Recipe Review

This Rule-Breaking Olive Oil Granola Is Probably the Best Granola Recipe of All Time

updated Oct 26, 2020
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Credit: Image: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

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Every few years a recipe pops up that gets everyone talking. I like to think I’m aware of most of them: I knew about the pan-banging cookies, and made several batches of the flourless peanut butter cookies that are as beautiful as they are delicious. But one famous recipe I seemed to completely miss was Early Bird‘s olive oil granola.

Several years ago, the granola company’s recipe started developing a devoted following, with fans praising its savory-yet-sweet flavor and crisp texture (even Samin was obsessed!). When I asked my coworkers which recipes to include in our granola showdown, almost everyone told me I needed to try Early Bird’s recipe. I was intrigued.

The recipe is written by Nekisia Davis (the founder of the company) and is made with oats, olive oil, maple syrup, coconut flakes, brown sugar, and a variety of nuts and seeds. And it’s not just a few tablespoons of olive oil that get added to the mix, it’s an entire half cup! I was eager to see how that would taste — and if the recipe was actually worthy of the hype — so I baked up a batch to find out.

Get the recipe: Nekisia Davis’ Toasted-Coconut Granola

Credit: Image: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

How to Make Early Bird’s Toasted-Coconut Granola

Early Bird’s recipe is super simple and relies on some clever ingredient upgrades to make it shine. You’ll start by combining rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, pecans, maple syrup, extra-virgin olive oil, light brown sugar, and coarse salt in a large bowl and mixing until the oats are evenly coated. Transfer the mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 300°F oven until golden, stirring every 10 minutes to make sure it cooks evenly. Once it’s golden-brown and crisp, let it cool for at least 45 minutes. It’s a super simple recipe that can be thrown together in no time.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Early Bird’s Granola Recipe

This was, hands down, the best granola I have ever had. The moment I mixed the olive oil into the oats I knew something special was happening. The olive oil, coconut, and maple syrup combine to create the most alluring scent imaginable. It was intensely fruity, like a piece of bubblegum or fresh passionfruit, and I was eager to see if the aroma would remain after baking. To my pleasant surprise, it did! The baked granola was perfectly sweet, with a bold fruity flavor and warm, toasty undertones, and a generous amount of salt that made it shine. It was the most flavorful granola I’ve ever had, matched with a perfectly crisp texture.

This recipe uses a lot of maple syrup and olive oil, which makes the oats very wet before you send them to the oven. But I actually think that’s what makes it so good! After baking it came out perfectly, and the oil and maple syrup provided both flavor and texture. I will definitely be making this granola again, and I can’t believe it took me this long to try it.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Early Bird Foods’ Granola, a Few Tips

  1. Bake the granola on two sheet pans. Although the recipe calls for just one sheet pan, I found that the granola made a bit too much to fit. (A problem I ran into with many of the recipes I tested.) If your sheet pan is on the smaller side, feel free to divide it onto two to make stirring it easier.
  2. Use unsweetened coconut flakes. When shopping for this granola, make sure to buy unsweetened coconut flakes instead of the more common sweetened variety, which will make the granola too sweet.
  3. And a bold, flavorful olive oil. The flavor of the olive oil is what makes this granola so good! If you have a bottle that’s bold and fruity, this is the perfect recipe to use it in.
  4. Season with coarse or flaky salt. Early Bird Foods’ recipe calls for using coarse salt to season the granola. The large flakes provided a nice contrast against the sweet granola clusters and helped bring the whole thing together. If you have some nice flaky salt on hand, this is the time to use it.

    Rating: 10/10

    Have you ever made Early Bird Foods’  granola recipe? Tell us what you thought!
Credit: Image: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn