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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
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

About The Author

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

  1. My granola bars came out great but with my granola, is it supposed to be lumped in chunks like commercially made granola? Mine is toasted perfectly and I followed the recipe, but every piece is individual- I was expecting it to be stuck together in chunks- am I doing something wrong or…?

    1. Loni,
      That sounds right! With this kind of granola, there’s not enough liquid for any sticking together. I have another version in my ebook which is prepared differently, and that make clumps like commercially made granola (I like it better). Good question! 🙂 Katie

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  3. I just made the bars last night, and my husband and I think they are tasty! I didn’t have quite enough honey, and I can tell that they really need the full cup (if not a little more) of honey.

    Also, if you use peanut butter, I would say to watch and make sure you don’t over bake. PB dries out easily in my opinion. I also think it keeps things from browning as quickly, so while I waited the full 20 minutes for them to brown, I think I was drying them out because of the PB.

    However, they are still very tasty and I’m looking forward to perfecting my approach next time!

    1. Rodna,
      Nope! The granola is one recipe, and the bars just start with oatmeal. Easier that way, I think. They’re both great recipes! 🙂 Katie

  4. That was awesome! And easy. I sometimes buy granola when i don’t feel like making it because of all the ingredients. Now this i can do. I made some as cereal and added chocolate chips 😉 to another batch with dried fruit. Next time ill do the bars too to get my chocolate fix. 🙂 really though for cereal i love how its not to sweet. I can eat it without getting hypoglycemic. Thank you!

  5. I made both recipes last night! I may have toasted the granola a tad too long but honestly, I’m loving the toasty flavor. I used pecans and also added cinnamon. Delish! The bars were also good, but crumbly like some have mentioned. My kids each had one last night and my daughter asked if I would pack one in her lunch this morning so I consider them to be a success! Hubby also had some and enjoyed. It was a great way to clear some things out of the pantry as well. I had partial bags of dried cranberries and chocolate chips so I threw them in. Yum! Thanks for the recipes, they are keepers.

    1. BTW, I love your blog and have been lurking here for a couple years, fascinated at how you pull all this off!

  6. I made the bars with the cocoa, and may have added too many add-ins. The ‘dough’ was DIVINE, but now that they’re cooked (only cooked for 15 minutes) they’re horridly dry. My kid loved the mix, but now won’t eat them. Next time I think I’ll pop them in the fridge instead of the oven. Cooking them, for me, dries them out too much.

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  9. I have been trying to find a recipe for granola bars that my husband will actually eat for what feels like forever. Thank you Katie!

    (& BTW, congratulations on the handsome new addition to your family!)

    1. Yay! glad you liked it – I just worked out a new version for the second edition of the snacks ebook coming in late fall. It’s just as good but totally different preparation! 🙂 Katie

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  11. I just made these today and while it tastes good, I could not begin to cut them into bars. They just crumble. I’m so sad, I need to salvage these expensive ingredients, any ideas?

  12. I made the granola this morning (double batch) and the whole house smelled amazing! I ate a still-warm bowl for breakfast and it was fantastic even without any mix-ins. My husband kept checking on the cooling pans asking where the chocolate chips were…guess I’d better get mixing!

    I used grapeseed oil (recommended by our son’s GI specialist as a great tasteless, healthy oil), and it turned out just fine. Wish we could use butter for flavor but this was a good substitute for people looking for allergy-friendly alternatives.

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  14. Did you ever find a successful way to keep the granola bars from crumbling?

    I don’t think I’m ready to try soaked oats yet! I might whizz up some dates or other dried fruit in the food processor and add it in, though. We’ve been making “Lara” type bars and my 3-year-old LOVES dates now!

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  22. Great recipe! I made this into a low allergenic version for my food allergy kiddos by swaping the butter for 1/2c sunflower butter and 1/2c coconut oil. I also used Red Mills Gluten free all purpose flour instead of wheat flour. My swaps made them wheat, egg, soy, dairy, and nut free. Also delish!! Thanks for this great base to work from.

    1. That’s awesome to know! May I include your swaps in my second edition of the snacks ebook? Allergy-free is just the kind of option I love to offer. Thank you!! 🙂 Katie

  23. When i made this is didn’t clump up into chunks at all. Also, it got brown and toasty but not so crispy. Is it supposed to or did I do something wrong?

    1. Brandice,
      The granola doesn’t clump, no. I have a soaked version in my eBook that does, but this one basically stays looking like oats. You need to stir it frequently to get the proper crispiness. Hope that helps! 😉 Katie

  24. Did you soak your oats and sunflower seeds? How do you modify the recipe to incorporate soaked oats and sprouted seeds?

  25. Just made these today… used 1/2 butter and 1/2 almond butter, coconut (sweetened), walnuts, butterscotch chips (using them up so I don’t snack on them at night!)… SOOOOOO GOOOOD!! I think I have a new midnight snack!

  26. The granola turned out great!
    Although, I do have to add that one should not blog about a great new granola recipe while one is actually making said great new granola recipe…it’s not burned at all, but just a tad more roasty than I prefer. Still, YUM!

