnamon/Salt - I love cinnamon in granola. Feel free to experiment with your favorites such as pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, cloves, ginger, and all spice. Don't forget the salt! It will pull all the flavors together.
Pure Maple Syrup - this really makes the recipe. Maple syrup has a sweet, woodsy, and caramel flavor. I don't recommend a substitute, but you could try corn syrup and/or honey with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. You can try a flavored maple syrup like Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup.
Dried Cranberries - gives the granola a sweet tang. You can substitute with raisins, golden raisin, dried apricots-use your favorite!
Recipe Steps and Instructions
Please see recipe card below for full instructions.
For best results, pre-measure your ingredients so they are ready to go. This recipe comes together quickly!
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour rolled oats into pan and toast for 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally so oats don't burn.
- Add walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Toast over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep oats and nuts/seeds from burning.
- Sprinkle cinnamon and salt over mixture. Stir to combine.
- Turn heat to low and add maple syrup. Stir frequently until mixture is dry. Remove from heat to start the cooling process.
- Pour granola onto a cookie sheet to cool. Add dried fruit. If adding chocolate or white chocolate chips, wait until granola has cooled completely. Otherwise you'll melt the chocolate!
Store in a container with a tight fitting lid and keep in a cool dry place. Freeze for longer storage.
Homemade Granola Recipe Variations
To make nut free granola:
- leave out the nuts and replace with 1 cup of puffed rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies) or another cereal such as Grape Nuts, Cheerios, or Cracklin' Oat Bran.
To make gluten free granola:
- Check ingredient information to be sure what you're using is gluten free. Gluten free rolled oats are available in most grocery stores. However, if you have trouble finding them this is a link to Trader Joes Gluten and Wheat Free Old Fashioned Oats.
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This Homemade Granola Recipe is delicious served by itself, or with milk and yogurt. Top it with fresh fruit such as sliced strawberries, blueberries and bananas! Sprinkle on some hemp seeds or chia seeds for some added nutrition.
Find out more about the foods we eat fro the USDA!
Read about the history of granola from the New York Times Magazine.
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Homemade Granola Recipe
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats gluten free if desired
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts raw
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas raw
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup real maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup dried fruit dark raisins, golden raisins, cranberries, or a mixture
- Heat a medium sized skillet to medium heat. Pour oats into pan and toast for about 3-5 minutes. Toss the oats around with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula being sure not to burn the oats..
- Add walnuts and pumpkin seeds to pan. Continue to toast mixture for another 3-5 minutes. Toss the mixture around being sure they don’t burn.
- Stir in cinnamon and salt.
- Reduce heat to low; add maple syrup and stir constantly until maple syrup is absorbed and mixture becomes dry, about 3 minutes. If you want your granola to have clusters, be careful not to over mix. If you prefer a muesli or cereal texture, stir to break up any clusters.
- Pour granola mixture onto a baking sheet to cool.
- When granola has cooled, add dried fruit and/or any other toppings.
- Zest from one orange
- Toasted coconut
- Chopped pecans
- Mini chocolate chips or cocoa nibs
- Dehydrated banana chips
- Chopped dried apricots
- Chopped dried pineapple
- Chopped crystallized ginger (sparingly)
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds