Granola Bars / Cereal (the perfect substitute for all those boxed cereals)

132 Reviews / 4.8 Average
This is the perfect substitute for all those boxed cereals. This homemade granola recipe was adapted from Anson Mills, and can also be made into granola bars. Make it your own by adding in your favorite ingredients and be sure to make a large batch to keep for the week.
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This recipe is super yummy and so flexible! Below is our favorite cereal version, but there are many ways to tweak the recipe depending on your preferences.

granola in a bowl topped with fresh raspberries
100 Days of Real Food Cookbook, photo courtesy of Carrie Vitt

For the nuts you can put either all almonds or all cashews (or split them as listed below or even try a totally different type of nut). Also, the same thing works for the seeds – you can either put in all pumpkin seeds or all sesame seeds or put in half and half. You could easily play around with the amounts of sesame seeds and flaxseeds as well. If you can’t find unsweetened shredded coconut you can leave it out completely.

If you want granola cereal make it with rolled oats. If you want granola bars then substitute steel cut oats for the rolled oats, and I also like to add dried fruit bits before baking the bars.

For the cereal, once it has baked and cooled completely, you want to put it in a gallon zip lock to break it up into small cereal pieces. If you are making granola bars just break off big chunks instead of using a bag. Don’t expect perfectly uniform rectangles for your granola bars – these are homemade after all!


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1,209 thoughts on “Granola Bars / Cereal (the perfect substitute for all those boxed cereals)”

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Recipe Rating

  1. I love the granola recipe. I have it on hand almost continuously. I do keep it much longer than the 2 weeks. I keep thinking I should try some variations, but I like the original so much I haven’t made any adjustments. It is good plain as a snack, with milk/blueberries for breakfast, and on yogurt.

  2. DELICIOUS! Use this to top yogurt for a quick, “I want something sweet but not bad” type of snack. We keep it in the freezer so that it stays wonderful for a little longer. LOVE, love, love this granola!!

  3. 5 stars
    This is my favorite granola recipe. Ive even got others hooked on it. Ive been able to adapt it and play with it to make it plant based and its just perfect. But I have one question. How can I make it more crunchy or crispy? The only change I made was I took out the butter and swapped 1/2 cup coconut oil, and went a little bit less on the honey. Otherwise the flavor is perfect! Its just soft instead of crunchy like I like. I dont know if thats because of my substitution or if you had any other suggestions. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    My family loves this granola! We use pecans instead of cashews and maple syrup instead of honey to mix it up and it’s delicious!

    1. I’ve used some roasted nuts- I think sunflower seeds when that’s all I’ve had and it turned out fine. I just don’t think you’d want a lot of roasted and salted since that would probably make it way too salty.

  5. You said you could use steel cut oats if you want the bars to hold together. It seems like steel cut oats would break your teeth! Did you mean quick oats?

  6. My daughter likes plain granola with no nuts or seeds. Would I just add 4 more cups of oats to replace the nuts and seeds called for in the recipe?

  7. I love this recipe for a cereal but I would really like to have bars. I find when I try to cut it into bars, it crumbles apart. Could I use more honey or add something to help it hold together better?

  8. 5 stars
    I make this recipe every other week for my husband and me… We love it! I’m sorry that I don’t have time to read through 90 pages of comments, and maybe this has already been answered. We’re getting ready to start the Daniel Fast next week, and I wondered if there is a way to make this adaptable for the fast. If you’re not familiar with the fast, it’s very strictly vegan, including the fact that I wouldn’t be able to use cow butter, but could I use coconut oil? Also, I can’t use any sweeteners, including I can’t use honey. I know the honey helps hold it together, but would it still work okay without adding honey? Obviously not as sweet, and also not held together, so a “looser” granola. The thing I’m looking for is that this would be a whole grains/nuts mix that would be great sprinkled on fruit for breakfast! I’m just curious if you’ve ever tried something like that with this recipe. Have you ever added raisins or dates, for example, to maybe add some sweetness to it. I might also add that I live overseas, so my options are somewhat limited… Any thoughts or recommendations you have would be greatly appreciated! ;)

  9. Hi, it’ summer here in Maine and I think the humidity is effecting my granola. It’s not crisping well since it’s been more moist outside. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. Are you storing it in an airtight container. It’s pretty humid here in NC, too, :)

  10. 5 stars
    We love this recipe. Does it freeze well? I would love to make an really large batch all at once. Thanks!

