Missing your Grape-Nuts? This easy recipe replicates the much-loved brand in a wholesome, gluten-free way. You may even like it better!
I may have a creative tendency or two, but my older sister is true artist. When she graduated from Rhode Island School of Design, the talented painting major could have scored a great job at any number of big name companies. At the time, I remember thinking she was crazy to turn down what seemed like amazing opportunities. Her reasoning, however, was simple. She said her creative energy always felt squashed when she had to work within someone else’s parameters. She simply wanted to paint. And that made her happy.
At the tender age of six, my sister stunned everyone with an impressive sketch of a horse, and a few years later whipped off a spot-on portrait of a family friend. I remember everyone chuckling about how well she captured his prominent nose! I always wanted to be able to draw like that.
I realized years later that, although nobody was ever going to pick me first for a Pictionary team (I still LOVE that game!), I had a little creative energy of my own. Perhaps because my artistic ability is on a completely different level than my sister’s, a challenge issued by someone else is often a stepping off point in my creative endeavors. It’s actually why I enjoy recipe development work. Being presented with a specific product or two reigns in what can otherwise be a job without boundaries–think of the infinite ways to combine a nearly endless list of ingredients, the vast array of cooking methods, uncooked options…and so on and so on.
In this case, I was tasked by my friends at Stonyfield with creating a recipe using Bob’s Red Mill’s steel cut oats and coconut sugar. For an added challenge, the recipe would ideally pair well with yogurt. For those not familiar with coconut sugar, it’s a granular sweetener made from the nectar of coconut palm tree blossoms–and is much like a coarse brown sugar. Despite what it might seem, there’s isn’t a pronounced coconut flavor. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to pick up any coconut flavor. What you might notice are notes of caramel that pair well with warm fall flavors–and the coarse texture makes it a welcome finishing touch on oatmeal, cookies, and other baked goods.
As I pondered where to begin with this challenge, I went through my mental list of baked oatmeals, muffins, quick breads, etc. Honestly, I don’t know where I plucked Mock Grape Nuts out of my head–although my husband does love to mix them into almost any cereal for added crunch.
The final result was something unexpectedly satisfying. The sweetness level can be adjusted to personal preference and these gluten-free “Grape Nuts” (use certified GF oats if needed) can be enjoyed as a cold or hot cereal or as a crunchy topping on oatmeal, yogurt, parfaits and even salads. When I have the urge to munch, I often grab a handful of them. For those who find the popular cereal to be a little too crunchy, the following oat-based bits are plenty crunchy yet easier on the teeth.
Yield: 2 cups
- 1 cup (176 grams) steel cut oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) melted coconut oil (or melted butter*)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (may substitute brown sugar or maple syrup**)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Place the oats and the water in a bowl. Allow to stand at room temperature overnight (covered or uncovered is fine).
The following day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and grease a large, rimmed baking sheet. (You may also line it with parchment but I usually do not…keep reading.)
Drain any residual water off the oats (most of it will have been absorbed), and toss them with the melted oil. Sprinkle the sugar and salt overtop, and toss to evenly coat the oats.
Spread the oats in an even layer over the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir. (If using parchment, they may stick a little at the beginning. Don’t worry, this will lessen as the oats continue to dry out.) Return to the oven for 15 minutes, and then stir again. Repeat for another 15 minutes or until the oats are dried out. The precise cooking time will vary based on oven. After about 45 minutes, if the oats are sufficiently brown but still have some moisture in them, reduce the oven temperature to 250 or 275 F, and continue checking and stirring every 5-10 minutes or until crisp and dry. If the oats are mostly dry but a few pockets of slight moisture remain, you may turn the oven off and allow the oats to sit in the still-hot oven until they are cool.
Remove the oats from the oven. When completely cool, transfer to an airtight container. Use as a crunchy topping for yogurt, stovetop oatmeal, cold cereal, salads, etc. The oats will keep for several weeks at room temperature.
