Add Coffee Grounds to Granola, Feel Like a Morning Person

February 14, 2018

We’ve tried our fair share of granola recipes. One might go so far as saying that we’ve tried our fair share and yours—and your best friend’s and her brother’s and his cat’s. All well and good. We’ve learned a lot along the way: That olive oil wants to get involved. That unsweetened peanut butter is a healthyish binder. That baking between two sheet pans encourages extra clumps. That you can serve in milky cold brew. That you can supplement the oats with popcorn. Or matzo!

The possibilities are endless. So here’s one more: Instead of having your granola with coffee or serving it in coffee, go all the way and make coffee granola—better yet, Hazelnut Coffee Granola. The cocoa coffee granola (above) includes cocoa powder and brewed espresso. But I wanted to up the ante even further.

I eat granola most often on hurried mornings and hangry afternoons. So what ingredient embraces that energy (or, you know, lack thereof)? Coffee grounds—lots—which couldn’t be bothered to be brewed because it’s just one of those days and, sigh, don’t even ask.

Watch out, world! Here we come. Photo by Julia Gartland

Consider this recipe your power-up. It’s the usual granola method: Combine base ingredients in a big bowl—in this case, oats and toasted, chopped hazelnuts. Combine pretty much everything else in a pot—so melted butter, brown rice syrup (an extra-clumpy trick from Gena Hamshaw), sugar, salt, vanilla, a bunch of coffee grounds, and a splash of brewed coffee. Combine these two mixtures, plus a whisked egg white—another extra-clumpy trick, this time from Smitten Kitchen—spread on a sheet pan, and get it in the oven. Don't toss at all during baking and let it cool completely before breaking into clusters and shards.

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And how to serve? Well, how do you take your coffee? If black, maybe this is your afternoon snack granola. If milky, try a bowl of whole or coconut, soy or cashew, even oat. If creamy-sugary, try it on top of frozen yogurt or ice cream. Yes, yes, for breakfast—you know we'd never tell.

How many cups of coffee do you average per day? Tell us the truth in the comments below.

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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Emilye February 20, 2018
never thought of adding coffee grounds to granola, thanks a lot for the idea! look forward to trying it
Giny W. February 18, 2018
I have recently been drinking 5 mugs of coffee a day. I start with a one of CoffeeZero, (an instant coffee with added green coffee bean cool stuff to increase the metabolism), and then follow with a pot (4 mugs) of my favorite New Orleans coffee w/chicory. As I live overseas now, I will either bring it back with me after Stateside visits, have my daughter mail it to me or buy it direct from the company and pay my weight in shipping and taxes. It's just that good. Sometimes I will save that last mug to re-heat and savor later in the afternoon. I LOVE my coffee!!