The One Thing I Always Make From Scratch Before Back to School

This easy recipe comes with an unexpected payoff.

August 24, 2021
Related To:

This is the time of year when my to-do list starts growing exponentially. Every new task comes with a handful of sub-tasks and, before you know it, I don’t have a minute to spare. Shopping for school clothes and supplies, filling out forms for the registrar and nurse, coordinating after-school sports and activities, planning my husband’s birthday celebration, mailing birthday gifts to my niece and nephews, cooking for the last big barbecue of the summer — there’s no shortage of things to keep me busy as the summer winds down.

Despite the flurry of activity around back to school, birthdays and Labor Day, I always carve out some time for one seemingly unnecessary task: making homemade granola.

I know what you’re thinking and yes, there are lots of really yummy store-bought granolas that I could stock up on instead. But, I find that making my own comes with an unexpected payoff. Aside from the obvious benefit of being able to health-ify my granola by cutting back on the sugar and packing it full of wholesome ingredients, I find that making it from scratch gives me a much-needed sense of accomplishment. Granola is surprisingly versatile and we use it for lots of things in my house — like bulking up smoothies and pancakes, making peanut butter balls, topping salads and roasted sweet potatoes or as a replacement for bread crumbs on chicken. So, whenever I make my own, it feels like I’ve solved a bunch of tiny problems with just a few minutes’ worth of work (and a very minimal amount of effort). And, that’s a pretty great feeling when you’re faced with a near-impossible amount of things to do.

So, whether meal prepping a wholesome, back-to-school breakfast option for the coming week is at the top of your list or you need to stock your pantry with do-it-all ingredients that make cooking easier, homemade granola is sure to help you mark a few tasks complete — and feel really good about what you’ve accomplished!

The Best Granola (pictured above)

If you’re looking for a good, clustery granola that’s basically a blank canvas for your favorite add-ins, this is the recipe for you. The universally likeable blend of vanilla, brown sugar and maple syrup gives the oats just the right amount of sweetness and the flavor pairs perfectly with a wide variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruits — or even pieces of dark chocolate.

HEALTHY GRANOLA, Food Network Kitchen, Food Network, Rolled Oats, Puffed Millet,Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Coconut Flakes, Sesame Seeds, Olive Oil, Light Brown Sugar,Maple Syrup, Vanilla Extract, Salt,HEALTHY GRANOLA, Food Network Kitchen, Food Network, Rolled Oats, Puffed Millet, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Coconut Flakes, Sesame Seeds, Olive Oil, Light Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup, Vanilla Extract, Salt

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

This lower-sugar granola is packed with good-for-you ingredients like fiber-rich almonds, sesame seeds and puffed millet. It’s also enhanced with olive oil for a little bit of healthy fat to help keep you full until your next meal or snack. Best of all? It tastes great!

Who ever said that granola had to be sweet? This crunchy, perfectly spiced version is held together with whisked egg whites instead of sugar, so you get big pieces that are perfect for snacking. The blend of curry powder and cayenne gives it a little kick, making it a nice swap for croutons in your leafy green salads, too.

FNK BANANA SPLIT GRANOLA Food Network Kitchen Food Network Unsalted Butter, Light Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup, Vanilla Extract, Rolled Oats, Walnuts, Freeze Dried Bananas, Semisweet Chocolate Chips, Dried Strawberries, Dried Pineapple

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Matt Armendariz, Copyright 2015

Whether you treat yourself to a bowl of this sundae-inspired granola for breakfast or sprinkle pieces over Greek yogurt as a better-for-you dessert, you’ll be glad you have it on hand. It’s packed with dried bananas, strawberries and pineapple, giving it all the sweet flavor of its namesake.

Food Network Kitchen's Nut and Seed Granola, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

This not-too-sugary granola is also lower in carbs than other varieties since it leaves the oats out altogether. Don’t worry though, it’s loaded with seeds and nuts so you’ll still get plenty of toasty flavor and crunch.

Photo by: Rob Pryce

Rob Pryce

Valerie keeps it simple with this classic granola, relying on just a handful of ingredients. Better yet, you can store this homemade version for up to 2 weeks as long as you keep it airtight — so it’s the perfect recipe for doubling up and making a big batch.

FNK PEACH COBBLER GRANOLA Food Network Kitchen Food Network Unsalted Butter, Light Brown Sugar, Peach Preserves, Vanilla Extract, Rolled Oats, Pecans, Dried Peaches, White Chocolate Chips

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Matt Armendariz, Copyright 2015

The secret ingredient that gives this granola extra peachiness? Fruit preserves! If you’re making this granola for breakfasts and midday snacks, you can skip the white chocolate chips to make it a little healthier. If you’re planning to have it for dessert, make the recipe as is.

Next Up

The Key to Perfectly Baked Granola Might Surprise You

Valerie shares her super easy trick in her Food Network Kitchen class.

Mix-and-Match Granola Bars

Let kids design their own after-school snacks!

The One Thing I Make All Spring Long

My favorite way to celebrate spring also happens to be a weeknight wonder.

Chopped Junior-Inspired Lunchboxes: Quick Granola Bars

Inspired by the Chopped Junior mystery baskets, here's a recipe for quick and easy granola bars.

One Thing You Should Always Do When You’re Making an Omelet

Mise en place is more than just practical — it also makes cooking a joyous experience.

How to Make Pancakes from Scratch

Say goodbye to boxed mix and hello to homemade.

How to Make Corned Beef from Scratch

It's easier than you think!

3 Things That Made Me Think Twice About How I Make Tart Dough

Daniel Boulud's quiche Lorraine class on the Food Network Kitchen app is packed with tips for dealing with this finicky crust.

50 Things to Make With Pesto

Turn pesto into soup, salad and more.

Related Pages