Granola clusters for real!

I know you saw the title of this post and thought to yourself: “Not another granola recipe!”

Just hear me out. There’s a reason behind this post (besides the ridiculous amount of overindulging that happened during the holidays).

I have been looking for a baking method that yields clusters of granola as opposed to a loose mix. I tried stirring a lot as the granola bakes, and I tried stirring a little, but none of my methods made truly clumped granola. It was always tasty, but never as clustered as I wanted.

Then, I tried using a smaller rimmed cookie sheet (a quarter sheet pan to be exact), and I patted out and pressed the granola into a thick, dense, even layer from rim to rim. I baked it for 40 minutes straight without stirring. Then I cooled it completely in the pan on a wire rack.

That’s it, that’s all.


That’s all I had to do to get clusters of granola.

I did nothing, basically.

I just patted it tight and baked it for a long time without touching it.

I can finally make perfectly clustered granola, and so I am back on a granola kick. I’m pretty sure daily granola and yogurt is a healthier habit than daily fruitcake (I wish I were exaggerating about the daily fruitcake, but I’m not).

And that is why I had to blog about granola, yet again.
Special thanks to Cooks Illustrated for the baking method.

Granola clusters for real!

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Author Janice


  • 4 cups oats
  • 1 cup nuts I used pistachios and sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or your favorite oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed quarter sheet pan with parchment and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats and the nuts.
  3. In a 1 cup measuring cup, combine the coconut oil (melted) with the maple syrup, salt, and vanilla, and then pour it over the oat mixture.
  4. Stir the oat mixture to evenly coat all the dry ingredients then pour it out into the prepared sheet pan.
  5. Spread the mixture from rim to rim and compact it/press it flat with a flat-bottomed glass.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
  7. Cool the granola completely, then break up the granola slab into clusters and transfer to a large container to store.

almonds, baking, coconut oil, granola, healthy, maple, maple syrup, nuts, oats, pistachios, recipe, sliced almonds, vanilla

18 Responses to Granola clusters for real!

  1. Medeja January 7, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    It’s not breakfast time, but would have this granola! I am glad you found how to make it exactly the way you wanted 😀

    • Janice Lawandi January 11, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

      Me too! Thanks for reading and you hope you get to try this granola some day soon.

  2. cherie January 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Well, I’m glad you posted about granola again LOL I will be giving it a try as I’ve been wanting a clustery and uncluttered granola without all the extra stuff – sounds perfect

    • Janice Lawandi January 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

      Thanks! I simplified the mix and kept the essentials! And, I omitted any dried fruits because I don’t always like the texture the dried fruits take on in the oven.

    • Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      That is why you add the dried fruit after it is baked…but then again you don’t want to stir after…lol.

    • Janice Lawandi January 21, 2013 at 3:13 am #


  3. Lizzy Do January 10, 2013 at 1:56 am #

    YES!!! I love my granola in clusters, too! Thanks for the excellent tip!!!

    • Janice Lawandi January 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

      You’re welcome! I felt funny blogging about it again, but I was so excited when I made this huge slab of granola that could easily be crumbled.

  4. Lauren January 11, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    Great tip, I love clustered granola and will definitely try this out!

  5. Maral January 11, 2013 at 12:59 am #

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon your post on Foodgawker! I am a granola fanatic, and my favorite part are the big, crunchy clusters. The last photo with the greek yogurt and raspberry is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Janice Lawandi January 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

      Thanks and I hope you do try it. Please stop by to tell me how you like it when you do!

  6. Jessica January 11, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    I’ve been making granola like a madwoman lately, and while it’s utterly delicious, I do miss the clusters – I’ve got a pan of your recipe cooling on the counter right now! I’d love to have clumps of granola again – much easier to snack on.

    • Janice Lawandi January 11, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

      Yay! Please let me know how it turns out (though I’m fairly certain you will love it)!

  7. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite January 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    This is awesome Janice…. I just made a bog batch of granola bars and these will be next… I’m on a granola kick too 🙂


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