How to Get Clumps in Your Granola

October 24, 2013

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Stop ripping apart entire bags of granola just to get your hands on the crunchy nuggets.

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There are two types of granola eaters. 

The first type of people want to be able to run their hands through granola like it's silky-smooth hair. These people want the oats to fall through their fingers like millions of grains of sand, leaving no chunks or lumps behind.

The second type search for granola clumps like they're hidden treasures. These are the people who prefer granola that's a close cousin to cookies; these are the people who are smart enough to buy Just Bunches

For those of you who live for the clusters, it's time to stop ripping apart entire bags just to get your hands on the crunchy nuggets. We're going to show you how to make your own oaty bunches at home. 

Here's how you get the ultimate clumpy, clustery, chunk-full granola: 

1. Add egg whites.

Make a batch of your favorite granola and then put an egg in it.

But really, add a beaten egg white -- make sure it's foamy and frothy -- to your granola after you've mixed it all together. The protein in the egg will help bind the oats together, creating addictive morsels. (Shhh: it's the secret to Deb Perelman's Big Cluster Maple Granola.)


2. Low oven temperature and minimal stirring.

No-stir method: For extreme cluster hoarders, follow an easy no-stir method. First, spread the oat mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet that is greased or lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 or 40 minutes -- at a low temperature (about 325° F), rotating once halfway through -- or until the granola is lightly browned. Resist the urge to stir! Once the granola is out of the oven, let it cool completely before breaking it into clusters. It's important that the temperature of the oven is low -- otherwise, your unstirred granola might burn.

More: Like the looks of this granola? Check out Nekisia Davis' Olive Oil and Maple Granola.

Overnight granola: Alternatively, bake the granola for 10 minutes at a higher temperature -- 375° F -- then turn off the oven and leave the granola in overnight. You'll end up with clusters like you've never seen them before. 

3. Choose your oats carefully: Many recipes call for old-fashioned oats, but the great popularity of the The Lip Lady's Secret Granola proves that old-fashioned is not always best. Using quick oats means more clusters, quicker cooking time, and a lighter, crunchier texture. Grind half of the quick oats to a fine powder in the food processor, then mixed them with the other ingredients. The oat powder will help everything come together into your beloved clusters.

One final granola-maker pro tip: If you're using dark baking sheets, decrease the baking time to avoid burning your batch.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Linda L Skolnik
    Linda L Skolnik
  • Windischgirl
  • Myron
  • MizLynn
  • rocknroll baker
    rocknroll baker
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Linda L. July 21, 2017
I tried making granola for the first time today. I went my the instructions put it in my dark baking sheet without parchment paper at 300 degrees, it only cooked about 25 minutes before it started to burn... Really !! what did I do wrong?
Windischgirl March 17, 2017
I found a couple of flax eggs work even better than egg whites.
Myron January 17, 2014
How about a little cornstarch and cold water (mixed), which is then added to the other ingredients as a substitute for egg white, for those that are purely vegan. Just a mention, what do you suggest?
MizLynn January 14, 2014
I use Martha Stewart's never-fail granola recipe. I stir during baking but still get the clumps I like. To do this, I press the hot granola down with a large offset no-holes spatula as soon as it comes out of the oven. I then cool it completely and break into clumps. Works every time.
rocknroll B. October 27, 2013
I bake granola in a commercial bakery a couple of times a week. I always increase the liquid portion of the recipe with a moderate amount of water to allow complete coating of the dry ingredients. From there it's a simple matter of spreading the granola evenly on lined baking sheets and baking in a slow oven until the degree of brownness is achieved. Stirring is not necessary. Once the granola is removed from the oven, it is allowed to cool and set. Then the granola can be broken up into the size of clumps that the pensioner finds the least objectionable.
Mikey October 19, 2020
babswool October 27, 2013
I've been making granola for years and cook it at 300 for one hour. I stir every 15 minutes but as the instructions say above don't touch it after it is out of the oven and completely cooled. I just put away my current batch and it almost came out of the pan in one piece - talk about chunks!
burns W. October 27, 2013
Hey - that's my granola temp too! But I stir it to ensure it is evenly coated with oil and honey every ten minutes. Funny thing is for the same temp, I do only 30 minutes. I wonder what our variable is? My clumpiness comes about through putting it in the jar with as little disruption as possible, fully cooled.
Janice L. October 24, 2013
I completely agree about not stirring! That's the trick for me with the recipe I use. I pat it out onto a rimmed sheet pan and bake it like a giant cookie, rotating every so often to make sure it browns evenly. Let cool completely, then you have a giant granola cookie that you can break up into chunks as you like.
Midge October 24, 2013
I'm so glad I'm not the only one who can't get her granola to clump! Thanks for the tips!
AntoniaJames October 24, 2013
I can appreciate the benefits of clumps, and know that certain family members will be thrilled when I implement this method. (I however am a strip miner to the core.) ;o)
Lauren K. October 24, 2013
Great tips! Can't wait to try the overnight method. Also, "crunchy nuggets" is the best thing I've heard all day.
Brette W. October 24, 2013
Shooting this was amazing -- that granola was seriously like one giant sheet-pan toasty granola bar. Life-changing.
Eeyore October 24, 2013
I've spent an embarrassing amount of time googling clumpy granola tips. Some to add:
- Some people mention adding flour or another fine-milled grain, which I think performs the same function as food-processing a portion of your oats. Personally I use a fair amount of ground flax seeds, to feel healthier and perhaps add some clumping (they're often used as a vegan egg substitute after all).
- Applesauce or other fruit purees are great for creating big clumps, and can sub for some of the sweetener and oil in the recipe.
- If you have two large sheet pans of the same size, bake the granola in a pan "sandwich" as described here: If you don't toss the granola while it's baking you'll get one massive sheet of granola you can break into clumps as big as you like. I usually remove the top pan and toss it once with a spatula in the middle of the baking time, then press the top pan down on top again so it finishes with a mix of larger and smaller clumps.
Sarah J. October 24, 2013
Those are such great tips -- thank you for sharing.