Homemade granola is so easy to make and this crunchy Orange Granola with Cranberries and Almonds is my new favorite in the winter! Rolled oats, toasty pecans, and browned almonds mixed with vanilla, infused with orange zest and sweetened with dried cranberries and maple syrup.
This is your sign to make your own granola!
Eat orange granola with greek yogurt and fresh fruit, alone with milk, or on top of your favorite smoothie. Serve it as a side dish with Starbucks Egg White Bites for a perfect breakfast. Or enjoy it as a snack by itself. It's perfect for days that you're on-the-go and even the kids will be wanting more!
This is also a great option to bring to a holiday brunch or give as gifts. 🙂
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- CUSTOMIZE IT - once you have the basics, you can totally customize orange granola however you want using what you have in your pantry.
- SIMPLE INGREDIENTS - it's made with real food including nuts, seeds, oats and orange zest.
- NUTRITION - this recipe is loaded with healthy fats and antioxidants from the nuts and seeds and it contains phosphorus, manganese, and fiber from the oats. Plus, it has less added sugars than the store-bought stuff. The ingredients in this orange granola make it a great choice for both gut health and hormone health.
- EASY RECIPE - this recipe couldn’t be more simple.
- VEGAN, DAIRY FREE, and GLUTEN FREE (if using certified gluten-free oats!)
Ingredients for Orange Granola
*Be sure to check the recipe card at the bottom for exact ingredient measurements and full recipe.
Main Ingredients for Granola:
ROLLED OATS: use rolled oats instead of quick oats. Rolled oats will maintain their texture and heartiness when baked whereas quick oats are smaller and won’t give the crunch for a good granola.
NUTS: this recipe calls for pecans and sliced or slivered almonds. Pecans go perfectly with the other seasonal ingredients in this orange granola and sliced almonds get nicely browned when baked! Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats including Omega-3s and antioxidants. They are anti-inflammatory and are good for hormone health, brain health, and heart health.
SEEDS: use your favorite seeds! I used pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), but you could also use chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, or flax seeds.
FINE SEA SALT: just a pinch of salt is perfect for enhancing the other flavors.
CINNAMON: adding cinnamon makes it a more flavorful granola.
OIL: I used avocado oil for this one. You could also use olive oil, but I love that the avocado oil is flavorless so it really lets the other ingredients sing.
SWEETENER: this recipe calls for maple syrup, but honey is a great option, too! The sugar is what helps to bind the oats together to make clumps.
VANILLA: vanilla extract adds a depth of flavor that blends perfectly with the other ingredients in this one.
Other Ingredients for Orange Granola:
Now you know the base ingredients for a basic recipe for crunchy granola! But what makes this one special is the combo of orange and cranberry.
ORANGE ZEST: use a zester to easily zest an orange peel! I promise this is worth the small bit of extra effort. Plus, it only takes a couple minutes and will have your house smelling uh-mazing. Orange zest is the secret ingredient and the key to the orange flavor for this orange-infused granola!
DRIED CRANBERRIES: added in at the end, dried cranberries go so perfectly with the pecan, vanilla and orange in this recipe. You can find them in the baking aisle or snack aisle at the grocery store. I usually get mine in the bulk section though because they are less expensive and you can buy just the amount that you need!
Instructions for Orange Granola
*The full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below but here are some visuals that I hope you will find helpful!
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325℉ and prep a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, zest your orange and add the zest to the other dry ingredients.
Step 2: In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients including the oats, nuts, seeds, salt, and cinnamon. Do not add the dried cranberries yet!
Step 3: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients including the oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Then, add the wet mixture to the dry and stir together until well-combined.
Step 4: Spread the oat mixture on the baking sheet in an even layer and bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 8-10 minutes. The granola is done when it’s a golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the granola cool before breaking it into clumps. Once the orange granola has cooled, stir in the dried cranberries.
Hint: Don’t stir it right after taking it out of the oven! Let it cool for as long as possible first. The air will help create the granola clusters. 🙂
One of the best things about homemade orange granola is that you can literally customize it to your taste and dietary preferences. Find your own favorite ways to make it! Below are some ideas for you.
Nuts and seeds: use any combination of nuts and seeds! Pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, cashews, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds. The combination options are truly endless!
