Chunky Granola

Note from Cooks Illustrated: Chopping the almonds by hand is the first choice for superior texture and crunch. If you prefer not to hand chop, substitute an equal quantity of slivered or sliced almonds. (A food processor does a lousy job of chopping whole nuts evenly.) Use a single type of your favorite dried fruit or a combination. Do not use quick oats. My notes: a half-batch of this is more than enough to last me at least 2 weeks. It works well baked on a quarter-sheet pan lined with foil-backed parchment paper. Some other ideas for recipes, in addition to the variations below, are dried cherries and pistachios with cardamom and cherry juice (perhaps also sweetened with a bit of prickly pear syrup); dried peaches with pecans and cinnamon; s’mores with mini chocolate chips, graham cracker bits, mini marshmallows and honey.


  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 2⅓ ounces light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 10 ounces raw almonds chopped coarse
  • 2 cups raisins or other dried fruit chopped


  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in large bowl. Whisk in oil. Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.
  3. Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet into thin, even layer (about 3/8 inch thick). Using stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact. Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through baking. Remove granola from oven and cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour. Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size. Stir in dried fruit. (Granola can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)

10/15/2022: I made a half-batch of this granola, substituting boiled apple cider for the maple syrup, apple pie spice for the cinnamon, and walnut pieces for the almonds. I used light olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil. I wasn’t sure how much it would make so I used a half sheet pan lined with pan-lining paper, but next time I would use a quarter sheet pan. I baked the granola for 30 minutes, but next time would bake for only 20-25 minutes. After baking, I mixed in ⅔ cup of dried cranberries and ⅓ cup of dried apricots, chopped to roughly the same size as the cranberries.

11/14/2022: I made a half-batch of this granola using the same ingredients I used in October. This time I baked it on a quarter sheet pan lined with pan-lining paper, on rack 3. I baked it for 22 minutes total, which was good, but it could probably go another 2-3 minutes for toastier flavor.

12/9/2022: I made a half-batch, this time using 2 tablespoons of blueberry syrup and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup; ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon and cardamom; and slivered almonds. Baked on rack 3 for 24 minutes. Added 1 cup of dried blueberries, chopped, after the granola had cooled.

1/14/2023: I made a half-batch today using 3 tablespoons of guava syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, macadamia nuts, and no spices. Baked on rack 3 for 25 minutes. Added ⅔ cup of chopped dried mango and ½ cup of toasted unsweetened coconut flakes after baking.