  11. If I were to add dried fruit to this recipe, how much should I add? Also, should it be added before or after baking?

  12. 5 stars
    My daughter introduced me to this recipe as granola. This is fantastic. I use fresh nutmeg so the amount is cut back some. The first time I couldn’t find raw cashews so I used almond slices and pecans. My daughter made it with the cashews and almonds and I must say I prefer it that way but it’s a taste preference. Have you ever tried making it with agave syrup and coconut oil?

  13. 5 stars
    Do you have the calories figured out on the granola recipe? I absolutely love it!!!! Need to know if I eat a 1/2 cup, how many calories is that? Fat? Carbs? Protein? Thanks so much!

  14. 5 stars
    I just cooked this up in the oven, and it’s delicious! Nonetheless, I don’t think I’ll be able to eat it all by myself in two weeks. Would it refrigerate/freeze well? If so, how long do you think it would keep?

  15. Hi,
    I definitely want to try this recipe. However we are trying not to use butter or coconut oil as my husband is watching his cholesterol intake. What other healthy substitute we can use?

    Thank you!

    1. We have made this granola for years and it’s always a family fave but now I have to use earth balance vegan butter for this recipe since I can’t do dairy and it is just as terrific as the real butter version :)

  16. 5 stars
    This is THE BEST granola recipe I have found – just made another double batch last night! Just wanted to let you know – I added about 3 Tbsp nut butter & used only sunflower seeds (since I was out of nuts) and traded out the nutmeg for allspice…and it turned out fantastic! This BF mommy truly appreciates a great go-to, quick breakfast that nourishes and keeps me feeling full. As a mommy of 7 I appreciate a great recipe that is easy to make and food that keeps my busy family satisfied until the next meal. Thank you!!

  17. My son and I both have severe tree nut and peanut allergies, will it make a huge difference to this recipe to leave the nuts out? Is there another substitute?

    Thank you!

    1. Clare, have you been able to find almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds that are not processed in the same factory as other nuts? I cannot find any, making granola difficult to make with protein in it.

  18. I can’t thank you enough for this recipe! I make it on a weekly basis, but instead of using as cereal I use steel cut oats and make them into granola bars. I am allergic to peanuts and tree buts so I instead add extra sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. I also mix almond butter with the butter mixture on the stove. The end result is delicious and the perfect addition to my lunch at work to keep my energy up!

  19. Would almond extract work well with this? Substituting one teaspoon of almond extract for one vanilla. I love the recipe as is but was looking to try something new!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. We do not provide calorie details because calorie counting is somewhat against our philosophy but if you scroll through comments, other readers have done their own calculations.

  20. 5 stars
    I made this Tuesday, and it is sooo good. I have it over plain greek yogurt for breakfast…… also a couple scoops a day because I can’t help it!!

  21. Will this turn out well if I substitute coconut oil for the butter? My daughter is allergic to dairy, so unfortunately butter is not an option.

  22. I accidentally found a small time saver for this. I’m so used to making it that I don’t look at the recipe much. Today I accidentally forgot to hear any of the honey mixture and just dumped it into my huge bowl of oats & nuts. Once I started stirring I realized my mistake as it was coating at all. I quickly popped the whole bowl of oats into the microwave for 1.5 mins and then took it out and atirrrd and it was perfect!! The honey mixture had melted and it easily coated and spread all over the oats. I might do it on purpose next time!

  23. This looks delicious!! If I needed to omit the nuts and seeds for my boys, would anything else need to be adjusted (honey, butter, etc..)?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. This is a pretty forgiving recipe. I’ve left out nuts and seeds when I’ve made it for nut free people. I increased the oats, obviously, and added some dried fruit. I do think I ended up adding a bit of butter and honey simply becuse oats absorb more that nuts and seeds. I’m sorry that I can’t be more specific. ;)

    1. 5 stars
      I added the ingredients to the USDA Supertracker with the modifications I made to the recipe (I made a double recipe), which included using 3/4 c sunflower seed, 1/4 c pumpkin seed, and 1 c peanuts for the 2 cups needed at that part. Also, I used sweetened coconut since I had that laying around. For a 1/2 c servimg, the nutrition facts I got were 377 cal, 45 cal from added sugar, and 71 cal from fat. 9g protein, 36g carb, 6g fiber, 14 g sugar, 24g fat (8 sat/9 mono unsat/5 poly unsat), 5g linoleic acid, .1g A-la, no omega 3’s, 15 mg cholesterol, 65 mg Ca, 311 mg K, 322 mg Na, 0.5 mg Cu, 3 mg iron, 111 mg Mg, 274 mg phosphorus, 3 mg zinc, .012mg Se. Vitamins A, K, folate, niacin, and choline showed up.

