During my senior year of college, I signed up to take the GRE Chemistry subject test. I had already been working in an organic chemistry research lab on campus for more than two years, where I spent most of my spare moments not in lectures or completing problem sets dressed in a long white coat and safety goggles while running reactions and analyzing the results right alongside the grad students, so applying for graduate school to continue doing that seemed like the next right step in my academic career.
The exam was held bright and early one Saturday morning during the fall in the neighboring city. One of the sweet grad students in my lab let me borrow her old GRE textbooks, practice tests, and study guides, so I pored over them in the weeks leading up to the test, in addition to keeping up with my usual homework assignments and quizzes.
For a motivational boost, I walked over to the grocery store directly across the street from my apartment to find a fun study snack. Somehow, treating myself to apple slices and carrot sticks just didn’t feel like that big of a reward for acing any of those practice tests!
As I wandered through the store, I spotted a display at the end of the breakfast cereal aisle that featured a brand new product: large whole grain chocolate cereal pockets with chocolate filling. My eyes lit up, and a box magically found its way into my basket.
I’ve always been a huge chocoholic… Even back then! (One of the many reasons I wrote my Healthier Chocolate Treats cookbook!)
Back at my apartment, I tore open the bag to try a few pieces of the cereal. It tasted absolutely delicious — sweet, crunchy, and chocolaty! — and as soon as I completed another worksheet and practice exam, I poured myself a small ramekin to enjoy.
Within just a few days, I had started to fly through the material, and I felt more and more confident as the exam date approached. That chocolate cereal definitely helped with my motivation levels, and I ended up with a great score on the real GRE Chemistry subject test!
However… This Healthy Five-Ingredient Chocolate Granola would’ve been an even better study snack! Unlike that store-bought cereal with ample amounts of refined sugar and artificial flavors, this wholesome homemade breakfast cereal contains none of that. Yet it’s still just as sweet and crunchy — and it’s even more rich and chocolaty!
This healthy chocolate granola contains no butter, oil, dairy, refined flour or sugar… But it still has the biggest and crunchiest clusters imaginable! It’s also super easy to make. You just need 1 bowl, 5 ingredients, and less than 10 minutes to measure and mix together the ingredients!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HEALTHY CHOCOLATE GRANOA
Let’s go over how to make the best healthy chocolate granola! Like I previously mentioned, you just need one bowl to make this easy recipe. I love how one-bowl recipes usually result in fewer dishes to wash!
Tip: You can find more of my easy and healthy one-bowl recipes here!
You’ll start by whisking together a few egg whites. I know… It sounds a bit crazy, but I promise I haven’t completely lost all of my marbles! (Well… At least not yet! 😉 )
The egg whites bind together the rest of the ingredients really well, which means this healthy chocolate granola contains no butter or oil. They also give your granola a protein boost!
And because someone always seems to ask… No, you don’t end up with bits of cooked scrambled egg in your granola! Think about your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. There’s probably an egg in that, right? Yet as long as you’ve thoroughly mixed together all of the ingredients, you don’t end up with bits of cooked scrambled eggs in your cookies.
The same thing applies here! If you’ve thoroughly whisked your egg whites and mix together the rest of the ingredients properly, then you don’t end up with any bits of cooked scrambled egg. Just rich, crisp, and crunchy healthy chocolate granola clusters!
To sweeten your healthy chocolate granola, you’ll skip the refined granulated sugar and use pure maple syrup instead. You want the kind that comes directly from maple trees! The only ingredient on the label should be “maple syrup,” and it generally comes in thin glass bottles or squat plastic jugs (like this!).
Next comes the cocoa powder. You want regular unsweetened cocoa powder, like this. I don’t recommend substituting Dutched or special dark cocoa powder. These have a different acidity level, and I’ve also found that their flavor is much more muted and mild compared to regular unsweetened cocoa powder. You’re adding ¼ cup, so I promise your healthy chocolate granola will definitely taste really rich and decadent with regular unsweetened cocoa powder!
Tip: Be patient when stirring in the cocoa powder! It tends to clump, but as long as you keep stirring with a fork, you should be able to smooth out all of those lumps and bumps before you add the final two ingredients.
Time to add the cereals! Yes, plural. There are two of them: rice cereal and oats! Rice cereal is one of my favorite tricks to achieving crunchy granola clusters. (I have a second one I’ll share with you in a moment!) It adds a big crunch without any oil or butter. I bet many of your favorite store-bought granolas also include rice cereal too… I know the ones I grew up eating definitely did!
For the oats, both instant oats and old-fashioned rolled oats will work. Instant oats are also called quick cooking or one-minute oats, and they’re just smaller and thinner than old-fashioned rolled oats. They only contain one ingredient… Oats!
I tend to keep instant oats in my pantry more often than old-fashioned rolled oats because they’re so perfect for baking oatmeal cookies and oatmeal muffins. Here, I’ve found their smaller size makes it a little easier to mix them in!
Tip: If you use the same crisp brown rice cereal that I do and certified gluten-free oats (whether the instant or old-fashioned variety!), then your healthy chocolate granola is naturally gluten-free! (It’s also dairy-free too!)
Here’s my second trick to making the biggest and crunchiest granola clusters without butter or oil…
Bake your granola on a very large rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat! I actually learned this trick from my friend Phi’s amazing five-ingredient cookbook. I used to bake my granola in cake pans, but there wasn’t enough space in the bottom of those cake pans to spread out the cereal mixture in a thin layer. Therefore, I needed to stir it more… and too much stirring will break up those granola clusters into itty bitty pieces. Not good!
But if you use a really big rimmed baking sheet, like this, you’ll have plenty of space to spread out your cereal mixture in a thin even layer. This means you don’t need to stir it nearly as often. Less stirring results in bigger and crunchier granola clusters. Most of the time, my clusters are still SO big that I need to break them up once this healthy chocolate granola has finished baking!
Pretty awesome, right??
Hint: Parchment paper will also work, but I prefer silicone baking mats!
Now all that’s left is to decide… Will you eat this for breakfast, snacks, or dessert? Or all three?? 😉 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 chocolate granola!
Healthy One-Bowl Chocolate Granola
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites until the egg whites are broken up and slightly bubbly. Stir in the maple syrup. Stir in the cocoa powder until fully incorporated with no clumps. Pour in the brown rice cereal and oats, and gently stir with a spatula until both cereals are evenly coated.
- Spread the mixture evenly 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 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 One-Bowl Peanut Butter Granola
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Almond Butter Granola
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Maple Pecan Granola
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Raspberry Almond Granola
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Vanilla Almond Granola
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Double Chocolate Granola Bar Bites
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy breakfast recipes!