How Making MORE Healthy Snacks from Scratch Saves me Time {Homemade Granola Recipe}

Homemade granola has become a staple in the Kimball household. We just love healthy granola bars and I love making them. I’ll tell you why. 😉  

Crunchy coconut granola, homemade granola recipe

I am an efficiency freak. If I can save time or combine a trip, even if it’s just around the corner four feet to the bathroom, I’ll load up and figure out how to take the fewest number of steps.

I especially have a dislike of dishes, and I’ll try to pull a “two-fer” whenever possible. Making homemade granola bars and granola is one of those golden opportunities.

Healthy Homemade Granola

By making granola AND granola bars at the same time, I can get all of the ingredients out for both recipes at once. There are enough crossovers that this definitely saves steps. I also just use the same mixing bowl and many of the same measuring utensils (make the granola first).

This really is my mom’s homemade granola recipe from my own childhood. I have fond memories of taking it for a snack at school. You can “drink” the granola from the bowl and then have a cup of milk next to it. I swear, it’s almost better that way than the traditional milk-on-top in a bowl method!

There are about a million different granola recipes on the Internet but this is my favorite, not only because of the nostalgia and habit, but because it really tastes good, with a light, slightly coconutty flavor, and there are ONLY EIGHT ingredients. Some of the other recipes I’ve found take up a whole page. That overwhelms me! (Lydia’s gluten-free granola that she shared here is very doable as well though!)

PLUS, I’ve added a new component to increase the health benefits of the granola, and it had another very surprising result!

RELATED: Cooking Steel Cut Oats in the Instant Pot

Crunchy Coconut Homemade Granola Recipe

crunchy coconut granola recipe, homemade granola recipe

Remember, save time by making a double (or even quadruple!) batch AND make granola bars as soon as you empty the bowl. You’ll never go back!

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Katie’s Healthy Homemade Granola

  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Category: Breakfast

Ingredients

Scale


ship kroger


Instructions

  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. In the pot you used to melt the coconut oil, mix wet ingredients.
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients together and stir well.
  4. Pour into 9×13 pan or a cookie sheet.
  5. Toast in a 350 degree oven.
  6. Stir after 10 minutes, then more frequently until browned (every 5 minutes).
  7. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

Other Add-ins for Granola, Before or After Baking:
* ground flax
* sesame seeds
* dried fruit (after baking)
* 1 tsp. cinnamon

Variation: You can also bake at 250 degrees for 30-60 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the granola inside overnight to crisp up.

Soaked Variation: Because raw oats are going to be tough to digest, I almost always make the “soaked” version nowadays, which is why the photos are all crispy chunks. It tastes even better! I just soak the oats overnight in 1 cup water with a tablespoon of whey and continue with the recipe (minus the water).

Dehydrated Variation: When making soaked granola, you can dehydrate instead of toasting, 12-24 hours at 115-145F.

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Soaked Granola???

soaked and dehydrated crunchy granola, homemade granola bars

Yes, soaked. You can read about the health benefits of soaking here, but really, the homemade granola tastes so much better and has an amazing texture when you soak it, so you should do it even if you don’t buy the phytic acid argument. 😉

If you want to see the soaked version in video form, my 5-year-old son will show you how easy it is – check out the Premium Content series on Healthy Snacks. He does an awesome job, and your kids can totally do this themselves too (along with other snacks and eventually full meals!).

making homemade granola with kids, homemade granola bars

How to Make Homemade Granola: The Art of Granola Baking

I make a double batch almost every time I do this. It works well but can take a long time to brown, so try baking potatoes for dinner at the same time (you can stir every 7 minutes with a double batch in a 9×13 pan). Here are some lovely (not!) photos from way back in 2010:
recipe for simple homemade granola

Granola ready to go into the oven.

You’ll learn the finesse of turning the granola without getting it all over out of the pan. Stir from the outside in:

Katie's Healthy Homemade Granola

Down and then up in the center:

try this crunchy coconut granola recipe

The homemade granola is about halfway done here, my third stirring after 10 minutes, 7 minutes and 7 minutes. You want to make it evenly spread out when it goes back into the oven.

If you use cookie sheet(s), watch it very closely. Better to err on the side of not brown enough than too brown, which happens quickly at the end! I prefer my baking stone for soaked granola (recipe variations in the Healthy Snacks to Go eBook.)

Katie's Healthy Homemade Granola

The finished product, above. This is as toasty brown as you would want to go. The granola browns first on the edges and bottom, which is why stirring is so important.

Traditional Foods? Wish you knew what I’m talking about when I say “soaked”? Check out this soaking grains research OR for a multimedia basics approach, see the GNOWFGLINS Fundamentals eCourse to learn how to cook real, traditional foods at your leisure.