  24. I made this tonight and definitely was turned off by the chewy texture of the steel cut oats (was going for bars) that Lisa described in her first book…FYI: I would stick with the rolled oats “cereal version”! Can’t wait to try it again.

    If anyone has a recommendation for a fail safe real food granola “bar” recipe, let me know!

  25. I’m allergic to nuts and seeds but would like an alternative to boxed cereal. Any ideas on how I can modify this recipe? Thank you!

    1. I’m looking for nut-free, seed-free recipes too and came to this page from her Granola Larabar recipe. What if you started with this one and left out the nuts? I would consider increasing the amount of oats to 4 1/2 or 5 cups to try to balance out the liquid/dry ratio (seems oats would absorb more liquid than 2 c. nuts so you wouldn’t need as much??). OR… to increase the texture variation the way adding two types of nuts would, you could use quinoa or hemp hearts or even try combining both steel cut oats and rolled oats. Maybe sub in 1 cup dried cherries or raisins,
      My question with this recipe was why it calls for raw seeds if they are going to be cooked anyway? I’m sure there’s a great reason and I’d love to learn it :)

      1. When you buy seeds you should buy them raw. If you buy seeds already roasted, they usually used refined oils and other non “real” ingredients for roasting. Hope that clarifies for you!

  26. 5 stars
    Not sure if this has been asked before, but I’m having a hard time scraping the baked granola off of the parchment papers. Once everything’s cooled, when i try scraping, the granola, it sticks to the paper and I cannot take it off without having bits of the paper tearing and sticking to the granola. What am I doing wrong? Thanks!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. It might help to “butter” your paper a little. I’ve had it stick to the parchment on occasion and that solved it for me.

  27. 5 stars
    We love this recipe! We make it every other week, and it’s always awesome! Have you ever made it with coconut oil in place of the butter? I’m a fan of butter, but I’m in the middle of a batch and discovered I have no butter!

  28. I’m sure you could cut down on the amount of honey and butter. Especially if this is eaten daily or weekly for breakfast. You also need to understand the portions as well you are not eating the whole 1/2 cup of honey or 6 tbsp of butter!

  29. Please understand why these are so “yummy”? 1/2 a cup of honey and 6 tablespoons of butter! This is not something your going to eat to cut sugar and lose weight. These are not something you’re going to eat during your new, I’m being health now, phase. This is a better alternative to processed granola, but Remember while it may be “real” that doesn’t mean real healthy.

  30. I just made my first batch of granola and I kept it in the oven for alot longer than it was supposed to so it’s extra crunchy and I love it! I am addicted to your blog and am excited to try more recipes!

  31. 5 stars
    As the hubby is deployed for a year, I have decided now is the perfect time to fix our eating habits. It will be so much easier to figure this out while there is only me and easier to get him on board when he gets back if all there is in the kitchen is healthy food, I made this granola today and it was super easy. I was not too sure about the cinnamon as I am not a fan, but I left it in and am thrilled at how great everything tasted. Now onto the next recipe.

  32. How could I adjust it to eliminate nuts? Double the seeds? More oatmeal? I can’t have nuts and am looking to control sugar. TIA!

  33. I just made a batch of the yummy granola and was curious if I can store part of it in the freezer as there is way too much for me to consume in a 2 week period.

  34. Are the steel cut oats cooked first? It seems like they would be very crunchy in the bars if they weren’t.

  35. Delicious!
    I made the granola. Concerning the nuts & seeds, I used what I had … IF they weren’t raw, THEN I just added them after baking … when I added raisins. Turned out great.

  36. 4 stars
    Made a batch of this last night and am eating a bowl of it right now. It’s really good! I think it would be great with some raisins added, too.

    I’m so glad to find a healthy alternative for me and my family. Thanks!

