Easy Homemade Granola

Have you ever made granola from scratch? Did you have to buy new ingredients or stay glued to the recipe to do it? Happily, there’s another way. And it’s easy!

Here’s How to make granola. Right now. With what’s in your pantry.

Learning the technique this way (instead of following a recipe) will let you:

  • Have granola instantly when you want it.
  • Without going to the store (assuming you have a few everyday things on hand).
  • Use up ingredients you already have, particularly those tablespoon size remnants of random nuts and seeds.
  • Customize the perfect tasting granola for your family, while only including ingredients you can, and like, to eat (allergies, anyone?).
  • Spend less money, and usually, create less waste.
  • Feel super awesome that you can do this in your sleep. 

But first a little story…

I first started making my own granola because I thought it’d be cheaper and healthier than store-bought. It also seemed like I’d be able to make it from stuff I already had on hand, because I always have oats and some kind of nuts or seeds lying about.

But as with most try-it-from-scratch endeavors, as I began looking around for recipes, I got stuck. There were five more things I’d have to buy in order to make the recipe, and the long lists of ingredients seemed silly.

And let’s be serious. I wasn’t looking for the best granola EV-ER, I just wanted something healthier and cheaper than store bought.

Did it really have to be so complicated?

But I’ve discovered that when your goal is feeding people healthy tasteful things (rather than preparing to entertain royalty), most at-home cooking can be boiled down (heh heh) to a ratio and a technique.

If you get in the habit of testing and tasting and thinking, you can make healthy food, from what’s in your pantry, and give your creative self a playground as you do it. Dare I say, it can be fun.

Today I’m going to give you this kind of starting point for granola. Try this with what you have on hand, and think about what it looks and feels and tastes like as you do it. What does 4 cups of oats look like in the bowl? What does the ratio of ingredients look like? How much clumping happens when you add the oil/syrup mixture? Especially note your observations of saltiness before and after baking.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Easy Homemade Granola. Use your pantry to make healthier granola. (Best Part? You don't need a recipe.) Pin for future reference! Homemade Granola
with What’s in Your Pantry

Ingredients (Ratio)

  • 4 cups oats
  • 2 cups any mix of chopped nuts and/or seeds
  • 1 cup mix of dried fruit (chopped roughly, if large)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup syrupy sweetener or mix thereof (honey, maple/golden/Karo syrup, etc.)

How to do it (Technique)

  1. Get your oven going. At 350F, let’s say.
  2. Prep a baking sheet. (Line it with aluminum foil if you want the easiest cleanup ever.) Grease it a little.
  3. Mix your coating (oil & syrup) in a small saucepan and put over low heat. (You don’t have to hover.)
  4. Dump your 4 cups of oats and your 2 cups of mixed whatever (nuts & seeds) into a large bowl. (Don’t add dried fruit.) Toss it around a bit if you feel like dancing.
  5. Check on your coating. Is it bubbling yet? If not, turn the heat up a little until it does. Once it’s bubbling…
  6. Stir the coating, and pour it over the oat stuff.
  7. Stir the whole mixture, throwing a little kosher salt in there as you go.
  8. Pour it in the pan, spread it out, and put it in the oven.
  9. Bake it until it’s golden (about 30 minutes), stirring every 10 minutes or so for even crunchy-getting. (Note, sometimes mine is still a little on the soft side until it cools.)
  10. Add dried fruit and let it cool, then store it in an airtight container.
  11. Taste it thoughtfully. Is it:
    • Too Salty/Not salty enough?
    • Too sweet/Not sweet enough?
    • Is any flavor overpowering?
  12. Make notes somewhere about how you think it could be improved for next time. This ratio should get you started, but you can twist it all around every which way until it’s just how you want it.

This batch should be plenty edible. But the point is to observe and tweak and get it just how you like it. You’re on your way to developing your very own perfect-for-you granola!

Let me take an extra moment to point out how simple this is.