Snacks Efficiency: Save Time in the Kitchen!

healthy homemade granola with a special crunch

While the homemade granola is baking, you should be in the kitchen anyway since you have to stir every 5-7 minutes. I use this time to whip up this chewy granola bar recipe, which can wait in the bowl while I clean up and wait for the granola to be finished and cool enough to store. I often make dinner while this is all happening, too (did I mention I’m an efficiency freak?).

My family has fallen in love with these homemade granola bars, and they are the most popular recipe at Kitchen Stewardship®. I can’t keep them on hand fast enough. You can store them right in the 9×13 pan, covered, or cut into bars and store in any tightly sealed container. If you were going to keep them around more than a week, I would recommend freezing them right away to preserve the best flavor. Around here, we haven’t had to do that yet!

Lunch-packing Tip: Have the kiddos (or whomever) bring home the plastic baggie each day and just toss a new bar in. Easy way to save packaging and remember to take a bar every day! Check out all my healthy lunch packing tips and green lunch ideas, too!

Added Bonus: You also only have to turn the oven on once and can use the same 9×13 glass baking dish for both recipes, saving energy/$ and yet another dirty dish!

Healthy Snacks To Go eBook

If taking real food on the go is a challenge for you, you’re not alone.

Join thousands of other happy owners of Healthy Snacks to Go, an eBook that is helping real foodies everywhere keep their families nourished (and kids happy) even when they need to pack a snack — without resorting to processed junk food or expensive health food store treats.

With over a dozen different “bar” recipes alone, including many that are grain-free and contain zero refined sugar, I guarantee you’ll find a new family favorite in Healthy Snacks to Go.

Making Your Steps in the Kitchen Count

Crunchy Coconut Granola - Soaked Traditional Recipe for homemade granola

This combination is one that I would call a quintessential Kitchen Stewardship® habit (along with chicken stock, homemade yogurt, natural green cleaners, and using dried beans).

Kitchen Stewardship® is all about helping people balance their time, budget, nutrition and environment, and you can do it all while making healthy snacks! Both recipes are such a healthy upgrade and so frugal compared to storebought items, and the timesaving options are many when combining both recipes in one baking day!

Compared to breakfast cereal’s sugar and puffed grains, granola packs in the protein (nuts) and has natural sweetener (honey). For the bars, you know there’s no trans fats, soy, or high fructose corn syrup, and you can choose your sweetener as well.

Granola in the store is quite expensive, and it often contains unsavory fats like canola and soy (sigh), so for both the health savings and dollars, you’re getting a great deal. The granola bars are less expensive by at least half than storebought granola bars, even the least expensive brands.

I maintain that by using less packaging, especially in the granola bars (if you don’t individually wrap them yourself), you are even protecting the environment a little bit.

Check out the top 10 foundational KS habits HERE.

Love bars? Here’s one that’s even low carb and much lower sweetener than the granola bars: Almond Power Bars

How will you make homemade granola in your kitchen?
Homemade Coconut Granola, homemade granola bars

74 thoughts on “How Making MORE Healthy Snacks from Scratch Saves me Time {Homemade Granola Recipe}”

  1. I finally made the home-made granola and love it. I stopped buying store-bought granola quite some years ago because I thought it too expensive for the amount that came in the box — plus it was just too sweet. That’s why I like your recipe — just a bit sweet, but not too much so. I added raisins to the mixture as it was cooling in the glass cake pan.
    I’ve had a jar of honey given to me by a friend from his bee hive a couple of years ago and it had solidified, so I warmed it in a pan of water on the stove in its jar and it nicely liquefied. Was pleased to find a use for it.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe here and in your e-book, Healthy Snacks to Go.

  2. Pingback: being home « Home2learn's Blog

  3. RoseAnn Heger

    Thank you for this YUMMY recipe! My family gobbled these up! The only change that I will make next time is to add a little salt. I think it would really round out the sweetness! Next I’m going to try the soaked granola bars! Thanks again!

    RoseAnn

  4. 1/6 cup of water seems like an unusual measurement; I’m wondering how you came up with that. That would be 1 1/3 oz. or 40cc? I guess one would guestimate half-way between 1/3 cup measure line on a measuring cup?
    I meant to ask this question before and was reminded of it again when I read the recipe in your new eBook.
    Making the granola is still on my to-do list — just haven’t gotten to it yet.

