Easy and healthy oil-free vegan granola that's FULL of crunchy clusters! Try this almond version or customize the recipe with your favorite nuts, seeds, spices, and dried fruit.
This recipe was originally published in October 2018. It has been updated for photos and content.
If there's a generalization I feel I can safely make about vegans, it's this: we like to question things. And I don't know about you, but I think that's a really positive trait! Questioning the status quo is profound and can lead us to break from long-held traditions that don't fit us anymore, especially traditions that cause harm.
But the urge to ask questions can also apply to simple everyday things, like questioning why a dish typically considered healthy is so often packed with ingredients like refined oils and sugars.
When it comes to vegan granola I'd always assumed oil was needed to achieve the crunchy clusters we all love. Boy was I wrong!
Why This Recipe Works
Brown rice syrup is mildly sweet, super sticky, and creates the best vegan granola! I mean just look at those clusters.
The only downside is that brown rice syrup isn't always the easiest ingredient to find. Most health food stores, co-ops, and Whole Foods carry it. You can also order it online, which I've done many times.
In fact, I once ordered a case of twelve bottles, which, in all honesty, was way too much. Yet I'm not sorry!
If you also like to buy specialty ingredients in bulk, here are more great ways to use brown rice syrup:
- The Best Vegan Rice Krispie Treats
- Healthy Vegan Peanut Butter Granola
- Copycat GoMacro Protein Bars
- Popped Sorghum Bites
- Salted Chocolate-Almond Popped Sorghum Balls
- Coconut Rice Krispie Treats
Ingredients and Equipment
To make this oil-free granola you need just 8 or 9 ingredients, a mixing bowl, a large baking sheet and parchment paper or a silicone mat.
This is just a summary; be sure to scroll down for the full recipe.
- old fashioned rolled oats
- raw almonds
- pumpkin seeds or other nuts or seeds such as sunflower, sesame, slivered almonds, walnuts, pecans, or cashews
- sea salt
- ground cinnamon
- brown rice syrup - crucial for the sticky, super crunchy, cluster factor!
- maple syrup - for flavor and a touch more sweetness
- smooth almond butter
- vanilla extract
- almond extract, optional
How To Make Granola Without Oil
This recipe is about as easy as granola gets. There's no need to warm the syrups first on the stove, although you can if you want to. Here's how I usually do it:
- Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F, and line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the wet ingredients, salt and cinnamon.
- Warm this in the microwave for about 20 seconds. This thins the brown rice syrup and makes it easier to stir and pour.
- Add the rolled oats, nuts, and seeds. Stir until all the oats are coated.
- Spread on the prepared pan as pictured below. It's okay if the oats overlap quite a bit in some areas. This helps create the yummy clusters!
- Bake for 20 minutes, then stir and spread out again. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, then cool for 10 to 15 minutes before breaking into clusters.
Tips and Substitutions
The granola will continue to crisp up as it cools, so don't be fooled into thinking it isn't done when you first pull it from the oven.
Keep an eye on the underside of the granola in the last few minutes of cooking so that it doesn't burn.
If you're a fan of cinnamon, I recommend adding just a touch more right when the granola comes out of the oven. We love doing this because then you have two layers of warm cinnamon built into the crunchy granola.
Experiment with additions and spices. Try this with pumpkin spice, mild curry powder, ginger, cardamom, or cocoa. --->Update: check out this new Ginger Turmeric Granola (Trader Joe's copycat).
And swap peanut butter for the almond butter for delicious peanut butter granola.
Sunbutter or tahini make excellent nut-free granola. Instead of almonds use a mixture of your favorite seeds.
If you enjoy dried fruit in your granola, add it after baking.
Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Granola is also freezer-friendly.
But truly, this granola is so addictively salty/sweet and crunchy we usually polish off the whole batch in a matter of days!
More Oil-Free Breakfast Recipes:
Oil-Free Vegan Granola
- ½ cup brown rice syrup - This is critical for super cluster-y granola. Can sub maple syrup, if desired, and omit the extra 2 Tbsp maple syrup below.
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ cup raw almond butter - Or other nut/seed butter.
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract, optional
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats - Certified gluten-free if needed.
- 1 cup raw almonds or other nut
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds or other
- Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
- In a mixing bowl combine the syrups, almond butter, extracts, salt and cinnamon. Microwave in 10 to 15 second intervals to warm the syrup slightly. This makes it easier to stir and combine with the other ingredients.
- Once the wet ingredients are fully combined, add the oats, nuts, and seeds to the bowl. Stir until everything is well coated with the syrup mixture.
- Spread the granola onto the prepared pan, lightly pressing it down. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven, stir, and spread out on the pan again. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, keeping an eye on the bottom of the granola in the last few minutes so that it doesn't burn.
- Let the granola cool on the pan for 15 minutes, then break into clusters. Once completely cool, transfer to an airtight container.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com. For the most accurate nutrition information we recommend calculating it yourself to reflect the specific ingredients used in your dish.