Yes, I used 12 whole steps to explain it. But think with me for just a minute and you’ll probably never have to refer to the steps again:

  • You’re making granola. You’re going to need some crunchy stuff and a coating and somewhere to bake it. The most common oven temp is 350, and you can go with that.
  • It’s all based on the cup measure. 1 cup dried fruit (the least), twice that of seeds & nuts, twice THAT of oats (the most). The coating is 1 cup of fat and sugar in equal parts.
  • The honey in the coating will be more liquid if you heat it up (and the more liquidy the better for mixing), so making the coating on the stove is the way to go. You don’t want hot sugar or oil popping around, so you don’t turn the heat up too high.
  • Things taste more (and better) when they’re salted, so you’ll want to add a bit of that.
  • And dried fruit gets chewy when it’s baked straight-up, so you’ll want to add it at the end.

If you remember the ratio of ingredients, you can probably think yourself through the steps, even if you have to do it a time or two before you feel truly confident about it.

A few notes for the future:

  • Look at other granola recipes for ideas, and add things that sound good to you.
  • If adding sugar to your coating, add it when you first put it over the heat. If adding vanilla or other extract, add it when you remove the pan from the heat.
  • Have molasses that needs using up? This is a great way to do it. But start sparingly as the flavor can be pretty strong.

Well, how ’bout it?

Let me just say again how awesomely competent you’re going to feel doing this for yourself without a recipe. You’re also going to (eventually) LUHVE the way it tastes because, well, you get to make it taste however you want!

And if it’s not coming along like you expect, drop a line in the comments for goodness sake and I’ll help!

So… think you’ll try it?

 

And if homemade is your thing, you might also want to try:

Leave a Comment

  • bianca March 5, 2013, 12:02 pm

    I made homemade granola a couple years ago and it was SUCH. A. PAIN. So I haven’t ventured out to try again. Though recently it has crossed my mind – thank you for the (always timely) inspiration!
    bianca recently posted..turkey feta flatbread

    Reply
  • newdfw March 5, 2013, 11:21 pm

    you’ve inspired me to give this a whirl

    Reply
  • amber March 5, 2013, 11:39 pm

    Glad you guys feel inspired… you totally should be! You know another thing I just found out has been made obnoxiously difficult that needn’t be? Crackers. You can make your own crackers from anything. I can still hardly believe it. More on that soon ;-)

    Reply
  • Katie March 6, 2013, 6:00 am

    I love this recipe! I am so excited to go make granola! I am doing a low-glycemic diet, and am using a lot of coconut oil and stevia, but your version makes it so easy to just swap out ingredients that you want to use! Any ideas about liquid content since Stevia is in powder form? Maybe add water? Hmmm, would have to play around a bit. Also, can’t wait to hear more about crackers! I am totally intimidated by that too! Thanks for sharing!!
    Katie recently posted..a little kid update

    Reply
    • amber March 8, 2013, 9:43 pm

      Hey Katie,

      I try to keep tabs on the blood-sugar stuff, too, though perhaps in different ways. Because of the oats and nuts/seeds, you can probably get away with using a some honey and then adding some sweetener to your mixture.

      You could omit it altogether, I imagine, but I think you’d end up with a toasted-grain-mix rather than “granola” in the clumped-crunchies sense. Maybe quarter the recipe for a trial and see what happens. My guess is that you’ll at least be able to use it to mix in with yogurt, even if you decide you won’t do it that same way again.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  • meg March 6, 2013, 12:02 pm

    How simple! Thanks, and I think I will be trying this soon! I’ve been looking for a “clean eating” granola in the store (with no luck) or a great recipe to make my own (and met your same problems!). I’m looking forward to breakfast now!! :)

    Reply
    • amber March 8, 2013, 9:45 pm

      Excited for you to try it, Meg! I’d love to hear how it goes!

      Reply
  • meg March 9, 2013, 2:59 am

    I made it – and it turned out far better than expected! It ended up tasting nearly the same as my most favorite (HFCS and palm oil laden) store-bought granola!! Even my husband loved it and has been picking at it since it came out of the oven :) Thank you again for such a great “method” :p

    Reply
    • amber March 9, 2013, 3:19 am

      Meg, you’ve made my day! So glad to hear someone else loves a good “method” as much as I do!

