Confession #60: I like it my way… Have-It-Your-Way Granola {GF, Dairy-Free}

by alexandra

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For me, granola has always been a touchy subject, because I’m pretty picky about my granola. I like it my way, which means lots of granola-y clumps, rich texture, and flavor, flavor flavor. I used to have a certain type of store-bought granola that I thought was the best, and even though I always wanted to try making my own, the store-bought kind was always around, so it never seemed like the perfect moment. I think part of me was also worried that it wouldn’t be as good. There finally came the day, though, that I was determined to make granola. I did a lot of searching (and trust me, I mean a lot), and I ended up picking the perfect recipe the first time, because this granola is AMAZING.

How good is it? Let me tell you… Remember that store-bought kind I was talking about? The next time I tried it, it seemed way too sweet and, in essence, fake. I spoiled myself with homemade granola, and now I don’t even want the store-bought type. Needless to say, “bake granola” is on my mental to-do list every other week now.

I’m calling this Have-It-Your-Way Granola because that’s really what it should be – granola the way you  want it. I’m posting the recipe the basic way I like to do it, but I switch it up all the time. So should you! If that means using walnuts instead of pecans, or dried cranberries instead of raisins, or nutmeg instead of cinnamon, go for it! I promise you this; every time you make it, you’ll end up with beautiful, golden, clumpy, delicious granola (and you will be making it more than once!).

P.S. I think it’s worth it to note that this granola is definitely on the healthier side of most granola recipes, particularly because there’s no butter called for, and it’s only lightly sweetened with honey. Bonus :)

P.P.S. It’s super easy!


Have-It-Your-Way Granola

  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups


This is the ultimate granola: clumpy, crunchy, full of flavor, and perfectly sweetened. Make this granola recipe as is, or use different nuts, dried fruits, and spices; the whole point is – have it your way!


  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Spray two baking sheets with a nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the rolled oats, pecans, almonds, raisins, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites, oil, honey, and vanilla extract for about 30 seconds. Pour into the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until the wet is evenly distributed into the dry. Split the granola evenly between the two baking sheets,making a doughnut shape with no granola in the center (This is so that all of the granola gets evenly baked). Pat down the granola with the back of a spatula.
  5. Bake granola in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time. Let granola sit for 20 minutes before breaking into clumps. Store in an airtight container.


Almost every time we make this granola recipe, we do something a bit different. Of course, you can easily switch any of the fruits and nuts to suit your liking. You change up the spices and add seeds as well. One of my favorite adaptations so far is substituting ground tahitian vanilla for the vanilla extract and adding 2 tablespoons of whole flaxseed. Have fun with it!

Recipe adapted from: Frantically Simple

myfudo April 23, 2012

The minute I learned that my sister is pregnant, I immediately listed down what good recipes should I prepare for her. I know she’d need a lot of fiber, so granola mix was up on the list. This is really something I’d like her to try. Thanks!
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brighteyedbaker April 29, 2012

That’s so exciting that your sister is pregnant! Congrats! Granola should definitely be on that list; it’s full of nutrients. Hope you give her this recipe :)

Heidi April 24, 2012

Your pictures are gorgeous! I love the adaptations – I’m going to have to try cayenne in mine next time. Well done.
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brighteyedbaker April 29, 2012

Thanks so much :) Your comment made my day. The cayenne adds a little flare to the granola, a little kick, that I really like.

Kajal May 5, 2012

I’m definitely trying this recipe, now! :D i have crazy work schedules and anything healthy i can take to work or munch on after work is much much appreciated, so Thanks for sharing!
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brighteyedbaker May 5, 2012

This is my on-the-go snack EVERY DAY. It’s nice because you can switch up the flavors a bit each time for variety. Let me know how you like it!

Rachel May 11, 2012

Made this yesterday and tried it this morning. Freaking A-MA-zing! I had to go back for seconds, and I rarely do that with any type of cereally stuff :)

brighteyedbaker May 12, 2012

That makes my day to hear :) I’m basically addicted to this granola myself. Good thing it’s healthy!

Mary@FitandFed May 22, 2012

Hmm, I have to be careful with granola because I too snack on it if it’s around. Yours does look healthy, if I could use it just as a garnish I’d be all set. Yours is gluten-free if you use gluten free oats, has lots of nuts, raisins, and you use some egg whites to stick it together without as much oil. And I approve of sticking it together into clumps. Overall, bravo, good job! I’ll share it around on Pinterest.
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brighteyedbaker May 25, 2012

A lot of granola recipe seem to use butter, refined sugar, etc. That’s why I’m pretty pleased with the health aspect of this recipe. Plus, I seriously LOVE the flavor! Hope you try it out, and thanks for spreading the word :)

Mary@FitandFed May 25, 2012

Sure, it got 8 likes and 30 repins on Pinterest– hope that helps more folks find your blog.
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Laura Huse June 3, 2012

I’ve always wanted to try making my own granola & your recipe has gotten me hooked! So good and so easy. I’ll never buy store bought granola again! Thank you!

brighteyedbaker June 4, 2012

Yay! I love to hear that :) The granola has me hooked too. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know that you enjoyed it.

