my favorite granola

My Favorite Granola / The Clever Carrot

A couple years ago, I started making granola at home. I was fed up with buying those overpriced, “healthy” bags from the store. I wanted a recipe that was satisfying yet good for you at the same time.

So, why is this one my favorite?

My Favorite Granola / The Clever Carrot

It’s all natural, not too sweet, and I love the flavor combination. To make this recipe, I combine equal amounts of organic oats and puffed rice cereal. This ratio gives it a light and crispy texture. I sweeten it with pure maple syrup and add dried cherries, hazelnuts, and unsweetened coconut flakes. Now of course you can switch up the ingredients here, but the hazelnut & coconut combo is unexpectedly delicious!

My Favorite Granola / The Clever Carrot

I make a batch of granola at least once a week as it has become a staple in our house. When friends ask for a recipe, this is the one I recommend. Need a quick gift? Pack it up in mason jars and give it away (jingle bells…jingle bells…)

If you are interested in making your own granola, below is an in-depth list of tips that you might find useful. Although I am not an expert, it sure has helped me get on my way!

My Favorite Granola / The Clever Carrot

 Granola 101



  • The Oats- Old fashioned or instant oats? I’ve heard that you can use both, but for this recipe I like the texture of old fashioned oats. You can also use the gluten free kind. To save a couple of bucks, buy your oats in bulk.
  • The Cereal- For a light and crispy texture, add an equal amount of puffed rice cereal to the oats. Kashi or millet puffs will work too.
  • The Binder- Butter vs. oil or none at all? In my opinion, granola needs a little fat to bind everything together and to crisp up. I tend to go with oil because I always have that on hand (coconut oil is an excellent option). The choice is up to you.
  • The Sweetener- Sugar vs. syrups? Some granola recipes argue that sugar is necessary in order to brighten the flavor. I prefer maple syrup over sugar for its taste and healthiness. But in the past I’ve used sugar, maple syrup, agave, and honey interchangeably. Again, it’s up to you.
  • The Add Ins- Some great combinations include apricot & almond, apple & walnut, and raisin, banana, flax seed.  Organic dried fruit is best as the conventional kind usually contains pesticides (especially apricots & raisins).
  • The Flavorings-  Here’s where you can get creative… For the spices try cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and even curry powder. You can also experiment with different extracts such as vanilla or almond.


  • Granola likes space. Spread it out evenly, in one layer, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake anywhere between 275-325 F. because…
  • Granola can burn easily. Stir it about every 10 minutes or so to promote even cooking.
  • Only add dried fruit and nuts towards the end of cooking. Add them sooner and they’ll burn (I speak from experience).
  • When the granola is done, don’t stir it. This will allow it to stick together and clump up.


  • Package your granola when it’s completely cool so that it doesn’t steam and get soft.
  • Store in an airtight container or better yet, throw it in a Zip loc bag and FREEZE it. Who knew? This will prolong its shelf life and trust me, it works like a charm.

My Favorite Granola / The Clever Carrot

I told you the list was in-depth, right? Now go on, make some granola!

my favorite granola
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 quart
  • 2 c. thick rolled or old fashioned oats oats (not instant)
  • 2 c. puffed rice cereal
  • ⅓ c. pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil or coconut oil (liquid)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • handful of dried cherries
  • handful of hazelnuts, papery skins removed
  • handful of unsweetened coconut flakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the oats, puffed rice cereal, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In another bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Combine the 2 bowls together and mix well.
  5. Spread out the mixture evenly, in one layer, onto the baking sheet. Use a rubber spatula to guide you.
  6. Bake in the oven stirring about every 10 minutes or so to keep it from burning.
  7. Remove the papery skins from the hazelnuts and give them a rough chop.
  8. After about 30 minutes, add the cherries, hazelnuts, and unsweetened coconut flakes. If you add them earlier, they will burn.
  9. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. When your granola sounds 'crispy' it's done.
  10. Remove from the oven and let is rest for about 15 minutes. Do not stir. While resting, the granola will have a chance to stick together and clump up.
  11. When completely cool, store your granola in an airtight container or in a Zip loc bag in the freezer.
  12. Enjoy with milk or with Greek yogurt and extra maple syrup if desired.
* It is best to use the unsweetened coconut for this recipe. If you cannot find flakes, you can substitute with unsweetened coconut shreds. * Granola will last in an airtight container for about 2 weeks, and in the freezer for about 6 months.


  1. says

    This looks so good! Thank you. I’ve been looking for a good granola recipe which isn’t too sweet or too fat for a very long time – I’m definitely trying this one!

    • theclevercarrot says

      Hi there! Thanks for stopping by! It’s hard to find a granola recipe that is somewhat healthy yet tasty isn’t it? Hope you like this one. Feel free to change it up to suit your flavor preference. Let me know how it goes :)

  2. says

    What gorgeous granola and really fantastic tips! Freezing it is genius, and I also love the idea of adding cardamom, my favorite spice! And I like how you mention that big holiday at the end of the year, without really mentioning it. :) Jingle bells indeed! :)

  3. Cleo says

    Just a quick thank you for your wonderful granola recipe. Put this together for my husband and wonderful trio of children staying with us and we all thought it was terrific. I used dried cranberries for no other reason than I like them to add a punch of color for the kiddos.

    • Emilie says

      That is wonderful to hear! I’m so glad that you liked it. It’s a good, healthy staple. Thanks for stopping by :)

    • Emilie says

      Hi Amanda!

      Oh, I love the puffed rice in my granola. It adds such a lovely, crispy texture. Do let me know what you think!

  4. Sal says

    I love this granola! I tweak the recipe a little by using honey and adding in a lot of seeds and nuts, but this is pretty much the only granola I make now, and I triple the recipe for my family of 6. Thanks so much!

    • Emilie says

      Hello Sal! Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback, I really appreciate it. I’m so glad you like the granola recipe. Your addition of honey, nuts and seeds sounds wonderful. Isn’t making it yourself so easy? It certainly will save you a couple of bucks too, especially feeding a family of 6 ;) Enjoy, and thanks again for stopping by!

  5. Stacey-Lee Swart says

    Lovely recipe, love the coconut shavings :)
    I add a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper in the winter for a bit of heat.
    Chopped dates are also a lovely added sweetness, instead of so much syrup. Noms…

    • Emilie says

      Hi Stacey! What a lovely addition- cayenne pepper. I never would’ve thought of that. Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to try it with dates too next time…

  6. AM says

    What a wonderful recipe! I made this earlier this week, but added dark chocolate chunks instead of dried fruit, since that’s what I had on hand. It disappeared quite quickly and I’ll be making many more batches :)

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