      Reply
  • Heather P April 19, 2013, 4:43 pm

    I have a bunch of different granola recipes but this makes it so much easier! Thank you for sharing!
    Heather P recently posted..Stitchin’ Wednesday – Easy Loop Bag

    Reply
  • Renee Bush April 21, 2013, 7:39 pm

    After looking through so many granola recipes I came across yours which was simple and I like it. I use oil, maple syrup, almonds and i added a little cinnamon and sugar. It is done and have cooled and my daughter and I can not keep our hands out of it. It is soooo good.

    We are eating vanilla ice cream and have poured granola all over it. Thank you so much for this recipe. This will be a staple. The next time i will add coconut and raisins.

    Reply
  • amber black April 24, 2013, 12:31 pm

    Renee, I love the idea of adding cinnamon. Will definitely be trying that soon!

    Reply
  • Jessica Thornbery April 28, 2013, 8:35 pm

    Thanks so much for posting the ratio approach to granola. I’ve been experimenting with my own homemade granola for about a month, and I kept finding myself feeling locked into certain ingredients based on a recipe I’d found. This was getting expensive, having to buy new ingredients for the next ‘amazing, best-ever, you-gotta-try-this’ granola, and all I really wanted was something simple that tasted good and could be adapted to suit my mood. Enter your amazing blog!

    I tried out the ratio today with great success! Coconut oil for the fat, honey for the sweetener, cinnamon and sea salt for the flavor, and my own home-dehydrated berries for the fruit…Delicious!

    Reply
    • amber black April 29, 2013, 12:25 am

      You guys give me the best ideas! Definitely trying this with coconut oil. Thanks!

      Reply
  • Lala May 15, 2013, 9:32 pm

    Made this yesterday! Yummy! Glad I found your recipe. I’m going to visit the bulk section frequently so I can make this for all my loved ones to try.

    Reply
  • Eleanor May 28, 2013, 12:22 pm

    I just finished making this granola and YUM! It was so easy and simple and it’s great to know exactly what’s in it, and that I can tweak it. I used blueberry Craisons, but I think I might skip the dried fruit all together next time (I’ll have to see what my husband thinks though).

    It also seemed like too much for one cookie sheet, so I spread it out over two. One of the sheets burned some and the other one was perfect (even though I mixed them both and rotated racks). Mystery. The burned one tastes just fine though :)

    Thanks for making this simple and doable for more novice chefs…and those who don’t like anything that uses more than 5 ingredients!

    Reply
    • amber black May 30, 2013, 1:48 am

      Blueberry Craisins!!?? Definitely trying those next time I’m in the states. Yum!

      Reply
  • Mindy May 28, 2013, 3:06 pm

    I will never buy store bought/specialty granola. It is so easy to make and a fraction of store bought. I’m one of those people who does not like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen! Wow!

    Reply
  • Kristin C. May 30, 2013, 1:44 pm

    Your recipe/method seems really simple. I have a yummy recipe that I want to make more healthy (it has sugar and butter in it). Any thoughts on how to do that? Also, can this method be used to make granola bars?

    Reply
    • amber black June 4, 2013, 8:45 am

      Kristin, I haven’t tried it for granola bars, but I don’t think there is enough stickiness in the recipe to make it work.

      If you try it, though, let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  • amber black July 2, 2013, 1:18 pm

    This is a comment from Jennifer and my reply – it was getting lost in the redirect to the new site, but I thought it was worth sharing. Sorry for the odd happs, Jennifer!

    Jennifer:
    Today I was in the store contemplating purchasing some GF granola. There were 3 ingredients. At $7 for a small bag I thought, “gee, I have that stuff at home and bet I can make it myself if I could find the right recipe.” Your ratio-based recipe was just what I needed. I made a half batch in the toaster oven and it turned out very good. I used canola oil, honey, a dash of sea salt and the end of my cinnamon. Next time I’d like it to be sweeter… Do I simply add more honey or do you think I should reduce the oil to keep the wet/dry ratio consistent? I think I’ll also leave the salt out if I’m doing oats only again.

    Amber:
    Great question, Jennifer. I find the best thing is usually to play with it a little. I’d start by just adding a little more honey. (Alternately, you could just add some raw sugar to the saucepan and make sure it dissolves before you stir the mixture with the dry ingredients.)

