If you've been in search of the perfect granola and found the store-bought options wanting or the artisanal versions egregiously expensive, you might be excited to know that homemade granola is actually really easy and costs less than store-bought. Read on to learn how to make granola using a base formula that you can customize with ingredients of your choice.
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Making your own granola is simple, but it can also be confusing. Because, if you do a search on "how do you make granola" or "best homemade granola," you will get over a million hits on homemade granola recipes — any one of which might not really be the flavor profile or combination of ingredients you love.

But making granola shouldn't be that complicated or restrictive. So, here is a homemade granola recipe that uses a formula so you can customize to your heart's content.

Even better, it encourages creativity. You can include everything from different grains to dried fruits, any nut you love, and even extras like cereals or crumbled snack foods such as chips or pretzels or crackers. You can amp up the sweetness or tone it down and add some spice. It can also easily be made gluten-free or vegan. And it's a great project to do with kids.

Fully customizable and utterly delicious, this granola formula means your search for the perfect recipe is about to be over.

homemade granola ingredients and granola on a baking sheet
Credit: ArxOnt/Getty Images

Formula for Perfect Granola Every Time

Makes 7–8 cups

Ingredients

3 cups total base ingredients: This can be any puffed grain like rice, kamut, amaranth, millet or wheat, any packaged cereal you have lying around, or even snack foods like broken chips, pretzels, snack mix, crackers or the like in any combination. If you want to keep things on the healthier side, go for a larger puffed grain like wheat or rice for bulk without carb or calorie density.

1 cup nuts of your choice: This can be a single variety or several types, whatever you love. Sunflower seeds, peanuts and almonds are typical choices, but don't hesitate to use cashews or hazelnuts for a bit of fancy.

2 cups rolled grain: Use oats or barley, or rye or quinoa flakes, or any flattened whole grain you like

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup oil: Think about matching the oil to the ingredients. For example, choose coconut oil if you want some subtle coconut flavor. Try light sesame oil with an added half teaspoon of toasted sesame oil if you want to amp up some Asian flavors. Go with peanut oil, walnut oil, or olive oil if you are going for a more savory take.

½ cup sweet sticky liquid: Use maple syrup or honey for a traditional take, but also explore other options like date syrup, pomegranate molasses, or some of the newer tree syrups like shagbark hickory or birch.

1 egg white, beaten until frothy: If you want to make this vegan, beat a quarter cup of aquafaba to a froth and use that instead.

Extra seasoning (optional): If you want some savory impact, add a tablespoon of a dried herbs or a seasoning blend, a teaspoon of chili flakes or powder for some spice, a quarter cup of cocoa powder or malted milk powder or instant espresso powder — there is no limit to how you can flavor your own granola.

1–1½ cups add-ins: This is the place to use your little flavor boosters like dried fruits or chocolate chips, toasted sesame seeds, coconut shreds or flakes, cacao nibs, little candies — whatever you love. Find a combination you really like and go for it. Note: These add-ins get mixed in AFTER the granola bakes.

Directions

  1. Heat your oven to 300 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Mix the base ingredients, nuts, and grains in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the oil and syrup together with the salt and any optional seasoning or flavoring you are choosing to use; make sure this is well combined. Stir into the dry ingredients, coating everything evenly with the mixture. Stir in the beaten egg white, being sure that everything is very well mixed. Clean hands are a perfect tool for this.
  3. Pour the granola mix onto the sheet pan and spread into an even layer. If you like a granola with chunks, press it down firmly. If you prefer a looser granola texture, just spread it out lightly.
  4. Bake for 40–45 minutes until golden brown and crispy, stirring lightly about halfway through the baking. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and break up into your desired texture with a spatula or wooden spoon, and return the granola to the sheet pan, spreading it back out again, and let cool on a rack until completely cooled.
  5. Stir in your add-ins.

How to Store Homemade Granola

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry cupboard or in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can also freeze granola for several months.

How to Use Homemade Granola

  • Layer with yogurt and fruit for a parfait that is a meal in a glass.
  • Use instead of your usual crumble topping on your next baked cobbler or crisp fruit dessert.
  • Use savory granola as a coating for fish or chicken before baking.
  • Use it as a crunchy topping on ice cream.
  • Sprinkle some on your next batch of muffins for a crunchy topper.

How to Make Granola Bars

Before baking, press the mixture into the pan firmly. (Use a pan that gives you the thickness you want in your bar.) Bake without stirring, and then score it carefully with a sharp knife into bars as soon as it comes out of the oven. The granola mixture should snap off easily into bars once cooled.

Related: Get recipes for Granola Bars.

Does Homemade Granola Really Save You Money?

The answer is yes! Making your own will save money, since you have total control over the ingredients, and in certain cases, can use up things you already have lying around your pantry.

For best savings, buy ingredients like oats, nuts, and grains in bulk and store extras in the freezer. Buy items like honey or maple syrup in large quantities at big box stores since they last pretty much forever. Also, because of the nature of granola, you don't need to use the highest quality available, so look for things like "broken" nuts, which are always less expensive than whole, or generics on things like oats or grains.

Related: Get More Recipes for Granola.