How to make healthier granola at home

Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel, MD

Packaged granolas, which seem like a healthy choice, can have more than 2 teaspoons of added sugar per 1/3 cup serving. This remastered recipe has just a fraction of that amount. Dried fruit, nuts, spices, and just a touch of maple syrup add loads of flavor without the need for a lot of sugar. To get those yummy chunks of granola that you’re used to, firmly press the mixture into the pan before baking. It’s best to make a big batch on a day when you have time to cook, then store it for those days when you need a quick breakfast or snack.

Makes 7 cups



Variation: Substitute 2 ounces unsweetened dried cherries (about 1/3 cup), chopped, for 2 ounces of the dried apricots.

What Kids Can Do

Kids can measure and mix the ingredients. They’ll also enjoy breaking up the granola into chunks.

Make Ahead

The granola will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Information (1/3 cup)

Calories: 159 | Added sugar: 1/2 teaspoon or 2g | Carbohydrates: 15g | Sodium: 30mg | Saturated fat: 11% of calories or 2g | Fiber: 3g | Protein: 4g

Excerpted from "Half the Sugar, All the Love" by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel, MD, MSPH. Photographs by Erin Scott. Workman Publishing ©2019.

Want more tips like these? NBC News BETTER is obsessed with finding easier, healthier and smarter ways to live. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 1/2 ounces dried apricots (about 1 cup), chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner.
  2. Whisk together the maple syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Add the oats, almonds, walnuts, ground flaxseed, and coconut and stir until evenly coated.
  3. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Using an offset spatula or the bottom of a glass, firmly press down on the granola to form an even, compact layer about 1/2 inch thick. The granola may not cover the entire surface of the baking sheet.
  4. Bake the granola for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking until golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Let the granola cool completely in the pan, about 1 hour.
  5. Gently break the granola into large clumps. Stir in the dried apricots. The granola will continue to break apart into smaller pieces as you stir. Transfer the granola to an airtight container.