    If you find it’s too oily, then certainly reduce the oil. Otherwise, I’d keep it the same.

    As for the salt, certainly do it “to taste.” If you don’t like those salty bursts, then consider adding the salt to mixture in the saucepan and letting it dissolve. A little bit of salt done this way should make it so that it boosts the honey and vanilla flavor (desirable, I think) without being able to taste the salt.

    Again, just play with it until you get it just right for you.

    So glad you’re enjoying it!!

    Reply
  • Maren October 4, 2013, 9:20 pm

    Thank you so much! I HATE recipes. I just can’t follow them. I must be broken. I need a “method”…This was perfect for my style of cooking. Now I am off to make it with almonds, Pomegranate Craisins, honey & brown sugar, and Shhhh…. I am going to dump some white & dark chocolate chips in with the craisins at the end. I think my yogurt will thank me, and you!!!

    Reply
    • amber black October 6, 2013, 12:51 pm

      Chocolate and white chocolate. Yes!!

      Reply
  • Nurse Shanny October 20, 2013, 10:56 am

    I just ran across this posting. Trying to live a healthier life and oddly enough, ALL THINGS “GOOD” FOR YOU COST MORE MONEY- including granola. I got all the ingredients I needed from my local grocery store. Didn’t pay more than 6 bucks! It’s baking now…I’m very anxious. But it tasted great before I baked it, so it should be DEELISH once its crispy. Thanks a lot :)

    Reply
    • Nurse Shanny October 20, 2013, 11:21 am

      It’s done baking!!!!! OMG!! It’s warm and has my whole house smelling wonderful!! We tasted it warm….. and needless to say WE LOVE IT!! My wife is such a finicky eater and she keeps sneaking in the kitchen to steal samples!!! That was the true test. The recipe was simple, easy, and the tips are excellent. Already contemplating my next batch…… THANKS

      Reply
      • amber black October 22, 2013, 2:24 pm

        SOOO happy to hear this worked so well for you!

        Reply
  • Chris Olson October 24, 2013, 4:20 pm

    I grew up loving a simple granola that my grandma use to make. My entire family loves granola, but ugh- it’s expensive. I’ve been looking for a straightforward and easy to remember recipe and this is perfect. I’ve got a batch toasting in the oven right now that I made with my daughter. I just wanted to thank you for posting this. :)

    Reply
  • Stephen Worley February 2, 2014, 6:02 pm

    I’ve been making these for months, took me forever to get a good recipe for granola and your “recipe” is perfect for me. I make batches and snack on them over a week at work. Thank you for the inspirations.

    Reply
  • TL Marchand February 9, 2014, 11:09 am

    I’ve been looking for an easy homeade granola recipe and I’m sure this would have been fabulous but my oats burned. Mine would have been done in about 11 minutes. When I went to flip them with 17 minutes left, they were already burned. I might try this again but lower the oven temp to 325 and bake for less time, watching carefully.

    Reply
    • amber black February 10, 2014, 10:41 am

      Hi TL, sorry to hear this went awry for you.

      Good call on trying it with a reduced oven temp in your case (the actual temperature inside the oven can vary QUITE a bit from oven to oven). That should do the trick!

      Reply
  • Marjolein February 22, 2014, 1:17 pm

    Love this recipe and so does my husband. Since he found my homemade granola it was gone before I knew it. So a new batch is in the oven as I’m typing. At 150 celsius this time. I add more fruit though. Lots of lightly sweetened cranberries, dried apples, bananas, raisins and anything else I can find upto 2 cups and that way it’s perfect for me :). Thanks for your recipe!!

    Reply
  • Burnt Granola March 8, 2014, 9:47 am

    I followed the recipe to a “T” and my granola is all burnt up. :( It might be the something sticky I used was molasses, because that’s all I had on hand. Or it might have been partially due to the shredded coconut I put in (which other granola recipes call for during the cooking phase.) I don’t know what the lynch pin was, but I am sad that I don’t have granola.

    Reply
    • amber black March 9, 2014, 1:03 am

      Oh no! My guess is that oven temperature could be the culprit. Oats are definitely finicky in that there is a fine line between the temperature at which they toast nicely and the temperature at which they burn quickly.

