The Golden Ratio of Granola - Something Edible
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The Golden Ratio of Granola

The Golden Ratio of Granola

Abstract: If you glean nothing more from this post (and you adore granola like I do), know that great fabulous granola can be had with:

  • A digital scale
  • 4 parts rolled oats
  • 1 part liquid sugar
  • 1 part dry (granular) sugar
  • 1 part fat
  • 2 parts pre-bake mix-ins (like nuts and grains)
  • 2 part post-bake mix-ins (like dried fruit & chocolate)


Purpose: A few months ago, I read Michael Ruhlman's book Ratio cover-to cover. I never read a cookbook cover-to cover, much less start from the beginning; but that slick illustration on the front cover had me wanting for a complete understanding. Truth is, I discovered I've been cooking this way for quite awhile & just never had the method put on rails for me. We right-brainers gotta do it and see it, otherwise we're pretty worthless at following instructions.

Armed with my trusty digital scale (seriously, y'all have a digital scale, right?), I threw together a batch of granola and reviewed my notes (Take notes people! How you gonna learn?). Upon observation, I noticed I was darn near some equivalency in proportions; i.e.- a ratio. So yeah; why not a granola ratio as well? Granola is infinitely variable & everyone's got their own favorite ingredients. Don't like coconut? Try some flax seed (hell, try both). Fruit? Chocolate? Whatever. As long as you stick close to the proportions & take the time to measure, it's hard to mess up. The recipe I'm listing is the way I happened to make last time (it turned out so well, it became my go-to gift at Christmas!). Please do modify and let me know what you come up with.

Recipe: Jump to the detailed recipe. (or, keep reading for the gist of it) -


  • 3 oz raw honey (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3 oz white sugar (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 oz olive oil (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon ground fresh, please.
  • 1 tsp allspice also ground fresh if you can.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz rolled oats old-fashioned (about 4 cups)
  • Pre-bake mix-ins (6 oz total)

  • 3 oz walnuts chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 oz Grape Nuts (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 oz flax seed ground (about 3 tbsp)
  • 1 oz wheat germ (about 1/4 cup)
  • Post-bake mix-ins (6 oz total)

  • 4 oz raisins (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 oz dried apples chopped (about 3/4 cup)

  • Preheat oven to 300F.
    Dump honey, sugar, salt, allspice & cinnamon into a saucepan & stir on medium heat until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add oil & slowly whisk together until (mostly) combined (Be careful! this stuff is HOT).
    Pour into oats & pre-bake mix. Spread evenly onto a parchment(or silpat)-lined 1/2 sheet pan. Bake 45 mins, stirring every 15 mins. When nicely brown & nutty smelling, remove pan from oven, stir in post-bake stuff, press into pan & let cool on sheet pan. When cool, store in something airtight for up to a week, or freeze if storing longer.

    Observation: In one iteration, I went with demerara sugar because I wanted that raw sugar flavor. It was a real pain the the ass to get it to dissolve completely, hence the plain white sugar this time around. That said, I might use a cone of panela next time.

    On another note, you don't wanna rush this stuff in the oven. A lot of what you're working with has pretty low smoke points. Burnt granola is still better than no granola, but we're talking about shaving off 15-20 minutes tops here. I mention this because I learned it the hard way. My burnt granola came courtesy of cast iron on a gas grill, where temperature is a bit harder to control.

    Results: It took me a couple of attempts to get this recipe down, but since them I've done a few different iterations. Try a coconut pre-bake mix-in with a tropical mixed fruit post-bake mix-in. Or, go trail mix with peanuts on the pre-bake, finishing with raisins & m&m's on the post-bake end. I've been meaning to do butter pecan; someone try that & let me know how it works!

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