14 Tasty Ways To Use Granola

A bowl of granola tastes like home — comforting, hearty, and satisfying. Made with a pantry-friendly blend of sweetened rolled oats, nuts, and seeds, granola is healthy and scrumptious. And it makes us feel warm and fuzzy after every crunchy bite. Granola boasts irresistible aromas and flavors that can be customized to suit all types of tastes and diets, including keto, gluten-free, vegan, and low-fat. Whether homemade or store-bought, it's a dish that all can enjoy.

We love that this beloved breakfast food keeps well for weeks in an airtight container. But sometimes, that can turn into a real drag. Eating granola every day the same 'ol way can get boring fast. So to break up the monotony, we've compiled our favorite tasty ways to use granola (other than for just breakfast in a bowl). Read on for some ideas on how to enjoy granola at any time and at any meal.

1. Make some irresistibly crunchy energy balls

It's always good to stock your kitchen with healthy snacks for when hunger strikes. One of our favorite good-for-you homemade snacks is no-bake energy balls — and you can use granola instead of rolled oats to make them. In fact, we prefer using granola in energy balls because the toasted clusters add an irresistible crunchy texture. 

Energy balls are easy to make. You just combine granola with nutrient-dense ingredients — like nut butter and seeds — in three simple steps: stir, chill, and roll. First, stir together granola, your favorite nut butter (like peanut butter), and any desired mix-ins or flavorings (like vanilla, dried fruit, flax seed, or chocolate chips). Next, chill the mixture in the refrigerator until it is stiff enough to shape. Finally, roll the mixture into bite-sized balls. You can make them in batches and store them in an airtight container.

No-bake energy balls are packed with heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein, and whole grains, so they'll keep you feeling full and energized for hours. With these on hand, you can pass on the salty chips and opt for a healthier snack next time you get a case of the munchies.

2. Use to make a pie crust

The earthy flavor and crunchy texture of granola make it perfect for use as a pie crust. A granola crust boasts a nutty, complex flavor — a delightful complement to all sorts of mouthwatering fillings. You can easily substitute a granola crust in your favorite recipes for New York-style cheesecake or classic pumpkin pie. They work well in custard pies too, like key lime or a refreshing and delicious banana cream.

To turn granola into a pie crust, grind granola clusters finely in a food processor and transfer the crumbs to a bowl. Then, stir in some melted butter a little at a time until the mixture sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Depending on what type of filling the crust will hold, you may want to mix in a bit of sugar to boost the sweetness. Press the granola mixture into a pie dish, then bake in a 350 degrees F oven until the crust is firm and fragrant. Cool the crust and fill as desired.

3. Top a batch of muffins for a crunchy streusel

Add a crunchy finish to your next batch of muffins with a granola streusel topping. When sprinkled directly onto the batter, the granola bakes into the muffin top. This gives the finished product a crackly topping that contrasts nicely with the moist muffin below. Muffins with a crispy granola topping are a satisfying, portable treat with a touch of crunch and flavor.

Nearly any flavor muffin goes well with a granola topping, but our favorite remains blueberry — though we must admit, banana muffins are a close second. Crisp, crumbly granola adds bite and nuttiness to moist blueberry muffins, making them a nice change from the norm. There's nothing quite like a hearty muffin loaded with sweet, juicy blueberries and the comforting flavors of granola.

But why limit granola to just the muffin topping? If you really want to take things up a notch, stir some granola into the muffin batter, too. The result will be a batch of glorious muffins with a heavenly chewy crunch in every bite.

4. Layer into a yogurt parfait

Change up your morning routine with a delightfully decadent parfait. Made with layers of crunchy granola, fruit, and yogurt, parfaits can be enjoyed as an on-the-go breakfast, a midday snack, or an after-dinner dessert. Parfaits are fully customizable and a good source of gut-friendly probiotics, protein, fiber, and healthy fats. You can enjoy them right after they're made, or store them in the refrigerator for the following morning.

If you plan on making parfaits in advance, there are things to keep in mind to prevent the granola from getting soggy. First, use big clusters of granola if possible. The larger the clusters are, the longer it will take for moisture to soak through. Second, choose your fruit wisely; less-juicy fresh fruit — like banana and mango — or dried fruit are good choices. You'll want to stay away from frozen fruit. Third, spread the fruit between each layer of granola and yogurt, so it can act as a barrier to the moist yogurt and help maintain the integrity of the granola. Lastly, use Greek yogurt in your parfaits. With its lower moisture content, Greek yogurt is less likely to turn the granola soggy. Plus, it boasts more protein than regular yogurt, and its thick consistency will allow you to create pretty, defined layers in the parfait.

