10-Ingredient Chunky Nut-Free Granola
This gluten-free nut-free granola recipe is irresistibly crunchy, chunky, and easy enough to make in under an hour! And, compared to most store-bought brands, it’s a great lower sugar option with only 5g sugar per ⅓ cup. I’ll walk you through how to make a truly CHUNKY granola without nuts—using rolled oats, brown rice crisps, coconut chips, & sunflower seeds.
For an easy vegan granola recipe with nuts for added crunch, try my festive Maple Pecan Granola!
Which is Healthier: Store-Bought or Homemade Granola?
- Ingredients. Most store-bought granolas contain nuts, so this homemade nut-free granola is a great option if you have a nut allergy—and it’s also gluten-free & vegan! But making your own granola at home also lets you skip the processed additives and sneaky sugar found in many store-bought brands.
- Sugar Content. Some seemingly healthy granolas have more added sugar (12+ grams) than notorious sugary cereals! You can lighten up by choosing an option with less added sugar, or make your own low-sugar granola at home. This chunky granola recipe has only 5g total sugar (4g added sugar) per ⅓ cup.
- Ease & Convenience. A healthy homemade granola can have some nutritional benefits, but buying pre-packaged granola will always be simpler & save time. And, if doing so reduces our stress, a store-bought granola can absolutely be the healthier choice during different times in our lives.
- Enjoyment. This crispy, puffed, chunky, crunchy granola recipe is undeniably delicious, for a breakfast yogurt parfait and for snacking. But sometimes, I just want a sugary, processed granola that tastes like dessert—and I now give myself permission to enjoy it when I want it! Nutrition facts aren’t everything when it comes to our health. Don’t forget to consider what you want, and what you’ll actually enjoy eating.
Learn more about how to choose a healthy store-bought granola, for those times when life’s too busy to make your own at home.
Homemade Nut-Free Granola Ingredients
- Rolled Oats. For a super chunky granola with satisfying clusters, use rolled oats instead of quick-cooking. If you need a 100% gluten-free granola (especially if you have a gluten sensitivity of allergy), use certified GF oats.
- Brown Rice Crisps. You can use crispy brown rice cereal, or use puffed brown rice if you love a puffed granola texture! Both are nutritious whole-grain options that add a deliciously crisp texture.
- Coconut Flakes. Medium-sized coconut flakes integrate best into this chunky granola recipe, but you can also use larger coconut chips, or coconut shreds instead. If you’re allergic to coconut, substitute with pumpkin seeds.
- Sunflower Seeds. My favorite addition for a crave-ably crunchy granola without nuts! If you don’t need this to be nut-free, you can substitute with any nuts you want.
- Oat Flour. This secret ingredient helps bind those crunchy granola clusters together! Blend rolled oats to make your own oat flour, or substitute with GF all-purpose flour. (Or regular all-purpose flour, if you don’t need it to be gluten-free.)
- Cinnamon. Just a dash adds the comforting, warm flavor I crave!
- Maple Syrup. A yummy source of sweetness & maple flavor for this simple vegan granola recipe. Feel free to use honey instead if you don’t need it to be vegan.
- Applesauce. Much like in vegan baked goods, applesauce helps bind these granola chunks together—no need for butter or flax eggs! Plus, it adds natural sweetness, which cuts down on added sugars.
- Coconut Oil. The saturated fats in coconut oil help form the big, crisp chunks that make this the ultimate snacking granola! For a substitute, use butter for the crunchiest texture. (Or you can use vegetable oil if preferred.)
- Water. Don’t forget to add water—this creates a slurry or paste that helps the granola bake into cohesive chunks!
Customizing for Your Taste Buds
I designed this gluten-free nut-free granola recipe as an allergy-friendly option, as well as a lightened-up option compared to many store-bought brands. Ultimately, you get to decide what kind of granola you want to eat—which means you can adjust this recipe however you like. Add nuts if you want them; incorporate other mix-ins like dried fruit; or make it indulgent with chocolate chips! Trust your taste buds, and remember there are no rules here.
3 “Secrets” for Chunky Granola Clusters
There are 3 simple secrets to making crunchy granola with clusters—and I specially designed this no-nut granola recipe to maximize those yummy chunks:
- Make sure the dry & wet mixtures are well-integrated. The dry ingredients should be moistened and fully coated by the wet ingredients, so chunks will form while baking. It also helps if your ingredients are similar in size, since larger/heavier pieces (like nuts) can cause granola clusters to break.
- Press the granola into a flat, even layer in the pan. This allows your homemade granola to bake into a compact sheet (almost like a cracker), which helps larger chunks form.
- Minimize stirring until the end! Don’t stir the granola while it bakes—just use a spatula to flip over large chunks halfway through. Then, let your nut-free granola cool completely before stirring and breaking it into clumps.
You can watch my process for making chunky granola clusters in my Lightened-Up Homemade Granola video!
How to Make Crunchy Granola without Nuts
- Combine the Dry Ingredients. In a bowl, mix together rolled oats, brown rice crisps, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, and oat flour.
- Mix the Wet Ingredients. Separately, whisk together maple syrup, applesauce, coconut oil, and water in a large bowl.
- Add the Dry to the Wet. Stir the dry into the wet mixture, so the dry ingredients are fully coated and moistened.
- Press the Granola onto Pans. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, then distribute your nut-free granola mixture onto them. Press the granola down firmly with your hands or with a spatula, forming a compact, even layer on each baking sheet.
- Bake for 40 Minutes at 300°F. After baking for 20 minutes, remove both pans from the oven and flip your homemade granola in large chunks, without breaking it up too much. Rotate the pans in the oven and continue baking for another 20 minutes.
- Allow to Cool Completely. Once your chunky granola finishes baking, remove from the oven and DON’T stir—allow it to cool for at least 1 hour or more. Once it’s cooled completely, you can break it up into your desired chunks. Or, if you want a nut-free granola that’s not-so-chunky, just break it up into smaller pieces!
Stored in a sealed jar or airtight container at room temperature, this DIY granola will keep for 2-3 weeks (or more). If you love having granola clusters in the pantry for snacking, I recommend storing them in a jar to protect the clusters from crumbling! For longer storage, consider keeping this homemade granola in the fridge—or you can freeze it for up to 3-4 months.
Gluten-Free Nut-Free Chunky Granola
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup brown rice crisps or puffed brown rice
- ½ cup coconut flakes
- ½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
- ⅔ cup oat flour
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup applesauce
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup water
- Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, mix together oats, brown rice crisps, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, and oat flour.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together maple syrup, applesauce, coconut oil, and water.
- Add the dry into the wet mixture and stir, until the dry ingredients are fully coated and moistened.
- Spread granola mixture onto lined baking sheets, pressing it into an even, compact layer on each pan.
- Bake 40 minutes. Halfway through, flip the granola and rotate the baking sheets in the oven. (Flip the granola in large sections for larger chunks, without breaking it up too much. For smaller chunks, you can break up the mixture more.)
- Remove granola from oven and don’t stir again until it cools completely (about 1 hour). Then break into desired chunks.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 weeks, or keep in the fridge for longer storage. You can also freeze for 3-4 months.
- Yields ~6 cups chunky granola.