Mistakes Everyone Makes When Making Homemade Granola

Granola is sweet, nutty, and simply heavenly. It's one of those snacks that everyone should learn to make at home. Many people prefer homemade granola to the store-bought version that is often packed with sugar and preservatives. 

If you make your own granola, then you can swap the white sugar with alternatives like honey, maple syrup, and fruits. Whether it's eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, granola is guaranteed to be a crowd favorite.

That being said, making homemade granola isn't as simple or uncomplicated as you might think. There are plenty of mistakes you can make when making it, from using the wrong oil to adding too much of an ingredient. 

Yes, these mistakes can literally ruin this beloved snack. However, once you know which factors to look out for, you can easily avoid these simple blunders that prevent you from making the perfect granola. As long as you're mindful of a few key things, you'll find yourself whipping up truly exceptional granola every single time. 

Not stirring your granola

The ideal granola has a beautiful golden brown exterior that gives you an audible crunch as you bite into it. Perfectly textured granola is equal parts tasty and equal parts munch-worthy. But does your granola turn out a sad, soggy mess that's soft to chew and marshy to touch?

Sometimes, it seems like no matter how hard you try, your granola just isn't crispy enough. Folks, it's time to wipe away the tears and grab a spoon. The secret to crunchy and tasty granola lies in the swish and flick of your magical wand.

Eating Expired notes that you should stir your granola frequently as it bakes. In order to attain perfectly crunchy granola, it's essential to stir your ingredients as they cook. Stirring allows the ingredients to brown up more evenly and reach a delicious level of crispiness. When you stir, you mix up all the browned oats with the undercooked ones and thus prevent them from burning.

Don't still vigorously, though. Stir gently so as not to break up the clusters. This way, you'll have a uniformly chunky yet crunchy piece of granola that you can break up after cooling.

A Reddit user suggests stirring your oaty mixture every 15 minutes as it cooks in a preheated oven. Another person on Reddit suggests stirring the granola at least once as oats tend to brown up from the sides quicker, and you don't want the edges to burn. 

Not adding egg whites

The phrase "the whole is greater than the sum of its part" couldn't be more accurate, especially when it comes to the baking world. Don't we all want our granola to emerge from the oven as a solid unified mass of perfection? Home chefs undoubtedly covet that wonderful granola crunch. 

We'll let you in on a secret to making a perfect batch of homemade granola: It's Egg Whites. Many bakers out there know that egg whites act as a stabilizer in baked goods. So why not add it to your homemade granola as well? It will act like a binding glue without altering the taste or flavor of your granola.

According to a Reddit user, using egg white will ensure your granola emerges from the oven in a big chunk, which you can break into smaller-sized pieces as per your requirement. Egg whites are perfect for holding together all your tasty ingredients as they bake. 

You should whisk your egg whites until they're foamy and frothy, and then add them to your oat mixture before putting it on the baking sheet. Also, if you want clusters, you can stir the granola while it's baking. A Quora user suggests adding an egg white to the wet ingredients to make your granola clump together and to give it a beautiful glossy finish with an added extra crunch.

Using the wrong type of oil

The correct ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients will ensure your granola comes out looking like the star of the show, with perfect texture and consistency along with a lovely golden-brown appearance. One way to ensure you get that coveted crisp and gorgeous golden-brown coloring is by adding the correct type of oil.

According to Buzz Feed, oil gives your granola a crunchy exterior and prevents it from becoming a hot sticky mess. Additionally, since oil naturally carries hints of flavor, using the right type of oil is just as important as adding oil to your granola.

While canola and grapeseed oil are a good choice for a flavorful and tasty result, extra-virgin olive oil will take your granola to the next level. Adding olive oil to your recipe will give your granola a unique depth of flavors along with a slight hint of bitterness that complements the other ingredients. 

According to a Reddit user, olive oil has a more robust flavor, so if it is not your cup of tea, then you should stick with vegetable oils. Corn oil and canola oil are always a hit with granola. Although, if you're looking for that extra oomph, you can always use coconut oil. A yummy hint of coconut might be exactly what your granola needs. 

Forgetting to line your pan with parchment paper

If you often end up scraping your baked granola out of the pan with a utensil, we have an exciting solution for you: Parchment paper. If you don't use parchment paper to line your baking sheet, you're setting yourself up for a sticky failure. Quite literally. 

