How To Make Basic Granola

I like crafting a variety of granolas geared to special occasions and seasons, but sometimes we just need a jar of Basic Granola sitting on the counter. No fancy bells and whistles … just the basic good stuff. And when it comes right down to it, good food is all about the basic good stuff, right?

Basic Granola ❘ ©

Making a basic granola isn’t as much about a recipe as a formula. Once you have the basics down pat you can throw together a batch of granola in pretty much no time flat. And remember, just because we’re talking about basic granola here, that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious! Yes, my special occasion granolas (see a selection at the bottom of the post) have a lot of bells and whistles, but sometimes I just want some crunchy, chewy goodness to enjoy along with my yogourt and berries.

Keeping It Sweetly Unrefined

Around here sweetly unrefined means using minimal amounts of sweeteners that are as natural and minimally processed as possible.

Before we get into the formula, let me just say that at Urban Cottage Life a basic granola is a sweetly unrefined granola. Say what?

Around here sweetly unrefined means using minimal amounts of sweeteners that are as natural and minimally processed as possible. So, no high fructose corn syrup, no white sugar and so on. Instead, I rely on things that bring not just sweetness, but also flavour and even some nutrients (but let’s not kid ourselves … any sweetener isn’t exactly going to be health food).

Basic Granola ❘ ©

So, What’s That Basic Granola Formula?

I’ve put together a handy infographic as a guide to making a basic granola.

Basic Granola Formula ❘ ©

Of course, this is just a guide. A meant-to-be-adapted-to-suit-your-fancy guide. Switch up the ingredients according to your tastes and what’s in your cupboard. Let your imagination fly! For instance, use less dried fruit, or maybe leave out the optional add-ins altogether. Or simply follow the recipe I share below for guaranteed goodness.

Basic Granola Ingredient Options

  • Grains: I’ve always used oatmeal, but some other options you could use in whole or part are buckwheat groats, spelt flakes, millet … (time for me to experiment!)
  • Spice: Cinnamon, cardamon, pumpkin spice blend …
  • Nuts: Almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts …
  • Natural Sweeteners: Maple syrup, honey, buckwheat honey, molasses …
  • Other Add-Ins: Flakes or shredded unsweetened coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts … (toasted or not, depending on the particular ingredients)
  • Dried Fruit: Raisins, cranberries, sour cherries, apricots, dates …

Basic Granola ❘ ©

Let’s Make Granola!

My Basic Granola recipe is below, as an illustration of what you can do with the formula above. I’m not likely to make a Basic Granola exactly the same way twice. If nothing else, granola making is a good opportunity to clear the cupboard of those odds and ends of dried fruit and nuts left over from other baking projects.

What Are Your Favourites?

What are your favourite ingredients to put in your granola? You just might inspire me to try something new for my next batch!

Basic Granola ❘ ©


Basic Granola

This granola might be called "basic" but you'll be glad to have a jar of it on standby to work its magic on yogourt and ice cream, or simply to enjoy as a crunchy treat out of hand.

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

Keyword: basic granola, granola
Author: © Marlene Cornelis/Urban Cottage Life 2018
  • 3 cups large flake oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup walnut chunks
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (or other raisins)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (preferably sweetened with apple juice so they're still tart)
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
How To Make This Recipe
  1. Place the oatmeal, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix. Add the honey and stir until it's well incorporated. Stir in the nuts.

  2. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Stir well, then toast for another 15 minutes. Stir again and continue toasting up to another 10 minutes or as required to achieve a deep golden colour. (Depending on your oven, 30 minutes may be all that's required.)

  3. While the granola is toasting, clean and dry the bowl. When the granola is done, carefully pour it into the mixing bowl, and stir in the raisins, cranberries and coconut until well distributed. Return the granola to the lined baking sheet and set it on a rack to cool.

  4. Store in a glass jar or other sealed container at room temperature.

Looking to Up Your Granola Game?

There’s nothing wrong (in fact, there’s everything good) with Basic Granola, but sometimes something a little fancier is just the ticket. The most spectacular granola I’ve made to date is this Pomegranate Pistachio version that brings a festive vibe to the table. And then there’s Triple Apple Granola (what a way to get your apple a day in!). And of course, I couldn’t resist jumping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon with this Pumpkin Spice Granola (and yes, it actually has pumpkin in it, no kidding).


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