Oh, granola, how I adore thee. Sunny Kansas Granola is a healthy homemade granola, naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup and dried fruits.
I also love the added crunch from flax seeds, pepitas, quinoa, coconut, and almonds along with the whole oats.
Sunny Kansas Granola Recipe
This is a favorite granola of mine. I like how it’s a bit crunchy and crispy, but also a bit chewy.
It’s NOT the kind of granola that makes you worry that you’ve going to break off a tooth as you’re eating it, either.
This granola is also a granola that likes to stay in clumps which makes it even more endearing, and a great snack when you just “need a little something” as a quick snack.
We also love granola as a topping for yogurt and ice cream.
I actually even make homemade yogurt in my Instant Pot, which is also very addictive…be warned.
What to love about this easy granola recipe –
- This granola is crispy, but also a tiny bit chewy.
- Customize your crunch!
- Homemade granola is so addictive you’ll never want to eat store-bought granola again.
Here are the ingredients you need to make homemade granola –
- Pure maple syrup
- Egg whites
- Vegetable or canola oil
- Vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
- Fresh orange zest
- Dried fruits, any combination of your favorites
- Old-fashioned (whole) oats
- Flax seeds
- Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- Sliced or slivered almonds
What you’ll learn from this granola recipe
- The role that egg whites play in the granola – so important!
- Ways you can easily customize this granola to your liking by swapping ingredients around.
- How to store this granola – both in refrigeration and the freezer.
- Which culinary tools are helpful.
- How to zest an orange.
How to make oven-baked granola step-by-step
Gather all the ingredients together for the granola recipe.
The ingredients above are what is listed in the recipe within this post, but feel free to customize the dry ingredients as desired – substitute different nuts and/or fruits…whatever you wish.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Place the maple syrup, egg whites, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and orange zest into a saucepan, whisking to combine over medium heat for a few minutes, just until warm.
Pour 1/2 cup of the prepared syrup over the dried fruit; toss to combine.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flax seeds, pepitas, quinoa, coconut, and almonds.
Pour the remaining warm syrup mixture from the sauce pan over the oat mixture; quickly and gently toss the granola to combine.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pile the prepared granola mixture put (no fruit added yet) onto the prepared baking sheet.
Spread the granola mixture over the foil in a single layer; bake the unc uncovered for 30 minutes.
After the granola has baked for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and gently stir in the prepared dried fruit.
Spreading the granola back out into a single layer once again, leaving some of the granola in clumps.
Continue to bake the granola, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, tossing the granola halfway through the baking time, taking care to leave some clumps of granola here and there.
Let the granola cool completely, then store in air-tight containers in the fridge or freezer.
Granola must be stored in refrigeration due to egg whites as an ingredient.
What is the best way to store granola?
This particular granola recipe calls for beaten egg whites, so the granola needs to be stored in refrigeration.
It will keep in the fridge for up to a week. If you can’t eat all the granola this recipe makes, keep in mind that it freezes well. Store granola in the freezer in a freezer bag for up to 6 months.
Why does this recipe call for egg whites?
This is a GREAT question, and yes, it does seem a bit weird as a granola ingredient.
However, if you like granola that is a bit “clumpy” in texture and more on the chewy side than the crunchy side, you are really going to appreciate the egg whites since that’s what they do!
How can I customize my granola when I make it?
I love customizing all my recipes to my personal liking – that’s what makes a recipe your own.
To customize granola, you can add different types of nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, smoked almonds, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, macadamias, or pistachios – use your favorites!
You can also customize this recipe by varying the dried fruits you use.
I love the combination of dried cranberries, apricots and golden raisins in this granola recipe, but use your imagination and add what you prefer – there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
There are lots of different dried fruits to choose from – dates, raisins, golden raisins, cranberries, cherries, apples, blue berries, apricots….the sky is the limit, truly. Add what you love!
Can I substitute honey in place of the pure maple syrup?
Totally. Or, feel free to use agave syrup in place of the maple syrup or honey – it works fine as well.
Why is there orange zest in this granola recipe?
Orange zest pairs really well with the maple syrup and cinnamon and adds a very soft but unique flavor to the granola – please don’t skip it!
What’s the best way to zest an orange?
Use a Microplane zester to zest any citrus – zesting with this tool makes all the difference in the world!
When you zest the orange for this recipe, remove just the outer zest (the bright orange part) from the orange, not the white part (the pith) that’s right beneath the zest.
The pith is the bitter part of the citrus, so you don’t want that included with your zest.
Does the quinoa need to be cooked before adding it to the granola mixture?
Nope, not in this recipe. Add it in the raw form, right out of the bag, to give this granola added crunch.
Can this recipe be cut in half since it makes such a big batch?
Totally! I’ve done just that a couple of times and it works great.
Can this granola recipe be doubled or tripled?
Yes and it works fine. Just remember you’ll need to divide the granola mixture between three baking sheets so that it can bake in a single layer.
More Favorite Recipes to Enjoy –
- WHITE CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY POKE CAKE
- BAKED PUMPKIN SPICE DOUGHNUTS
- COCONUT CREAM PIE DIP
- CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE THE EASY WAY
- CRUMBLED BUTTER BRICKLE ICE CREAM DESSERT
- SHEET PAN CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES
Which tools are helpful for making homemade granola?
Heavy-duty baking sheets with a rim – the rim keeps everything in tact, especially when transferring the baking sheet to the oven and back.
Silicone Spatula Spoons – Of all the tools in my kitchen, silicone spatula spoons are what I use the most. They make stirring and tossing ingredients a breeze and I love all the pretty silicone colors available. Silicone spatula spoons are completely heat-proof so they won’t melt, even when used over high temperatures. I like to have different sizes on hand for different kitchen tasks – soooo handy!
Silicone-Coated Flat Whisk – A flat whisk is an essential kitchen tool for making lump-free sauces and gravies. Be sure you get one that is silicone-coated so the surface of your non-stick pans doesn’t get battered too much.
Microplane Zester – This is a very essential kitchen tool since citrus zest is a very important ingredient in so many recipe. A zester allows you to zest an orange or lime (whatever) in just seconds and you’ll use it all the time.
Sunny Kansas Granola
Maple Syrup Mixture
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 large egg whites, beaten well
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- zest from half a medium orange
- 2 cups chopped dried fruit, such as any combination of apricots, cranberries, cherries, blueberries, mango, cranberries, or golden raisins, as desired
- 3 cups old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
- ¼ cup whole flax seeds, optional
- ½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), optional
- ½ cup dry quinoa, any color, optional
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, optional
- ½ cup sliced or slivered almonds
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Place the maple syrup, egg whites, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and orange zest into a saucepan, whisking to combine over medium low heat for a few minutes, just until warm.
- Place 1/2 cup of the warm syrup mixture into a medium mixing bowl; toss with the dried fruit and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flax, pepitas, quinoa, coconut, and almonds. Pour the remaining warm honey mixture from the sauce pan over the oat mixture; quickly and gently toss the granola to combine.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the prepared granola mixture out over the prepared baking sheet in a single layer; bake the granola, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Remove the sheet pan of granola from the oven; gently add and stir in the reserved fruit mixture, tossing to combine. Spread the granola out in an even layer once more; bake an additional 20 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time, taking care to leave some clumps of granola here and there.
- Let the baked granola cool; store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. **Granola must be stored in refrigeration due to the egg whites as an ingredient.