Crock Pot Granola
Homemade granola is simply not one of those things I can make in small quantities. After all, if I’m going to be making something as addictively crispy, rewardingly wholesome, and marvelously munchy as granola, why settle for anything short of a big, beautiful batch? If you share my sentiment, today’s easy Crock Pot Granola recipe is for you.
Not only is this crock pot granola the easiest granola recipe I’ve ever made, it’s healthy, won’t require you to turn on the oven, and it feeds a crowd…or in my case, one very enthusiastic granola eater. This slow cooker granola can last several weeks in the pantry and even longer in the freezer, so even if you are making granola for a small household, it’s worth filling the crock pot.
Crock Pot Granola or “How to Clean Out Your Pantry”
This healthy granola recipe begins with old fashioned oatmeal, then can also be customized to any of your favorite mix-ins. I like to use the recipe to clean out the odds and ends from my pantry:
- flax seeds
- dried fruits
For this particular crock pot granola recipe, that pantry stash included pecans, almonds, pepitas, dried apricots, and a dried cherry and cranberry mix.
The wet-ingredient portion of the granola recipe—the ingredients that sweeten and bind the oats, nuts and other goodies—are where I feel most homemade granola recipes go awry. Many call for gobs of oil and refined sugar, which, if you are looking for a healthy granola breakfast or snack, defeats its wholesome purpose.
Instead of refined brown sugar, I used a moderate amount of maple syrup (if you like granola with honey, that works too), and I also employed my other favorite healthy-granola hack: replacing half of the oil with egg whites. It might sound odd, but egg white is an excellent granola-binder, it makes the granola lightly crispy, and gives the granola a protein-boost, too. For a gluten-free granola recipe, check out my Gluten Free Granola.
The Easiest Way to Make Homemade Granola
To make this easy granola recipe, stir everything together right in the slow cooker, leave the lid slightly ajar (critical to ensuring the granola crisps and does not grow soggy), then let cook until it’s toasty and your entire kitchen smells like a giant cinnamon bun.
You do need to stir the granola every 30 minutes, so this recipe is not entirely hands-off. I also recommend spreading the granola on a baking sheet to cool for maximum crispness.
In the end, you may find that you still prefer a more classic, oven-baked healthy granola recipe—although pleasantly crunchy, the slow cooker granola did not become quite as crisp as its baked counterparts—but, if you are looking for the simplest way to make a great big batch of homemade granola, this crock pot granola recipe is fun to try, and even more fun to eat!
If you want to take this crock pot granola to the next level, try using it in place of the packaged granola in Becca’s recipe for granola breakfast cookies.
Recommended Tools to Make This Granola
Crock Pot Granola
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats - gluten-free if necessary
- 1 1/4 cups raw nuts - or seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, or pepitas (I used a little of everything!)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal - or additional 1/4 cup raw nuts
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large egg whites - at room temperature (use additional 1/4 cup coconut oil to make vegan)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup - or honey
- 1/4 cup coconut oil - melted and cooled, or very light olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dried fruit - chopped into pieces if large (I used low sugar dried cranberries and apricots)
- Spray the bottom and sides of a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the old fashioned oats, nuts and/or seeds, flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt in the slow cooker and stir to combine.
- In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the maple syrup (or honey), coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine, then pour over the dry ingredients in the slow cooker and stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are evenly moistened.
- Cover the slow cooker, leaving the lid slightly askew so that steam can escape. Cook on high (leaving the lid askew) for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the nuts are toasted and the granola feels dry to the touch, stirring the granola every 30 minutes. Ensure that you leave the lid askew after each stirring.
- Turn off the slow cooker, then stir in the dried fruit. For maximum crispiness, spread the granola out onto a baking sheet to cool completely. The granola will continue to crisp as it cools. You can also let it cool in the slow cooker, but it will not be as crisp. Enjoy!
- Store leftover slow cooker granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks. The granola will lose some freshness over time, but will still be yummy.
- To freeze, place the granola in an airtight container and press a sheet of plastic wrap over the top. The less air, the better! Freeze for up to 3 months and let thaw overnight. The dried fruit will become somewhat tough in the freezer, so consider adding it afterwards if this bothers you.
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