Big Cluster Pumpkin Spice Granola

Big Cluster Pumpkin Spice Granola

The cool, blustery weather brings with it a desire for warm spices and fall’s signature flavors: pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin pie spice is a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves and complements pumpkin’s mild, earthy flavor.

I’m often left with half a can of pumpkin puree in the refrigerator and use it to make my favorite big cluster granola. The pumpkin puree replaces the majority of the oil in the granola recipe. Sweetened with honey and maple syrup, this granola is pressed firmly into the baking sheet and baked undisturbed on low resulting in big, crunchy, irresistible clusters. Avoid using quick cooking oats since they soak up moisture and will not get crunchy.

I usually eat it with plain yogurt and fresh fruit for a quick breakfast for busy school mornings. My husband prefers it with milk and no other adornment. The big clusters of oats, nuts, and seeds is a satisfying replacement for granola bars in lunch boxes or an afternoon pick-me-up. Big Cluster Pumpkin Granola is a wonderful hostess gift as well. It lasts up to two weeks in an airtight container, so it can be made ahead of time and packed into canning jars for gifting.

“This is a great and easy recipe for homemade granola. Quinoa adds a delicious crunch and nuts and raisins make this granola filling and healthy. I love having the clusters on their own or enjoying them with some yogurt and a drizzle of honey on top as a pre-workout snack.” —Bahareh Niati

Big Cluster Pumpkin Spice Granola/Tester Image A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (255 grams) old fashioned oats

  • 1 cup (110 grams) pecans, chopped

  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) pepitas

  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) quinoa

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) pumpkin puree

  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup (150 grams) raisins

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make big cluster pumpkin granola

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 300 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

    parchment lined baking sheet

  3. Mix together oats, pecans, pepitas, quinoa, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl.

    oats, pumpkin sees, pecans, quinoa, and spices in a bowl

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  4. Stir together pumpkin puree, maple syrup, honey, olive oil, and vanilla in a small bowl until combined.

    pumpkin puree and seasonings in a bowl

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  5. Pour pumpkin mixture into oat mixture. Use a silicone spatula to combine.

    granola mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  6. Turn granola out onto the prepared baking sheet.Use another piece of parchment to press the granola firmly into a thin and even layer, similarly to pressing in a cookie crust. The granola should reach the corners of the pan.

    granola on a parchment lined baking sheet covered with parchment paper

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  7. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the bake time. Do not stir. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.

    baked pumpkin granola on a baking sheet

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  8. Once fully cooled, break the granola into clusters and add raisins.

    cooled granola on a baking sheet

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  9. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

    big cluster granola in a bowl

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

Recipe Tips

  • The keys to making big clusters are using honey, packing the granola firmly in the baking sheet, and baking it without stirring. Press the granola firmly into an even layer with the help of a piece of parchment paper. 
  • Using all maple syrup instead of a mix of honey and maple syrup will also work in this recipe but the clusters may not be as big because honey is stickier than maple syrup. Honey tends to brown quickly though, so do not use honey alone.
  • For the crunchiest granola, bake until it is golden and firm to the touch. It will continue to crisp up as it cools.
  • Too much moisture will prevent the granola from cooking properly. Measure carefully and don’t allow the granola to sit before baking. 
  • It’s better to underbake the granola than to overbake it. Overbaked granola results in burnt pecans and a bitter flavor. Underbaked granola feels soft or sticky and doesn’t break cleanly once cooled. If the granola is not as crispy as preferred, reheat the oven and bake for another 5 or 10 minutes. Cool again and then continue breaking the granola into clusters.

Make Ahead

The dry ingredients and wet ingredients can be measured beforehand but wait to combine them until you are ready to bake the granola.

Recipe Variations

  • Granola is very flexible! Feel free to substitute flax seeds for the quinoa. Substitute walnuts or almonds for the pecans. Substitute a different oil instead of olive oil, such as canola oil. If using coconut oil or butter, melt before proceeding.
  • Switch up the mix-ins and use an equal amount of chocolate chips instead of raisins, or add 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger.

How to Store

Ensure granola stays crunchy by keeping it in an airtight container and storing it at room temperature. Granola will last for 2 weeks at room temperature and 2 months in the freezer.

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