Can you air fry granola? Yes! This air fryer granola recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and couldn’t be EASIER to make! Learn everything you need to know to make granola in the air fryer that is crispy, chunky, and delicious. (And no worries if you don’t have an air fryer, I’ll tell you how to make oven baked granola too!) Try this tasty and healthy whole food plant-based granola with no sugar added, no oil added, and no refined grains!
Have you ever tried making granola without maple syrup, honey, or other added sugars? If not, you really should!
This banana-bound granola dries out really nicely compared to granola recipes with added sugars. There’s no residual stickiness after air frying!
A blend of applesauce, almond butter, and mashed banana provides all the liquid required to hold the granola clumps together. For those with a weight loss goal, we’re also going to cover how to fit this energy-dense treat into the diet.
I like oatmeal for breakfast, but sometimes I want something with more texture. Granola can be a great way to change up my breakfast menu, while still enjoying the health benefits of oats.
This recipe for air fryer granola makes a great snack for kids too. Older kids may want to try making this one for themselves!
I originally posted this granola without added sugar back in 2019 as an oven-only recipe. This update includes a recipe video, new photos, and a granola air fryer recipe as well.
Now you can make granola without heating up the house! (It’s the perfect way to enjoy homemade granola when the weather is hot.)
Why make this granola airfryer recipe? Here are some of the benefits of my air fryer granola:
- No added sugar and no added oil: This is an air fryer granola with no added sugar and no added oil. That's a big huge nutrition benefit compared to most other granola recipes out there. Most people in the U.S. are eating far (far, far) more added sugar than recommended; anything we can do to cut back helps!
- No refined grains: There are a few types of oatmeal that you can use in this recipe. I’ll talk more about that below, but the important thing here is that they are all whole grain options. Refined grains are another item that most in the U.S. are overconsuming. Swapping out whole grains for refined grains can help improve the overall quality of your diet.
- Made with whole foods: With whole, minimally processed foods, you are getting all of the nutrients present in the natural food matrix. For example, using whole nuts and seeds provides protein and fiber that you don’t get from seed oils. When possible, it is usually best to choose whole food options, they are often (not always!) the most nutrient-dense.
- Cooks fast: Making this granola recipe in the air fryer takes only about half the time that it takes to make in the oven. You’ll save time when you make air fryer granola!
- Customizable for special diets and taste preferences: This is a vegan air fryer granola recipe, but you can customize it for other preferences as well. I have a whole section below on how to customize DIY granola. Don’t miss it!
- Great gift: Pack your granola in a pretty mason jar and you’ve got a great gift to give to friends and loved ones. Share the deliciousness!
So, what do you need to make air fryer granola? Here’s the lineup:
- Dry oatmeal (rolled oats or quick oats)
- Unsweetened applesauce (store-bought or try this slow cooker applesauce recipe)
- Ripe mashed banana
- Creamy almond butter (with no added sugar or added oil)
- Chopped walnuts
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
- Chopped pecans
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Dried or freeze-dried apples (no sugar and no oil added)
Regular dried apple chips often contain added sugars or added oils. Be sure to check the label to ensure you are getting apples only.
Trader Joe’s crunch dried honey crisp apples and Bare apple chips are two products where the only ingredient is apples. It's also fairly easy to find freeze-dried apples in regular grocery stores (and they tend to be lower calorie than dried apples). I have even seen them in Walmart Supercenters.
Alternatively, you can use homemade dehydrated cinnamon apples in this recipe. Chop them up a bit before adding to the granola.
Another critical ingredient in this chunky air fryer granola recipe is the oats. If you want a gluten free granola, make sure you use gluten-free oats! These Bob’s Red Mill old-fashioned rolled oats are produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
What type of oats do you use in granola?
I typically use old fashioned rolled oats or quick oats in granola recipes. They cook quickly and can be used in a variety of different dishes. Rolled oats are lightly steamed and then rolled out into different thicknesses (from instant oats to extra thick).
Rolled oats DO count as whole grains because the bran, endosperm, and germ of the grain are left intact. In fact, most of the oats you buy do count as whole grains. (An exception would be a product like oat bran, which does not contain the germ or the endosperm.)
Here are some other types of oats that also count as whole grains:
- Scottish Oats are stone-ground oats cut into pieces of varying sizes (not rolled). These may have a longer cooking time than rolled oats, but some say they make a creamier result.
- Steel-Cut Oats are not rolled either. Instead, the oat groats are cut into two or three even pieces. Oatmeal made with steel-cut oats has a pleasant texture somewhat resembling barley.
- Whole Oat Groats have not been cut or rolled at all. As such, they take the longest to cook of all the above options.
You can cut the cooking time of Scottish, steel-cut, or whole oat groats by soaking them in water overnight in the fridge. However, these types of oats will still generally take much longer to cook compared to rolled oats. The thinner rolled oats are sometimes referred to as “instant” or “quick” oats for a good reason!