    Since I put all the nuts and dried fruits I had into the granola, I’m making chocolate peanut butter (using cocoa powder) granola bars…the prebaked mix is fabulous…can’t wait to eat them!

    1. Dawn,
      LOL! How many times has my work on the computer resulted in boiling over something or over-toasting granola (even slightly is just a bummer)! I often dehydrate it now, or bake at 200 for a few hours, since that way a few minutes (or even 15) doesn’t usually make or break the deal. 😉 Katie

  27. This is baking right now and smells sooooo wonderful! I can’t wait to try it. I don’t buy cereals anymore (notice I didn’t say “we don’t eat cereal” – while I don’t, the rest of my family doesn’t share my conviction on the unhealthiness of processed cereals LOL) so this will be a welcomed treat to those who reluctantly go without cold breakfast cereal around here.

    I’m baking it in my big Pampered Chef rectangle baker (I think that’s what it’s called) and that is working out great – no messes for stirring (doing a double batch) since the sides are nice and tall. I put it in the oven while it was preheating and while I mixed up the granola, too. Now, to attempt the granola bars…thanks so much for these recipes!

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  29. I made these last night. They turned out great. I subsituted 1/2 cup peanut butter for 1/2 cup butter and added raisins.

  30. Granola wasn’t as sweet as I would have liked. It is still tasty though! I have been drizzling honey over it when I eat it w/ milk to sweeten it up a bit. Great recipe!

  31. These are my absolute favorite granola bars! They are my first homemade ones but they taste better and are so much better for me.

  32. I would love to be able to make these recipes, however, I cannot have honey. Does anyone have an alternative that I could use? Thanks so much.

    1. Tanya,
      Sorry my reply took so long; I was on vacation. I can only imagine maple syrup would work as well (yummy, too!), but I haven’t actually tried it myself. I’ve used applesauce for half the honey (maybe maple syrup for the rest) but it definitely reduced the sweetness and the bars weren’t as fun to eat. You might really like the power bars (like larabars) from my Healthy Snacks to Go ebook, which have no sweetener in them other than dried fruit. They’re an awesome (and grain-free) alternative to traditional granola bars! 🙂 Katie

  33. Just want to say GREAT blog and tips. I found you on a google search since I am trying to make my own granola bars. I hvae them in the oven as I type..a bit of a variation but I’m sure they’ll taste great. Keep up the fabulous work and thanks again!

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  36. Your granola bars are great!!! My cake pan was busy the first time I made this so I flattened it onto a cookie sheet and squared the mass off. Worked great!!
    If you, like me, enjoy the crackers that have that toasty edge best, here is an idea.
    the nest time I made these I again used a cookie sheet but this time I shaped the dough into logs and flattened. Two toasty sides…heaven. This also helped with the crumbly problem.
    Just a thought.

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  38. For the soaked granola bars in the e-book….I am combining 4 1/2 C Oats, 1 1 /2 Tbs Whey (using the quick store bought yogurt method with coffee filter) , and the 1/2 C flour to soak with 1 1/2 c water? Is this correct?

    Thanks.

    Ashley

    1. Ashley,
      the soaked recipe used soaked and dehydrated oats, which is a totally different step that you do before the recipe. You should be able to take the mixture you describe above and spread it very thin on cookie sheets, then dehydrate at your lowest oven temperature until crunchy. Then food process until it’s all broken up again. THEN you proceed with the granola bar recipe, no baking or soaking involved. Here’s more info: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/04/08/how-to-soak-and-dehydrate-oats/
      Good luck! 🙂 Katie

  39. This was a GREAT recipe. I used half cup chickpea flour and through in some hemp and flax seeds along with the sunflower seeds and dry fruit.

    My daughter loved squishing the butter. We did not use a mixer. Did everything with our hands. She is three. This is a great recipe for little helpers.

    1. also we made them very mini — like bite size. They were a big hit at preschool class snack time.

      thank you.

  40. Jen @ 400 Calorie Dinners

    For those of you that might be watching your weight, I have figured the calories on the peanut butter version of the granola bars. Katie asked me to post this information in case anyone is interested.

    I cut the pan into 24 bars. Each bar is 197 calories, 7.9 grams fat, and 2.4 grams of fiber.

    One thing I do is use a jelly roll pan and press the mixture thinner. My kids prefer crunchy bars so after I bake them and cut them, I put them back on a baking sheet, separated, and bake them again for about 5-10 minutes, like you would for biscotti. I re-bake a half batch at a time. They come out crunchy that way and stay together very well.

  41. I’m singing with Sara — these are soooo good. After reading her review, I decided to try them. Even though it was eleven at night. I’m so glad I did! A solution to my desire to avoid packaged snacks in my boy’s lunch, and his desire to have snack that are like everyone else’s (gotta love conformity). Delight!!!!

  42. Fab.U.LOUUUUUS (I sung that last bit) 😉

    Seriously, so delicious and EASY and practical and amazing and…THANK YOU 🙂

    I went for it even though it was my first batch ever and replaced the 1/2 cup of butter with PB and only added the chocolate chips and they are waaaaaay tastier than store-bought, hands down.