      If you’re using an oven thermometer, check it throughout the bake-time and maybe aim to keep it 10 degrees lower if the oats are burning at 350.

      If you don’t have an oven thermometer, try decreasing the set-temperature by 25 degrees.

      All around, lowering the temperature should help. Perhaps with the next batch, try the lowered temperature and keep a close eye on it while it bakes. If it starts getting too dark, remove the granola from the oven, lower the temperature a little more, and put the granola back in.

      Doing a little trial and error in this way should help you find the ideal temperature for baking granola in your oven. :) Good Luck!

      Reply
  • Christy March 11, 2014, 7:39 am

    Thank you for posting this recipe – I like to keep the simple ones in my head, and you’ve made it easy to remember.

    Reply
  • Kim April 23, 2014, 10:48 am

    I’m so glad you came up in my search for a granola recipe. This is more like how I cook meals- using what is leftover or already on hand. Plus, I use ratios for frosting, caramel, toffee, etc, so I make just as much as I need. For some reason, I have never applied this to making granola, but now I can! Thanks for opening my mind- I have been in a rut!

    Reply
    • amber black April 24, 2014, 1:18 am

      Yes! I love using ratios. Have you posted anywhere about ratios for caramel or toffee? I’d love to try those!

      Reply
  • Danielle May 4, 2014, 1:33 am

    Hi, came across your granola recipe the other day when searching for a clean-eating granola recipe. Hubbie and I gave it a go last night, just had it for breakfast this morning and it is yummy yummy yummy!!! Thank you so much for making it so easy to do yet with yummy results!

    Reply
    • amber black May 4, 2014, 5:20 am

      You’re welcome, Danielle! Thanks for letting me know it worked for you! :)

      Reply
  • mikayla malone May 8, 2014, 5:01 pm

    Trying a “non-recipe” granola a try after reading your post. So far it smells amazing and at the 10min mark to stir it around it tasted good. So here’s to hoping it gets crispy without burning and still tastes good when its done =)
    Im doing a half recipe to try. Added a good bit of cinnamon to finish off the container and added a good bit of flax seed which I always do, to the oats in a bowl. Then in the pan eyeballed the amount of honey, added a lil bit extra cinnamon/sugar mixture to dissolve, a small splash of vanilla when I pulled it off the heat, and something ive never done i wanted to try, I added maybe a tsp of natural unsweetened cocoa powder and mixed it up, its subtle enough, so far, and not making it taste bad which is what I feared.
    Fingers crossed it turns out tasty! I use my granola on top of my greek yogurt

    Reply
  • feriska June 18, 2014, 5:45 am

    This is amazing!
    I went with quick cook oat, olive oil, honey, almond, blueberies, raisin, and apricot.
    This recipe works like magic! Thank you!

    Reply
  • RP June 22, 2014, 6:25 pm

    I’m wondering about your oven – other granola recipes I’ve seen tend to have maybe 15 minutes in the oven, and I can see I’m not the only commenter for whom 30 minutes at the temperature you recommend is much too long. I set my fan oven to 160C rather than the 180C equivalent in your recipe, and it was done when I checked at 13 minutes. Either you like your granola way blacker than mine, or there’s something funny going on either with your oven or with mine and everyone else’s :-D

    Reply
    • amber black June 26, 2014, 10:12 am

      Every oven is different, for sure. We must have a few differences between our ovens! :)

      The idea with this technique is to let the granola crisp-up (dry out) and hopefully get a little toasty without getting burned. If you find the oven is too hot, turn the temp down a bit, or even try moving the granola farther from the heat source (especially with heat coming from the top/broiler part of an oven).

      For sure experiment until it works for you; that’s totally the idea! This way works in my oven (and seems to work for some other people as well), but I’m certain it won’t work for everyone. Play around and see what works best. Good Luck! :)

      Reply
  • Molly Donohue July 14, 2014, 5:32 pm

    love your style! thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Jesse August 26, 2014, 12:03 pm

    Thank you! I agree with you in that the rrecipes call for too many ingredients. I googled for a method and yours is the first actual method without a recipe attached that came up. Thank you for posting this.

    Reply