Dried Fruit: add a different dried fruit if cranberries aren’t your thing. I love using chopped dates in homemade granolas for a more natural sweetness since dates don't have added sugar. Dried apples, golden raisins, dried blueberries, or dried apricot, cherries, mango, pineapple or papaya are options, too!
Oil: use whatever oil you prefer to bake with. As a dietitian, I recommend using either olive oil or avocado oil for homemade granola. You could also use a vegetable oil like canola oil.
Sweetener: if you don’t have maple syrup, use honey! (the recipe will not be vegan when honey is used). If you like a sweeter granola, you can bump up the amount a bit. You could use date syrup too, but I haven’t tried that yet!
Spice: if you don’t like cinnamon, take it out or replace it with a spice you do enjoy. Nutmeg or cloves are yummy options.
Variations of Orange Granola
- Nut-free: instead of nuts, use 2-3 different kinds of seeds!
- Fancy orange granola: add some coconut flakes (add these halfway through baking if using), dark chocolate chips (add AFTER baking so they don't melt!) and brown sugar. Mix in some almond butter.
- Fruity granola: if you like it more fruity, add golden raisins, tart dried cherries, and dried apples along with the cranberries!
One of the great things about granola is that it stores well for a long time.
Fridge (or room temperature): store it for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge or at room temperature.
Freezer: store orange granola in an airtight container for 3-6 months in the freezer. Thaw them in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for about an hour.
Expert Tips for Homemade Orange Granola
- When zesting the orange, just go over the surface once. You just want the top layer of the skin to be zested so stop when you get to the white part of the fruit. The white part is much more bitter, but the orange outer skin is sweet!
- When the granola mixture is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before stirring it or breaking it apart. This is what helps form the clumps! But honestly, I love it even without a lot of clumps because it is so perfectly toasty!
- Add in the dried fruit (cranberries in this case) after the granola has baked and cooled. I tried adding it with the other ingredients and I personally thought it was too chewy…as in, it got stuck up in my teeth! Adding it toward after the granola bakes keeps the dried fruit nice and tender.
Homemade granola doesn't have the preservatives that store-bought granola has so it doesn't last as long. But it still lasts for a long time which is why it's one of my favorite things to make! In fact, homemade granola lasts for up to 3 weeks. To store it, use an airtight container and keep it away from moisture, heat, or direct sunlight. Since this orange granola has orange zest and dried fruits, it's even better to store it in the refrigerator.
Absolutely! Once it is completely cooled, you can freeze granola in an airtight container for 3-6 months. To thaw it, either keep it in the refrigerator overnight or let it sit out at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
As long as you use gluten free oats, this granola recipe is gluten free! If you are buying a store-bought granola, be sure to check the nutrition label to make sure it is gluten free. In general, the main ingredient in granola is oats. Oats are a naturally gluten free food. However, many oats are processed in a facility that also processes gluten-containing foods so there is a risk of cross-contamination. The best way to tell if the oats you use are gluten free is to make sure that gluten or wheat is not listed under the "may contain" statement on the nutrition facts panel.
Looking for other nourishing breakfast recipes? Try these:
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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! I would love to hear from you! If you made this recipe, please leave me a review below or tag me in a photo or story on Instagram....I LOVE knowing there’s people out there trying out my recipes! 🙂 IG: @mallorythedietitian
Healthy Orange Granola with Cranberries and Almonds
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (zest of 1 small orange)
- Preheat the oven to 325℉ and prep a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, zest your orange and set aside the zest.
- In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients including the oats, nuts, seeds, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest. Do not add the dried cranberries yet.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients including the oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Then, add the wet mixture to the dry and stir together until well-combined.
- Spread the oat mixture on the baking sheet in an even layer and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 8-10 minutes. The granola is done when it’s a golden brown. Remove from the pre-heated oven and let the granola cool before breaking it into clumps. Once the granola has cooled, stir in the dried cranberries.
- When zesting the orange, just go over the surface once. You just want the top layer of the skin to be zested so stop when you get to the white part of the fruit. The white part is much more bitter, but the orange outer skin is sweet! If you don't have a zester, you can grab one here. (affiliate link)
- When the granola mixture is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before stirring it or breaking it apart. This is what helps form the clumps.
- Add in the dried cranberries after the granola has baked and cooled for about an hour.