  37. This sounds great! Unfortunately, I am lactose intolerant and can’t eat butter. Many alternatives – like margarine – are not an option for me, as I prefer not eating plastic
    Has anyone tried substituting something ‘real’? For example coconut oil?

  38. 5 stars
    I have been eating this every morning for a month (as cereal with banana or in my steel cut oats) I find it nutritious, satisfying and delicious. It calls for sliced almonds, can I purchase sliced almonds? All I can find is slivered. I also enjoy the no-mayo potato salad, thank you for passing along your recipes!

  39. Do you have any info about the nutritional content per serving, e.g. Calories, grams of carbohydrate, etc.? Thanks.

      1. Ok. Thanks. To be honest the reason I was asking is more linked to exercise and triathlons rather than how to define healthy eating – I am taking part in a half-ironman and was going to eat the granola on the morning of the race but want to ensure I get a certain amount of energy (calories/carbohyrdates) to start the day with bearing in mind the energy needs of the event. No problem – I will experiment in training with how much I can eat. Thanks.

  40. 4 stars
    I blended 2/3 cup cooked sweet potato with 1/4 cup maple syrup and left out the butter….probably could have used rice syrup or no sweetener. It did stick together pretty well. I also used half rolled oats and 1/4 each rolled barley and rolled six grain flakes.

  41. I have been making this granola for the past year and a half. Make a batch a month. Store half in an airtight container for on our yogurt or with milk and freeze the second half to use later. Everyone loves is, our favorite.

  42. I tried making bars today but they came out rather crumbly. I have never used steel cut oats before. Was I supposed to cook them first? I didn’t notice cooking instructions on the steel cut oats package until the mix was already in the oven.

  43. 5 stars
    This is my New favorite cereal…I cringe when my girls ask for boxed (we are taking real food baby steps for the family!). Is it bad that it’s the first thing I think about and look forward to with my coffee in the morning, which, by the way, is fixed with cocoa and maple syrup…another fab recipe of 100 days!!!! Love this website!

  44. Is 75 minutes correct? Mine came out very dark and has a burny taste. It also could not be eaten as bars as it was way to crumbly. I wanted cereal anyway so that wasn’t really a problem.

    1. Karen, I had the same issue. The next time I made it, I used a smaller pan and only baked for 65 minutes. The texture was great and it wasn’t burnt.

  45. I’ve read through several pages and not seen an answer to my question so I’ll post it anyway and risk duplication. I would like to make this cereal without a sweetener but I know the honey is working as a binding agent as well. What do you suggest I use instead? Do I even need one since I’m making it as cereal and not bars? Thanks!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. We have not attempted to make this without honey or maple syrup. I think the butter is enough to bind the spices but without the sweetener, you will not have any clumping.

    2. I made it without the honey and used coconut oil instead of butter because I didn’t have any butter in the house. It was still good, but not so granola-like in texture…no clumps. I do like it better with the honey, but at least the coconut oil gave it a little sweetness.

    3. If you like clumpier granola, you can add one egg white to the butter instead of the honey — it comes out in very nice chunks!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Brenda. We do not try to keep track of those details ;) I do know that several readers have provided info if you scroll through the comments.

  46. Someone may have asked this but is there a nut free alternative? My son has a nut allergy but obviously two cups adds a lot of protein so i’m struggling how to fill that gap.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. While it is a large quantity, you can sub with various seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, etc.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. You can find them in health food stores usually in the bulk bins. I use roasted seeds sometimes. Works fine though they can get a little crispy.

  47. Can I use something different than butter? Coconut oil? Ghee? Mixture of both? My daughter doesn’t tolerate butter well

  48. Is this healthier than buying vanilla flavored granola from the grocery store? I’ve gotten mine from Sprouts in the past.

  49. I am really looking forward to trying this! I was wondering if the are any alternative non-nut ingredients to use in place of the almonds and cashews. My sons go to a nut-free school, and I’d love to be able to include granola for their yogurt. Any ideas that I could try? Thanks!

    1. To questions about nuts…I have not made this in a while and just logged in the review the recipe to make for Christmas presents and saw the nut questions. I have made a version with only oats and coconut upping the amounts of each to equal the total volume of the original recipe, same spices, honey, butter amounts along with same cooking time. Turns out great! You can also add barley flakes and uncooked quinoa for crunch.

