Easy, Healthy Applesauce Granola

by Gretchen · May contain affiliate links

Published Updated July 31, 2021

~ Granola doesn’t need loads of butter or canola oil to be delicious. Applesauce is the key! This easy, healthy and really yummy granola proves it! ~

This Recipe Is:     Make Ahead    Vegetarian  •  Gluten Free 

little bowl of granola with a spoon in it, sitting on a turquoise plate and surrounded by strawberries, a small glass jug of milk, and a glass canister of additional granol

So, I used to think, “I don’t have time to make granola. It must take days.

Boy, was I wrong!

Now I make at least two batches a week. And when we run out, there are moans and whining. Even my non-cereal-loving daughters are all about it! My husband stirs it into his natural peanut butter for a post-workout “second breakfast,” and I love it with Greek yogurt as part of my lunch!

THK Applesauce Granola1

The truth? It is sooooo easy to make! Yes, the total time (from ingredients in a bowl to happily crunching) is over an hour. BUT … it’s not active time. It just needs to be stirred about every 10 minutes.

My solution? I make granola while I clean the kitchen. Or while I work in the laundry room. (Does the dirty clothes pile ever go away?) Or while I address and sign Christmas cards. Or … well, you get the idea.

It’s sort of the multitasker’s dream food. You can get SO much done in just an hour – and you also end up with a big, yummy, fresh, crunchy batch of homemade granola!

When I decided it was time for me to take on this “granola making” challenge, I did what most people do. I googled it. What I found was that many granola recipes call for lots of oil. Ok, but I really wanted to limit the fat and calories from oil. And, I usually sub in applesauce for most of the oil when I bake. Hmmmm … but would that work for granola???

Turns out that, yes, yes it does! My initial research gave me quite a few recipes, but none of them really spoke to me. I realized that I just needed to start experimenting and build my own recipe. So I pushed up my sleeves and went for it!

THK Applesauce Granola5

Both Shelley’s family and mine munched happily along as each batch got closer and closer to perfection. After at least five or six batches, we decided it was just right! And honestly – we’re loving it. (One of the dangers of being a THK taste tester is that you often get totally hooked!)

Shoved in the back of the cupboard was an old bag of store-bought granola. I took a look at the label and was shocked. There were many (many!) ingredients listed (some nearly unpronounceable), yet when I was looking at the granola-in-a-bag I couldn’t really determine why some of those ingredients needed to be in there. I mean, I couldn’t see them … but apparently they were there. Blech!

I love knowing that something my family eats (every day now!) is wholesome and full of good-for-you, nutritious ingredients that I can easily recognize and pronounce!

THK Applesauce Granola3

Really, you can do this. I promise! And, it’s sooooo worth it!

Easy, Healthy Applesauce Granola

Easy, Healthy Applesauce Granola

Yield: 4 1/2 - 5 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Granola doesn’t need loads of butter or canola oil to be delicious. This easy, healthy and really yummy granola proves it!

  Make Ahead    Vegetarian  Gluten Free


  • 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup nuts and/or seeds (we used roasted sunflower kernels, chopped walnuts and sliced almonds)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • optional addition: 1/2 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit of choice


  1. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats with the mixed nuts and/or seeds and the ground flax.
  3. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the applesauce, honey, canola oil, cinnamon, and salt. Microwave on 100% power for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds, just so that it is warm and a little thinner.
  4. Pour warm applesauce mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine. Add coconut and stir again to mix through.
  5. Spread granola mixture on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Stir in dried fruit, if desired.
  8. Store in an airtight container for several days.


The recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups oats and 1/2 cup nuts and/or seeds. If you prefer more nuts for added crunch, simply make adjustments. Your total amount of oats and nuts/seeds should be 4 cups.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 9 servings Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 95mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 6g

Nutrition calculation does not include optional dried fruit. Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

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31 thoughts on “Easy, Healthy Applesauce Granola”

  1. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe! I do have a question for you – could it be frozen? The recipe says it can be kept in an air-tight container for up to several days. I live alone and don’t think I would eat that much in a few days. If not I could try a smaller batch but what do you think about somehow storing it longer?

    • Hi, Diane! Great question. I’ve never tried freezing a granola recipe, but I did a little research for you, and found that, according to The Kitchn, granola should freeze well for up to about 3 months. They recommend packing it in an air-tight container or vacuum-sealed bag … and leaving it out on the counter for several hours or overnight to fully thaw before eating it after freezing. They also mention that sometimes dried fruit can get a bit hard after being frozen – so if you’re planning to add the optional dried fruit to this particular granola recipe, you might want to toss it in AFTER freezing. I hope that helps! Good luck – and if you do give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes! Have a terrific week, Diane! ~Shelley

      Megan said that sometimes dried fruits can get a little hard when frozen and thawed, but other than that, the granola is fine. If you’re planning ahead, just wait to toss the granola with the dried fruit until you’re ready to eat it.

  2. Nice recipe! I have made applesauce granola in the past and had an expectation on how this would turn out. I like that it’s pretty crispy. The cooking time was very accurate. Nice and crisp, a little clumping but more a loose granola.
    I debated adding more spices, but skipped it as my husband will be eating most of this and he wouldn’t appreciate that as much as I would.
    The thing that gets lost to me is in the flavor area. I’m not sure why exactly. It’s not that that I don’t like this, but by itself it’s more on the bland side for granola. But easy to doctor it up with dried fruit, yogurt or sprinkling on more spices, etc..
    To make it again I would toast my nuts beforehand and possibly the oats as well. I’d add some more spices – nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, etc.. and a bit more salt. Still a solid, better-for-you granola and we will enjoy it. Easy to make as well! Thank you!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Jean! And definitely – this is a lovely, basic recipe that’s not overly spiced. It’s perfect with fresh berries or other mix-ins, or for fruit-filled yogurt parfaits, since it won’t have competing flavors. If you think your husband will like those extra spices, though, then definitely go for it! I’ll be excited to hear what you like best (cinnamon … a tiny bit of cardamom …??? Mmmmmmm … sounds great!) and to hear how you make this your own. Enjoy – and thanks for sharing your feedback and ideas! ~Shelley


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