5. Add heartiness to quick breads

If you enjoy hearty breakfast breads like banana pecan, zucchini-carrot bread, and pumpkin walnut, you'll wonder why you didn't add granola to your favorite quick bread recipe sooner. The nourishing bits of granola throughout the bread make it filling and so, so satisfying. Adding granola to quick breads is as simple as tossing a handful of granola into the batter before pouring it into the loaf pan to bake. The result is a dense bread loaded with morsels of brittle granola.

There are some things to remember when baking quick breads with granola. First, since adding granola to the batter weighs it down, be sure to bake the bread in a preheated oven. That will help you get that initial blast of heat for proper rising and texture development. Also, ensure your leavener (baking powder or baking soda) hasn't expired so the bread can rise fully. Lastly, if the loaf starts to brown before the center fully cooks, cover the top loosely with aluminum foil.

6. Sprinkle over melted chocolate to make bark

Making chocolate bark is a sensible, no-fuss way to turn granola into dessert. Bark is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, homemade chocolate confections to pull together. Its simplicity in making is deceptive because the results are so attractive and enticing. This versatile sweet can be made with granola and other ingredients like nuts, candies, seeds, and crushed cookies.

Wondering what type of chocolate to use? Stick with the one you like to eat the most — whether it's semisweet, bittersweet, dark, milk, white, or even a combination. Once you decide, melt the chocolate of choice in a double boiler over simmering water, then spread it over parchment paper to about ½-inch thickness. Sprinkle granola and other desired toppings over the chocolate before it sets. Finish by allowing the bark to firm up completely before snapping into pieces.

If you have time to spare, layer dark and white chocolate for irresistible, eye-catching chocolate bark. First, spread melted dark chocolate over parchment paper, allowing it to almost set. Then, spread melted white chocolate on top and immediately sprinkle with granola. Allow the two-toned bark to set completely before breaking apart.

Pro tip: Do not add oil to the melted chocolate for your bark. T his will prevent the chocolate from setting up hard with a nice crisp.

7. Incorporate into chocolate clusters

Like bark, chocolate clusters are an easy way to use up granola with minimal ingredients and only a few pieces of basic kitchen equipment. First, place some granola in a bowl. We recommend starting with a small amount, as you can easily make a second batch if you want more. Next, stir in some melted chocolate until the granola is evenly coated. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate-granola mixture onto a parchment-lined tray, and allow the clusters to set in the refrigerator.

You can, of course, add more than just granola to your chocolate clusters. Toss in foods like raisins, peanuts, shredded coconut, or crushed pretzels to bulk up the flavors and textures. We love making chocolate clusters because they're so quick to make and turn out decadent every single time — no oven required.

Pro tip: Use high-quality couverture chocolate instead of a bag of chocolate chips to make the best-tasting, eye-catching confections.

8. Bake with fresh fruit for a crisp topping

Using granola as a fruit crisp topping will save you serious time in the kitchen. After all, there's no need to mess with making a buttery streusel when you've got granola within arm's reach. Plus, the combination of cooked fruit and soul-warming granola is splendid. And the best part? Just about any fruit pairs well with granola in a crisp.

Making fruit crisp with granola topping is easy. First, toss sliced fruit with sugar in a baking dish, along with cornstarch or flour, if the fruit is notably ripe and juicy. Next, bake in a 350 degrees F oven until the fruit is tender and the juices are bubbly. Then, sprinkle with granola — mixed with olive oil to prevent burning — and continue baking until the topping is warm and golden brown. Granola becomes the easiest crisp topping ever!

What should you do if you only have a handful of granola left? Cut up a single fruit or a handful of fresh berries to make an individual crisp. Or, make some baked apples by coring out the centers of good baking apples (e.g., golden delicious, Rome, honeycrisp) and filling them with a mixture of granola, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Fill a baking dish with enough water to cover the bottom. Bake the apples in the baking dish in a 375 degrees F oven until tender and cooked through.

9. Cook into pancakes for a wholesome stack

Make your favorite pancakes even better by adding granola. While you can simply sprinkle granola over a stack, we suggest incorporating granola into the batter as it cooks so every bite of the pancake has a wholesome taste and sweet crunch. It's an indulgent way to start the day — and totally worth it. Granola turns pancakes into a heartier, more filling breakfast with irresistible, crackly layers.

Begin by making your favorite pancake recipe (or mix). Next, portion the batter onto a hot griddle and immediately crumble granola over the top of each pancake. Allow the pancakes to cook until tiny bubbles appear on top and the edges begin to set. Then, flip the pancakes and continue cooking until the bottoms are light golden brown. Finally, serve the pancakes with butter, maple syrup, and fresh fruit for a gratifying morning meal.

Pro tip: You'll want to use small granola clusters so they mix evenly into the pancake batter as it cooks. If you have larger clusters, break them up with your fingers before sprinkling them over the batter.