Steel-cut oats remain too hard in granola; they need a long cooking time with more moisture to be their best. If you really want to use steel-cut oats in granola, quick-cooking steel cut oats might be a good option. These oats are cut into tiny pieces before packaging.
The kitchen equipment you need for this recipe will depend on how you cook the granola. If you’re going to air fry granola, you will (of course) need an air fryer or an air fryer oven. You will also need parchment paper to line the air fryer tray or air fryer basket.
You can modify this recipe for whatever air fryer you have (Actifry, Philips Air Fryer, Instant Vortex, Instant Omni, etc.). I use a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven to develop my air fryer recipes.
If you’re using a different air fryer than I am, you may need to slightly adjust the cooking times. If your air fryer is smaller, you may need to cook this granola recipe in several batches.
For oven baking granola, you’ll need parchment paper and a large metal baking tray. I used a dark baking sheet for this recipe.
How to Make Air Fryer Granola Cereal
Let’s air fry healthy granola! Begin by mixing together the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed banana, applesauce, and almond butter together until they are well-combined.
In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (except the apple chips). The oats, walnuts, pecans, coconut, and pumpkin spice are getting combined for this step.
Now, dump the applesauce mixture into the oatmeal mixture. Combine everything together well using a spoon.
That’s all you have to do to make granola. Believe it or not, we’re already ready to bake it!
Cook Time and Temperature
Granola cooks in the air fryer for a total of 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can oven bake granola in an oven preheated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes total.
To air fry granola, line two air fryer trays with parchment paper. (You can trim the parchment paper to size so it fits the trays perfectly.)
Put ¼ of the granola on each tray. I needed to cook the granola in two batches.
Pat the granola down in a tight layer with the back of a spoon or wet hands. It’s fine that the granola is sticking together quite a bit. This is how to make chunky granola!
Air fry the granola for 5 minutes at 350F. Then stir the granola, switch the position of the trays in the air fryer oven, and air fry 5 more minutes at 350F. Flip the granola once more, switch the position of the trays again, and air fry for a final 5 minutes at 350F.
Mix in the dried apples into your air fried granola after it has completely cooled. Or you could follow the oven directions...
Preheat your oven to 325F. Line a large, dark metal baking tray with parchment paper.
Spread the granola on the lined baking tray. Pat it into a tight even layer with wet hands or the back of a spoon.
Bake the granola for 20 minutes in the top third of the heated oven. Then take the granola out and flip it, breaking the chunks into large pieces with a metal spatula.
Put the flipped granola back into the hot oven for an additional 5-10 minutes. Mix in the dried apples after it has cooled.
I keep this granola in a mason jar on the countertop or pantry for up to a week. It will likely last longer than that, but we always end up eating it all within that timeframe.
If you’ll be storing your granola, make sure that it has baked or air fried to be completely dry. Wet bananas and applesauce will get moldy on you if left at room temperature for days. (Yuck!) If you want to keep homemade granola crispy, storing only fully dry granola is a good idea.
Ways to Customize Granola
If you don’t like one (or more) of the ingredients I used in this recipe, do not fear! Feel free to play around with this air fry recipe to customize it for you. Here are some ingredients you could add to granola BEFORE air frying or baking:
- Pear sauce
- Other nuts or legumes (pistachios, macadamias, almonds, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts)
- Seeds (chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or pepitas)
- Other nut butters or seed butters
- Citrus zest (lemon, orange, lime)
- Wheat germ
- Vanilla extract or almond extract
- Stevia or other non-nutritive sweeteners (for more sweetness without added sugar)
- Egg whites (for extra protein and to make it clumpier)
Maple syrup, honey, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and agave syrup all count as added sugars. I don’t recommend adding them to this granola recipe if you want to keep it an added sugar free granola.
You also don’t need added oils like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or butter. The nuts, coconut, and nut butter provides plenty of whole food-sourced healthy fats.
If you use enough “sticky” ingredients in your granola, you could create air fryer granola bars! Otherwise, I think this granola is chunky enough to make a suitable trail mix.
Here are some suggestions on ingredients to add to granola AFTER air frying or baking:
- Homemade yogurt or store-bought (use Greek yogurt for more protein)
- Chopped apples or pears
- Dark chocolate chips
- Cacao nibs
- Other dried fruits or freeze dried fruits (dried cherries, cranberries, raisins, dates, figs, strawberries, blueberries, banana chips)
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Can granola make you gain weight? Granola is primarily a mix of fat and carbs that tends to be high calorie. Though it’s possible to fit small portions of granola into a weight loss plan, many of us overeat this high energy food.
I’m going to get real with you about this air fryer granola recipe. Most of the photos accompanying this post show about half of the recipe. It may look small, but each photo shows about THREE SERVINGS of granola!
