I am picky about my granola. It has to be sweet, but not too sweet; it has to have a nuttiness to it that will pair well with any manner of fresh or dried fruits; it has to stand up well to milk but also play nicely with yogurt; and it has to have just the right amount of salt to balance all the flavors out.
Given my (perhaps overly) specific thoughts on the matter, it has always been difficult to find a store-bought brand that measures up to my requirements while also not making me feel like I’ve plunked down way too much money for a dried breakfast product.
Thankfully, my husband found a recipe years ago that, after a bit of tinkering through multiple batches, has yielded what we feel is the absolute best granola we’ve ever had.
I share it with you in the hopes it will make you just as happy. And also because granola is so stupidly easy to make, it’s a great place to save some money while also ensuring you’ve got good quality (and safe) ingredients – and you’ll know the end product is exactly what you want!
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As I said above, I’m a bit fan of nuts in my granola. I treat this recipe as the base upon which I can build any manner of tasty variations. Fresh fruit, coconut, dried fruit, honey, yogurt, almond milk, etc. If you are a big fan of dried fruit, you can easily add it in at the end. Can’t get enough of coconut? Add it in with the final batch of nuts so that it toasts for those final 5 minutes. Feel free to experiment as you like – what really works about this recipe is the sweet/salt ratio (which to my tastebuds, is wonderfully perfect).
ABSOLUTE Best Homemade Granola Ever
2 cups oats (I like organic old-fashioned)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar (lightly, not firmly, packed)
2 tbsp olive oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup raw unsalted almonds (I like slivered)
1/3 cup walnuts pieces (raw/unsalted)
1/3 cup pecan halves (raw/unsalted)
- Preheat your oven to 325° F.
- In a medium-to-large bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. Stir gently to make sure everything is well integrated.
- In a separate bowl (small-to-medium), combine the honey, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla and mix well. Sometimes you’ve really got to stir that oil in; you want to make sure things are as incorporated as possible.
- Pour the wet mixture over your dry mixture and stir well. Some people like to use their hands at this point; I personally find it a bit too sticky, so I just use a large spoon and take a bit of extra time to stir and smash and blend.
- Dump the mixture onto a medium-to-large baking sheet (pick the one that is the slickest/shiniest/newest in your arsenal) and spread around to form a thin layer of granola all across the sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the granola and stir it around the pan a bit (basically, you’re going to keep tumbling it each time to ensure that all the little sides get browned) and sprinkle the almonds over the top. Return to the oven and allow to bake another 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, stir/mix the granola again, spread evenly across pan once more and sprinkle your walnuts over everything. Bake in the oven another 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan, stir and spread, and sprinkle the pecans over everything. Return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes (depending on whether you plan to add coconut and how brown + toasty everything looks). You’re going for toasty, fragrant, and clearly drier than when you started. The more you do it, the more you’ll know what your perfect stopping point is. (I’d suggest golden versus brown and dry but not bone-dry.)
- Remove the pan and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring to an airtight container. (Though you’ll want to let it cool entirely before you lid the container!) Granola should keep for up to 2 weeks on the countertop in airtight storage.
p.s. If you like dried fruit or untoasted coconut, you can add it once the granola has cooled. If you like toasted coconut, sprinkle it over the mix after the pecans and give it 3-5 minutes in the oven (provided you aren’t yet at brown… if you’re oven’s running hot and you’re worried about overcooking, add it in with the pecans for that final bake).