10. Turn into energy-boosting trail mix

Homemade trail mix is a great way to extend the life of your granola while turning it into something new and exciting to eat. And since it takes less than 5 minutes to whip up a batch, you have no excuse not to make it. Trail mix is a terrific snack to have on hand because it's made with ingredients high in antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats. In addition, it provides fuel for your body, making it a smart choice for taking on physical adventures like epic hikes or road trips. Or, do as we do, and keep a jarful at work for when the afternoon hunger pangs hit.

Trail mix is easy to make by combining granola with ingredients like dried fruit, nuts, and candy. Popular (and delicious) options include popcorn, M&M'S, peanut butter chips, pumpkin seeds, banana chips, dried apricots, and coconut flakes. Our favorite trail mix combination is granola, chopped dark chocolate, honey-roasted peanuts, and black raisins, all tossed together for an energizing snack. If you're health-conscious, opt for sun-dried, unsulfured dried fruit, unsalted raw nuts, and low-calorie candy.

11. Garnish some iced baked goods

Upgrade your next batch of baked goods with a garnish of crisp granola. The granola will prettify the treat and add pleasing texture and flavor. Goodies with a nuttier flavor profile, like carrot, banana, or peanut butter and jelly, pair exceptionally well with granola.

Granola is a beautiful garnish for icing-topped sweets like cupcakes, cookies, and scones. Keep in mind you'll want to add the garnish of granola to the icing before it sets. Sprinkle the granola directly over a just-frosted cupcake, a just-iced cookie, or a just-glazed scone, so the granola will set into the topping as it dries.

If you've opted to garnish some frosted cupcakes with granola, eat them the proper way for ultimate enjoyment. First, remove the wrapper and slice off the bottom half of the cake with a sharp knife. Then, place the bottom cake piece on top of the granola-garnished frosting. The result is a sandwich featuring two cake pieces filled with frosting. This method provides an ideal frosting-to-cake ratio in each bite while simultaneously preventing frosting from smearing all over your nose.

12. Serve on a dessert board

Dessert boards are all the rage these days. These customized, colorful arrangements are a fun way to showcase desserts and offer a variety of treats to anyone with a sweet tooth. Items on a dessert board can be homemade, semi-homemade, store-bought, or a mix. You can use everything from cookies and petit fours to meringues and fresh berries. There's no shortage of sweet foods you can put on a dessert board.

Granola is the perfect addition to a dessert board as it complements many sweets, like slices of banana bread, chocolate truffles, fresh fruit, and coconut macaroons. We recommend placing the granola in a bowl with a spoon, so guests can grab as little — or as much — as they like. If you have some fresh strawberries and chocolate sauce on hand, serve them on a dessert board with a bowl of granola, as it makes a superb crunchy coating for chocolate-dipped strawberries. Gather all your friends around; it's time to start noshing.

13. Replace breadcrumbs in a gratin

The next time you make a gratin casserole, leave the breadcrumbs in the cupboard and reach for some granola instead. Savory or less sweet granolas work particularly well as a topping for casseroles made with root vegetables, like sweet potatoes or carrots. Make sure to completely cook the vegetables in the casserole dish before topping them with granola, as the granola is ready to eat and only needs to be warmed through. It's wise to toss the granola with some melted butter — for flavor and to prevent burning — before sprinkling it over the casserole.

This concept also works well with baked candied yams, a classic holiday side dish. First, mix chopped yams with butter, brown sugar, and spices in a casserole dish and bake in a 350 degrees F oven until tender and caramelized. Next, sprinkle some butter-coated granola over the cooked candied yams and cover with marshmallows for the finishing touch. Continue baking until the marshmallows brown and puff over the granola. Serve warm so each bite will be gooey, crunchy, and luxurious.

14. Add to salads for some crunch

If you have yet to try granola in your salads, it's definitely time. Adding granola will seriously spice up your salad game by providing fabulous taste and nutrition. Plus, the added bite from granola will make any salad more interesting, especially if it lacks crisp veggies. Granola is a salad topper worth trying and a tasty alternative to typical salad crunchies like ramen noodles, toasted nuts, and croutons. It's as simple as tossing a handful of granola into mixed greens or sprinkling over the top of pasta salad. Granola adds a delightful, unique twist to a salad while also being a healthy source of protein, fiber, and nutrients.

Wondering what types of salad pair well with granola? We recommend salads with naturally sweet veggies like snap peas, corn, squash, spinach, and carrots — or pasta salads with sweet dressings like pesto. One of our favorite salads to top with granola is strawberry spinach with balsamic vinaigrette. Give it a try; we're sure you'll quickly see why granola is not just for breakfast.