How to Make Granola

Granola is basically toasted oats. It’s incredibly easy to buy for exorbitant prices, yet incredibly easy to make at home. Here is a super-basic granola base to which you can add whatever dried fruit, nuts, or other tasty bits make you happy. Feel free to tweak this recipe if you like other spices, a little less honey, more salt—it’s pretty forgiving, and customizing your own blend is fun.

Here’s how to make your own granola:

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  • 1. In a large bowl, stir together three cups of old-fashioned rolled oats, three tablespoons brown sugar, a quarter teaspoon kosher salt, and a half teaspoon cinnamon.

    2. In another bowl, stir together one-third cup honey, a quarter cup canola oil, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Dump this over the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Get your hands in it to mix everything well, and to coat the oats evenly with the honey mixture. Heat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • 3. Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a baking sheet and place on the center rack of the heated oven. Bake, stirring after 15 minutes, until the granola is a very light golden brown. It should take 20 to 30 minutes. If you like your granola crunchier with a toastier flavor, bake it a little longer, keeping a close eye on it—if it gets dark it will taste burnt.

    4. Cool the granola completely, stirring it around so it doesn’t stick together. (It hardens as it cools.)

  • 5. Once the granola’s cool, get creative: Now is the time to stir in all your extras like dried fruit, raw or toasted nuts and seeds, toasted coconut, etc. (See our sidebar for variations.) Store in an airtight container (this is very important—the granola goes stale easily) and eat within two weeks.
    • • Try adding in other rolled grain flakes with the oats such as spelt, kamut, or brown rice.
    • • Tropical: Add toasted coconut, macadamia nuts, and dried mango.
    • • Apple-Cinnamon: Add dried apples and toasted almonds to the mix, and additional cinnamon if you want.
    • • Date-Nut: Add dried dates and toasted pecans.
    • • Berry: Add dried mixed berries and toasted cashews.
    • • Experiment! Use other dried fruits (apricots, plums, raisins, cherries, currants) and toasted or raw nut-seed combos (sunflower seeds, mixed nuts, pistachios) and whatever spices you want.
    • • Check out how Chowhounds are making granola.

Roxanne Webber is senior features editor at CHOW.