      1. Just saw this you can ignore my question, I think this sounds great with dried cranberries or apricots!

  50. Hi…I absolutely LOVE this recipe. I have tweaked it to my family’s tastes, and it has been a staple in my home. But….the “baby” is now 2, and is eating family food. He cannot have nuts or seeds which takes away the bulk of this recipe!!! Is it wishful thinking to think there is a way to make my beloved granola in a form my little guy can actually eat? Please don’t laugh. I’m actually serious.

    1. Nope because my son has a nut allergy and I need something we all can eat, much easier that way so i’m hopeful someone will reply with an option for us :)

      My son is 2.5, no nuts, no popcorn, no grapes lol choking hazards.

      My son with the food allergies is 6.

  51. 5 stars
    I absolutely LOVE this granola!!!
    My kids are not fan of granola tho :( Is there any store bought cereal Lisa would recommend to buy? Thanks

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. You can find 100% whole grain puffed wheat and rice at grocers such as Whole Foods or Earth Fare.

  52. 5 stars
    I love this cereal! At work, colleagues and I have joined the Not a Single Pound Challenge. We were weighed last week and the challenge is to maintain our current weight until after the holidays. I am taking this very seriously. Does anyone have an idea as to how many calories are in a serving (1/2 cup) of this amazing cereal? I am utilizing a Fitbit which has the feature of inputting what I eat in hopes to be successful! Thank you so much and sorry if this question has already been addressed and answered.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. We don’t provide calorie info because we aren’t calorie counters. ;) I do know that several readers have provided info in the comments.

  53. I’ve recently been told I may have an egg sensitivity, as well as wheat, barley, rye and oats. I’m supposed to give all that up for 30 days to see how I react, so basically, I’m to go gluten free plus oat free in addition to egg free. I have always loved this recipe in the past and have found that most gluten free foods/recipes are either processed to death, or use ingredients that I don’t want to use and/or do not work as healthy real food. I’m desperate for some breakfast foods besides yogurt with fruit and nuts! Do you have any suggestions as to what I could replace the 3 1/2 cups of oats with? Should I just use more of each of the nuts and seeds? Thanks for any advice!

      1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

        Hi. You would likely need a little less time. Keep a close eye on it beyond an hour.

  54. Can this be made nut-free and still taste as good? My kids like to use granola as a topping for yogurt but they are in a nut-free class at school. Thx!!

  55. This looks good. I am always on the look out for natural cereal options that can be made since the box store options aren’t the best or cost too much.

    It is amazing all the additional ingredients that go into boxed cereals to preserve their shelf life. Here is a blog on some common preservative you may find in the ingredients.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  56. SO SO good! I love that it’s so versatile. Out of personal preference I subbed pecans for the cashews and chia seeds for the pumpkin seeds, I also reduced the nutmeg to ¼ tsp.
    It made the house smell amazing all day, even my husband agreed and he’s generally pretty blasé about things like that.
    The Best part though? My 13 month old had so much fun helping me mix it up and he could not stop eating it! Part of the joy of food is that it brings people together. So any recipe that my baby can help me make and then subsequently enjoy with me, well… It’s a keeper!

  57. 5 stars
    Up to now I’ve been pretty blasé about granola in general, and never bothered to make it. Having made this one, now I love, love granola! I followed the recipe almost exactly, and it’s amazing, but I can see how easy it will be to change it around with whatever I have on hand.

  58. Can coconut oil or ghee be subbed for butter? Would I use the same amount? Or is there some other dairy free option?

  59. I have been working on removing carbohydrates from our diet because our sugar is high and causes a pre diabetes diagnosis. So we do not eat grains, including oatmeal. Also we eat mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes and we eat no bread, rice or other grains. We get most of our carbs from fruits and veggies. I love your granola recipe but I went to the health food store and bought a large bag of shelled brazil nuts. I ran them through my food processor using the the slicer blade and substituted them for the oats in this recipe. It was delicious and you might want to give that a try.

  60. Hi there! I’ve made this recipe four times now and the first two times it came out perfect and the last two it won’t stick together. I’ve not done anything different each time and have always followed the recipe. Any ideas? TIA

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Lesa. Did you change your honey? I find that some honeys are stickier than others but this recipe does tend to be more “cereal like” vs. clusters of granola.