If your goal is fat loss, I do not recommend pouring out a big bowl of granola like it's cold cereal. You could very quickly end up with a 1,000+ calorie meal. Think of granola as a condiment to add some sweetness and texture to other foods.
For a low calories granola recipe, try a small portion of granola on top of fresh chopped apples and unsweetened (plain) non-fat Greek yogurt. You’ll be eating less granola but more food overall. This is one of my favorite ways to use granola.
Fresh fruit and yogurt provide the fluid volume and protein that tends to be lacking in granola. You will likely feel satisfied on far fewer calories than if you had just noshed on granola like breakfast cereal.
On the flip side, enjoying this granola as a “convenience food” may be a good option if you have high energy needs. This recipe is an excellent high-calorie choice since we’ve eliminated the added sugars, oils, and refined grains in typical granola recipes. If you want to gain weight, this is the sort of recipe that may help you with your goal.
Though granola is packed with ingredients that are generally considered healthy, it is a high calorie food. Try adding more low calorie ingredients (e.g., freeze dried fruit, unsweetened puffed cereal) and fewer high calorie ingredients (e.g., nuts, seeds, oils) to make it more weight loss friendly. Pairing granola with fresh fruit and lean protein can help make it into a more filling meal.
Oats are a naturally gluten-free grain. However, oats often come in contact with gluten-containing grains in the field or during processing and packing. Thus, it is essential to check for the certified gluten-free label on any oat products that you purchase if you have celiac disease.
Though this recipe has no added sugar, the “sticky” components (bananas and applesauce) are not keto friendly. You could make keto granola using egg whites, liquid sugar-free sweetener, and oil for stickiness. You could also try this keto trail mix recipe for a low carb alternative to granola.
The question of whether a food is “good for you” almost always depends on what your needs are. If you are looking for a high energy option that is packed with nutritious whole foods, this air fryer granola is a good choice. The granolas that are loaded with added sugar and added oils are (in general) less optimal for health.
Both muesli and granola typically contain oats, plus and assortment of dried fruits and nuts. However, granola is usually mixed with a sweetener and oil before being baked, while muesli is served raw. In terms of nutrient density, muesli is typically a healthier choice than granola.
More Granola Recipes
Are you looking for more recipes for granola and recipes using granola? If so, don’t miss these:
- Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Granola with Raspberries
- Pureed Cauliflower Soup with Garam Masala Granola
- Throw some granola on these Banana Split Fruit and Yogurt Bowls (instead of sprinkling with coconut)
There are so many ways of serving air fryer granola! You could also try using it to top smoothie bowls or add it to cooked oatmeal for some texture. The possibilities are endless for this tasty and versatile addition to meals.
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All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post. Let's get cooking!
Air Fryer Granola Recipe (Vegan, Gluten Free)
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce (homemade applesauce or store-bought)
- 1 medium banana, mashed
- ¼ cup creamy almond butter (choose one with no added sugar, no added oil)
- 1½ cups rolled oats, dry (can also use quick oats; gluten-free, if needed)
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1.5 ounces dried or freeze-dried apples (42.5 grams; choose one with no added sugar, no added oil)
- In a medium bowl, whisk the applesauce, banana, and almond butter together until well-combined.
- In a large bowl, stir the oats, nuts, coconut, and pumpkin pie spice together.
- Add the applesauce mixture to the oats mixture and combine thoroughly.
To Air Fry Granola:
- Line two air fryer trays with parchment paper. Put ¼ of the granola on each tray. I needed to cook the granola in two batches. You may need to cook it in more batches if your air fryer is smaller.
- Pat the granola down in a tight layer on the trays with the back of a spoon or wet hands. It’s fine that the granola is sticking together quite a bit.
- Air fry the granola for 5 minutes at 350°F (175°C). Then stir the granola, switch the position of the trays in the air fryer oven, and air fry 5 more minutes at 350°F (175°C). Flip the granola once more, switch the position of the trays again, and air fry for a final 5 minutes at 350°F (175°C). (15 minutes total air frying time.)
- You can crumble the granola a bit with your fingers when you flip it, if the pieces are too large for your liking.
- Mix the dried apples into the air fried granola after it has cooled completely. Store leftovers in lidded glass canning jars at room temperature.
To Oven Bake Granola:
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a large, dark metal baking tray with parchment paper.
- Put the mixture on the lined baking tray. Press it into a tight even layer using the back of a spoon or wet hands. (This helps to make chunkier granola!)
- Bake the granola in the top third of the heated oven for 20 minutes. Take the granola out and flip it, breaking up the chunks into large pieces with a spatula.
- Put the flipped granola back into the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Let the granola cool on the counter. After it has completely cooled, mix in the dried apples.
- This recipe makes 6-8 cups of granola, depending on how tightly you pack it down. Enjoy!