Caramelized Apple Cinnamon Cluster Granola

Caramelized Apple Cinnamon Cluster Granola #vegan #glutenfree //

I used to dislike apple-flavored things, or at least I thought so. I also thought I disliked the taste of wine, and wasn’t much for TV. Things change.

It turns out it’s the fake apple flavor that I dislike. Apple martinis? Nope. Apple candy? Noooo thanks. A packet of apple cinnamon oatmeal? Bleh.

Take some real apples (honeycrisp, preferably), peel them (at first I wrote “feel” them – hehe), chop them, then caramelize them with some brown sugar? Now we’re talking.

Caramelized Apple Cinnamon Cluster Granola #vegan #glutenfree //

My first try with this granola was low-sugar and super healthy. It also tasted like birdseed. My sister actually made a face when she tasted it.

The second time I ended up with golden brown crunchy clusters infused with the warm fall flavors of caramelized apples and cinnamon. My home smelled dreamy all day.

Caramelized Apple Cinnamon Cluster Granola #vegan #glutenfree //

In addition to getting the taste just right, I also perfected my technique for cluster granola vs. the annoyingly crumbly variety.

1) I did not stir it as it baked. Instead, I just rotated the pan once to ensure even baking.

2) I let it cool COMPLETELY before breaking off even one piece to taste. It took all of my control. I felt very proud.

Caramelized Apple Cinnamon Cluster Granola #vegan #glutenfree //

I like just eating it straight up as a snack. I have a tupperware sitting in my desk for emergency hunger situations. The combination of oats, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and quinoa make it filling and moderately healthy. Plus, at 3pm I usually just need a little CRUNCH.

If you’re feeling a little fancier than sticking your hand in a plastic container, this granola would be a great topper to yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, or ice cream.

Caramelized Apple Cinnamon Cluster Granola #vegan #glutenfree //

Clustered granola for life.

Caramelized Apple Cinnamon Cluster Granola

Caramelized apples, maple syrup, and a hefty dose of cinnamon bring the taste of fall to each crunchy cluster of granola. Sweet, spicy, and filled with goodness!

Yield: 10-12 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten free, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (not cooked)
  • 1/4 cup hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the apples, then sprinkle on the brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and release juices (about 10-12 minutes).
  3. Place the cooked apples and juices in a blender along with the remaining coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend until super smooth.
  4. In a bowl, stir together the oats, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon.
  5. Pour the apple mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir until combined. Spread into an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes, rotating the pan once to ensure even baking. Do NOT stir if you want clusters in your granola. Let cool completely before breaking apart into clusters and storing.
  7. Serve with almond milk, eat alone as a snack, or use as a topping for yogurt or ice cream!

12 Responses to “Caramelized Apple Cinnamon Cluster Granola”

  1. Lucie A.S — October 23, 2014 @ 8:40 am (#)

    Oh my this makes me hungry!

  2. Cheryl — October 23, 2014 @ 9:05 am (#)

    I’m right there with you – apple-flavored things are a big no! That sickly sweet, green, obnoxiously tart flavor.. no thank you. But fresh caramelized apples in granola? That is one big fat hell yes!

  3. Liz @ Floating Kitchen — October 23, 2014 @ 12:37 pm (#)

    Yes! Bring on the apples. I want to feel them all….errr peel them all! And granola absolutely HAS to have big clusters in it. This looks like perfection!

    • Katie — October 23, 2014 @ 1:10 pm (#)

      hahaha. Just going to go feel all the apples. :)

  4. Thalia @ butter and brioche — October 23, 2014 @ 9:22 pm (#)

    I always have a home made batch of granola on hand. Never made granola with apple before, definitely a delicious addition that I MUST try. Thanks for the idea Katie!

  5. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — October 24, 2014 @ 1:42 am (#)

    Oh man, this is TOTALLY my kind of granola. Isn’t crunchy quinoa the best?

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  7. Beth — October 26, 2014 @ 2:41 pm (#)

    I’m in the process of prepping the ingredients for this right now. Couple questions. Your instructions refer to mixing in flaxseeds, but they’re not listed with the ingredients — how much? Also, 1 Tablespoon of vanilla and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon — wanted to double-check these amounts. Seems like quite a lot. The instructions also refer to “spices” — plural. Is their supposed to be another spice besides cinnamon?

    • Katie — October 26, 2014 @ 2:47 pm (#)

      Hi Beth! Thank you for pointing these things out to me. The flax and spice(s) (plural) were there from the initial time I made this recipe – I forgot to take them out when I posted. No flax seeds, and just cinnamon. I will fix the recipe now! The amounts of cinnamon and vanilla are correct. Hope you love the granola!

  8. ann — March 31, 2015 @ 10:06 pm (#)

    This is delicious. Well, the uncooked granola is delicious. I don’t know about the cooked stuff yet, just put it in the oven. But having consumed many spoonfuls prior to that, I can confirm…delicious.

  9. ann — March 31, 2015 @ 10:11 pm (#)

    Just for other readers, because I’m trying to cut down sugar and have my own tastes, I used only 1/4c sugar. I did add a handful of dried cranberries. I also added about 1/2 ts nutmeg, because I love nutmeg with apples and I love cranberries with apples!

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