Basic oil-free, sugar-free, whole food granola

Sometimes I am not really confident about calling something a “recipe”, because it is just so simple it barely qualifies as one. This granola recipe falls into that category, and there is no added sugar, fat or processed ingredients to boot.

At the very basic is just three ingredients; rolled oats, applesauce, and salt. We always add extra goodies like seeds, spices, chopped nuts, or dried fruit in our house. But at the basis are just those three humble ingredients.

The granola enthusiast

When I was a kid, I loved store bought granola. We rarely had it because it was so pricey, but when we did, I felt so healthy. you could see the grains in those chunks of deliciousness!

Then I became an adult and started reading ingredients on the back of things and… sugar, syrup and oil were the main ingredients next to grain? And usually a really significant percentage too?

But we still love us some granola and yoghurt once in a while, so after several years of testing, this really is the best and the easiest way I’ve come up with for making my own chunks of crisp granola goodness to sprinkle over my yoghurt.

The basics

These amounts are really rough estimates. We are lucky enough to have an apple tree in our garden, and I can our own 100% apples, no sugar added, applesauce from that. My jars are all different sizes though, so I adjust the amount of oats based on the size of the jar. The only thing to watch out for when sizing up the recipe is that you might want to spread it out over several baking trays, or you will have a really difficult time stirring and breaking up larger chunks without making a mess.

Other fruits should work equally well. Mashed bananas, pear sauce, even peach sauce or mango sounds delicious! But those tropical miracles don’t grow at my latitudes, so for me, apples it is.


  • Around 7 dl (almost 3 cups) rolled oats (other grains work too)
  • 2.5 dl (1 cup) applesauce
  • Healthy pinch of salt


  • Mixed seeds
  • Coarsely chopped nuts
  • Spices, like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves or allspice
  • Dried fruit like raisins, apricots or dates
  • Coarsely chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
Today’s batch complete with pumpkin seeds, chopped almonds and cinnamon.

Pour all the ingredients except for dried fruit and/or chocolate and mix well. The mix should stick together loosely, but not be overly wet or it will just take too long to bake. Add more oats until it seems like the mix almost can’t take any more. If you are unsure, start with my measurements until you get a feel for it.

Pour mix onto a baking tray with greaseproof paper/silicone baking mats/some sort of non-stick protection. Spread out as evenly as you can and place in the middle of a preheated oven at 175C/350F with the door slightly ajar (just stick a wooden spoon in the door) to help moisture escape.

Set a timer, about every 20-30 minutes or so, you want to stir your mixture up a bit to break up large lumps and move things around (especially if you have a seriously uneven oven like we do). What you want is a golden, yet dry and crisp granola that is crunchy all the way through. Chewy means there is still moisture, which means the shelf life will be drastically reduced, which is another reason we need to break up those large lumps. For me, it usually takes around 1.5-2 hours, depending on the season (humidity levels) and applesauce to oats ratio (you would rather go slightly too dry than too wet).

Once your granola is crisp, dry and deliciously golden, take it out of the oven and let it cool down completely. At this point you can add dried fruit and/or chocolate before pouring into a large jar. This keeps several weeks in our house with no trouble at all (before it vanishes and I have to make more).

I like mine so dark it is almost edging on burnt. Lower temp/longer time works if you prefer a lighter color.

If you try your hand at this recipe, I hope you’ll share how it went! I’m always excited to see my lazy cookery techniques “out in the wild”!

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