Crunchy Homemade Granola With Soaked Oats

Shortly after I developed my original granola recipe, I purchased a copy of Nourishing Traditions and learned about soaking grains and nuts for better assimilation and digestion.  After a few months of soaking different grains and nuts to test if they benefited our family, I began working on a soaked version of my granola recipe.  This is a deliciously crunchy granola with clumps that stay together even after being doused in milk or kefir.

For the whey in this recipe, you can make it by draining yogurt, kefir or buttermilk overnight through a fine cloth or yogurt cheese funnel over a bowl.  The clear, yellowish liquid whey will drain off, leaving you with a delicious creamy cheese – my family loves to mix it with honey and spread on toast.  The whey can store for a long time in the refrigerator.  (If you have dairy allergies in your family, you can use fresh lemon juice instead of whey.)

Because it is not essential to the success of this recipe, I did not list that most of the ingredients I used were raw and/or organic.  I drained my homemade kefir to get the whey, and used fresh eggs from our chickens. Any “real foodie” who reads this recipe will know exactly what to use! 🙂

Ingredient List:

  • 12 cups medium rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup whey (or buttermilk, yogurt, or fresh lemon juice)
  • 3½ cups water
  • 2 cups whole almonds (or other whole nuts)
  • 1 Tbsp. real salt
  • water to cover
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1  Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup coconut oil (or melted butter)
  • 2 eggs, beaten (can omit, but this is the secret to clumps)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • Dried fruit, if desired

Step 1 – Soak the oats and flour. Mix the rolled oats, whole wheat flour, whey (or other soaking medium) and water together in a large bowl.

Step 2 – Soak the nuts. Mix the whole nuts, salt, and water to cover in a medium bowl.

Cover the oats with plastic wrap and set both bowls aside for 12-24 hours.

soak overnight

After soaking, the soaked oats and flour will really be stuck together, and may smell a little fermented on the top.  This is OK.

soaked oats

Step 3 – Drain and chop the nuts. After soaking, the nuts will double in size.

soaked almonds

Drain the nuts well through a colander, then chop as finely as you like them.  Add to the bowl of soaked oats.

chopped nuts

Step 4 – Add coconut and cinnamon. Mix coconut and cinnamon together in a small bowl – add to the large bowl of soaked oats.

coconut and cinnamon

Step 5 – Add liquid ingredients. Whisk together the oil, eggs, honey, and vanilla.

oil, eggs, and honey

Pour the liquid ingredients into a well in the center of the large bowl of oats.  In these pictures, I was making a double batch of this recipe, so the bowl was pretty full!

pouring liquid

Step 6 – Mix everything together well with your hands. You could use a spoon, but it really doesn’t do as good of a job – with your hands you can feel everything.  Take time to break up the clumps of soaked oats, making sure all is thoroughly coated with the liquid ingredients.  It will be sticky!  That’s good – because that makes it crunchy!

hand mixing

Step 7 – Spread on pans/trays to bake/dry. Spread on baking pans, cookie sheets, or dehydrator trays, depending on how you are going to bake or dry it.  This goes a lot faster – and is especially fun – if you have lots of cute little helpers.

spreading on trays

The granola mixture will be sticky – spread it as best as you can and not too thinly.  This is what it will look like before drying/baking.

ready to dry

Step 8 – Bake or dry the granola until crunchy and crispy.

Oven methodBake at the lowest temperature possible (170°-200° F) until the granola is dry.  If possible, turn the granola over halfway through to make sure it gets completely dried.  If you don’t want big crunchy clumps, you may stir it.

Dehydrator method – I use my 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator to make granola – a double batch of this recipe will fill 8-9 trays.  Dry at 145° for 12-16 hours (or longer – times may vary) until it is thoroughly dry and crisp.  If you are making this with raw, organic ingredients, you may dry it at a lower temperature (115°) to minimize enzyme loss.  It will take much longer at that temperature.

dried and crunchy

Step 9 – Add dried fruit, if desired, and store in a cool, dry place. This granola is delicious with or without fruit.  After the granola has cooled, add whatever fruit you like, in whatever quantities you prefer.  You can add the dried fruit before storing it, or add the fruit when you serve the granola.  For some suggestions of dried fruit amounts and combinations, see my original granola recipe.

You can store the granola in any airtight storage container.  I’ve even used 5 gallon buckets before!  Refrigerated/frozen storage is optional – if the granola is very dry it keeps quite well on a shelf – ours doesn’t last long enough to be concerned.

Step 10 – Serve and enjoy! Have some granola in a bowl with milk or kefir.  Sprinkle it as a topping on yogurt or ice cream.  My children like to fill their cups (or hands or pockets!) with it for a crunchy snack.

clumps hold together

Linked to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tuesday Twister
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Real Food Wednesday

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41 comments to Crunchy Homemade Granola With Soaked Oats

  • My granola jar is almost empty, so we will be making granola again next week. I would love to try your recipe, but we have children allergic to dairy and eggs. I have put the Excalibar on my wishlist!

