Monday, April 16, 2012

Make It or Buy It? Granola

I think it's about time for a Costco recipe!  I shop Costco at least twice a month, and there are some ingredients that are always cheaper there than anywhere else...even if I compare it to a "Meijer sale minus coupon" price.

My family eats a lot of yogurt parfaits, and we top them with this simple and versatile homemade granola.  See the options and tips section below for more uses for this yummy granola.

Costco Ingredients Used:
  • Quaker old fashioned rolled oats ($7.49/10 lb box)
  • honey ($11.99/5 lb jug)
  • cinnamon ($2.59/10.7oz container)


3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup powdered milk
3/4 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla

Cook and stir brown sugar, vegetable oil, and honey together in a small pan over medium heat, until sugar is dissolved and ingredients are melted together.  In a separate bowl, mix together oats, powdered milk, cinnamon, and salt, then add cooked mixture and vanilla.  Stir with a wooden spoon until dry ingredients are moistened.  (Mixture will be very thick and hard to stir.)  Spread on a well-greased or parchment-paper-covered jelly roll pan or baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes ~ 20 minutes for chewy granola and 30 minutes for crunchy granola.  Stir halfway through baking time, bringing the outside edges to the middle, and the middle part to the outside.  Cool.  Break apart any large chunks and store in an airtight container (such as a Modular Mate!).

Options and Tips
  • If you want to avoid having to break apart any chunks, spread the granola out on wax paper to cool and dry.
  • If you plan to use the granola as topping for yogurt parfaits, make sure to break it up pretty small.  I bake it for the full 30 minutes, because we like the crunchy topping on the parfaits.
  • Sometimes the granola sticks together in the storage container.  When that happens, just give the container a few hard shakes and it should easily break apart again.
  • Granola Snack Mix/Trail Mix:  Only break apart the largest pieces, but leave it pretty chunky.  Then mix and match your add-ins and quantities to get the desired result:  nuts, raisins, dried cherries, coconut, M&Ms, white chocolate chips, Cheerios, pretzels, dried tropical fruit mix...use your imagination!
  • Granola Breakfast Cereal:  again, just break apart the largest pieces.  Add yogurt-covered raisins, sliced almonds, dried blueberries, or whatever else you want to include.  Pour cold milk over top and enjoy!  You can either mix up a whole batch of the same kind of cereal, or add different items to individual servings.
  • Hearty Oatmeal:  Break granola into small pieces (I practically crumble mine), and mix with your choice of dried fruits, nuts, and/or coconut.  Pour desired amount into a bowl and top with milk...just enough to cover, but not drown it.  Heat in microwave 60 seconds or until warm and softened.
  • Cheater Granola Snack Mix:  Costco sells large bags of Kirkland brand Trail Mix and Fruit n Nut Mix.  Each of these mixes is very good and relatively inexpensive...if you bought all the ingredients to make your own identical mix, you couldn't make it for as cheap as they sell it.  To stretch the mixes a little further (and add healthy oats into them!), mix some homemade granola into the bag. 

So, Make It Or Buy It?
This granola recipe is super easy and doesn't take very long to make.  I can make one batch of this granola (8 cups) for about $2.35 if I use mostly ingredients from Costco and Aldi.  Meijer brand granola is $3.00 per box, and the box yields just 6 cups of granola.  Aldi brand granola is $2.00 per box (again, approximately 6 cups), and Meijer sometimes has Cascadian Farms granola for $2.25 (6 cups) if you are able to combine a sale and a coupon.  Although the last two prices are a little more competitive, the homemade version still wins the price war...and it tastes better too, in my opinion!

So, my vote is...MAKE IT!
    I got this recipe from my sister, Emily Joostens.


  1. YES! I have been wanting this - can' wait to try it, I have everything in the house except powdered milk so I may have to get to the store again:)

  2. I made this today and it is delicious!

  3. I will have to try this one soon. I have made a similar version of this for years. Becky don't go to the store don't need the dry milk if you don't have any! :) Here is the one I have made for probably 19 years: For 10 cups granola just cook together 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar, 2/3 honey, and 2/3 oil. Pour over 10 cups of oats with 1 Tab. cinnamon stirred in, and bake.

  4. I use applesauce rather than oil in my recipe (slightly different) and it works very well and healthier, too. We use ours with Cheerios and raisins for breakfast cereal.
    Just thought I'd share...

  5. I have tried to make many different granola recipes but this one is the best by far! I usually add some almonds or pecans before I bake it. I've also been adding ground flax seed to make it even healthier. I made a bunch of this last winter and gave it away in pretty containers as a Christmas gift. I had to share the recipe with everyone I gave it to :) Thanks Lisa!

  6. Just made this recipe again...we absolutely love it! Thanks for the great recipe:)