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Mix-n-Match Applesauce Granola

plain bowl of granola

Weekend mornings are often less hurried than weekday mornings, so when I get the urge to cook, I’ll sometimes prepare something that I can eat for breakfast during the week. Muffins and scones will keep for a day or two, but for something that will really last all week, granola is just the thing. It keeps well, it can be made in big batches and you can do lots of different things with it.

This granola recipe started out when I began to play around with a recipe Zarah posted on her blog about a year ago. I was initially drawn to it because the recipe calls for applesauce and Zarah was very reassuring in stating that this helped it clump together well and didn’t affect the dryness after baking. I love clumpy granola and I also really liked the idea of a granola that had a minimal (none, in this case) amount of added fat because nuts and seeds, while good for you, are still quite fattening on their own.

My recipe calls for rolled oats, nuts, dried fruits, brown sugar and spices, in addition to applesauce. I always use some puffed rice cereal (Rice Krispies) for an extra, light crispness in my granola, too. This batch used maple syrup, but you can substitute in honey if you prefer to. Regardless of which you use, the granola will be crispy and will clump together very well during baking to produce a very satisfying cereal.

Since you can add in any kind of fruit, nuts or spices, I hesitate to give this granola a more definitive name than “mix-n-match.” It can be subject to many, many different variations. I used pecans, raisins and dried cranberries here, but almonds or any other kind of nut you like can be used. The same goes for the fruit and spices. I suggest using up to 1 1/2 cups nuts, but I rarely use that much unless I know I’m cooking for nut-lovers. I’ll keep it to about 1/2 cup nuts and go a bit heavy on the dried fruit, since I love the extra sweetness. It’s entirely possible never to get bored using this recipe, especially once you consider that not only can you vary the granola, but you can vary the ways you eat it, as well: plain, with milk, with warm milk, with yogurt, with fruit…

granola and yogurt

Mix-n-Match Applesauce Granola
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups puffed rice cereal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground cardamom
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup plain applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
up to 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
up to 1 cup dried fruit

nut suggestions: almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, etc
dried fruit suggestions: cranberries, raisins, apricots, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.

Preheat the oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed rice cereal, and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, applesauce (do not use chunky applesauce), maple syrup and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients along with chopped nuts and stir to combine. Spread on prepared baking sheet(s) in an even layer.
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn over the granola carefully using a large wide spatula, and bake for additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center might not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola to a cooling rack and let the rest cook for another 10-15 minutes until done.
Cool on pan or on a wire rack.
Break granola up as desired and stir in dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 8 servings, more depending on add-ins.

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  • Ashley
    January 20, 2008

    Looks great! I’ve been using a recipe I found from Everybody Likes Sandwiches for many months now but I’m definitely up for trying something new! And I’m very interested to see how granola will turn out when applesauce is added.

  • rachel
    January 20, 2008

    I love the rice krispy addition.

  • Mary
    January 20, 2008

    yum, granola! I like anything that lasts for more than one meal and that looks delicious.

  • Mallow
    January 21, 2008

    Very interesting…that is unlike any recipe I’ve ever seen for granola. I will definitely be trying it!

  • Amy
    January 22, 2008

    I tried this recipe just to see if the applesauce theory would really work. I love homemade granola but like you mentioned, with the addition of oils it add so much fat. This recipe was wonderful! My son has been eating handfuls of it over ice cream and I have been putting it in my yogurt. I am so glad to have found a recipe that cuts down on the amount of fat. Thank you!

  • Lisa
    January 23, 2008

    I have avoided making granola because of the high amounts of fat in a lot of recipes, but I just made this and it is delicious. I used apricots and pecans. I didn’t have a full cup of apricots (probably 3/4c), but that was fine. I accidentally used plain puffed rice instead of Rice Krispies and that turned out fine as well. They toast in the oven so it’s not a problem, plus it’s not a bad side effect that they’re lower in calories (especially right now after the holidays!). The touch of cardamom is great – just gives it an extra something! Thanks!

