Spicy Maple Granola: Maple granola, a simple recipe spiked with cayenne for a little heat (but not too much), sweet dried apples, and loads of crunchy nuts. | macheesmo.com
Pantry Staples

Sweet Heat Maple Granola

I heard a story on NPR last week that cereal sales were on the decline because, now get this, it’s too much work for people to make it in the mornings.

Pouring a bowl of cereal and the milk and then washing all the dishes is just, reportedly, too much work.

Personally, I think, and hope, that that report is completely wrong. I know Americans get a bad rap for being lazy, but I really don’t think we are that lazy.

Instead, I hope cereal sales are on the decline because most people are starting to realize that most cereals are crappy ways to start the day. They are either bland or sugar-packed and fairly expensive. With all the options available these days (from yogurts to granolas), I just think people are getting wise on cereal.

I dreamt up this recipe last week for Maple Granola and immediately fell in love with it for breakfast. You can easily toss together a big batch of it on a lazy Sunday and have breakfasts for the whole week.

Don’t be lazy! Eat good breakfasts!

6 cups granola
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...


Sweet Heat Maple Granola

Maple granola, a simple recipe spiked with cayenne for a little heat (but not too much), sweet dried apples, and loads of crunchy nuts.


2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup cashews, roasted and chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 - 2 cups dried apples, chopped

Helpful Equipment

Baking Sheet
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1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a small microwave safe bowl, combine syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and cayenne. If coconut oil is solid, microwave on high in 20 second bursts to melt coconut oil. Stir mixture together well.

2) Chop nuts roughly and toss with rolled oats in a large bowl. Pour syrup mixture over the oats and stir to combine completely.

3) Spread granola out on a large baking sheet. Bake granola at 300 degrees F. for 35-45 minutes, stirring it every 15 minutes or so to ensure it’s cooking evenly and not burning.

4) When granola is baked, it should be mostly dry and browned slightly. Then add dried apples and let it cool completely.

Stir granola in an airtight container for 3-4 weeks. Serve with milk or yogurt and fruit!

Maple Granola

The Maple Mix

I go back and forth on whether or not I like oil in my granola. It does help the granola clump a bit, but it doesn’t add a ton in the flavor department. Not true though if you use coconut oil! This stuff has lots of flavor and will also help the granola stick together some.

Starting the syrup.

Starting the syrup.

If your coconut oil is solid, you’ll want to microwave the oil in quick (20 second) bursts until it melts and then you can stir in the vanilla and cayenne pepper also.

I realize that 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper is sort of an insane amount for one recipe, but trust me that it gets completely mellowed in the syrup. You get just a subtle spice in the back of your throat in the final granola.

Heavy on the heat - Maple Granola

Heavy on the heat.

Add-ins Galore

To be honest, I chose nuts for this recipe that I had in my pantry and I suggest you do the same. The nuts I went with (cashews and walnuts) do go well with maple but almost any nut would I think. Get creative, but try to leave the ratio the same. You want at least a cup of nuts no matter what you end up using.

Nuts - Maple Granola


Stir your nuts into the oats and then pour in all that lovely maple mixture. It’ll look like a lot and the mixture will be a bit wet, but that’s fine. It’ll bake off and infuse into the granola beautifully.

Mixing Maple Granola

It’ll look like a lot.

Baking the Granola

Try to spread out your Maple Granola on a large baking sheet. Some overlap is fine, but you don’t want a big mound of granola. A layer is better.

The granola will need to bake for around 40-45 minutes at a low 300 degrees F. Be sure to check on the granola and stir it every 10-15 minutes as it bakes. If your oven is running hot (a common problem) the granola will start to burn if you don’t keep an eye on it.

baked Maple Granola

Baked up!

When the granola is done, it’ll be lightly toasted and dry. It shouldn’t be sticky at all. Then you can add the diced apples. You could use other dried fruits but apples and maple were made for each other.

Dried apples are usually pretty cheap and come in rings. Just chop them up so they fold into the granola easier.

Apples are a nice add to this Maple Granola

Apples are a nice add.

You could serve this granola with yogurt, bake it into bars, or just eat it by the handful.

For me though, I like it in a bowl with milk even though that’s apparently a lot of work!

Spicy Maple Granola: Maple granola, a simple recipe spiked with cayenne for a little heat (but not too much), sweet dried apples, and loads of crunchy nuts. | macheesmo.com

Don’t be lazy about breakfast.

Get the day started with a sweet heat kick in the mouth!

Spicy Maple Granola: Maple granola, a simple recipe spiked with cayenne for a little heat (but not too much), sweet dried apples, and loads of crunchy nuts. | macheesmo.com

10 comments on “Sweet Heat Maple Granola

  1. I like this recipe because I am tired of the same old stuff and it has the flavors I like. It will make a great topping for banana bread, pancakes, french toast, ice cream. Thanx for the recipe!

  2. This looks so good that I will be making this today, a not so lazy Saturday, but replacing the apples with rasins. I can’t wait to taste it!

  3. I just made this replacing the apples with raisins and cashews with pecans. I could not wait until breakfast because it looks and smells so good so I had a snack of Greek vanilla yogurt with this as a topping. Yes this is very good and I will be making this again. Yum! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  4. Hi Nick, I am hoping you can put mind to rest once and for all… a lot of recipes are calling for coconut oil these days and I never know if I should be buying refined or unrefined. Might you be able to shed some light on this for me, please? Many thanks!

    1. Hey Joanna! Great question. The difference is just in how the oil is processed. I don’t really specify in this recipe because you could use either and be fine. Unrefined coconut oil will have more natural flavor to it as the refining process removes the flavor (and some would argue some of the natural nutrients). The only time you for sure need to use refined is if you are cooking at high temperatures with it. Refined has a smoke point of around 450 degrees F. and with unrefined that’s closer to 350. Hope that helps!

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