The sweetener you have added to the granola mix is going to seep to the bottom and solidify in the oven, thus causing your oats and other ingredients to stick to the pan. So, once you take your granola out of the oven, it will take much more muscle strength to scrape it off the pan. 

According to Baking A Moment, parchment paper has a non-stick quality that makes taking baked goods out of the pan a smooth and easy process. Also, parchment paper will allow you to lift up your granola from the pan quickly.

Save yourself the hassle of scrubbing your pan like a crazed maniac trying to salvage your one-good baking vessel, and line it up with parchment paper instead. Here's how to do it: Line two sheets of parchment paper in a diagonal criss-cross pattern on a rectangular pan. 

You can crease or fold the overhang piece around the edge of the pan so that you have a make-shift handle of sorts to lift up your granola.

Not storing it properly

Now that you've made the perfect, mouth-watering batch of tasty granola, the next step is storing it. If you don't intend on eating it right away, you must store it the right way, or days later, you'll find that moisture has ruined it.

The essential step in storing it is to keep your granola in an airtight container, sealed from moisture and air. You can imagine what will happen otherwise; soggy and stale granola that'll make you cry as you see your effort go down the drain.

According to Pantry and Larder, there are two ideal ways to store granola. If you're considering using a refrigerator, you couldn't be more wrong. Fridge air tends to moisten granola and make it soggy. But the freezer is the perfect place to store granola. 

Since granola can be stored at room temperature, it's perfectly fine to keep it on a countertop or pantry away from light and heat sources. Plus, you have to make sure you cool down the granola first before placing it in a ziplock bag or sealed container. You can also vacuum-seal it.

Your granola should last for at least six months, less if you live in hotter areas. Make sure to keep checking on it every so often so that it doesn't go stale. You can also choose to freeze granola to increase its shelf life.

Turning up the heat

Don't we all wish to speed up the cooking process by turning up the heat? When the wait stretches on for hours, you just want to get your granola out of the oven and put it into your mouth. However, baking your granola at a high temperature is a big no. Not only will you ruin a delicious batch of granola, but you'll likely end up burning it.

According to Recipe for All Day, you should always cook your granola at low temperatures. This is because higher temperatures can burn dry ingredients like nuts, oats, and seeds in the granola mix instead of crisping them to perfection. Low temperatures allow granola to crisp into a lovely golden brown coloring. You should stir the granola frequently while baking it at a low temperature so that everything in the mix gets even heat exposure.

Cooking at low temperature may seem like a slow, arduous process, but just trust the recipe Gods a little. You know what they say, slow and steady wins the race. In this case, you want to toast everything slowly in order to get the yummy crunch.

You don't want your granola to cook too long, or you'll end up with burnt oats that have an unforgiving taste your tastebuds will never forget. So turn down the heat dial, and let it simmer at a low temperature. The scorching heat won't do anyone any good.

Not adding honey

Honey in your tummy and in your granola is excellent for three main reasons. It's sweet, it acts as a binding agent in your delicious granola, and, more importantly, it is incredibly healthy. Healthline notes that honey is rich in antioxidants that keep your skin youthful and provides other anti-aging benefits. 

If you want your granola to emerge from the oven as one big piece that sticks together, adding honey is your best bet. Moreover, it will add that sweet mellow taste that compliments the oats and gives you an incredible flavor. 

Since honey is bound to coat every inch of the granola mixture, it works pretty well to glue every ingredient, including nuts and seeds, together. And you'll have a shiny, glossy batch of granola that looks too good to be eaten.

Due to its thick viscosity, honey promises to give you a unique crunchy texture that oozes deliciousness and a sweet, sweet bite of heaven with every mouthful. You can easily make granola bars this way by adding honey to the mix. When you add this liquid gold to your granola, you have a power-packed energy booster snack that you can eat as breakfast, an evening snack, or a full-blown meal.

According to a user on Quora, you can make healthy but delicious granola by adding organic honey to the mix. It's a better alternative to other artificial sweeteners, and using organic honey will further ensure the quality and natural healthiness of your granola. 

