Chunky Homemade Granola

By Ann Fulton

This big batch recipe makes two full baking sheets of classic, crunchy, lightly sweet granola that is delicious with yogurt, milk, fruit – or by the handful. You may cut the recipe in half, but it will keep for weeks and freezes well, too.
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This big batch recipe makes two full baking sheets of classic, crunchy, lightly sweet granola that is delicious with yogurt, milk, fruit – or by the handful. You may cut the recipe in half, but it will keep for weeks and freezes well, too.

 

Perfectly crunchy, not overly sweet, and loaded with chunks, this granola recipe yields 16 cups of granola and is a welcome breakfast or satisfying snack. It’s basic pantry ingredient cooking at its best!

This recipe is one of the first I shared through the Fountain Avenue Kitchen. The accompanying photos were pretty bad, so it’s unlikely that many people paid much attention to the recipe!

Because I have continued to tweak the recipe–and because it’s rather popular in our house–I thought it was time to give it a makeover.

As evidenced by the early pictures (see further down the page), I have absolutely no photography training. Fortunately, my older son, John, was taking a photography class at school when I began my cooking adventure, and he gave me some of my best pointers. 

I remember hovering over a tray of granola as he told me to get up close and try to show some of the texture in the food–using my iPhone 4, no less! I have thought of that tip many times in the years that have followed.

When I first made granola from scratch, I started with a very basic recipe and altered it over time. My goal was granola with big, snack-worthy chunks, ideally with less sugar and oil than the variety I typically purchased.

Delightful as a topping for yogurt or cereal–or eaten by the handful–this chunky granola also serves as a base for a hard-to-resist snack mix. Dried cranberries, cashews, and white chocolate chips are our add-ins of choice. With the added benefit of being mostly healthy and portable, this mix is a welcome lunchbox addition and a filling snack.

My husband, a frequent flyer, thinks this is the perfect snack to take while traveling. There’s no need to refrigerate and, when paired with fruit and a yogurt, can stand in for breakfast or lunch.

This big batch recipe makes two full baking sheets of classic, crunchy, lightly sweet granola that is delicious with yogurt, milk, fruit – or by the handful. You may cut the recipe in half, but it will keep for weeks and freezes well, too.

Stored in a Mason jar and tied with a bow (or kitchen twine), the granola makes a lovely gift too. 

Chunky Homemade Granola

For maximum chunks, press the mixture together firmly before baking and flip in large sections. (A metal spatula and the flat bottom of a measuring cup come in handy to achieve the above look.) For looser granola, simply distribute the mixture over the baking sheets (no pressing necessary) and break up the chunks when you stir.

The photo, below, shows just how big you can make the chunks if you follow this technique. (And this is after breaking some into smaller pieces.) More recently, I have also tried baking the granola without flipping or stirring at all, and that works quite well. If you want to try this, check occasionally to make sure the edges aren’t becoming too brown. If they are, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees and move the browned edges to the center of the baking sheet.

What if you don’t want chunks? This granola can be made into a loose, chunk-free mix by stirring more thoroughly when baking and again when removed from the oven. 

This big batch recipe makes two full baking sheets of classic, crunchy, lightly sweet granola that is delicious with yogurt, milk, fruit – or by the handful. You may cut the recipe in half, but it will keep for weeks and freezes well, too.

You may wonder why there is water in this recipe. In addition to reducing the amount of oil and maple syrup required to moisten the dry mixture, the water very lightly plumps the oats before they become dry and crisp in the oven. The end result is a texture that’s less loose and grainy like many granolas. The plumper oats also create a larger yield. 

Chunky Homemade Granola
Yield: 16 cups (4 quarts)
This big batch recipe makes two full baking sheets of classic, crunchy, lightly sweet granola that is delicious with yogurt, milk, fruit – or by the handful. You may cut the recipe in half, but it will keep for weeks and freezes well, too.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups (540g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1½ cups (170g) slivered raw almonds
  • 1½ cups (210g) raw sunflower seeds (may use pumpkin seeds or a mix)
  • 1 cup (228g) whole wheat or all-purpose flour (see notes for GF options)
  • ¾ cup (150g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (180g) melted coconut oil (may substitute; see notes)
  • ½ cup (4oz) water
  • ½ cup (160g) pure maple syrup (may substitute honey)
  • Optional: ⅔ cup (56g) shredded or flaked coconut (I use unsweetened)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300℉. Grease two rimmed baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
  2. In a very large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flour, brown sugar, salt, and optional coconut. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, maple syrup, and water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until the dry ingredients are completely moistened.
  3. Spread the oat mixture over the prepared baking sheets. Press the mixture into a big, even rectangle on each baking sheet to start. (This will help the pieces bind.)
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, and then flip in large sections with a spatula. Switch the trays around in oven and bake 20-30 minutes more, flipping every 10 minutes, or until dried out and lightly golden. (Helpful hints: If you’re not interested in chunks, stir and break up the mixture as you go. If you want bigger chunks, flip in large sections. You can break them into smaller pieces later, if desired. For really big chunks, you may skip the flipping/stirring altogether, but do rotate the baking sheets. Note that the granola will likely take longer to dry out in this case and you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees if the edges begin to brown too much.)
  5. Once the granola is dry, remove from the oven and do not stir again until completely cooled.
  6. Storage: Stored in an airtight container, the granola will stay fresh for several weeks at room temperature and several months in the refrigerator. It freezes well, too.
Notes

