Apple Spice Quinoa Granola.

This crunchy apple granola is packed with nutrients and will soon become a favorite. Spiced with cinnamon and cloves, it makes the perfect fall snack.

Crunchy Apple Spice Granola packed with quinoa, almonds, maple, and cinnamon. Healthy snacking made easy!

It’s been far too long since I shared a granola recipe with you.  But I’ve secretly been making different granola recipes all summer. Snacking on them helped me get through my cookbook manuscript! Late nights and early mornings – we’re talking 4am alarms – all summer long. Munching on mocha java granola kept me awake, alert, and… sane.

Homemade granola, while boring to some, is actually one of my favorite things to munch on.  In fact, I think it is far from boring!  So many textures, so much crunch, the flavor possibilities are endless, dried fruit, nuts, the whole shebang.  Eaten for breakfast, pre-workout, post-workout, midnight munchie, or sitting at my desk – I never tire of this stuff! The only downside to granola? It is so addicting!

But I can think of worse problems.

Crunchy Apple Spice Granola packed with quinoa, almonds, maple, and cinnamon. Healthy snacking made easy!

When I make granola, I like to focus on whole, natural foods.  Healthy foods to balance out my Reese’s bar obsession, foods without a bunch of excess sugar, and foods that I buy on the reg – so I don’t have to make any extra trips to the grocery store. Not only is homemade granola so simple to throw together at home, but you have complete control over the ingredients.  Oh, and it’s cheap to make at home too.

My #1 granola recipe has got to be this one (peanut butter, duh) – but the more I snack on my recent apple-spice batch, the more I am convinced I’ve got a new fave. Warming flavors like cinnamon, clove, maple, apple, vanilla, and almond merge together bite after bite.  Whole-grain, fiber-packed, gluten free quinoa gives the clusters a nice crunch. Chunks of real apple release their juices, so each bite is infused with their flavor. This stuff is seriously the best.

Crunchy Apple Spice Granola packed with quinoa, almonds, maple, and cinnamon.  Healthy snack by

If you’re not familiar with quinoa – you should be!  It’s pronounced keen-wa.  Not qwee-no-a.  Don’t worry, I had no idea how to say the word a couple years ago. Quinoa is a super food. It’s a type of whole grain with a huge list of perks: gluten free, fiber-packed, protein-packed, high in iron, low in fat, saturated fat free, cholesterol free, and vegan. My soon-to-be sister in law, Kerry, makes amazing quinoa patties with lots of herbs and spices. I’ll have to share that recipe sometime if you’re interested!

The quinoa in this granola is essentially flavorless, but it does bring a nice “toasty” flavor to each cluster. It also supplies much more nutritional benefit, as opposed to making the granola with only oats. I think I’m going to sprinkle uncooked quinoa on pretty much all of my granolas from now on. 😉

I buy quinoa at my regular grocery store in the rice aisle.

My favorite quinoa

Besides quinoa, this spiced granola is packed with real apples, almonds, and raisins. I peeled and finely diced a large honey crisp apple (my favorite!) and tossed it into the mix.  The apple pieces release their juices and stay slightly soft as the granola bakes. They are a fabulous contrast to the crunchy clusters – perfect for texture freaks like me.  I also added almonds, both slivered and whole, as well as a medley of colorful raisins. The nuts and raisins are completely optional, but the more “stuff” in my granola, the better.  They both pair so nicely with the spices and apple flavor as well.

The granola gets its flavor from the apple, as well as pure maple syrup, a touch of brown sugar, applesauce, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla.  Yeah, it’s quite flavorful.  Full of all of my favorite fall spices. PS: a pumpkin granola recipe is coming soon.

I found that the granola wasn’t nearly as flavorful or sweet without the 1/4 cup of brown sugar, so don’t leave it out.  1/4 cup is such a teensy amount as well – especially spanned over 5 cups of granola.  You could try adding more pure maple syrup instead, but that stuff is so expensive!

Crunchy Apple Spice Granola packed with quinoa, almonds, maple, and cinnamon.  Healthy snack by

Crunchy Apple Spice Granola packed with quinoa, almonds, maple, and cinnamon.  Healthy snack by

The granola slow-cooks in the oven at a 325F degree temperature. This will give it that beautiful, addicting little crunch. Some granola pieces will be soft from the apples, but the quinoa gives the majority of each handful a crispity, crunchity bite.

Don’t go too far as the granola bakes – you’ll need to stir it around every 10-15 minutes or so. Otherwise it could burn. Just wait until you smell this baking in your kitchen. My kitchen STILL smells amazing and I made this yesterday morning.

