Is granola good for weight gain? It can be! It’s easy to pack granola with high calorie and high fat foods to help you gain weight. Get the best high calorie granola for weight gain recipe, as well as tips on how to eat granola for weight gain. You’ll love this high calorie homemade granola that’s vegan and gluten free.
Looking for some calorie dense, healthy foods to help with weight management? This high cal granola recipe might be a great option for you.
“Calorie-dense” means foods that are low volume and high calorie. These foods won’t fill up the space in your stomach early, (possibly) making it easier to eat more to gain weight.
In order to gain weight, you need to maintain a calorie excess. At 9 calories per gram, fat is the most calorie-dense macronutrient. Thus, granola recipes for weight gain shouldn’t be low fat.
It’s ok to eat granola every day, if you wish, as part of a healthy breakfast. I recommend eating this granola as a breakfast cereal if your goal is to gain weight.
Use whole milk not unsweetened almond milk on this granola for more calories. If you’re on a vegan or dairy-free diet, find a high calorie protein almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk. There seems to be more and more of these options available in the stores lately.
❓ What makes granola high calorie?
Why is granola so high calorie? Granola is so high calorie because it is (usually) packed with dehydrated foods, high fat nuts and seeds, added oil or fat, plus sugar. Nearly all of the ingredients in granola are calorie dense.
There are so many flavor variations for homemade granola, you could have a different one every day this year! Here are some ideas for high calorie foods to put in granola:
Nuts and Seeds for High Calorie Granola
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Macadamia nuts
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Sweets and Oils for High Calorie Granola
- Maple syrup
- Chocolate chips
- Agave syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
Dried Fruits for High Calorie Granola
- Dried banana chips
- Dried cherries
- Dried apricots
- Coconut flakes
📋 Calories in Granola
One serving of the high calorie granola recipe below has 444 calories, 16.3 grams net carbs, and 6.8 grams protein. The nutrition information for your granola depends on your portion size and the ingredients you use.
Which has more calories, granola or oats?
In general, granola is higher calorie than oats.
Dry rolled oats provide 150 calories per ½ cup. Granola is often packed with more energy-dense foods in addition to the oatmeal. This includes nuts and seeds, which are typically 150-200 calories per ¼ cup.
⭐ High Calorie Granola Health Benefits
What are the nutrition benefits of high calorie granola? First of all, if you’re making homemade granola, you can use minimally processed whole foods and skip the ultra-processed foods. Here are some other nutritional benefits of granola:
- Phytonutrients and fiber: Granola is a plant-based food packed with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and fiber. Eating minimally processed plant foods can benefit your heart health and gut health.
- Vitamins and minerals: Granola may be rich in a variety of nutrients, including potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin C. The vitamin C in granola helps your body absorb more non-heme iron (AKA plant-based iron). Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.
- Gluten free vegan granola: It's easy to make granola that fits a variety of special diet needs, including vegan, GF, and dairy free. You could even make low carb keto granola to help with blood sugar management in diabetes! (Try using more nuts and coconut flakes in place of the oats, along with a low carb sweetener.)
- Delicious: It doesn’t matter how healthy a food is if no one will eat it. Luckily, this granola has a flavor combo that is a big hit with kids and adults alike. Your children will not miss the sugary breakfast cereals when there is a batch of this tasty granola in the house!
🌰 High Calorie Ingredients
This dark chocolate hazelnut granola with raspberries is a cut above the rest because it is bound with banana, with no added sugar! Here’s what you need to make high calorie granola:
- Dry rolled oatmeal (AKA old fashioned rolled oats)
- Coconut flakes
- Coconut oil
- Chopped hazelnuts
- Cacao nibs
- Ripe mashed banana
- Cocoa powder
- Freeze-dried raspberries
As always, specific quantities of ingredients are located in the recipe card at the end of the post!
Freeze-dried fruits are a great option for shelf-stability in granola recipes. You can also use regular dried fruit. I like the selection at Trader Joe’s and the health food stores.
I’ve made this recipe both with Bob’s Red Mill large unsweetened coconut flakes and Trader Joe’s unsweetened coconut chips. They both work well, but the coconut chips are quite large and can benefit from being crushed down a bit. I prefer Bob’s coconut flakes since they can be used as-is.
Using coconut flakes in place of some of the oats is one hack to make higher calorie granola.
I also recommend having a large, dark cookie sheet for this recipe, a good knife, and a large bowl.
🔪 How to Make High Calorie Granola
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit (135C). Chop the hazelnuts and mash the banana. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or on the stovetop if it is solid.
Put the oats, coconut flakes, melted oil, nuts, cacao nibs, banana, cocoa powder, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir well to combine.
Spread the granola mixture out on a large baking sheet. You don’t need to use cooking spray on the sheet, as the granola contains plenty of oil.
Bake the granola on a rack ⅓ down from the top of the oven for 25-30 minutes. It should turn a lovely golden brown color.
After baking, take the granola out and let it cool completely on the countertop. It will crisp up a lot more as it cools.
