This is a variation of our homemade granola base recipe. Homemade granola is not only easy to make, but it’s delicious too! When you make your own, you get to control the ingredients, including the amount of sugar added (store bought granola usually has way too much!). Make this vanilla almond granola recipe for a tasty breakfast, snack, or even dessert!
Must-Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for Making the BEST Vanilla Almond Granola
This recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons – ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup oil, and ¼ cup natural liquid sweetener. Measure the ingredients in that order to make clean-up easier! Technically, you should use a liquid measuring cup, but dry measuring cups will work in this case. Measure the brown sugar first; it needs to be measured in a clean cup, otherwise it will stick to the bottom. Then, by measuring the oil before the liquid sweetener, the liquid sweetener will just slide right out!
While we prefer rolled or old fashioned oats, you can make this honey vanilla granola recipe with quick oats too!
Be sure to use real vanilla extract, not the imitation kind.
A 13 x 18 baking sheet will hold a full batch of granola. Any smaller, and you will need two pans. Spreading the granola out thinly allows it to cook evenly and get nice and crunchy!
Cook the granola until golden, but don’t expect it to be hard when you remove it from the oven. It will harden as it cools.
Be sure to stir and re-spread the granola immediately after you remove it from the oven, otherwise it will stick to the pan. If you prefer chunkier granola full of tasty vanilla oat clusters, cook the mixture on parchment paper, don’t stir it while it cooks, and allow it to cool slightly before stirring once removed from the oven.
You don’t have to stir the granola every 15 minutes. If you’re like us, you have crazy toddlers or kids running around, and you don’t want to be stuck near your oven, so just let it cook! It will still brown nicely and taste delicious.
Add the dried fruit once the granola cools to prevent it from hardening.
- Honey: substitute any liquid sweetener. Want to make your granola vegan? Use maple syrup or agave nectar.
- Vanilla: can substitute half with almond extract. You could even substitute ½ teaspoon coconut extract for a coconut vanilla granola variation.
- Oats: while we prefer rolled or old-fashioned oats, quick oats work too! We don’t recommend using steel cut oats.
- Almonds: substitute any other raw nuts (e.g. walnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts). Don’t use toasted nuts, as they will burn in the oven!
- Raisins: substitute your favorite dried fruit. If using larger fruits such as dried apricots, figs, or prunes, dice into smaller pieces before adding.
This recipe is very forgiving; think outside the (granola) box!
To make almond joy granola add unsweetened coconut flakes to the mixture.
For a higher protein granola add more nuts and/or seeds in place of the oats.
If you love spices, feel free to add other sweet spices such as ground nutmeg, cloves, or ginger.
Want to make this vanilla granola without nuts? Substitute the same volume of pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or replace with 2 more cups of old fashioned oats.
Need some granola inspiration?
Use our base recipe as a guide to make it your own, or check out our other healthy granola recipe variations!
Equipment Recommendations for the Best Granola
You just need a few simple pieces of kitchen equipment for this recipe!
Is this a healthy vanilla almond granola recipe?
Granola can definitely be part of a healthy diet. The star ingredients in this crunchy granola recipe are oats, almonds, and dried cherries.
Oats are whole grains, making them rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Any variety of oats provide a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Fiber is important for digestion, satiety, stable blood sugar, good cholesterol, and healthy gut bacteria. Complex carbohydrates are important for steady energy and focus. (1, 2)
Nuts are a great source of plant-based protein and healthy fat. Almonds in particular are high in monounsaturated fats which are good for heart health.
Tart cherries may play a role in improving cognitive function. (3, 4) For optimal nutrition, choose sugar-free varieties. If you can’t find sugar-free varieties, reduce the brown sugar in the recipe to 2 Tablespoons.
Vanilla Almond Granola Serving Suggestions
Homemade vanilla almond granola is great for an easy breakfast, a satisfying snack, or even a healthy dessert!
- Use it to make a yogurt parfait – layer plain yogurt, fresh fruit, and ¼ cup of granola
- Use it to garnish a smoothie bowl
- Sprinkle it on nut butter-coated apples or bananas
How to Store Homemade Almond Vanilla Granola
This granola will keep for at least a month in an airtight container in your cupboard or pantry.
Want more healthy recipes?
Do you love oats as much as we do? Check out our other favorite recipes made with oats:
Homemade vanilla almond granola is not only easy, but it's delicious too! This vanilla almond granola is perfect for any time of day – breakfast, lunch, snack, or even dessert!
- 2 Tablespoons – ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 cups raw slivered almonds
- 1 cup dried cherries
Preheat oven to 250ºF.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, honey, and salt.
Add the oats and almonds to the bowl. Using a spatula, stir until well-combined.
Spread granola in an even layer on one or two baking sheets (depending on the size). Cook for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.*
Remove from oven and stir one more time. Add dried cherries. Once cool, store in a Ziploc bag or airtight container. Enjoy!
*The granola will still turn out delicious if you don’t stir it every 15 minutes. It just won’t brown as evenly.
Measure the first 3 ingredients specifically in that order to make clean-up easier!