The granola is vegan and gluten free (if you’re using certified GF oats).  I have many readers ask me for more vegan recipes, so I am happy to share today’s tasty treat!  PS: you can find all of my vegan recipes here and all of my gluten free recipes here. A few of my very favorite recipes fall into both categories. My upcoming cookbook also has a slew of both vegan and GF options too. 😉

Crunchy Apple Spice Granola packed with quinoa, almonds, maple, and cinnamon.  Healthy snack by

I am completely in love with this maple-infused, cinnamon-spiced, autumn-inspired granola.  It’s SO hard to put down because each bite is completely different. Luckily I don’t have to feel too bad munching on the healthy stuff. Love it when that happens!

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Apple Spice Quinoa Granola

This crunchy granola is packed with nutrients and will soon become a favorite. Spiced with cinnamon and cloves, it makes the perfect fall snack.


  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats*
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup almonds (I used a mixed of slivered and whole)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large apple, peeled & diced (any variety)
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup*
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup raisins


Preheat oven to 325F degrees.  Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the oats, quinoa, almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together until combined.  Fold in the dived apple. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, applesauce, maple syrup, and brown sugar.  Pour over dry ingredients and mix until everything is moistened.  Spread onto two baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes, making sure to stir the granola every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning.  Allow granola to cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheets. This will help it get crunchier. Pour into a large bowl and add the raisins.

Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Granola will lose its crunch overtime because of the apples.

Recipe Notes:

*Make sure your oats are certified gluten free if you have an intolerance. 

*You may use honey, agave, or light corn syrup as the liquid sweetener.  Keep in mind that using honey means your granola is no longer vegan.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.



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  1. Looks amazing! Just wondering though, since I’m not exactly the super-crunchy-granola type, how would you make the granola a bit, well, softer?

  2. This looks great! Just wondering – I haven’t cooked with quinoa much but I’ve always read that you must rinse it thoroughly first. Should I do this before putting it into this granola recipe?

    • Hi Kelly! If your quinoa comes pre-rinsed, then no you don’t have to. It should say on the bag. I pre-rinsed my quinoa and patted completely dry. Remember, you are using uncooked quinoa not cooked in this granola recipe.

  3. We are totally on the same brainwave, Sally! I made an apple spice granola a few weeks ago, with quinoa (and I used coconut oil as well, to creepy), and I just made pumpkin granola the other day! Bring on the fall-flavored granolas. 🙂

    • Oh goodness Liz, I can’t even remember your apple granola right now. (if you posted it!) That’s how scatterbrained I am at the moment! I am in love with pumpkin granola! This is the best time of year. So many flavors to play around with.

  4. hi sally! i just made this and i didn’t have applesauce, so i used apple cider instead. since the apple cider is pretty sweet already i reduced the amount of maple syrup to 1/4 cup and it turned out really well! just wanted to say this incase anyone else doesn’t have apple sauce on them and thanks so much for the recipe!

  5. I really want to make this now, but I only have sweetened applesauce and no pure maple syrup. I can use honey instead of syrup, right? Is sweetened applesauce ok? Also, can I use light brown sugar instead of dark?
    Guess I really need to go to the store, uh!!!

    • Hi Terry! No worries, you can use what you have on hand. No need to make the extra trip to the store. You can use the sweetened applesauce and honey instead of the maple syrup. And light brown sugar it OK too. Enjoy!

      • Thanks Sally! I ended up doing that and it is delish!! Can’t stop eating it!!
        I am enjoying all your recipes.

  6. Saturday was baking day- made this granola ( it burned a bit, so I turned down the oven and turned it every 10 minutes- even the burned bits are good)- and your soft pretzels- they were amazing- I’m a bit addicted to your site- and then home made pizza- I can tell the pretzels are going to be a wonderful new addition to our game day food menu!

    • Janet, I’m so happy this granola was a huge hit! I just love its flavor. And the pretzels? Even better. Yes, perfect game day food! I am so happy that you love my website. It means the world to me that you stopped back to let me know about the goodies you’ve made. 🙂

  7. Loved the flavors of this! I had some trouble getting mine to cluster and turn out crunchy though.. My initial thought was to maybe dice my apple more finely? If you could give me any tips on how to achieve this, that would be great! Really love this over plain greek yogurt!! 🙂

    • Hey Sarah! Yep, you could try to dice your apple to be a tad smaller. Also, try not to overcrowd the granola on the baking sheet. I bake my granola in batches. The more space it has, the crunchier it gets because it’s not all on top of each other. Does that make sense?

