Try a batch of *just* granola clusters! Bake the mixture in a 9×13-inch baking pan, before breaking up into pieces and returning to the oven. (That’s the cluster trick!) You need just 8 ingredients for this naturally vegan and egg-free recipe. Use certified gluten-free oats to ensure this recipe is gluten free.
- 3 cups (255g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 3/4 cup (75g) almond flour or almond meal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (95g) sliced, slivered, or chopped almonds (I recommend unsalted)
- 1/3 cup (70g) coconut oil
- 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mix the oats, almond flour, salt, and almonds together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Combine coconut oil, brown sugar, and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until sugar dissolves. It’s ok if there’s a layer of oil on top. Remove from heat, whisk in the vanilla, and pour over oat mixture. Stir until everything begins to come together. The mixture will be sticky.
- Pour into prepared baking pan and, using a spatula, press mixture tightly into an even layer in the pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan every 10 minutes to ensure the granola “slab” bakes evenly. Remove the baking pan, but do not turn off the oven. Let the granola slab cool in the pan for 5–10 minutes. (The cooling is crucial!) Lift the granola out of the pan using the parchment overhang on the sides. Cut into squares, and then break up into smaller cluster pieces—be careful, the granola is hot! Place the clusters back into the baking pan, with or without parchment, or spread onto a lined or unlined baking sheet, and bake the clusters for 10 more minutes.
- Remove clusters from the oven and cool completely. Clusters become crunchier the longer they cool.
- Cover and store the cooled clusters at room temperature for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 9×13-Inch Baking Pan | Baking Sheet | Parchment Paper | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Spatula
- Almond Flour: You can use almond flour or almond meal in this recipe. Almond flour is finely ground blanched almonds. You could also use almond meal, which is coarser. You can purchase almond flour in most grocery stores, and I really like Bob’s Red Mill brand. You can also make it at home, and here’s how: Pulse about 3/4 cup of whole almonds (blanched or not) a few times in a food processor until the almonds are finely ground. Do not let it grind for too long or the nuts will release too much of their oil and turn into almond butter.
- Nut-Free: You can swap almond flour for oat flour, and leave out the sliced almonds. I find this version isn’t quite as crunchy, but it does work.
- Oats: Whole rolled (old-fashioned) oats are the nutritious heart of these granola clusters. I don’t recommend quick or instant oats here—you need whole.
- Coconut Oil: Do not leave this out! The fat keeps granola from turning into a mushy mess and adds crunch and richness to every cluster. You can use butter instead if needed, but don’t substitute a liquid oil—you need a fat that’s solid at room temperature.
- Brown Sugar: The brown sugar adds sweetness, but is also needed to thicken the sticky “sauce” that gets poured over the dry ingredients. You can substitute coconut sugar, if desired.
- Add-Ins: If you want to add some extra goodies to your maple almond granola clusters—such as pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut flakes, dried cranberries—you can, but keep the total amount of add-ins to about 1 and 1/4 cups, including the sliced almonds in the recipe. So use 3/4 cup sliced almonds and 1/2 cup of any other add-in. Keep in mind the clusters may fall apart more depending on the add-ins you use.
Keywords: maple almond granola clusters