During the last two years as an undergraduate in college, I started making batches of homemade granola to snack on throughout the week. I’d grab a small handful before heading out the door to bike to campus in the mornings, another handful when I arrived home in the afternoons, and a few more bites to nibble on while cooking dinner and just before bed.
Those batches barely lasted me an entire week… I just couldn’t resist those big crunchy clusters!
So once a week, usually on Saturday afternoons, I’d head into my kitchen to throw together a fresh batch of my homemade granola. I’d add the spices, a little oil, some water, and a generous splash of liquid sweetener (usually maple syrup or honey!) to a pot, reduce it down on the stovetop, and pour the bubbling hot thickened syrup all over my cereals, gently stirring with a spatula until everything was evenly coated.
Yes, cereals… As in plural. I loved mixing together multiple types, not just oats! As the bare minimum, I always included crisp rice cereal because it added such an irresistible crunch (for far fewer calories than extra oil!). Occasionally, I played around with folding in a few shakes of Grape Nuts or Fiber One for even more interesting crunchy textures and fun flavors.
As a chemistry student, I definitely loved experimenting in my kitchen “lab!”
Once I poured my big bowl of fully coated cereals into a cake pan, I slid that in the oven, set a timer, and started working on problem sets or lab reports while it baked. Every so often, when the buzzer dinged, I hopped up and pulled out the pan to gently stir the granola so it’d cook evenly without burning, and each time, I felt more and more tempted to sneak a taste as I smelled the cozy cinnamon aroma escaping from the oven… Even if it meant burning my tongue in the process!
An hour or so later, the pan sat cooling on my countertop, and once it reached room temperature, I’d scatter a generous showering of raisins over the top before pouring it into a glass jar for storing… But first, I set aside a small ramekin of the freshly baked granola for snacking while I finished my homework!
Eventually, I realized that I could try baking a double batch of granola to save some time on the weekends, especially because making the syrup mixture on the stovetop could take a bit of time — and lots of careful attention! — along with keeping an eye on the granola in the oven so it wouldn’t burn. I reasoned that a double batch would last me twice as long, two weeks instead of the usual one, so I grabbed a bigger pan and doubled all of the ingredients…
Yet somehow, that double batch still only lasted a week. Apparently, that just meant I’d be twice as tempted — and polish off twice as much granola in half the time!
And now, far too many years later, I decided to try a different approach… Create a healthy homemade granola recipe that’s much easier and quicker to make!
So that’s exactly what I did with this Healthy One-Bowl Peanut Butter Granola! You just need 5 ingredients to make it, and you don’t have to cook a single thing on the stove. You literally just need one bowl and 5 minutes to throw everything together, and because of a special semi-secret baking trick, your granola finishes baking in almost half the time!
Even better? That baking trick yields the biggest and crunchiest clusters imaginable… Even with no butter, oil or refined sugar. These crunchy clusters are massive — so big that I always have to break them up so that they’ll actually fit on my spoon to eat for breakfast! 😉 And each bowl of this healthy homemade peanut butter granola is 108 calories!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HEALTHY PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA
Let’s go over how to make this super easy and healthy peanut butter granola! To start, grab your favorite mixing bowl. I always love one-bowl, one-pot, or one-pan recipes because they usually result in far fewer dishes to wash!
First, you’ll whisk together a couple of egg whites. No, I haven’t completely lost my marbles! (Well… Yet. 😉 ) The egg whites bind together the rest of the ingredients without requiring any oil or melted butter. They also add a protein boost to your healthy peanut butter granola!
And because somebody always seems to ask… No, you do not end up with bits of cooked scrambled egg in your homemade granola. When you use an egg in your chocolate chip cookie dough and then bake it, do you end up with bits of cooked scrambled egg in your favorite chocolate chip cookies?
Nope! If you’ve completely mixed together all of the ingredients, you don’t see a single chunk of cooked eggs in your cookies. The same thing applies here! If you mix together the rest of your ingredients really well, you end up with perfectly crunchy healthy peanut butter granola clusters… With zero bits of scrambled egg!
Next, you’ll stir in some homemade creamy peanut butter. This is my super easy recipe! You just need 5 minutes, a blender, peanuts, and salt. That’s it!
Hint: If you substitute store-bought creamy peanut butter instead, make sure it’s the natural drippy-style kind that only includes peanuts and salt. Don’t use crunchy peanut butter in this recipe either!
To sweeten your healthy peanut butter granola, you have a choice of ingredients! I typically prefer honey, mainly because the combination of peanut butter + honey reminds me of my brother… He loved PB&H sandwiches as a kid! But pure maple syrup, rice syrup, and agave will all work too. So just use whatever liquid sweetener that you already have in your pantry or fridge!
Tip: The sweetener that you use will actually determine how dark in color your granola clusters appear! We’ll get to that more in a moment… So stay tuned!
Finally, for the last two ingredients in your healthy peanut butter granola, you’ll need oats and crisp brown rice cereal. Both old-fashioned rolled oats and instant oats work! Remember, instant oats aren’t the ones sold in those individual brown paper packets with flavors like “apple cinnamon” and “maple brown sugar.” Instead, instant oats are just smaller and thinner old-fashioned rolled oats. They both have the same exact health benefits!
This is the crisp brown rice cereal that I love! Just like I alluded to earlier, the rice cereal adds a big crunch to your granola clusters for far fewer calories than oil or melted butter. That really helps keep your healthy peanut butter granola low calorie and low fat!
Hint: Check the label on your favorite store-bought brands of granola… I bet many of them actually include rice cereal too!
Instead of using a cake pan, spread your granola out into a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat!
Why does this work?
Well… With the baking sheet + silicone baking mat, there’s more space (aka surface area) to spread out your healthy peanut butter granola. With more surface area, you can spread out your granola into a thinner layer. With a thinner layer, your granola bakes faster and more evenly… Which means you don’t need to stir it around as much.
Less stirring = bigger and crunchier clusters!
I love nerdy baking science like that!
Like I mentioned earlier, the sweetener that you use will determine the appearance of your granola. I used maple syrup for the healthy peanut butter granola in these photos, and it doesn’t caramelize or brown quite as quickly as honey. When I use honey, my healthy peanut butter granola looks really dark… And almost burned. However!! It’s not actually burnt at all. Honey just caramelizes and browns much faster, which results in that really dark color.
So the bottom line?
Don’t go by color to determine when your granola is done baking! Carefully touch the clusters to feel how dry and crunchy they are instead. As long as your granola isn’t black, you haven’t burned it!
And once your healthy peanut butter granola clusters have cooled completely to room temperature…
It’s time to grab a handful — or an entire bowl — and start eating! 😉 And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy peanut butter granola!
Healthy One-Bowl Peanut Butter Granola
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites until the egg whites are broken up and slightly bubbly. Stir in the peanut butter until fully incorporated. Stir in the honey. Pour in the brown rice cereal and oats, and gently stir with a spatula until both cereals are evenly coated.
- Spread the mixture evenly in a thin layer onto the prepared pan. Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes. Gently stir and move the clusters around the pan to break up the granola and prevent the bits closest to the edge from burning. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, then gently stir again. Bake for an additional 4-7 minutes (for a total of 34-37 minutes), or until the granola is brown and crunchy. Cool the granola completely to room temperature on the pan before transferring to an airtight container.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Almond Butter Granola
♡ Healthy Vanilla Almond Granola
♡ Healthy Maple Pecan Granola
♡ Healthy Almond Joy Granola
♡ Healthy Raspberry Almond Granola
♡ Healthy Carrot Cake Granola
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy granola recipes!