Interrupting the baking process

If you're looking to make the perfect granola bars, then the baking process is critical. You don't want a granola bar to be crumbly and falling apart in your hands. Not only does it make you or your kids avoid it, but you don't want to eat it ever for fear of making a nasty mess. Imagine the ants: Yikes!

According to Martha Stewart, if you're opening your oven door occasionally during baking, you're making a mistake. Interrupting the baking time is a big mistake, more so than you realize, since it allows all the heat to escape. The oven temperature drops, and once again, it has to work hard in order to get to the optimal temperature. Also, you'll be extending the cooking time, and the chances of yielding an undercooked granola bar increase tenfold.

According to Bob's Red Mill, undercooked granola bars tend to be more crumbly and fall apart in your hands. However, if you let them bake at the required temperature and time, the ingredients are much more likely to clump together and release their beautiful flavors. It is essential to let the ingredients toast evenly in the oven. If you won't let them bake at their respective pace, either you'll have burned-to-char granola or a bland undercooked one.

Refraining from adding extra ingredients

Granola is versatile in the sense it can be altered based on personal taste and preferences. Apart from the primary requisite ingredients that are required for granola, such as oats, nuts, and a sweetener, there are some other extra tasty ingredients you can toss into the mix to make the best granola.

In terms of dry ingredients, you can incorporate additions like sweetened coconut. If you're using sweetened coconut, make sure the flavors don't end up overpowering the granola. Coconut is great for giving your granola a  chewy texture and a wonderful flavor. You can also try adding chia seeds, which are a healthy addition to the recipe if you want a nutrient-dense snack.

According to a Reddit user, you can also add an array of nuts. While almonds and walnuts are common in granola recipes, you can also add cashews and sunflower seeds. You can also go nuts with peanuts (pun intended).

You can add wheat germ and flax seeds for that mouth-watering texture. As the oats and wheat germ cook, you'll find that the granola turns to a beautiful golden color that is a sight for sore eyes and a hungry stomach. Moreover, banana chips and raisins give a lovely mellow taste to your granola, making it more chewy and yummy.

Maple syrup is a popular choice among liquid ingredients. The special flavor notes of vanilla and caramel go very well with the other ingredients in granola to give you a tasty snack.

Eating it the wrong way

Granola is so tasty that we could scarf it down by itself. However, there are some delicious ways out there to eat granola that amp up its flavor and health benefits. 

According to Bob's Red Mill, the best way of eating granola is to combine it with ice cream. The tasty crunch of granola paired up with the cold delicious ice cream gives your taste buds a treat to remember. Not only does it add complexity to the texture of the snack, but the depth of flavors makes you want to eat this combo all day. What's more, granola and ice cream is a favorite snack among kids. 

Additionally, granola and ice cream can be used to make ice-cream pie. Layer the bottom with the crunchy granola and drizzle some chocolate sauce. Scoop out your ice cream for the second layer, then layer it with granola, and you've got a delicious dessert. Make sure you freeze it before serving.

Yogurt and granola are perhaps the combination you were waiting for. This dynamic duo is the epitome of health and deliciousness. Pair it up with some fruit to make the perfect yogurt parfait.

Moreover, there are so many other ways to consume granola. You can make granola bars to eat on the go. You can use granola to make a nice trail mix or, you can simply eat it as breakfast cereal.

Adding too much liquid sweetener

Many of us are guilty of having a sweet tooth. However, this often results in turning a blind eye to the addition of sweeteners to the recipe. Some add sweetener without measuring it because they're overconfident. However, too much of anything is bad news. 

Regardless of what you're using as a liquid sweetener (honey and maple syrup being the typical choices), too much of it will upset the flavor profile and texture. So, you'll end up with granola that is overpoweringly sweet, and you'll have quite a sticky situation on hand. 

You can make the best of it, or you can use some hacks to rectify it. You can turn this culinary disaster into an opportunity to make some granola bars. Since sweetener will likely bind everything together, you'll have a sweet, sugar-coated granola bar. Awesome right?

A Reddit user recommends using a dehydrator to rectify the mistake. The dehydrator will dehydrate the excess liquid ingredients. You can leave it as it is and break it up to sprinkle it on top of ice-creams and yogurt. However, for next time, it's best to stick to the recipe measurement.