This 7-ingredient healthy homemade granola recipe is an easy, comforting, and delicious treat.
Most store-bought granola is high in sugar, contains unhealthy saturated fats and oils, and is packed full of fillers and unnecessary ingredients.
Fortunately for you and me, this granola isn’t full of the yucky stuff.
Whipping up this healthy homemade granola recipe is super quick. It allows you to control the amount of sugar and quality of ingredients while also changing things up and adding in the flavors you love.
Healthy homemade granola also makes your house smell amazing—like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen all day! But don’t worry; you can make this from start to finish in 25 minutes or less.
Is it cheaper to make your own granola? It’s cheaper to make your own granola if you choose to make it more than once. It may be slightly costly to buy all of the ingredients in bulk, but homemade granola is very affordable in the long-run.
How do you make homemade granola from scratch? Keep reading below to find out my favorite recipe for the most perfect granola.
This healthy granola recipe was one of the first recipes I’ve ever posted on this blog. Since then, it’s been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times with rave reviews. This recipe is still a staple in my house after all these years!
Ingredients for Healthy Homemade Granola
What is granola made of? Granola is typically made from rolled oats (some may use a variation of old-fashioned oats or muesli) combined with other ingredients like nuts, seeds, dried fruits, or even sweet treats like dark chocolate chips.
Homemade granola is baked until a perfect golden brown and can be eaten as is (yum) or sweetened lightly with brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey.
Is granola bad for you? Granola is a wonderful alternative to most breakfast foods and snacks loaded with unhealthy carbohydrates, saturated fats, and sugars. Anything can become unhealthy when eaten without moderation, but overall, granola is the perfect healthy alternative.
What is the healthiest granola? Always low sugar and high in nutrients. I always prefer homemade over store-bought whenever possible because you can control the ingredients and adjust based on your nutritional needs.
You just need 7 simple ingredients to make healthy homemade granola, and you may already have them all in your pantry.
Whole Rolled Oats
Whole oats are full of good-for-you fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals like folate, iron, and magnesium.
I buy my whole rolled oats in the bulk section at my local grocery store, but if your store doesn’t have a bulk section, you’ll probably be able to find them in the baking aisle.
Regardless, be sure you are buying 100% pure whole rolled oats. Avoid anything that says “instant” or “quick-cooking.” (Instant/quick-cooking oats = processed/higher-glycemic/more-bad-for-you.)
Oats are gluten-free by nature, but most are held in facilities that contain gluten. Check the package label for a “certified gluten-free” badge if you’re allergic or sensitive to gluten.
Coconut Oil (Or Any Healthy Oil)
I like to use coconut oil because it adds a really lovely light flavor to the granola, but you can use any healthy oil that you prefer. The small amount of oil we use here helps pull healthy homemade granola, but you can barely taste it.
Other options: Macadamia nut oil would also be great because it has a slightly buttery flavor, and I’ve even used extra virgin olive oil, and it still turned out fantastic.
Coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, or extra virgin olive oil would be my first choices. Avocado oil probably has too strong of a flavor, but you could try it in a pinch.
Oils to avoid: Oils high in omega-3 fats, such as flaxseed oil, are great for your health but should be avoided here. They’re meant to be consumed raw and go rancid when heated (omega-3’s don’t like heat at all—don’t cook with them). I typically avoid using canola oil because it contains a high amount of omega-6’s associated with inflammation.
Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit & More
This is where you can customize your healthy homemade granola to your preferences. I give you the exact tried-and-true homemade granola recipe I make at home below, but feel free to substitute any of the nuts, seeds, or dried fruit with an equal amount of one of the three.
I always add unsalted nuts and seeds to my homemade granola for flavor, texture, extra nutrients, and added healthy protein & fiber.
Some of my favorite nuts to add to homemade granola include almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, and pecans. The options are pretty endless. If you avoid nuts, you can substitute the nuts with more pumpkin (pepitas) or sunflower seeds.
A small amount of unsweetened dried fruit is excellent, too. I like to buy unsweetened dried fruit to keep the sugar content down; I buy it in the bulk section of my grocery store for a great price.
I usually opt for unsweetened cranberries and chop them up if they are large. Raisins, unsweetened dried cherries, and apricots are also wonderful in homemade granola if you can find them.
From a health perspective, read your labels. The dried fruit at conventional grocery stores often has loads of sugar added to it. However, the naturally dried fruit that you find at health-focused grocery stores adds a lovely flavor and contains many nutrients without excessive sugar.
You can also add some seeds and other mix-ins to give a fun twist to your homemade granola. Try options such as chia seeds, shredded coconut flakes, dark chocolate chips to provide a yummy boost to your granola.
Honey or Real Maple Syrup
To add a little sweetness to healthy homemade granola, I prefer real maple syrup. Just be sure it’s the real stuff and none of that pancake syrup nonsense (conventional “pancake” syrup is corn syrup with maple flavoring—yuck!).
As with everything, read your labels. The only ingredient in maple syrup should be maple syrup.
Local raw organic honey is also a great option, especially if anyone you’re cooking for suffers from seasonal allergies.
Some health experts say that local raw honey that hasn’t been pasteurized will contain small traces of local pollen that can help with allergy issues (a little homemade homeopathy).
Though the scientific evidence is limited, it doesn’t hurt to try! Healthy homemade granola is baked at a low heat so your ingredients will retain their nutrients.
Again, go easy on the sweetener to keep the sugar content down. Always avoid white, highly processed sugars and artificial sweeteners. Read the maple syrup and honey labels and make sure the only ingredients in the bottle are maple syrup (no corn syrup) or honey.