I have substituted my all-purpose, gluten-free flour blend and several store-bought blends with excellent results. Most recently, I used flax meal. The flavor difference with the flax meal was negligible, and while the granola was less chunky, I wouldn’t hesitate to make it this way again.
While my favorite oil in this granola is coconut oil (for both its aroma and light flavor), I have used canola and olive oil and both are fine substitutes.
•The granola offers a great snack mix base. Favorite combinations for add-ins include the following: 
white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and cashews; dark chocolate chips, dried cherries, and walnuts or pecans; mini M&Ms, raisins, banana chips, and peanuts; butterscotch or cinnamon chips, chopped dried apricots, and macadamia nuts.

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A good friend sent me this photo of her new kitchen canister, which is dedicated solely to this granola recipe. I'm so glad her family enjoys it a much as we do!

A good friend sent me this photo of her new kitchen canister, which is dedicated solely to this granola recipe. I’m so glad her family enjoys it a much as we do!

This is one of the first recipes I shared through The Fountain Avenue Kitchen.  Here are some early photos…

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Comments

  1. Jessica Warner

    Oh my, oh my! I just ate some of this today and am hooked big time! I love the crunch, the bit of sweetness, and goodness. Thank you. I’ll be eating this for breakfast with oatmilk, with plain yogurt, and dry for snacks. Delicious!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Such good news, Jessica! Your comment made me smile (and a little hungry for a fresh batch) and I appreciate your taking the time to leave it!

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Lauren, You can store this granola at room temperature for a couple of weeks, and it will keep for several months when refrigerated. It may also be frozen. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

      Reply
  2. Alena

    With other granola recipes, I have found that any fruits added at the beginning become too hard – especially true of raisins. With a chunky recipe though, it would be hard to add any dried fruits later in the baking.
    Suggestions or recommendations?
    Thanks.Alena

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Good question, Alena! I agree with you on dried fruits becoming hard when baked so, when adding, I do so once the granola has been removed from the oven. If you prefer granola that is less chunky so that the fruit is more evenly distributed, you can simply stir the mixture to prevent it from clumping. If you have further questions, let me know!

      Reply
  3. Karin

    I did not get any chunks. I’m not sure what makes it stick together? The chunks were what drew me to the recipe.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Karin, The trick is to flip the granola in big sections so that you don’t break it up as you cook it…and then letting it cool without touching. I’m sorry you didn’t get the chunks you were hoping for, but I promise you can. Also, I have just recently found that you can cook without flipping for really big chunks. In this case just monitor and reduce the heat by 25 degrees if the edges are becoming too brown. Hope this helps and that you might enjoy the taste enough to try again!

      Reply
  4. Joanne Tenney

    Hi Ann, When to you add in chocolate chips and dried fruit? Surely not before baking! And it says not to disturb until cool. Please let me know.

    Reply
  5. Karen Post author

    I came across your website thanks to this recipe. Yummy! Thanks! I used honey and added some dried pineapple and raisins. I then saw your boiled scrambled eggs. I will have to try that sometime.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’m so happy you made the granola and enjoyed. That’s a favorite around here, and I might have to add dried pineapple the next time. That sounds wonderful!

      Reply
  6. Joanne Johnson

    The granola pictured is the best looking granola I have looked at on at least 50 web sites. I will make it tonite! Thanks

    Reply
  7. Kelly

    I’d love more granola recipes snacks if u have them.
    I’m gonna make these when do I cook the oats first?

    Thx Kelly

    Reply
  8. Anne Chubiz

    This recipe is excellent! So many variations possible too. I subbed pumpkin seeds for sunflower, and used 1/4 cup coconut oil with 1/2 cup almond butter. Very tasty.

    Reply
  9. Susan

    I made it just like you said, other than gf flour. The flavor is good, but not one single chunk was formed. Very disappointing especially since you add so many carbs with the flour which never goes into any granola I’ve made.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’m sorry this didn’t meet your expectations, Susan. I’ve also made this recipe many times with gluten-free flour and it looks like the pictured batch. For me, the key is firmly pressing the mixture together from the outset and then flipping it in chunks, as described…followed by the thorough cooling without touching. I’d be happy to help with further trouble-shooting if you like, but again, I’m sorry you weren’t happy with the outcome.

      Reply
  10. Michael Mulvey

    Delicious, but mine did not clump at all! I have celiacs so I substitutes the regular flour for a mixture of flaxseed flour and coconut flour, maybe thats why, but still tastes great!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      The substitutions are likely the reason–or perhaps you stirred before the granola was completely cool? Either way, I’m delighted you like it. Thanks for your comment, Michael!

      Reply