    1. Anne,
      Another reader bugs me about that 1/6 cup thing, too! It’s just the way it was written in my mom’s original recipe. I estimate w/ half a 1/3 cup. Def. not rocket science! 🙂 Katie

  5. I used your recipe and it held together real good even in a putting them in a bag to carry with me,but I took away a cup of the oatmeal and added 1/2 cup peanut butter in place of a cup of butter or oil. I also had said before in a post I made that I used 1 tbsp ground flax seed soaked in warm water which acts as an egg. I used no baking soda and added 1/2 cup of nuts,1/2 cranberrys, 1/2 coconut,1/2 cup choc. chips and 2 tbsp of cocoa pwd. All of this held together real well!!! Kids love them. I really enjoy your site and sooo glad I found you. You inspire me. Thank you

  6. i am so thankful to have found your site! i now have you bookmarked .. =)
    just wondering what your thoughts are on using coconut oil in place of butter (in the bar recipe) as my daughter is allergic to dairy? wondering how it might work … i may give it a try. =)

    1. Emily,
      Now I can’t remember for sure if I’ve tried this, but it seems I’ve successfully tried coconut oil in every other butter recipe I have. I am SURE it will be delicious, perhaps even better! I’ve got some soaked versions and some tweaks coming in a Healthy Snacks to Go eBook in about 2 weeks, so watch for that!
      🙂 Katie

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  9. Do you soak the oats before making these recipes? I haven’t started soaking my grains yet, but want to try. Thanks!

    1. Emily,
      I JUST literally this weekend perfected a soaked oat granola and granola bars. I may post on one of them soon OR hold out for my Healthy Snacks to Go eBook coming the 2nd week of April. In these pictures, no soaking. I would start with soaking oatmeal b/c it’s really easy. Soaking granola bars takes an extra step. http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/11/30/monday-mission-soak-your-oatmeal/
      🙂 Katie

      1. Are the soaked versions going to be posted soon? I am anxious to see and try them!
        .-= Carrie´s last blog ..A New Goal… the Monthly Reading Plan =-.

        1. Carrie,
          How funny – Just posted the soaked granola bars today! http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/04/08/recipe-connection-soaked-granola-bars/ Soaked granola is coming in the eBook in 2 weeks.

          🙂 Katie

      2. i tried this out, using coconut oil and with some other modifications, and LOVED it!~ i posted about it here:
        http://home2learn.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/granola-bars/
        .-= emily´s last blog ..playmate dilemma =-.

  10. Katie, you are too funny about not wanting to do any more dishes than necessary! 🙂 I totally agree. I just subscribed to your blog a few days ago and I’ve been really enjoying it…thanks! I’ve been wanting to make some granola bars for my boys and was pleasantly surprised to come across your recipe. Can’t wait to make them! And I also have my kids bring their snack bags home every day to refill. Glad to know I’m not the only one…

  11. Hi, I have a tip for keeping the granola bars to stick together. First, the peanut butter really seams to help. The last time I made them, I used 1/4 cup of pb in place of 1/4 cup butter. I think the real trick is to compress them again when they come out of the oven. I use a piece of folded foil and just press them down again, it really makes them compact. Thanks for the great recipe, they have been a real hit around here, now, if only I could stay out of them….

  12. I’m always looking for new granola bar recipes to try. These sound great!
    .-= Allison´s last blog ..Why I Started Blogging =-.

  13. I needed to make granola but could not use my standard recipe because I ran out of maple syrup, which it calls for, so I just tried this granola recipe this evening and I loved it! I do like the idea of adding peanut butter like Sheila commented, so I will have to try that next time. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Stacy´s last blog ..Another giveaway over at Simple Mom =-.

  14. I don’t care for granola bars to be very sweet. Would they still work if I omitted the honey, or does that provide the stickiness? I wanted to make them with peanut butter, and just didn’t think they needed honey on top of that. Or do you think molasses would work instead?
    .-= Sheila´s last blog ..My first venison stew — and my first cooking photoblog =-.

    1. Sheila…I just made these last night, and used PB, and they were not very sweet at all. I did notice that with PB you have to be careful not to cook to long or they are a little dry. I’d say 15 min at 325 is plenty.

      Just fyi!

  15. Umm, just gathered all the ingredients.
    Ready to make’um & take along to the big auto
    show in Detroit today!
    Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Netta´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 =-.

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  17. These did not work very well for me. I followed it exactly, and they are way to dry. The edge ones all crumbled as soon as they were cut/removed from the pan (I waited 10 minutes, and it was impossible to cut, then about 20 minutes, cut, but didn’t remove till the next day, they still fell apart). The others I had to remove gingerly, and I expect them to fall into large pieces as we eat them. I ended up with a lot of “granola” out of it. 🙁

    And I pressed HARD, including getting a large scraper out to give me more surface space for pressing.