    • Cardamom

      Hi, Anita – I’m updating my post to include that you can use fresh lemon juice instead of the whey if you have dairy allergies. The granola will also work without the eggs – it just might not clump as much. It’s worth a try!

  • TLeveillee

    How would you make this recipe into granola bars?

    • Cardamom

      That is a great question! I haven’t tried it yet, just thought about it a lot. I would start with the wet granola and add another egg or two and some extra sprouted flour. Then I would form it into bars and dry it in the dehydrator. I’ll be sure to add a recipe if I have a success!

  • anastasia

    thanks for this recipe! it is currently soaking and am looking forward to mixing the remaining ingredients and baking tomorrow!

  • petra

    Hi there!
    I was excited to find your site and I made your recipe and have 2 questions: why do you use flour in the oats? They seem to make the mixture paste-like… and would it be OK to use more water for the oats to soak in?
    Thank you!
    P.S.: I love the girls in their aprons!

    • Cardamom

      Hi, Petra! I use flour in the oats in an attempt to make clumps that stick together. For soaking, there is also some evidence that the wheat flour helps the oats soak better. The mixture should be a bit paste-like until it dries out. As far as more water for the oats to soak in, I accidentally doubled only the water one time, and while the oats soaked it all up, they tasted much more sour, and took FOREVER to dry. You can experiment as much as you like, though! If you come up with an improvement, I’d love to add it to my post.

  • I am so thrilled I’ve found your blog! I made this granola yesterday in a half batch because I only have a four drawer dehydrator so far and it is divine! Ate it for breakfast this morning and was totally satisfied. I made one alteration to exclude the egg, but still get the chunks. Substitute 1 ripe banana and mash it into the liquid mix before pouring. Added delicious flavor and sticking power =0) Great option for vegans or egg-intolerant =0) Hope that offers another granola twist!

    • Cardamom

      What a great egg substitute, Julie! And you already tested it. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing it. I’m going to have to try it on my next batch.

  • Brianna

    If I use Flax seed in place of the almonds should I soak them? I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Cardamom

      That’s a really good question, Brianna! Off the top of my head, you can just add the flax seed after soaking – ideally freshly ground, and then you would have to refrigerate the granola. I think that if you soak the flax seed it will get very mushy and make the granola spoil faster.

  • cyndi

    hey. I just tried this recipe, halved since i only had 6 cups of oats available. Once i soaked, 24 hours, and then add all the ingredients together…what i had was more like oatmeal cookie dough, or paste than granola???? I am trying to dry it out now, so i guess maybe i have made bars without trying. any ideas what i might have done wrong to make the results this mushy??? HELP!

    • Cardamom

      Hi Cyndi, you haven’t done anything wrong! 🙂 The result is a bit more pasty and sticky than traditional granola recipes. Remember, my goal in this recipe is to get crunchy clumps… Just spread it out as best you can, and break it up a bit more as it dries, if needed. Also, humidity levels can vary each day, just like with making bread. I hope this helps!

  • cyndi

    thanks…it took all night in the oven to dry out. I went back and looked at your post and what i had looked nothing like your pictures! lol Now it looks sort of like cardboard chips or homemade paper! it tastes good though! thanks!

    • Brianna

      Cyndi- Do you think maybe you didn’t half the water but halfed the rest of the recipe? I’m wondering if that’s what I did, it was a long day :{

      • Cardamom

        I’m so glad you asked this, Brianna. I was wondering the same thing, and decided not to ask because I couldn’t think of a good way to word it! 😀 But I have done the same thing before…

  • Brianna

    My first batch turned out great! Im working on my second batch but it is looking a lot different. After soaking the oats and flour its completely mushy, you cant even see oat shapes in it like in your picture. My crock pot was on next to it on the counter, Im wondering if it cooked the oat partly. On the other hand, if it did it wouldn’t have cooked it so evenly. I bet it will still be delicious!

    • cyndi

      that sounds like what mine looked like…a bowl full of mush!

    • Cardamom

      I’m wondering what kind of oats you’re using. If it’s quick oats, or even some brands of “old fashioned oats”, those might be thinner. I use organic medium or thick rolled oats that I buy in bulk – they’re pretty chewy. Maybe that’s the issue – it shouldn’t affect the outcome, except to explain why the oats aren’t holding their shape. I like to say it’s not a failure unless it’s completely inedible. LOL

      • Brianna

        They are organic rolled oats, I buy a 25lb bag and they are from the same bag as last time and I don’t remember it being so mushy. I figured we will be able to eat them one way or another. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

  • Brianna

    Turned out great!!! I’m pretty sure I did add too much water because it took twice as long to dry. I also omitted the egg this time because it was a little too crunchy for me last time(I have a sensitive jaw) but came out perfect this time. I love it so much, will definitely become a regular around here and I dont miss the store bought stuff at all. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  • Patti

    Hello! I’m starting a batch of oats soaking this evening to start granola tomorrow night. But I’m confused…
    If the point in the soaking is get RID of the phytic acid…and when we soak nuts/seeds/rice we always THROW OUT the murky soaking water…why isn’t it the same with oats? Doesn’t the phytic acid stay IN this way when just wetting the oats in this manner and not “washing away” the phytic acid in the soaking liquid?
    Thoughts???

