How to Make Granola From Scratch (And Why You Should)
"No. I am NOT having cereal for dinner. Obviously I'm an adult. This is granola."
Granola. The adulting version of cereal and the best breakfast/lunch/dinner/dessert/midnight/road trip snack I can think of. Problem is that it's $12 for a teeny tiny bag. It's almost as if you have to pass on it based on principle. I'll never understand why granola is so effing expensive when oats are dirt cheap. You too? That's what I thought. So in this post, we're gonna make our own. And stick it to the man.
Just in case you needed a little more convincing, I did a little cost breakdown. We used to have to do this with our recipes in culinary school. It's a bit of a tedious process but it's also a very revealing one. You wouldn't believe how you're getting hosed on the markup of that fancy restaurant meal. The same goes for granola. A good quality organic brand that still seems to skimp on the good stuff like nuts, fruit, and other surprises runs around $10 for a 12 ounce bag, roughly 2-3 cups. For $4 more the recipe below makes 8-9 cups. More than three times that amount. You might be rich but you're definitely no fool.
Most granola recipes call for you to stir the oats. This one doesn't. It's not an oversight. I like my granola in big, crunchy clusters and allowing it to bake and cool into one big, undisturbed sheet accomplishes that. Plus bonus points for not having to stir and spill all over the bottom of your oven.
Granola is kind of like the a.m. equivalent of the weeknight casserole your mom used to make to use up all the leftovers. Only better. Way, way better. Raisins give you the creeps? Use dried cranberries instead. Having a moment with flax seeds? Throw a handful of them in there. Customize this base recipe to your flavor preferences or to suit whatever happens to be in your cupboard. There's something almost victorious in demystifying what was once only available in store-bought form by making it from scratch in your own kitchen. It's also a killer hostess gift. And all you need is a bowl and a cup and a spoon and a baking tray. So go do the thing. And then make this this part of your weekly meal prep forever going forward.
Food for Style Notes
- "Hot spots" in your oven can cause one area to overcook while another remains underdone. Rotating your pans halfway through the baking time ensures even baking throughout and is a good habit to get in to. Dawdling with the oven door open, however, is not. You lose at least 25 degrees of precious heat every time you open that door so get in and get out.
Want more baking and food styling tips?
Check out the workshop series for full-on food styling classes and subscribe to get new posts delivered. You'll automatically be signed up for the monthly newsletter chock full of fearless baking tips and food styling tricks.
The Absolute Best Homemade, From-Scratch Granola
A loose take on Cambria's Granola found on TheKitchn.com
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in your mixing bowl. Stir together the syrup and oil in your liquid measuring cup and add to the oat mixture. Stir well until evenly coated and combined. Pour mixture onto the sheet tray and spread into an even layer with your spatula. Pop the sheet tray into the oven and set your timer for 15 minutes. When the timer is up, rotate the sheet tray and set the timer for 10 minutes more. Don't stir it. Once the timer is up begin checking the granola every 5 minutes or so. It's done once the top is an even rich golden brown. Allow the granola to cool completely. Once it has it will have hardened into one glorious, crunchy sheet. Break it into clusters, toss in the dried fruit, and store in an airtight container.
3 cups whole rolled oats
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, etc)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup unsweetened large flake coconut
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup maple syrup, agave, or honey
1/2 cup melted and cooled coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 cup dried mixed fruit (raisins, tart cherries, cranberries)