- *Melted butter (or even another mild or fruity oil–like avocado oil) can be used instead of the coconut oil. When I tested with butter, the oats browned slightly more but still turned out quite well.
- **Two tablespoons of sugar creates a slightly more savory end result with a subtle, pleasing salty note. Three tablespoons offers mild sweetness. You may taste before baking and add to taste. Brown sugar may be used if coconut sugar isn’t available. Maple syrup works but extends the cooking time due to the added moisture.
These are amazing! I’ve been making them for a year now and keep forgetting to comment. Giving up gluten was one of the hardest things I had to do. I grew up putting grape nuts and raisins in my yogurt everyday. Since also going dairy free , I finally found almond yogurt that I can indulge in that tastes so much like regular yogurt! But it was missing grape nuts. I’m now able to enjoy a lifelong favorite! Thank you
You’re very welcome, Dani! I’m so happy this has become a staple and fills a void since giving up gluten. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!
Wow! Thank you so much!! I just made this and it EXACTLY hit the spot for this nearly lifelong Grape Nuts addict who’s been gluten free for several years now. Grape Nuts was one of my comfort foods—I would have a bowl as a teenager after coming home late, and whenever I had fresh berries, it was my favorite food to eat them with. Now I can again! You’ve totally made my day!
Liisa, A bowl of cereal was my staple snack as a teenager, so I can totally appreciate your comment. I’m delighted the recipe was a hit and fills a void. Win win!!
These are so good, they almost brought me to tears. There are so many things I miss being gluten free, and now I have a replacement for one of my favorites. Thank you so much for creating this recipe! I will add that I thought they weren’t getting crunchy, but once I took them out of the oven and let them cool, they crisped right up. Amazing!
Love your comment, Lisa! I’m thrilled these filled a void and appreciate your terrific feedback!
Ann do you have any nutritional information on this recipe? I would love to try this recipe.
Hi Christine, I don’t have nutritional stats although this recipe would offer all the benefits of steel cut oats. If you’d like additional details, you could copy the ingredients into this calculator, which I find to be one of the more user friendly options: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076. Hope this helps and that you enjoy if you try!
Grape nuts used to be one of my fave cereals before I had to start eating a gluten free diet. Thank you for creating this recipe. I can’t wait to try it!!
My pleasure, Aleta. I hope you enjoy and it fills the Grape Nuts void!
I’m so glad I found this recipe! These came out so good!!
Great news, Ericka. Thanks for letting me know!
A fellow Facebook game player who has become a dear long-distance friend sent me a link to your blog a couple of hours ago. I’ve been exploring ever since and I am so happy that you will be part of my daily blog visits. I was diagnosed with Celiac three years ago and am always on the hunt for flavorful, inexpensive, and quick recipes. And here you are! I crave grape-nuts since going gluten-free. I’m going to try these ASAP. Unfortunately, one of the things most damaged by many years of undiagnosed celiac was my teeth. But if these become nice and crunchy/mushy like real Grape-Nuts when soaked in milk, I’m in! Thank you for your work in recipe development, especially the gluten free meals. Your mother’s high school friend Ann Hoffer has been thanked profusely this afternoon.
Hi Diane, First of all, I just sent a message to my mom. I’m sure she will enjoy hearing the name of a former classmate and how she brought you to my blog! It’s so wonderful how the internet (and food!) can bring people together. I’m sorry to hear about your Celiac diagnosis but am delighted that you found your way here. While I don’t overtly bill myself as a gluten-free site, nearly all of my recipes are gluten-free or can be easily modified to be that way. I firmly believe that gluten-free food can taste at least as good–if not better–that it’s traditional counterpart. I’m excited for you to try some of the recipes. I hope you find many you enjoy and look forward to your future visits and feedback!
Yum! This sounds so good and so creative!!!
I can’t begin to tell you how much I love the creative genius behind this. And I’m sure they taste awesome, too!
Thank you! If you try, I hope you like!