My Go-To Gluten-Free Low Sugar Granola That Can Be Made In Under 30 Minutes

There is something about homemade granola. With the plethora of brands on store shelves offering healthier versions of this breakfast classic, making it yourself isn’t as necessary as it once was. However, I am a big label reader (and bigger stickler), and even if a granola is marketed to be more nutritious, I often find one ingredient in the list that is sub-par. Typically, it’s either the sweetener (i.e. cane sugar) or the oil (i.e. sunflower oil). I have a natural foods company that sells granola; I am well aware of what it takes to put out a product. I have made mine as clean as I can, and it’s more expensive. The majority of companies will use cheaper ingredients and “fillers” to decrease input costs. This is why I always encourage reading ingredients and approaching a packaged food with curiosity and skepticism. Making granola at home (especially if you are not willing to pay a premium for a pricier product), will ensure complete control over nutrition, taste, and texture.

What makes this granola healthier?

As mentioned above, there are a few categories to consider when making healthier granola: the base, add-ins, sweetener, and fat/oil. Traditional granola uses oats as the base, and the recipe below suggests gluten-free rolled oats (organic and gluten-free would be your best bet). I have also used buckwheat groats, and if you want a grain-free version, you can simply use nuts, seeds, and shredded coconut instead. Some people have a problem with eating oats, so in that sense, this recipe wouldn’t be for you. But I love them, and I prefer a good dose of fiber in my morning meal, so they make up the bulk of this granola.

When it comes to add-ins, this granola only uses nuts, seeds, and unsweetened shredded coconut. Some store-bought granola uses dried fruit such as raisins, dates, or cherries, but I say leave out the added sugar. Plus, I love to eat my granola alongside fresh fruit. If you want to increase nutrition with additional ingredients, think hemp seeds, chia seeds, cacao nibs, or even goji berries. I kept this recipe pretty minimal, but using 1/4 cup of any additional aforementioned superfoods should still work.

Thirdly – and maybe even most importantly – is the sweetener. Perusing the back of the pouches at any grocery store, you will see granola made with a number of sugars, syrups, and sugar substitutes. Being able to control and reduce this aspect of granola is my number one reason for making it at home. In the past I have only used coconut sugar or nectar, maple syrup, or honey. Recently, I have enjoyed playing around with other, natural forms of sugar-free sweeteners such as monk fruit and allulose. The recipe below uses only 1/4 cup of maple syrup for the whole batch, so according to my rough calculations, that comes down to only about 3 grams of sugar per 1/3 cup. Pretty good!

Last, but certainly not least, is the type of fat used for a baked granola. With the amount of information coming on the scene pertaining to seed oils, this is another ingredient to keep in mind. It is so hard to find a packaged granola that doesn’t use a vegetable or seed oil (i.e. sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil). There are some brands that do use coconut oil or avocado oil (such as Gratisfied’s), but even so, they might contain another inflammatory ingredient or have more sugar than I would like. Because you normally bake granola, you would want to use a fat that can withstand high heat. The fats that would work best in a granola recipe include coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, and ghee. I have used them all. If you are someone who can tolerate dairy, I love the flavor that a high-quality, grass-fed butter brings to the table. Ghee is also a good option. The recipe below contains coconut oil because that is what I most often have on hand. Avocado is another great, neutral oil to use, it just so happens to be a bit more expensive. This granola recipe also incorporates almond butter, which is another type of fat that adds nutrition and flavor. It also combines with the coconut oil and maple syrup to create a binding effect, so you get more granola clumps. I have also seen eggs and egg whites used in a granola recipe. The latter doesn’t have any fat, but would act as a binder and increase the protein content.

Substitutions you can make for this granola

As long as the ratio of dry ingredients to wet ingredients stays the same, the nuts and seeds you use can be swapped and substituted. My go-to ingredients in this regard are walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and cashews. The last time I made it, I added some almonds because I had them on hand. Larger or more rotund nuts such as Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, or hazelnuts would have to be roughly chopped in my opinion, but you could also use sunflower seeds, pistachios, or pine nuts.

I am a big fan of coconut, but I also know a lot of people are not, so you could easily leave it out without affecting the recipe. Or if you are a fan, but prefer coconut chips, that is an option as well. For flavor, I rely on cinnamon and vanilla, but this is where you can have a little fun. Depending on the season, maybe you use pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, or cloves.

Maple syrup can be substituted for any other liquid sweetener (coconut nectar, honey, molasses). If you want to make this recipe sugar-free, use liquid allulose or monk fruit maple syrup.

Planning and prep

Aside from preheating your oven, there is not much to plan or prep. This recipe can be made in about thirty minutes start to finish. I do encourage you to allow the granola to completely cool (about 1 to 2 hours). Doing so will yield more granola clumps, providing you with delicious crunchy texture with every bite.

    Homemade Gluten-Free Lower Sugar Granola

    Upgrade your granola with this gluten-free, lower sugar option that you can make at home in about 30 minutes or less. With interchangeable ingredients and flavor profiles, it will be your new go-to recipe.
    Prep Time 8 minutes
    Cook Time 22 minutes
    Total Time 30 minutes
    Course Breakfast, Snack
    Servings 20 servings


    • baking sheet
    • mixing bowl


    • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats organic if you can find it
    • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
    • 1/2 cup walnuts
    • 1/2 cup cashews
    • 1/2 cup pecans
    • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt optional
    • 1/3 cup creamy almond butter or nut or seed butter of choice
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, unsweetened shredded coconut, cinnamon, and sea salt. Stir to blend.
    • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until creamy.
    • Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and using a large wooden spoon or spatula, mix well until coated and sticky. Transfer the granola mixture to the baking sheet in one even layer, using your spoon or spatula to gently press the mixture onto the baking sheet.
    • Bake for 14 to 15 minutes. Turn pan and bake for another 6 to 7 minutes until the edges have started to turn golden brown. Allow the granola to cool completely on the baking sheet, about 1 to 2 hours. Break into clumps and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month at room temperature.
    Keyword Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Vegan