  8. Do you prewash the quinoa befor using it like we do when cookibg it?

  9. Yes, powdery quick oats are not ideal for granola that’s for sure.

  10. I tried this tonight and instead of using applesauce (didn’t have any) I used pumpkin puree instead – ended up being a lovely delish “Fall Harvest” granola, thanks!

  11. Can you use quinoa instead of oatmeal, I have problems with gluten and whole grain and have sensitivities with oats? I’m not sure gluten free oats would resolve the issues. Want to find recipes that I can make with quinoa as the replacement. Do you use the quinoa flakes or just plain, have never used before. Thanks! Sounds yummy!

    • Hi Lisa, you do need some sort of oat to go along with the quinoa. Though I’ve never tried it before, I assume the quinoa wouldn’t hold as much of the flavoring or the ingredients together as oats would. If that doesn’t matter to you, perhaps you could just add more quinoa and more add-ins like nuts and then leave out the oats.

      • I will try that with more nuts! Thanks for your response! I love nuts, loved oats too, but they don’t love me!

  12. I made this yesterday and it’s so good!! I left the apple out BC I wanted to make a big batch of your baked apple chips and ended up crumbling some in after baking. I’m gonna make more and add the apple this time BC this batch is almost gone already….so yummy…thanks for the recipe!

  13. I love your granola recipes!! Thank you soo much for sharing. SOOO, I made a double batch of the apple cinnamon quinoa granola before realizing the shelf life of 2 weeks. Is that the max shelf life? Will it spoil after because of the fresh apples required in the recipe? Any suggestions to extend the 2 weeks? Thanks soo much!

    • Put the granola in the refrigerator for another week. That will extend its shelf life. I’m sure it could even be left at room temperature for up to 3 week, I just have not tasted it and am unsure if the taste is affected.

  14. This looks awesome! Do you think it will be ok if I do not use brown sugar, or will that mess up the consistency? I like things a little less sweet.

    • That would be fine – though I really don’t like it without brown sugar. It doesn’t have nearly as much flavor. 1/4 cup isn’t much for 5 cups of granola.

  15. I made this this morning and love it. Thanks for sharing. It is going to go well with yougart and summer fruit!!!

  16. I just discovered quinoa in the grocery store a few weeks ago and tried it and I love it! I dont even want rice anymore!! Its non processed so its diabetic friendly and my husband loves it! He doesnt hardly like anything healthy!! I had first learned about it in my nutrition class at college on how to say it properly and all that,
    I am going to have to try this granola because it sounds really healthy and filling unlike most granolas which are high in fat.

  17. Is the Quinoa bitter because it is not rinsed?

  18. Just made this. So yum!!

  19. Your granola recipes are the best Sally! I can’t decide which one is my favourite but its this recipe and your pumpkin spice granola neck in neck. Thank you for sharing your wonderful creations.

  20. I made this yesterday and it was crunchy and delish when it came out of the oven. I let it sit the required 20 min. on the baking pans and then put it in a plastic storage container. This morning it was no longer crunchy. Do you have any ideas on why that happened? What should I do to crunch it up again? Back in the oven or under the broiler?? Also, do you bake one tray at a time? I baked 2 trays at once and rotated them every time I stirred. Thanks for your help. I really enjoy your recipes!

  21. Mmmmm that looks so delicious!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait to make it!
    Is there any sub for the applesauce?

    • Marie, you could use apple butter instead. Or even 1 large mashed banana. Your granola won’t be as crunchy.

  22. I had never made my own granola before, but now I have made this granola twice and it’s super yummy!  I am looking forward to trying your other kinds of granola now.  I love your blog and the way you explain recipes, mention what things can be substituted and the reasons that some things shouldn’t be.  I love baking and love dessert, but I really like that you also include a lot of yummy, healthy snacks on your blog that I enjoy baking as well.  Keep the great recipes coming!

  23. Delicious granola! Thanks for your recipe and the addition of the nutritious quinoa. I made a few changes and it still came out perfect! Instead of the sugar I cut up a couple of large mejdool dates. I also mixed almonds and pecans. In terms of spices I added some pumpkin spice and a little turmeric with a very small pinch of ginger as well. Used a large green apple and added some dried apples I also had on hand. Finally sprinkled coconut flakes on top. Thanks for giving me a compelling reason to get out or bed tomorrow ! Keep us inspired xx 

  24. My daughter is allergic to all nuts – I wonder if you would need to adjust any other measurements if you left the nuts out?  I might try some pumpkin/sunflower seeds but probably not a whole cup.  Thanks for your blog – I just love your recipes and we have tried so many of them!  😀

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