  • Brianna

    I just got a food dehydrator, its a big nice one. But how do I get the granola to not fall through the trays? Wax paper maybe?

    • Cardamom

      I’ve used plastic window screen cut to fit my dehydrator trays to keep small things from falling through. I’m afraid wax paper might retain too much moisture…

  • Hi!
    Thanks for your wonderful blog! I found this recipe and it is drying in my dehydrator right now!! I did have a quick question though… I did add 2 eggs, as directed, but was curious about leaving the egg out in the dehydrator, will it heat up enough to prevent bacterial growth? Sorry, I have so many questions and just don’t know who to ask sometimes! I’m 28 and just learning how to cook (married for 9 years with 2 kids and JUST now learning to cook!) yikes! Better late than never 😉

    Thank you !
    Julie

  • Wendy

    I have made this and it is very hard. As in crunchy hard to chew, hard. I don’t have a dehydrator, so use my oven to bake it. Does anyone have any idea what I might be doing wrong. You have to pour milk over it and let it sit for several minutes to even be able to eat it.

  • Terrie Lane

    Hi I wondered if I could dry the granola by cooking it in the oven? Don’t have a dehydrator unfortunately 😉

    • Cardamom

      Hi, yes you can – either bake it at 350 until crunchy, stirring occasionally to keep it from burning. Or you can heat the oven to 350, put the granola in, then turn off the oven and leave the granola there overnight, stirring once or twice before you go to bed. If you have an oven that goes as low as 170 like mine, that works almost like a dehydrator.

  • Michele B

    Just wanted you to know that I use this recipe exclusively for granola now. It is the absolute best. I was doing it in my oven but I too, as Wendy stated above, found it too hard to chew. Once I got a dehydrator and started using that, it made a WORLD of difference. It is now just crunchy enough, but not enough to break a tooth! Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Sara

    Hi,
    I am wondering if I can substitute flax flour for the wheat germ? I know I will have to keep it cool, but I am looking for a gluten free alternative.
    Thanks,
    Sara

    • Cardamom

      Hi, Sara – I’m sure you can substitute any type of gluten-free flour for the wheat flour with no problem. It just helps “stick” it all together a bit. You probably could even leave it out, if necessary – it’s not much. Let me know how it works!

  • Sara

    Hi- Well, for flour I tried a combination of flax, quinoa, and a gluten free mix.

    I think that I need to reduce the amount of oil, because gluten free flours absorb less oil. The crackers ended up too oily, and they didn’t puff well.

    I am going to try them again though. With a few minor changes I am sure that this will become our favorite snack crackers.

    Blessings,
    Sara

  • Homemaid

    Hello, I was so excited to try yor recipe and it looks nice but it’s not at all sweet. I only had 3 cups of oats on hand so I made a quarter of your recipe and I didn’t have honey so I used brown rice syrup (1/4 cup) instead. How can i make it sweet now other than pouring honey over it.
    Can I add honey to it and bake it another 15 mins?thanks

  • Hunnikins

    I am making this granola right now and it looks like it’ll be amazing! Thanks so much for this recipe! According to my Excalibur booklet it can be heated at 145 for the 1st 3 hours then turned down so it’ll preserve the nutrients still but cut the cooking time way down (as opposed to keeping it on low for so many additional hours!). Just wanted to throw that out there for anyone else like me who might be new to the dehydrating process!

  • Chelsea

    I made a batch of this for a long backpacking/hunting trip my husband is going on and had a it came out with a sour taste:( Any tips on how to fix this so I can try it out again? I used buttermilk for soaking, do you let it soak in the fridge or just leave it out on the counter? It came out pretty gummy not crunchy so I might try the over next time or change the kind of oats I use. Thank you for sharing your great recipes and tips!

    • Cardamom

      Hi, Chelsea – sorry to hear about the sour taste! I had a batch or two that did that, too… I’ve always used whey and I think I switched to lemon juice. With buttermilk I would try a refrigerated soak. As far as the gummy consistency, that may be related – but you could try drying it much longer. I had a batch that took very very long to get crunchy – it was a sour batch. Hope that helps, and thanks for the comment!!

  • Ellie

    Hi there,

    Any idea how long this would take in the oven? Also, with avoiding the sour-ness, you would recommend using the whey and not the lemon juice? I want to make this for my son but so far he can’t handle the whey- just don’t want it to come out sour after all that work. Thanks!

    • Cardamom

      Hi, it would probably take 8-12 hours in the oven at 170 degrees – less if you spread it out thinly. As for the sourness, try a tiny test batch with the lemon juice and soak it for the shortest amount of time possible. The sourness can vary, and in my experience is simply from the soaking process, whether you use whey or lemon juice. Let me know how it goes!

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