This quick and easy cranberry walnut grain-free granola is crunchy and naturally sweet - a perfect gluten-free, low carb breakfast or snack.
This easy cranberry walnut granola is crunchy and sweet with a hint of tartness from the cranberries - everything you want in a granola and perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack.
What makes this granola paleo? Not using any oats or other grains. And not loading it up with brown sugar or other refined sweeteners. Unlike traditional granola or muesli, this healthy cereal recipe is grain-free and refined sugar-free. Nuts, seeds, and coconut replace the grains and it is sweetened with just a touch of honey or maple syrup and a little dried fruit.
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This granola is one of my favorite recipes. The recipe is so simple you can make it for breakfast on the weekend and have it ready to grab and go all week. Homemade granola takes less than 30 minutes start to finish for a big batch. It's perfect for meal prep - just pack in single serve containers (like these plastic-free bags) for portable snacks.
And you can change up the flavors depending on what you have on hand. Cranberry and walnut is a classic combination I made with the ingredients I had in the pantry - dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice) walnut halves, slivered almonds, unsweetened shredded coconut, and coconut oil. I think hazelnut apricot or pistachio date might be next flavor I try. I've already done variations with cinnamon and raisins, dried blueberries, and dried cherries.
- Nuts - Chopped walnuts and slivered almonds are full of healthy fats. They also give this recipe protein, crunch and flavor.
- Seeds - Raw pepitas or pumpkin seeds are full of fiber and healthy nutrients. They pair with the nuts for a satisfying crunch.
- Unsweetened shredded coconut - Adds fiber and texture to the mix.
- Sea salt - Salt is a seasoning that always helps to enhance the sweetness.
- Coconut oil - Melted coconut oil helps the ingredients become crisp as they roast in the oven. Use unrefined if you don't want a pronounced coconut flavor.
- Sweetener - Honey or maple syrup, for a vegan option, will not only give a delicate sweetness to the granola, but will help it clump together as it roasts.
- Dried cranberries - Make sure you use cranberries that are sweetened with apple juice to keep it refined sugar-free.
Refer to the recipe card down below for exact measurements
How To Make The Granola
It's super easy to assemble this grain-free granola for the oven. Here's how:
- Preheat your oven to 300° F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up.
- Chop your walnuts. I use pre-slivered almonds, but if you don't, make sure you chop or slice them rather than leaving them whole.
- Add the chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Melt the coconut oil. I just microwave mine for a few seconds.
- To the bowl of nuts, seeds and coconut, add the melted coconut oil along with either honey or maple syrup and stir to combine, making sure everything is coated. If clusters form, that's great. That's what granola is supposed to do!
- Spread the mixed granola on your prepared baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake for approximately 18-20 minutes.
- Check on it about 15 minutes in and give it a slight stir with a spatula and continue baking another 5 minutes or so, or until it's golden brown.
- Remove it from the oven and add the dried cranberries to it and gently stir to combine.
- Let it cool completely before serving or packaging for storage.
Tips For Making Grain Free Granola
- Space: Be sure to use a large baking sheet so the granola can be spread out in a single layer.
- Line: Do line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Once that honey and/or maple syrup heats up in the oven, it gets sticky, which is awesome for granola, but not when you have to scrape it off of a baking sheet. Parchment paper is the way to go.
- Check: Check on the granola about halfway through. Each oven is different, and depending on your nuts, oil and which type of sweetener you used, you don't want the granola to bake too quickly and burn. So just give it a check and a stir about halfway through to check on its progress. Once it starts turning golden, you're close!
- Clumps: If your baked granola isn't clumpy enough for you, simply scrunch it with your fingers once out of the oven. Let it cool off enough to touch it and form the clumps while still warm.
Can I Substitute Another Oil For Coconut Oil?
For a neutral-flavored substitution, try avocado oil instead of coconut oil.
How Do I Chop The Nuts?
I chop the nuts by hand, but you can also use a food processor. If you do, just pulse, in 1-second increments, to rough chop them. They will still be different sizes, but that's fine because you want them to form clusters once everything is mixed.
How To Customize This Granola Recipe
This grain-free granola recipe is completely adaptable so you can change up the flavors depending on what you have on hand. This recipe, cranberry and walnut, is a classic combination that I made with the ingredients I had in the pantry.
Here are a few more ideas that will all be equally delicious. Play around with combinations of nuts, fruits, seeds, spices and other add-ins to create a grain-free mixture that's uniquely yours.
When adding the fruits or other sweet add-ins, you'll mix those in after the granola has baked and is out of the oven. Make sure you're choosing dried fruit with no added sugar or that has been sweetened naturally.
- Swap out the dried cranberries for any other dried fruit that's been naturally sweetened, such as raisins, cherries, pineapples, apricots, dates, blueberries, and mango.
- Swap out the unsweetened shredded coconut for the larger unsweetened coconut flakes for more coconut goodness.
- Swap out the dried cranberries for sugar-free chocolate chips or cacao nibs. Let the granola cool completely before adding the chips, unless you want them to be melted.
Instead of walnuts, you might try pecans, cashews, macadamias, pistachios, hazelnuts, and/or almonds.
Try adding a creamy nut butter, such as almond, sunflower, or cashew to the granola for another layer of deliciousness. Mix it in with the melted coconut oil to help it combine before adding it to your nut and seed mixture.
Instead of pumpkin seeds, you might want to try sunflower seeds, chia, hemp, or flax seeds.
If you're wondering about chia seeds in granola, they are a wonderful healthy addition since they develop a subtle crunch when baked. Give them a try!
Ground spices can add a warming touch, especially if you're going for a seasonal flavor. Try cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom or a blend of pumpkin pie spices for a fall-inspired granola.
A teaspoon of an extract can add another layer of flavor and enhancement to your granola, Here are a few to try:
- Vanilla extract is always a good idea for a general flavor booster to any sweet granola mix.
- If you're going for a tropical vibe, try coconut extract.
- Almond extract is also a good choice, especially if you're adding dried cherries, as those flavors tend to complement each other.
How To Serve Granola
No doubt you'll find many ways to enjoy this grain-free granola recipe, but here are a few of my favorites:
- As cereal. This granola makes a healthy gluten-free cereal alternative with almond milk, homemade cashew milk, coconut milk, or your favorite dairy-free milk.
- As a snack. I love to grab a handful when I'm looking for something crunchy to snack on. It's great on its own straight out of the jar.
- As a topping. I also love it sprinkled on top of dairy-free coconut yogurt, parfait, applesauce, ice cream, pudding, or a smoothie bowl.
- As an add-in. Try it stirred into my paleo oatmeal.
How To Store Granola
Make sure your granola is cool before packaging it for storage. I like to use a glass jar or glass container with an airtight lid. You can keep it in the fridge where it will stay good for a month (although it never lasts that long in my house). This granola is also freezer-friendly.
More Grain Free Granola Recipes
Love homemade granola? Here are some more easy granola flavors to try!
- Blueberry Pecan Granola
- Cinnamon Raisin Spice Granola
- Pecan Chocolate Chip Coconut Granola
- Cherry Almond Granola
Cranberry Walnut Paleo Granola
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Combine nuts, seeds, coconut and salt in large bowl.
- Add coconut oil and honey and mix until well combined.
- Bake on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or prepared with cooking spray) for 18 - 20 minutes, until just lightly browned.
- Add the dried cranberries and toss to combine. Cool completely before serving.