    1. AnnMarie,
      I have actually been fiddling with the recipe to try to get them to be a bit less crumbly, but I haven’t had things go quite as badly as it sounds like they did for you. You used the full cup of honey? Sometimes I wonder if just a little bit more honey would do the trick. Baked only 20-25 minutes at 325? I’m so sorry they didn’t work well for you! My goal this week is to try some date-based bars – those oughta stick together!
      🙂 Katie

  18. Jacqui Wilkins

    so many comments, but here’s one more! I am so excited to find such wonderful CHRISTIAN websites lately – that give practical advice and suggestions for every day Christian living … much KUDOS to you – keep up the good work!!

  19. Pingback: Homemade Granola And Granola Bars : Domestic Cents

    1. Cheryl,
      I just posted on soaking oatmeal (as porridge) last week http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/11/30/monday-mission-soak-your-oatmeal/, and since I don’t have a dehydrator myself, I haven’t gotten into soaking oats for these bars. BUT! I know I need to, as they’re not really all that healthy without the soaking. I am guessing (?) that soaked and dehydrated oats would work just fine.
      Someday I’ll try it and update the post! If you do it, let me know how it works, please. Thanks!
      🙂 Katie

  20. Kristin @ Prudent and Practical

    Hi Katie,
    I’ve been thinking of cocoa powder and wanted to know if you know anything specific about it. Some recipes I have call for “Dutch processed cocoa powder” which is different from “cocoa powder.” I found out tonight that “Dutch processed” means that the cocoa has been alkalized.

    http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/CocoaTypes.htm

    Do you know which one is the better choice, health-wise?
    .-= Kristin @ Prudent and Practical´s last blog ..Ms. Jill’s Olive Chip Dip =-.

    1. Kristin,
      I just learned that there were two kinds of cocoa recently myself, but I never thought about health issues and how it’s processed. Hmmm….another one for the list. 😉 Nourishing Traditions frowns on cocoa b/c of caffeine, anyway, so poo on that. I’m still drinking it this winter! (rebellion!) 🙂 Katie

    2. Jenni @ DrMomEssentials

      The Dutch process cocoa is less healthy. I was bummed when I learned it because I had a big bag. After finishing that I bought the non-Dutch kind.
      .-= Jenni @ DrMomEssentials´s last blog ..Homemade Maple Syrup =-.

      1. Jenni,
        I can’t remember what my big bag is! Running upstairs to check…
        Thanks for sharing – Katie

  21. I used to make “Date Nut Bars.” I wonder how the granola bar recipe would do with dates or figs (even prunes) placed in between granola layers. If I remember correctly, you mash the fruit with OJ until the right consistency (in food processor). Real yummy with a mixture of crunchiness and chewiness. Thanks for the recipe Katie. I’m new here. Glad I found you!

    1. Cara,

      What a great idea! That might help them stick together a little better/less crumbly. I have another bar recipe on the site, too, that someone added dried fruit to with good results: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/07/01/recipe-connection-almond-power-bars/

      Thanks for the tip – glad you’re here! 🙂 Katie

  22. Kimarie @ Cardamom's Pod

    Oooh – I know what crispy nuts are! 🙂 Looks delicious!
    .-= Kimarie @ Cardamom’s Pod´s last blog ..Not Me Monday: Muck =-.

  23. Great post! I love making home made granola and I’ve been looking for a good granola bar recipe that works. I made these today and the bars are a little crumbly. Any ideas to avoid that? Do I need a bit more honey?

    1. Melissa,
      *sigh* I know. They are crumbly, and I’ve been working on a solution. An egg doesn’t work, and more honey is my next attempt. There’s got to be a way! I’ll update the post when I figure it out!
      Thanks, Katie

      1. Have you tried flax seed for a binder. I’m gluten free so use this in my rice flour recipes. 1tbsp of ground flax seed to 3 tbsp of warm water. Let sit in fridge for about 30mins and use!

        1. A friend just recently made GF bars with my recipe, just using GF flour instead of wheat. Do you mean flax and water instead of the honey? They would be too blah, I’m afraid, without the sweetener.
          🙂 Katie

          1. The softened gr flax is actually like an egg. It gets quite gel like and I still used same proportions of other ingredients. I also used peanut butter in place of oil and some 2 tbsp of cocoa powder. they were really quite good!!!

    2. Melissa,
      It’s 2 years later, and I’ve made a lot of granola bars, but I got it! I’ve updated the post with the “not crumbly” trick. Hope you’ll come back! 🙂 Katie

  24. I have tried so many different kinds of granola and have yet to succeed. I am excited to try this amazing recipe and try the bars too!

