Nut lovers unite! This easy sugar free granola made with almond butter, pecans, and unsweetened cranberries is your answer to breakfast on busy mornings. With no added sugar this homemade granola is a healthy start to the morning.
Note: This post was originally published on August 29, 2019, and has been updated with new photos, and cooking tips.
My boys love cereal. When we’re cruising down the cereal aisle they’re eyes are drawn to the brightly colored cereal boxes with characters they recognize from their favorite shows.
Without fail they request to put one of those boxes in our cart. They haven’t gotten to bring a box home yet but they keep trying.
Cereal is an easy and quick breakfast in the morning. It always feels like we’re against the clock to get out the door in time to make it to school and off to work. Pour a bowl of cereal and you’ve got breakfast ready in no time. But a heavy dose of sugar in the morning is no way to start the day.
I searched high and low for a sugar free granola in the store made with whole food ingredients but I struggled to find one that met all my criteria which included whole food ingredients, no oil, and no added sugar.
Since I couldn’t find what I was looking for I decided to make my own granola recipe and have complete control over the ingredients.
I used to think making my own granola would be time consuming and difficult, but I was wrong! Not only is it easy and fast to make your own granola, you probably have all the ingredients you need in your pantry now.
This sugar free granola is nutty, naturally sweet, and totally satisfying! It’s a delicious plant-based breakfast idea and knocks those store bought cereals and granolas out of the running.
Why This Recipe Works
- No Added Sugars
- No Sugar Alcohols
- Natural Sugars from Nuts, Oats, and Cranberries
- Made with Whole Grains
- Made with Whole Foods
- Super Crunchy Granola Recipe
- Gluten-Free Oats – If you follow a gluten-free diet, be sure to buy oats that are certified gluten-free. While oats are naturally gluten-free, some are made in facilities with other ingredients that are not, which can cause cross contamination.
- Almond Butter – Naturally a sweeter nut butter, it helps to bind the ingredients together.
- No Sugar Added Dried Cranberries – Cranberries are naturally very tart in flavor. Most dried cranberries have a ton of added sugar. But you can find no sugar added dried cranberries online or at Whole Foods. You will only taste the natural sugar and tartness in the granola.
- Pumpkin Seeds – An excellent plant-based source of protein and Omega-6 fatty acids, they a nice bit of crunch and texture. They have even been know to reduce blood sugar levels.
- Chia Seeds – High in fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds add color and texture.
- Raw Pecans – I prefer to use raw pecans because they are healthier than roasted, and don’t have any added oil.
- Vanilla Extract – Helps to blend all the ingredients together and gives a hint of vanilla flavor.
Tools and Equipment
- Airtight Mason Jars – These mason jars come with cute chalkboard labels and a chalkboard marker. They look adorable on your kitchen counter!
- Baking Sheet – When it comes to cookie sheets and other pans I’ve been moving away from nonstick variety. Why? Nonstick cookware is covered in Teflon. That’s what keeps the food from sticking to the pan, convenient, but not so safe. When teflon is heated to 600°F it releases potentially dangerous fumes. Why take the risk! Go for a natural cookie sheet like this one from Nordic Ware.
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Spatula – These spatulas come in a set of three different sizes.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 300 F.
Step 2: Pour oats, cranberries, chopped pecans, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds into a large bowl. Stir to combine.
Step 3: Pour almond butter and vanilla extract over mixture. Combine until all oats are wet. Add an additional tablespoon of almond butter if all of the oats are not wet.
Step 4: Spread the oats evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Check at the 8 minute mark for a golden brown finish.
Step 5: Allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.
It can be a healthy snack or breakfast option if you make it at home and stick to the recommended serving size. While it does contain healthy fats, and is lower in sugar, you can easily go overboard on your serving size.
If your desire is weight loss, store bought granola is not ideal. It has a significant amount of oil and sugar added that increases its calories compared to eating a bowl of oatmeal. If you decide to eat granola when on a weight loss plan whether that’s store bought or homemade be sure to measure out your serving size. It’s easy to fill a big cereal bowl with a cup and a half of granola and not realize you’re consuming three servings. Stick to a ½ cup serving of granola.
This homemade sugar free granola is okay to eat if you follow a plant-based or vegan lifestyle. One serving of homemade granola has 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and healthy unsaturated fats from the added nuts and seeds. This version of granola has just 1 gram of sugar, and 0 grams of added sugar. Leave the cranberries out of the granola and you have a completely sugar free granola. That’s about 24 grams less sugar than the average store bought granola. Increase your daily value of vitamins and nutrients, and decrease your sugar consumption with this simple recipe.
Variations and Substitutions
Alternative to Almond Butter: If you don’t have almond butter, or don’t like it, you can use a creamy natural peanut butter, or cashew butter.
Alternative to Pumpkin Seeds: Use sunflower seeds. They are meaty and flavorful, and will still add a nice texture to this homemade sugar-free granola recipe.
Different Dried Fruit: While it’s totally to fine to add additional dried fruit, or a different dried fruit, be aware that most dried fruit has added sugar. Look for one that is sugar free.
Different Chopped Nuts: Use any chopped nut you have, or if you’re not a nut lover, leave them out completely! I also like to play with this recipe adding walnuts sometimes, chopped almonds, or cashews.
How to Serve
There are so many ways to enjoy your granola! Here are a few of my favorite!
- As a breakfast cereal with dairy-free unsweetened milk such as almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or soy milk.
- Layer into a yogurt parfait with fresh fruit.
- Sprinkle on top of your favorite smoothie bowl.
- Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to an an air tight container for storage.
- If you keep the granola in an airtight container it can last for up to two months.
- When I make this recipe I double it. That’s because my whole family loves this homemade granola, especially my oldest son. He enjoys topping it with berries and coconut milk.
- Customize your granola to your taste. If you like a certain kind of nut, dried fruit, or coconut flakes, you can easily throw it in.
- If you feel that it needs a bit of extra sweetness, add a tablespoon of maple syrup. This will add a bit of sugar in the form of an unrefined sweeteners, which is a healthier alternative. The maple syrup will also help create those granola clusters we all love!
More easy healthy breakfast recipes!
Sugar Free Granola | Vegan Gluten-Free and Oil-Free
- 2 cups rolled oats If you have a gluten sensitivity use gluten free oats.
- ½ cup raw pecans chopped
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup almond butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- ¼ cup dried sugar-free cranberries
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine oats, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and cranberries.
- Pour almond butter and vanilla extract over oat mixture. Stir to combine until oats are wet.
- Spread mixture evenly over a cookie sheet.
- Place in oven and toast for 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the oats.
- Take out of the oven and allow to cool completely before storing granola in an air tight container.
- Add your own favorite sugar-free dried fruit, and raw nuts.
- If oat mixture needs more moisture add 1 tablespoon of almond butter until all oats are wet and well coated.
- When stored in an airtight container at room temperature, your granola will last for up to 2 months.