This banana bread granola has all the goodness of whole-grain granola, yet tastes like old-fashioned banana bread.
To say I’m obsessed with banana bread is an understatement—it’s my kryptonite. Trying to figure out a way to eat it more often, I came up with a banana bread granola that tastes just like my favorite comfort food. I’ve made many a granola before, but this one beats them all! Not only does it have that rich banana flavor I dream about, but it’s got a chunky quality to it that makes it perfect for snacking on right out of the jar. The secret to making chunky granola is using the bananas as a binding agent, fusing all those tasty ingredients together into crunchy, golden love clusters. Warning: This stuff is seriously addictive!–Sarah Britton
☞ Table of Contents
Banana Bread Granola
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not that Aunt Jemima crap)
- 3 cups rolled oats (gluten-free, if desired)
- 1 cup buckwheat groats or buckwheat hulled kernels (look for these in the bulk bins section of your grocery store)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup whole raw walnuts (or substitute pecans)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Pour the melted oil into a food processor or blender, add the bananas and maple syrup, and blend until smooth. [Editor’s Note: Unlike most commercial and homemade granolas, this banana bread granola is only subtly sweet. It’s lovely, don’t get us wrong. But it’s only barely sweet. Best to set your expectations accordingly.]
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, buckwheat, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and salt. Roughly chop the walnuts and toss them in the bowl, too. Pour the maple syrup mixture over the dry mixture and gently toss to coat. The mixture will be rather wet.
- Divide the mixture between the 2 baking sheets and press it firmly with the back of a spatula to ensure that the mixture is compact and even. Bake the granola for 15 to 20 minutes, until it’s beginning to brown.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and use a spatula to flip the granola over in large sections. Return it to the oven and flip it every 5 minutes, making smaller chunks each time, until golden, 15 to 25 minutes more. The granola should be dry and crisp. Set the granola aside at room temperature to cool. Do not stir the granola until it is completely cool so it will set into chunks.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is a simple and terrific banana bread granola that’s not too sweet and is special due to the taste and crunch of buckwheat, which we liked very much. Great flavor.
The mixture browned well in 15 minutes. An unexpected quality of the granola is that the next day the texture of the granola chunks is softer, rather than crunchier. We will make this again, many times, adding or substituting pecans or almonds for the walnuts and perhaps adding vanilla or orange zest.
Crunchy, whole-grain homemade granola, or sweet, tender banana bread? Which to choose? Thank the breakfast gods we don’t have to decide. The only quibble—the gods did not deign to deliver the “chunks” with this banana bread granola recipe. The granola’s so good, though, I almost forgot I wanted them in the first place.
Prep is simple here—a spin-dump-stir situation: blend liquid coconut oil, bananas, and sweetener, dump that over all the crunchy stuff, and stir to mix. I’d never used buckwheat groats before, but they were easy to find in the grocery’s bulk bins, and I really liked their clean crunch. We prefer pecans in banana bread, so I swapped the walnuts out.
This mixture patted into a nice layer in 1 big baking sheet and wasn’t sticky at all. It took longer to brown and then become dry in my oven, more like 1 hour total, and the flipping without breaking up big pieces was not working. In the end, I got a nice “sprinkling” granola, one to enjoy by the spoonful, not the handful.
This is not your average granola on several levels. First, mixing granola with a banana bread flavor was a pleasant surprise. Second, in contrast to some granolas where you feel like you are chewing rocks, this has a wonderful chew with a bit of crunch, definitely a positive. Also, without adding any sugars to the recipe, the banana bread flavor provides just a hint of sweetness. Granola is almost always easy to make, but many recipes yield results that just aren’t as good as the ones I purchase. This version is definitely better than any store-bought granola.
I made the coconut oil, banana, and maple syrup mixture and then started combining my other ingredients. Maybe I was just slow, but by the time I got all my dry ingredients combined, the liquid mixture seemed too thick. I pulsed it a few more times, and although it was very thick (like cake batter not like peanut butter), it coated the dry ingredients well without seeming soupy at the bottom. After 20 minutes in the oven, I flipped the granola and let it cook for another 15 minutes. It still did not look as dark as the photo, so I mixed it a little more and put it back in the oven for another 5 to 8 minutes. I had no burned pieces, only evenly browned granola. The only thing I would change about this recipe would be to find a way to make it stay in chunks, we just prefer that to a crumbly loose granola.
This banana bread granola is everything a granola should be—full of flavor and texture all rolled into nice little chunks! It isn’t a particularly sweet granola, and the banana flavor isn’t overwhelming, so if you prefer it sweeter, I’d recommend adding more maple syrup and/or banana.
The mixture was indeed a little wet, but I didn’t find it difficult to spread. It is a large recipe, though, and I found that it filled my largest baking sheet, which made flipping the pieces a little tricky. At the 20-minute mark, the whole sheet of granola was nicely browned except on the edges, which were very dark. When I started flipping the pieces of granola at that point, I tried to move the outside parts to the middle and vice versa.
This banana bread granola recipe is a nice change from the granola I usually make. We liked that it called for ripe bananas and grains I don’t normally use in granola. I had no trouble spreading the mixture onto a baking sheet, as it wasn’t very sticky, and the cooking time was about 17 minutes for the first bake and about 25 for the second. We like our granola a little sweeter, so I would probably add some brown sugar the next time I make this. Overall, it tastes like banana bread.
Originally published February 14, 2021