  43. I made both of these recipes yesterday while snowed in and they turned out wonderfully. I loved the granol and my husband raved about the bars (which is a big deal). I used coconut oil instead of butter and added cocoa powder and raisens . . . delicious!

  44. Katie,
    I just want to say thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve tried other homemade granola bars that were yucky and ended up in the trash. Your soaked recipe was yummy and completely eaten up. What a blessing! I’m working on my second batch now. Thanks for helping me replace one of the “go-to” snack items I’d always had to purchase before. 🙂

  45. I made your Mom’s recipe of homemade granola for my 22 month old grandson. He loves it so much!

    For nuts I used soaked and dehydrated almonds, (I dehydrate them till they are nice and crunchy, not a high temp either, in my simple dehydrator.) I pulsed them in a mini food processor to break them up. Some broke up into a fine meal, but most were nice slices or chunks.

    I did brown the granola too much, almost. It is very dark and toasty. But good. Just barely NOT burnt. : )

    You should of seen Grandpa and I tackle the coconut – why, only FRESH would do for our grandson. **giggle** At least I knew about draining it first. *laughter* (Part of this adventure took place out on the driveway) I grated the meat by hand on a box grater, and the little chunks in the mini food processor – I didn’t like texture from grating in the food processor, though, but that’s okay. The majority was hand grated and I’m content over the fact the little chunks too small to hand grate, (which were not eaten by Grandpa), were not wasted. I mixed the two together, you can’t tell the difference.

    So much meat from one coconut. I lightly packed the rest of the grated coconut in a freezer container and plan to make more granola.

    I have not gotten around to soaking and dehydrating my sunflower seeds quite yet, but they did come out okay in the granola. As a matter of fact, they are hard to see in the mix after toasting the granola in the oven. I may add a little more of them next time.

    After toasting I added my grandson’s favorite fruit – dried blueberries, (he loves them fresh, frozen or dried). Yummy! Only thing is he picks out all the blueberries first! *laughter*

    Since the granola is so dry, (my bad – remember the near burning mentioned previously), I give it to him in a small bowl with a few generous dollops of homemade yogurt, (unsweetened), mix it all up and give him a spoon, (well, we are still helping him eat it because the yogurt gets too runny for his spoon control self feeding adventures.).

    The first time he ate a spoonful of this mixture he spat it out! I think he was expecting a mouthful of warm oatmeal and blueberries so the crunchy texture of the granola and the cold yogurt threw him off. Of course, when we pointed out the blue berries, he tried another spoonful, this time he wasn’t surprised and now he loves this snack!

    Oh, and I used my coconut oil for the first time, in this recipe.

    Did I mention I dislike coconut? I can’t stand it when I eat cookies with coconut, or see cakes with shredded coconut stuck all over – I stay away from ANYTHING coconut. So, I’m very pleased I stuck to your recipe and included the coconut.

    Actually, the only time I ever had coconut was as a kid and it was fresh – scooped out of the shell. After that, anything store bought just tasted horrid to me, like cardboard. : ( That’s when I came to dislike anything coconut with a passion! Yuck! I took a chance, and I’m so glad I did, cooked coconut isn’t bad at all if it is home made! EVEN if very toasty. *laughter*

    Thanks for sharing the recipe thereby giving us some good memories of working together as a wee family to make the granola for our grand baby. : )

    1. Evelina,
      You are hilarious! I love your adventures, and I’m so glad the granola was a hit! 🙂 Katie

    1. Katie,
      Here are some things others have tried:
      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!
      2. 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.

      Both those comments are on this post, but I understand there’s many pages to flip through. I hope that helps – I don’t know for sure what Kate meant by “GF flour”, but I’m guessing the flour doesn’t have a super huge role. Sometimes I can just leave it out – and I did use coconut flour once – in my soaked granola bars which are almost the same ingredients but a different method. Good luck! 🙂 Katie

      1. We were gluten free and dairy free for a while, but luckily my son has grown out of his dairy allergy!
        Anyway, thanks for the suggestions- I was so excited to try I went ahead and I used GF oats and a combination of sorghum flour and brown rice flour and a tsp of xanthan gum. Everything else was the same, plus I added chocolate chips.
        Result? Delicious! Plus, the granola bars didn’t fall apart which is half the battle!

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  47. Heather Drake

    Just made this recipe and they are falling apart. I feel pretty confident that I pressed them down really well. I think the “dough” looked to dry going in, so I poured some coconut oil over the top to add some more moisture. I might try to add an egg or two next time. Any other suggestions?

    1. Heather,
      I’ve tried an egg, which sort of works and sort of doesn’t. The best “stick together” method is to cook the butter and honey to just the right temp (but sometimes I miss because I don’t measure with a thermometer). Check out this method with the same ingredients: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/04/08/recipe-connection-soaked-granola-bars/

      Thanks! Katie

      1. This recipe looks more like what I am looking for. I had extra soaked granola from earlier this week that I put in the freezer, so I will pull it out and give this “soaked” recipe a try. Thanks for your reply.
        Heather

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