Andre June 18, 2012

This is absolutely amazing! I love clumpy crunchy granola too! I will surely try your recipe. Other than cayenne pepper, what can I substitude for it?
Hope you’ll also visit my site and leave some comment :)

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brighteyedbaker June 27, 2012

You can just leave the cayenne pepper out. It adds a nice spicy note that I like, but it isn’t necessary. You can also feel free to add any spices you’d like. :)

Jane August 7, 2012

Hi! I made your granola this past weekend and it was so good! I’ve been eating it w/ my yogurt non-stop and my friend really likes it too! :) This is going to become a staple in my attempt to eat healthier!

Just had a few questions though…when you say to make it like a donut shape so the middle is empty, when I’m putting the granola on the baking sheet, is it supposed to be a specific height then or flat? The bottom side was a bit golden, and the top side was dry (like how granola should be?). I guess that leads to my second question! How do yo make it more clumpy so it sticks together. Mine came out a bit more separated. Would you suggest I add more honey?


brighteyedbaker August 9, 2012

That’s great that you’re enjoying the granola! We always have it at my house too; it’s the perfect filling but healthy snack.

If you followed the recipe exactly, you shouldn’t need more honey than listed. Make sure that you’re separating the granola between two baking sheets so that it doesn’t mound up. You don’t need it to have height; you just want a flat layer with that hole in the middle on both sheets. Also, make sure you flatten down the granola really well on the baking sheet before baking (with the back of a spatula). It should look like a solid layer. Then, don’t stir the granola or anything during the baking, and let it sit for about 20 minutes after baking before you separate it into clumps. Also be sure that you rotate the two baking sheets and switch their positions halfway between the baking period for even baking.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Anna August 21, 2012

I made my first granola two weeks ago. It was choc-ful of protein from chia seeds and almonds. No oil or eggs involved, but it did have coconut oil. It didn’t go super-clumpy, but i’ve noticed that it has gotten more so over time, probably being compressed in the jar. Anyway, I’ve now been diagnosed with an almond allergy, so I’ve gotten rid of that one and made a new granola. Not only did I convert ounces to grams incorrectly, i stirred it much more than I should have, leaving me with very subtly flavoured ‘cereal’. Plus I’ve got two giant jars of the stuff! I can’t wait to try again and get a clumpy result! It seriously is the best breakfast with my allergies (gluten, dairy, yeast, almonds, egg whites, soy and a heap of other stuff I forget haha)

When I made my first granola I had two trays and couldn’t get my dodgy oven to do both (which is actually why I had to stir this time) so I just did a single tray at a time. It’s winter here so, while not super cold, I just take the trays outside and they cool quicker. Not sure if a bad idea but i was impatient!

brighteyedbaker August 24, 2012

My best advice for you to get clumpier granola is to avoid the stirring and pack your granola down on your baking sheet before baking. Good luck with all of your allergy-friendly baking!

Lisa September 17, 2012

Thank you for posting. I have a 4 1/2 yr old boy & healthy snacks are a must in my household. I added cherry craisins, fax seed & sunflower seeds…it’s in the oven right now. The doughnut shaped granola looks beautiful on the pan – like it could be a wreath hanging on the front door.

brighteyedbaker September 17, 2012

I’ve never heard of cherry craisins, but they sound yummy. :) I hope you and your family enjoy the granola; I know we always do! And you’re welcome.

Homegourmand October 7, 2012

I love home made granola on Greek style vanilla yogurt, I add a half cup of good quality cocoa powder to mine as well as a half cup of brown sugar for a chocolate decadent treat! Can’t wait to try your recipe!

alexandra October 9, 2012

That sounds like such a yummy way to make granola! I think you’ll love this version if you’re a granola lover :)

Cindy December 11, 2012

I just popped my pans into the oven. It is so quick and easy to mix up! Smells super too! Can’t wait to try it out :) I added some dried cherries also.

Aubrey January 3, 2013

Just made this and wow best crunchy granola I have ever made!! Not too oily and has great flavor!!!

alexandra January 5, 2013

Awesome! So glad you like it; I make this recipe all the time. :)

Laura April 6, 2013

I know this is really late, but you can also use maple syrup. Thanks for the recipe, I couldnt find mine and when I looked all of them called for 1 to 3 cups of sugar and I KNEW mine did not have that. I don’t add as much honey though. the substitutions that people like the most when i make it are adding bananas instead of sugar/oil/egg (not as crunchy for as long but better for my vegan friends) and cocoa powder and unsweetened coconut.

alexandra April 6, 2013

You’re welcome! I sometimes use maple syrup instead of honey and love it that way too. The cocoa/coconut idea sounds awesome! I’ll have to try that.

Anthony September 2, 2013

I recently made your recipe for granola. I added organic flax and sunflower seeds along with walnuts, dried blueberries and crasins. It was delicious!! Your recipe was perfect and very healthy. I look forward to following more of your recipes.

alexandra September 2, 2013

I’m so glad to hear it! Let me know what else you end up trying!

lisa October 23, 2014

Never thought to put cayenne in granola….it tastes great!
I also put extra cinnamon because I like a strong flavor. Coconut oil adds a nice flavor too. Thanks

alexandra October 23, 2014

So glad you like it! The cayenne adds a fun little kick, I think. :)

Michelle January 25, 2016

I made this today because I’ve got a kid who can’t digest sucrose (aka sugar) and I need a breakfast that I don’t have to cook, because OMG I’m sick of cooking all day. This is DELICIOUS and I have a house of beautiful quiet right now as the kids devour it. Thank you for this amazing recipe.

alexandra January 25, 2016

That is so cool to hear! Glad you’re all loving it :)

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