Why make homemade granola when the store-bought stuff is actually pretty good? There are plenty of reasons. Making granola at home saves money, reduces your sugar consumption and (best of all?) lets you customize flavors. Plus, it’s easy enough that-with the right ingredients on hand-you can literally do it right now. (Looking for a grab-and-go breakfast that’s just as easy? Right this way.)
We teamed up with the Taste of Home Test Kitchen to bring you the easiest way to make homemade granola. Follow along with our easy steps and expert tips.
4 cups oats, preferably old-fashioned (find out why below!)
Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom (mix and match, if you like, to yield about 4 teaspoons total)
A pinch of salt
1 cup savory mix-ins, (think chopped or whole nuts of your choice, whole or ground seeds, wheat germ or unsweetened coconut flakes)
2 teaspoons oil, such as canola, peanut or coconut
1/2 cup liquid sweetener, such as honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup liquid, such as orange or apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla or other extract
2 cups sweet mix-ins (dried fruits and chocolate chips are popular options)
Two 15x10x1-in. baking pans
Test Kitchen tip: Know your oats! Oats are the building blocks of most granolas. We prefer to use old-fashioned rolled oats rather than quick-cooking. They’re bigger than most other varities, so they retain their shape and have better crunch after baking. If you use quick-cooking oats (which are cut into smaller pieces), the more delicate texture will yield a lighter, less toothsome granola.
Step 1: Prep the ingredients
Preheat the oven to 350°. For stress-free granola baking, we find it’s best to practice mise-en-place (meaning “everything in place,” this is a term for prepping and organizing ingredients before you begin). While the oven warms, measure out all of the ingredients.
Test Kitchen tip: To avoid a mess when measuring honey, lightly oil the measuring cup before using. The honey will come out easily, and you’ll get the full measure without having to scrape the cup.
Step 2: Combine the dry ingredients (minus the sweet mix-ins)
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, wheat germ, salt and seasonings.
Test Kitchen tip: Don’t add the sweet mix-ins just yet. Wait until after the granola has been baked and cooled. If you bake dried fruits, they’ll end up hard as pebbles; chocolate chips will melt.
Step 3: Heat up the liquids
In a small saucepan, combine the oil and liquid sweetener. Heat for 3-4 minutes over medium heat until well-mixed. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Step 4: Stir it up
Pour the warm liquid mixture over the dry ingredients. Toss and stir until evenly coated. The combination should be smelling pretty good by now.
Step 5: Bake, stirring occasionally
Spread the granola onto prepared baking sheets. (Coat the pans with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper for even easier cleanup).
Bake for 25-30 minutes or so, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent the mixture from scorching.
Test Kitchen tip: It’s very important to stir your granola. This helps the mix brown evenly and prevents it from charring. If you want a chunkier final product, just stir the granola more gently to help clusters hold their shape.
When the granola is crisp, golden brown and smells divine, it’s finished. Remove from the oven and set the sheet pans on wire racks to cool.
To prevent sticking, be sure to remove granola from cookie sheets within 20 minutes after baking.
Step 6: Stir in the sweet mix-ins
Don’t forget to stir in any dried fruits, chocolate or other sweet, soft mix-ins you’ve selected. When combined, store in an airtight container.
Test Kitchen tip: When adding larger dried fruit, such as pineapple, mango or apricots, chop coarsely before stirring into the granola. This will ensure the ingredient gets distributed evenly.
This recipe makes a big batch of granola. How to use it up? While you can’t beat a bowl of granola with milk, try making a yogurt parfait or sprinkle over pancakes for a nice crunch.
For more breakfast ideas that are sure to delight, check out our best 13×9 recipes.