  • amanda
    February 1, 2008

    Made this yesterday (my first time making granola) and it turned out fabulous! Been looking for an oil-free version for a long time. Didn’t have puffed cereal on hand, so I went with 1 1/2 cups Go Lean Cereal, and 1/2 cup oat bran. I may have actually used a little too much oat/cereal/bran, as things didn’t really clump together in large amounts, but that was okay with me.

    For the nuts, I used sliced almonds, as well as roasted almonds, pecans, and walnuts (all coarsely chopped up). And for the dried fruit, I opted for currants, raisins, and dried cherries.

    Made for the perfect accompaniment to vanilla yogurt. Thanks for the post!


  • Karen
    March 26, 2008

    greatest and most important market for corn. That rise in the commodities, the merchant’s profit arises, not from the purchase,

  • sees
    April 23, 2008

    This is very similar to a recipe I have been looking for for many years. I recall finding it on the back of a package of Kroger Store brand rolled oats. The recipe is truly versatile and so delicious.

  • Julia Ogievetsky
    July 2, 2008

    May I please use the photograph of the Applacesause granola dessert for my ICT DiDA project. I do not intend to breach copyright, and will credit your website as the source of the photograph. If you do not replay, I shall assume that I have your consent and will use the photoraph.
    Thank you,
    Julia Ogievetsky.

  • Anonymous
    August 11, 2008

    Another way to cut down big time on the calories is to use the natural sweetneer stevia instead of sugar which is horrible for you. You can buy this in any health food store in many different forms (liquid, powder etc). This sweetner is 100 natural not chemical like splenda and it has no calories!!!

  • Kathleen
    May 18, 2009

    This was wonderful. I used all rolled oats vs. the 2 cups of puffed cereal to increase the health factor. For the fruit, I did 1/3 cup flaked coconut, 1/3 cup dried cranberries, and 1/3 cup dried pineapple (threw in a few extra of the pineapple and cranberries at the end). For nuts I used about 3/4 cup slivered almonds, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, and 1/4 cup ground flax seeds. I also added in a half tablespoon of wheat germ. The flax and wheat germ are undetectable btw. I omitted the spices aside from the salt because I didn’t like how they would mix with the fruit I picked. I would recommend making it in batches because I tried to make it in just two pans and it was impossible to flip and so I just kind of swirled it around which messed up the clumps. Anyway it was delicious, I cannot believe I made it! Oh and ps store it in the freezer for months of delicious granola eating-if it will last that long in your house! Thank you, Nicole!

  • LC
    October 15, 2009

    I’ve made this granola a few times and absolutely love it! Thanks so much for the recipe. Do you or does anyone else have any idea on the calorie count?

  • Compare Cards
    November 3, 2009

    Granola is the main breakfast for shanja family. Great nutrients and tastes great.

  • Compare Credit Cards
    November 3, 2009

    also, we have found that Granola stays off hunger untillunch time.

  • Laura
    January 31, 2010

    Fabulous recipe! I love it… it is so malleable. I substituted peanut butter for maple syrup to make PB Granola!

  • sandi
    April 29, 2010

    Have a great addition which not only makes this granola healthier, but makes it clump a bit.

    Use 1 tablespoon crushed flax seed mixed with 1 tbsp water — it’s used by vegans as egg substitute and works well in my granola recipes.

    I’m now using this recipe combines with a bit of Ina and a bit of Nigella on Food Network.

    December 30, 2010

    I made this and it was delicious. Will never buy store bought again. Thanks so much. I linked the recipe back to you on my blog if you wanted to see it. Thanks again


  • Kristen
    March 23, 2011

    Has anyone tried this with less or no sugar?

  • Frances
    March 28, 2011

    LOVE this recipe! Crispy delicious healthy granola ­čÖé

  • Megan
    February 4, 2012

    Do you think it would work with peanut butter instead of the honey/maple syrup?

  • Christy
    March 12, 2012

    LOVE this granola recipe! Thanks so much for sharing! I replace the crisped rice with Uncle Sam’s Original cereal – it improves the nutritional value a bit!

  • ourgrandmothersrecipebox
    July 23, 2014

    I love granola! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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