  25. I made the granola bars tonight, with a few changes, as we’re GF/CF. I used gluten-free oats and flour, replaced 1/4 c. flour with Brewer’s yeast, omitted baking soda and vanilla (don’t have vanilla now or I would have used it), used coconut oil in place of butter. The bars aren’t hard yet, but I tasted a bit of it and it tastes good! I think next I will start adding more nuts and stuff too. The vegan chocolate chips are good in it. btw coconut oil can burn more easily than butter, so I reduced the oven temp. to 300 and baked for about 30 minutes.

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  29. Do you know how long these granola bars stay fresh if I store them in an air tight container? I’m looking forward to trying them this week 🙂 Thanks for the recipes!

    1. I used to say at least a week, but I just found some from the batch before last in our diaper bag. They were pretty mushed up, but they tasted great. They are at least a month old. !! Apparently they have a pretty good shelf life!

  30. Really really love this. We eat both granola and granola bars like crazy around here. Would love to save some $$ on them.

    Thanks so much for all the recipes and info!!!

  31. aimee @ smilingmama

    Wow! I can’t wait to try these recipes. I just popped over from Musings of a Housewife and can’t wait to read more of your great ideas and recipes. Thanks 🙂

  32. Pingback: Homemade Granola Bars *VLOG* | Musings of a Housewife

  33. Musings of a Housewife

    This is SO similar to my mom’s!!!! It was an Adelle Davis recipe. Wondering about yours. Hers has soy flour and powdered milk, which were once thought to be healthy, so I leave those out.

    Hers also has veg oil, and I used Grapeseed b/c I thought it was better than veg, but I know about the omega 6 thing. Can I use coconut oil? I assume I can. But it also has coconut in it. Should I reduce that?

    I am going to try yours. The vanilla is a new addition for me.

    Ours uses almonds. What nuts do you use?

    1. I found this recipe in a Faith and Family mag and adapted it a bit (the bars). The granola has been my mom’s for years; don’t know where it started! I’ve used coconut oil in the granola and didn’t reduce the coconut – very tasty. I have also used melted butter. My standard nuts are walnuts, but any nut would work, I’m sure. Hope you like it!

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  35. Thanx for sharing. Today I decided to make granola for the first time and I made it by your recipe :). I’m waiting till it cools down so I can put it in the container. Awsome, I’m really glad I found your recipe!!

    1. Way to go, Janna! I’m proud of you for trying something new – hope you love eating it! I’m actually having a bowl right now… 🙂

      1. I’ve never had such a tasty granola in my life! EVER, imagine that! And I can’t believe how much of it I made and for literally no money. Yay! Here it’s expensive too and with too much sugar and other ingredients I don’t like. So I only used my favourite ones… I’m so thankful!

  36. Wow! Thanks for inspiring me to get up off my behind to make granola to take camping with us this weekend! 🙂

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  38. great tip on softening the butter! i usually try popping it in the microwave for just a little bit but sometimes it starts to melt

    Carrie’s last blog post..Devil’s Food Cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

    1. You know, if you want to be that much more efficient…I just “mushed” the butter with my hand before I unwrapped it! Didn’t even need to use a rolling pin! (I think it sat out around 5 minutes or less before I did this)

  39. Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

    I’m all about saving steps, too… 😉

    I have never thought about making homemade granola, let alone homemade granola bars – you’ve inspired me, I’m absolutely going to give it a shot! 🙂

    Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)’s last blog post..Procrastination Monday – Recipes VGNO Style, of course!

  40. rachel-asouthernfairytale

    Yum Yum Yum! I have so many memories of my mom’s granola growing up. I may have to get the recipe while I’m down there this week! YAYA

    rachel-asouthernfairytale’s last blog post..Sunshine Cake

  41. I am totally with you in conserving time and energy. Love the recipes…will have to try those bars soon, they look delicious.

    kristen’s last blog post..French Toast Casserole

  42. I added photos today! Come on back for a few more tips if you’ve already visited the granola bar post… 🙂

  43. I’m going to have to try those recipes! I’ve been wanting to make granola bars. Thanks so much for posting!

    astrid’s last blog post..Best Ever Chocolate Ice Cream

  44. Great recipes! Trying the granola bars today!! 🙂

    Lori’s last blog post..Kitchen Tip: Is It Still Fresh?

  45. I’ve never made granola bars. I’ve seen them at the store though.

    Beca Fox’s last blog post..A Birthday

  46. A wealthy of tasty information. Wonderful. Thanks!

    Angie’s last blog post..Developing One’s Prayer Life ~ Part 2

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