Recently I was walking my younger brother through the basics of making granola at home. Over the phone, he lamented that most recipes felt too fussy and ingredient-heavy for the simple, not-too-sweet, easy granola he craved.
Basic (but very good) granola requires just a handful of ingredients: oats, a sweetener, some oil, and maybe nuts or dried fruit. Once you master that basic formula, it's even easier to mix up a granola made just the way you like it.
Simple, Easy Granola Is Only 7 Ingredients Away
The grocery aisle is overflowing with specialty granolas that are as delicious as they are special, but what every home cook needs is a simple, straightforward granola that can be memorized and made from heart. This recipe is just that — a very basic granola that will teach you the basics of cooking oats with a little sweetener, seasoning, and just a few additions so you end up with a simple granola to eat by the handful or in a bowl with yogurt or milk. Start by learning this basic method so you can customize all your future batches with whatever you're in the mood for.
Key Steps for Homemade Granola Just How You Like It
- Keep it 50-50. The coating for your granola should be about half sweetener and half oil. Honey and maple syrup are two of the best sweeteners you can use for granola because their liquid state coats each oat well. This recipe will give you granola with a familiar level of sweetness, but you can reduce the honey and oil by as much as half and still have excellent granola.
- Get as clumpy as you like. The internet is littered with tricks for clumpy granola, but for nice, simple chunks you need no special ingredients and just a few steps. First, press the granola into an even layer before you put it in the oven, then stir it only once halfway through cooking. For really good clumps, press down on the finished granola before it cools and avoid jostling it on the pan until cooled completely.
- Knowing when the granola is done. Arguably the hardest part of baking granola is knowing when the granola is done. Using a low oven temperature helps dry out the granola without over-baking it, but keep in mind that the granola won't be dry right out of the oven — it will dry as it cools, so take it out of the oven when it looks lightly toasted and smells like cooked honey. We're going for a toasty smell here.
- Add dried fruit after baking. You can toast most nuts with the oats in the oven, but dried fruit will burn on the pan, so be sure to add it after baking.
Storing and Serving Homemade Granola
For the longest shelf life, completely cool the granola on the pan before transferring to a storage container. When stored in an airtight container, this granola will keep for up to a month.
Eat it like cereal with milk or sprinkle over yogurt for a simple breakfast you can take anywhere. Try this recipe straight up or tweak it slightly using different sweeteners, seasonings, or swapping the nuts or fruit for your favorite. With this simple easy granola, the possibilities are almost endless.
How To Make Easy Homemade Granola
Makes 5 cups ; serves 10
Prep time: 15 minutes ; cooking time: 20 minutes to 25 minutes
What You Need
canola oil or other neutral oil, such as coconut or olive oil
honey or maple syrup
old-fashioned rolled oats
raisins or other dried, chopped fruit
Measuring cups and spoons
Rimmed baking sheet
Heat the oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Whisk together the oil, honey, cinnamon, and salt. Place the oil, honey, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the oats and almonds and stir to coat. Go ahead and measure the oats and almonds right into the oil mixture — don’t worry if you add a little more oats or almonds — granola is very forgiving. Stir to coat well.
Spread the oats out onto the prepared baking sheet. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer. If the granola is clumpy, use a spatula to press it into the pan.
Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Bake, stirring halfway through, for about 20 minutes total. The granola is ready when golden-brown and the almonds have toasted — it will still feel wet coming out of the oven but will dry as it cools.
Remove from the oven, add the fruit, tamp down, and cool. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and sprinkle on the raisins or fruit. If you want clumps of granola, press and tamp down the granola before it cools, which will help it stick together. Cool completely before storing.
Store in an airtight container. Transfer the cooled granola to an airtight container for long-term storage at room temperature.
Gluten-free: For gluten-free granola, make sure the oats were processed in a gluten-free facility.
Storage: Granola can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.