Naturally sweetened with honey, and made with heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil, this low-sugar honey cardamom granola has the perfect blend of spices. Crunchy, addictive, and the perfect topping for yogurt!
I REALLY love a good granola. What I enjoy most about granola is how easy it is to make, and how many different varieties there are.
Sometimes I’m in the mood for an ultra-crunchy granola, flecked with large chunks of nuts and dried fruit. Other times, I’m craving a subtle, classic granola where the oats take more center stage.
I made this honey cardamom granola last weekend, and it was the classic granola texture I’ve been going for. Best of all, it’s low in sugar, and made with healthy fats (olive oil).
After I made the granola, I was truthfully surprised how sweet it tasted even after reducing the honey to a 1/3 of a cup.
Why You’ll Low-Sugar Honey Cardamom Granola:
Okay, so first – if you’re the kind of person who loves big chunks of nuts and clusters in their granola, this may not be for you. I mean, you COULD put in larger chunks of nuts, but you won’t get the sticky clusters of oats and mix-ins you do with some other recipes.
Now that I got that disclaimer out of the way…
My honey cardamom granola is simple, but the flavor is boosted with cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and honey. Olive oil lends a buttery and peppery undertone in the recipe, but isn’t overwhelming.
The crunchiness from the toasted oats and coconut flakes, combined with the sweet cherries, makes this the perfect topping for yogurt, acai bowls, oatmeal, or enjoyed alone with milk.
Low-Sugar Honey Cardamom Granola Ingredients and Substitutions
- Old Fashioned Rolled Oats – Don’t use quick cook or steel cut!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Buttery olive oil blends well with honey and other warm flavors here. If you use another oil (canola, vegetable, or melted coconut oil), make sure to keep an eye on the granola as the smoke points differ and may result in longer or shorter bake time.
- Honey – Honestly, I use the stuff in the bear jar from the grocery store, but if you can find high quality honey at your farmers market that would be a star component here.
- Spices – Cinnamon and cardamom. If you’re on the fence of buying cardamom, let me tell you it’s worth it. It’s great for all sorts of baking and cooking.
- Vanilla Extract – We use a full tablespoon. I normally like to use real vanilla extract, but don’t be afraid to use imitation vanilla if that’s all you have.
- Mixed Nuts – Use whatever you have on hand. I like slivered almonds and walnuts or pecans.
- Ground Flax – If you don’t want to use ground flax, add another quarter cup of oats. The best swap is almond flour.
- Quinoa – Substitute millet if you want. Make sure it’s uncooked (trust me, it works here).
- Sunflower Seeds – The little seeds add phenomenal texture. Substitute pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or pine nuts.
- Unsweetened Shredded Coconut – Unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes both work. I suggest if you use flakes to chop them up a little bit (unless you don’t mind larger pieces). Sweetened coconut would be fine, but you’d miss out on some of the texture and it would be a bit sweeter overall.
- Dried Cherries – These are technically optional, but I feel like they round out the recipe beautifully. Dried cranberries, freeze dried strawberries, or chopped dates would pair nicely with this recipe.
- Salt – I always use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. Reduce the salt by approximately half if you’re using regular table salt.
How to Make Low-Sugar Cardamom Honey Granola
- Chop the nuts (and fruit): Before you get started, prep the nuts. I like mine on the smaller side, but leave larger chunks if you prefer. At this point, I sometimes like to chop my cherries or other dried fruit into smaller, bite size pieces. This is preference. Make sure not to add the dried fruit prior to baking the granola (the fruit will become quite hard).
- Preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Stir wet ingredients: In a small bowl, mix the honey, olive oil, and vanilla.
- Stir dry ingredients: Combine all of your other dried ingredients EXCEPT the dried cherries (or whatever fruit you’re using).
- Combine wet & dry ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the wet and dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
- Spread evenly on a prepared sheet pan: I like to line my pan with parchment paper. If you don’t have that available, use tin foil and give it a quick spray with non-stick spray.
- Bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and fragrant: During the baking process, you’ll definitely want to give it a stir or two in the middle to ensure all pieces have been toasted lightly.
- Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool completely. Stir in the dried cherries.
How to Store Honey Cardamom Granola
Keep your granola in an airtight container (I like a glass jar with a tight lid) at room temperature in a cool place. I don’t like to keep this granola much more than 2 to 3 weeks, otherwise I’ll freeze it.
Freezing Instructions: if you don’t think you’ll finish it within a few weeks I suggest freezing it. Pop it into a plastic bag or in a plastic airtight container. To defrost, just let it come to room temp an hour or so before you want to use it.
Low-Sugar Honey Cardamom Granola Recipe
- 1 half sheet pan
- 2 cups Old-fashioned rolled oats (not steel cut or quick cook)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup quinoa (uncooked), substitute millet (dry)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, or coconut flakes chopped
- 1/2 cup mixed nuts or nuts of choice, chopped to the desired size (see notes)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, substitute pepitas
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup dried cherries (or dried/freeze dried fruit of your choice), roughly chopped
- Preheat your oven to 275℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil sprayed lightly with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine evenly.
- Spread the granola mixture on the baking sheet evenly. Bake for approximately 40 to 45 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Allow the granola to cool completely before mixing in the dried cherries.
- Walnuts and Pecans are great in this recipe - but slivered almonds, cashews, or macadamia nuts would work okay as well.
- If you only have sweetened coconut on hand, that'll work fine but you may want to scale back the honey to 1/4 cup to account for the added sweetness.
- The olive oil pairs nicely with the flavors, but if you don't have any on hand you can swap it for canola/vegetable oil or coconut oil melted.