Vanilla & Sea Salt
Don’t skip the vanilla extra and salt! Vanilla extract adds a gourmet flavor, and salt brings out every ingredient’s flavor and makes the sweetener taste even sweeter.
I use Real Salt brand sea salt for purity and its more delicate texture that melts into recipes like this. You can find it at just about any grocery store these days.
Kosher salt would work, too, but it’s a bit more coarse, so you really have to work it into the mixture with your hands.
Tips for Making the Best Granola
Keep it 50/50
Whether it is your first time making granola or not, my #1 tip for making the perfect healthy granola is keeping the recipe 50/50. The granola should be about half sweetened and half oil.
While I typically suggest keeping the sweet minimal, there are many healthier options to sweeten your homemade granola.
How to Make Crunchy & Clumpy Granola
Making crunchier, clumpy granola requires no extra ingredients—just a couple of additional steps. Make sure to press the ingredients into an even layer before baking. Stir the granola once halfway through baking.
To achieve extra crunch to your granola, press on the granola before it fully cools to room temperature, and then avoid bumping it until it fully cools.
How to Know When Your Granola is Done
Knowing when your granola is done is one of the trickier parts of this recipe. Once you know, you’ll get the hang of it to ensure perfect, toasty granola.
I typically bake my homemade granola on low heat because it allows the dish to dry out without overdoing it.
Pro tip: your granola will dry as it cools, so don’t worry if it doesn’t fully dry in the oven.
Nuts and seeds can be added during the baking process, but always add your dried fruit after baking (they will burn if baked).
How to Store and Serve Homemade Granola
Storing granola is similar to storing dried oatmeal. Because this recipe is homemade, you can keep it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
I personally prefer to store my homemade granola in a mason jar in my refrigerator or in a BPA-free plastic bag when I’m traveling or on the go.
Variations on Basic Granola
Get creative with your granola! This recipe is flexible and super easy to modify. Use any combo of healthy ingredients to make it your own flavor and consistency (crunchy, crispy, toasted, chunky, etc.).
Some of the most popular types of pan-baked granola recipes include:
Maple almond granola
Cherry pecan granola
Orange and almond granola
Triple coconut granola
Cranberry orange granola
Cinnamon raisin granola
Coconut spiced granola
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Healthy Homemade Maple Almond Granola Recipe
2 cups raw, whole rolled oats
½ cup sliced raw almonds
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tbsp maple syrup (100% real maple syrup)
1 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 large pinch fine sea salt
Healthy Homemade Cherry Pecan Granola
2 cups raw, whole rolled oats
½ cup raw pecans, chopped
½ cup unsweetened dried cherries, chopped
¼ cup raw sliced almond
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tbsp maple syrup (100% maple syrup, preferably grade-b)
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 large pinch fine sea salt
How to Eat Granola: 6 Tasty Options
Granola is best known as a healthy breakfast or for snacking, but there are so many ways to eat it. You can use it as a killer healthy snack, on your favorite yogurt, or mixed into a new muffin recipe. The options for granola are truly endless.
Try these new ways to mix up your granola game:
Plain: Try eating your homemade granola plain as a crunchy snack.
Cereal: You can eat your homemade granola with milk as a healthy cereal alternative.
Yogurt: Granola makes the perfect topping for a quick yogurt snack. Add some fresh (or dried) fruit, nuts, seeds, and you have a yogurt parfait.
Acai Bowl: I love adding my homemade granola to an acai bowl. It gives the perfect toasted crunch and provides an excellent source of fiber. Add some peanut butter, coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit for a protein-packed snack.
Baked Goods: Have you ever tried adding granola to your favorite muffin recipe? Spoiler alert: It is incredible.
Granola Bars: Almost all store-bought granola bars are packed with high sugar content and fillers. I love using my homemade granola to create homemade granola bars.
The Healthiest Homemade Granola Recipe
This super delicious, healthy granola recipe below is the perfect combination of oats, oils, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and sweetness. It makes about three cups of homemade granola.
Half a cup is typically a single serving. You can always double batch the recipe for extra granola goodness.
Serve it as cereal with unsweetened, non-dairy milk (I prefer it with unsweetened almond milk), or milk if you tolerate dairy
Put it on top of unsweetened Greek yogurt or make a granola & yogurt parfait
½ cup raw nuts, chopped (or slivered almonds; you don’t need to chop them)
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
½ cup unsweetened dried fruit, chopped (optional; I like unsweetened dried cranberries)
Preheat the oven to 300º F (177° C).
Combine the oil and maple syrup (or honey), vanilla extract, and salt in the bottom of a large bowl (mixing bowl is best) and give it a quick stir. The coconut oil might be solid depending on your climate (it has a melting point of about 75ºF), and that’s ok! A rough mix to incorporate the vanilla into the coconut oil and sweetener is all you need to do here.
Add the rest of the dry ingredients, use your clean hands to mix well, and toss it to coat. It will be sticky and messy, but that’s the fun part. Your hands will warm the oil and melt it into the mixture if it’s solid; just be sure to mix it all through the other ingredients, so there aren’t any chunks of oil left.
Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet or sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes until very lightly toasted. (To make this recipe completely raw-friendly, dehydrate the mixture 5-6 hours at 115ºF in a food dehydrator instead.)
Cool 10-15 minutes before serving or storing.
Homemade granola will taste like burnt popcorn if you overcook it; keep it at a low temperature just for 10-12 minutes to let it come together. I usually pull mine out at 10 minutes.
Oats are gluten-free by nature, but most are held in facilities that contain gluten. Check the package label and buy certified gluten-free oats if you are concerned with any gluten content.
This granola can be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks. I keep mine in a mason jar in the refrigerator at home and in a BPA-free plastic bag when traveling.