Culinary Sleuth

Make Your Own Great-ola Granola

by Lynn Kerrigan


Granola probably got its start in trendy, innovative New York. According to "Granola Madness, The Ultimate Granola Cookbook" (Donna Waalstin and Katherine Deiter-New World Library 1996), a man identified only as "Dr. Jackson" concocted a dough from graham flour and water, baked it twice, then ground the brittle chunks into smaller pieces. He called his creation, "Granula."

Sometime after Dr. Jackson made his homemade graham blend, Dr. John Harvey Kellog (of Kellogg's cereal fame) experimenting with nuts, legumes and grains created a breakfast food made from wheat, oats and corn meal. He too named it "Granula." As is American custom, Dr. Jackson promptly sued Dr. Kellogg, forcing him to rename his cereal "Granola."

Store bought granola remains pricey and may be nutritionally deficient. Making your own ensures quality because you control ingredient freshness and nutritional content.

The fun part of making your own granola is the opportunity to exercise your creativity and combine any number of ingredients to create your own "special blend." You may use any plain prepared cereal as your granola "base" like wheat flakes, bran buds or corn flakes or go the traditional route with rolled oats. I prefer the fiber boost from Kellogg's All-Bran. (See cereal fiber comparisons below.)The only danger in making your own granola is that it will taste so good you'll be tempted to eat it not only for breakfast but as a snack too. Nothing wrong with that except be aware that most processed granolas and homemade ones too are calorie heavy.

You may start with the following basic recipe or create your own base. Substitute, add or subtract any ingredients you like. A handy list of suggested ingredients follow.

Basic Granola

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine honey, oil and salt in saucepan. Heat until just warm. In a large bowl, add the warmed liquid ingredients to the oats and stir until well combined. Spread mixture evenly in a shallow roasting pan or cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring and respreading every 5 minutes until light and golden brown, Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Granola Variation I

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large heatproof container, mix together the boiling water, oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Put the oats, sesame seeds, wheat germ, wheat bran and coconut into a large baking pan. Gradually add the honey mixture, stirring all the time, so that all the dry ingredients get coated. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring the mixture a couple of times. Then reduce the oven temp to 275 degrees F. And bake for 1 1/2—2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the granola is crisp and golden brown. Cool, then mix in the sunflower seeds, raisins and nuts. Store in an airtight container.

Granola Variation II
Granola Ingredients

Fiber & Protein

Wheat Germ
Wheat flakes
Whole wheat flour
Dried milk powder


Dried fruit
Brown sugar
Maple syrup
Barley malt
Orange juice


Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Sesame seeds
Flax seeds


Vanilla extract

Highest Fiber Cereals

(1/2 cup serving)

Hodgson Mill Unprocessed Wheat Bran—14 grams fiber
(Note: One wouldn't eat unprocessed wheat bran alone for breakfast unless one had a taste yen for finely minced cardboard but a teaspoon or two sprinkled atop cereal will significantly boost fiber consumption.)


Copyright © 1997, Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.

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This page created 1997 and modified February 2007