After the high cal granola is completely cooled, stir in the freeze-dried raspberries. This recipe makes 6-7 loosely packed cups of granola.
🌡️ How to Store Granola
If you use banana in granola, it should be stored in a lidded glass mason jar in the fridge. I don’t recommend leaving this chocolate hazelnut granola in the pantry. The mashed ripe bananas make a soft granola that may spoil.
For shelf-stable granola, substitute the mashed banana for 3 tablespoons of honey. Honey can last thousands of years (it was found still edible in an Egyptian tomb!). It should be fine for a few weeks at room temperature in this granola.
The downside of using honey is that it does count as an added sugar. In addition, you miss out on the fiber and phytonutrients in the banana when you use honey instead. However, if you need a granola that doesn’t require refrigeration, such as on road trips, this will do the trick.
You can put granola in a vacuum-sealed bag to take hiking or camping. Granola can be frozen if it was thoroughly dried (use the honey version).
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Is granola good for you? The answer is “it depends.”
Store bought granola often gets a health halo, but it is typically high in sugar and provides a lot of empty calories.
This granola recipe is full of whole food ingredients and contains no added sugar. However, it does provide a significant amount of saturated fat from coconut and coconut oil.
Granola (even this no added sugar granola) tends to be packed with high-calorie ingredients, making it an energy-dense food. That’s great if you have high calorie needs due to an active lifestyle or just being a teenager. On the other hand, it is not the best choice for weight loss.
To eat granola for weight gain, I recommend having granola as cereal or snacking on it alone. It tends to be easy to eat large portions of breakfast cereals. This may help you eat more calories if you want to gain weight.
If you have a weight loss goal, instead of snacking on granola, pair it with high-volume, low-calorie foods and make it a meal. Fill a small bowl with chopped fruit and plain Greek yogurt, and have a half serving of this granola on top. It is extremely easy to eat an excessive amount of granola if it is not measured out.
There are ways to fit favorite foods into most diets, regardless of whether you want to lose weight or gain weight. Getting familiar with the serving sizes and calories of foods can help you tweak the portions in your diet to help reach your goals. Adding more energy dense foods like granola to the diet, while cutting back on low calorie foods, may help with weight gain.
To find cereal bars for weight gain, look for an energy bar that’s at least 200 calories. FYI- filling "protein bars” are more often targeted to weight loss, not weight gain. Look at the high calorie cereal bars here, here, and here.
Looking for DIY high calorie energy bars for weight gain? We like these healthy granola bars from Well Plated. It's a flexible recipe, so you can use whatever nuts and seeds you have on hand.
You can make healthier granola (by mainstream nutrition standards) by using no added sugars. One way to do this is to make a banana-bound granola recipe. Another way to make healthy granola is to cut back on saturated fat (e.g., use olive oil instead of coconut oil).
Muesli is essentially like granola, but without the added sugars and added oils sticking it together. In general, muesli is more nutrient-dense than granola, but granola may be a better choice for weight gain.
Does granola make you thick? Maintaining a calorie excess makes you gain weight, not a specific food, per se. That said, granola is energy dense (i.e., high calorie, low volume). Granola can help support weight gain if you find it easy to eat large portions of it.
This may come as a surprise, but often keto granola is the highest calorie granola to buy. Low carb desiccated coconut and nuts provide more calories per cup than oatmeal. That’s why this keto granola is 360 calories per half cup, while this regular granola is only 210 calories per half cup.
👩🍳 Other Foods for Weight Gain
Want more recipes for weight gain? Try these:
- High Calorie Pasta for Weight Gain
- Overnight Oats for Weight Gain
- High Calorie Smoothie: Peanut Butter Avocado Smoothie for Weight Gain
- High Calorie Vegan Meals and Foods for Weight Gain
You may also enjoy the entire collection of High Calorie Recipes.
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 no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
High Calorie Granola for Weight Gain Recipe
- 1 cup rolled oatmeal, dry 90 grams
- 2 cups coconut flakes, unsweetened 120 grams
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
- 1 medium ripe banana, mashed (OR you can use 3 tablespoons honey)
- 2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup freeze-dried raspberries (I used Trader Joe's brand)
- Preheat oven to 275°F (135°C). Chop the hazelnuts and mash the banana. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or on the stovetop if it is solid.
- Put the oats, coconut flakes, melted oil, nuts, cacao nibs, banana, cocoa powder, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Spread the granola mixture out on a large dark baking sheet. You don’t need to use cooking spray on the sheet, as the granola contains plenty of oil.
- Bake the granola on a rack ⅓ down from the top of the oven for 25-30 minutes. It should turn a lovely golden brown color.
- After baking, take the granola out and let it cool completely on the countertop. It will crisp up a lot more as it cools. Stirring after cooling about 10 minutes will hasten the process.
- After the high calorie granola is completely cooled, stir in the freeze-dried raspberries. This recipe makes 6-7 loosely packed cups of granola.