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Buttery Nut-Free Brown Sugar Granola

5 stars (13 ratings)

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Buttery nut-free brown sugar granola is a crunchy, oven-baked granola with a hint of cinnamon wrapped up in the rich sweetness of brown sugar. With a quick 10-minute prep time, this granola is easy to make with very little hands-on effort. It’s delicious in a breakfast yogurt parfait, makes an easy on-the-go snack, or can be used to add a crunchy twist to your favorite ice cream sundae.

A bowl of buttery granola with on a dark surface, next to a wooden spoon and a tray of granola.

Nut Free Granola

Finding the perfect granola can be challenging when you are looking to avoid nuts. Whether it’s a serious food allergy or a simple personal preference, it’s often easier to find something that fits your needs by making it yourself at home. When it comes to making nut-free granola, it doesn’t get much simpler than this.

Instead of relying on nuts and high amounts of sugar to obtain a satisfying crunchy texture, this recipe uses an egg white to bind the rolled oats together into dense, crunchy granola clusters. Just be sure you give it the chance to cool before you break it up! You can read more about how an egg white benefits granola in my hazelnut granola recipe, but for delicious nut-free granola, this is the recipe for you.

Combining the rich, caramel-like sweetness of brown sugar with the satisfying warmth of ground cinnamon, this granola will make your kitchen smell amazing while it bakes. Like my rolled oat granola with maple syrup (also nut-free!), it tastes great in a yogurt parfait, or serve it over warm baked fruit to make a cheater version of a fruit crisp.

What You’ll Need

This crunchy granola recipe calls for seven simple ingredients. You will need rolled oats, also called old-fashioned oats. Yes, the type of oats you use matters, and neither steel-cut nor instant will give you the right results in this recipe. Brown sugar, egg whites, vanilla bean paste (which can be swapped for vanilla extract), butter, ground cinnamon, and salt round out the rest of the ingredients list. You can find the exact measurements listed in the recipe card.

Assorted baking ingredients neatly labeled on a table, including rolled oats, egg white, vanilla paste, buttery granola, and spices.

Featured Ingredient: Brown Sugar

The featured ingredient in this brown sugar granola is brown sugar. Made from a combination of granulated white sugar and molasses, brown sugar is a classic sweetener and pantry staple used in many types of recipes.

Brown sugar has a unique flavor, with a deep, molasses-rich sweetness and hints of smokey caramel that bring complexity to dishes that call for it. While white sugar can make a delicious caramel, it takes brown sugar to create butterscotch, like in this apple crisp. Its acidic component allows baking soda to activate, causing cookies, shortcakes, and other baked goods to rise.

Light brown sugar has a lighter color and lighter flavor because it contains less molasses, while dark brown sugar contains more molasses. While many recipes that call for brown sugar refer to the light version, you can usually use either dark or light brown sugar interchangeably. Just know that dark brown sugar and things made with it will have a richer, more pronounced flavor.

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How to Make Buttery Nut-Free Brown Sugar Granola

This easy brown sugar granola comes together in two mixing bowls and bakes on a baking sheet. Once baked to a golden brown, you have to let it cool completely before breaking it into crunchy clusters. The hardest part is smelling it while waiting for it to cool.

  • Prep your baking pan by greasing it with a thin layer of butter or lining it with a piece of parchment paper, and preheat your oven so it will be ready to bake when you are. The butter should be melted and then allowed to cool completely so that it doesn’t cook the egg whites.

Tips for Success

As with all recipes, there are always a couple of tips that make it easier to get it right the first time and every time. Here are my top two tips for making this buttery, nut-free brown sugar granola.

  • Do not overbake the granola. – The granola at the edges of the pan will be slightly darker than the middle, but it should not look or smell burnt. When the granola first comes out of the oven, it will have a soft texture and fall apart easily.
  • Allow the granola to cool completely in the pan. – The granola has to cool completely, undisturbed, in the pan in order for the sugar and egg whites to create the crunchy clusters. Smelling it while waiting is the hardest part of the recipe.
A clear jar filled with brown sugar granola next to a wooden spoon on a tray covered with more granola, against a two-tone background.

Serving Suggestions

One of my favorite breakfasts, this nut-free granola makes an excellent breakfast parfait. Layer it with plain Greek yogurt, a dollop of blueberry jam, and fresh raspberries and blackberries for a deliciously filling start to your day. You can also sprinkle it over ice cream or pancakes to add a bit of crunch or grab some to take with you as you go about your busy day.

A wooden spoonful of buttery granola on a baking tray, with more granola scattered around the spoon.

How to Store and Reheat

Granola should be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature. I typically keep it in a resealable pantry container so that I can more easily pick out clusters or loose granola, depending on how I’m eating it. You can use a lidded glass jar, cereal container, or any other clean resealable container you may have on hand. The granola will keep for a couple of weeks.

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A bowl of buttery granola with on a dark surface, next to a wooden spoon and a tray of granola.

Buttery Nut Free Brown Sugar Granola

Buttery nut free brown sugar granola is a crunchy, oven-baked granola with a hint of cinnamon wrapped up in the rich sweetness of brown sugar. With a quick 10-minute prep time, this granola is easy to make with very little hands on effort. It's delicious in a breakfast yogurt parfait, makes an easy on-the-go snack, or can be used to add a crunchy twist to your favorite ice cream sundae.
5 stars (13 ratings)
prep: 10 minutes
cook: 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
total: 2 hours 45 minutes
servings: 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter – melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300º. Prepare a standard baking sheet by lining it with parchment or a thin layer of butter.
  • In a large mixing bowl measure out the rolled oats.
  • In a smaller mixing bowl beat the egg white until foamy. Add the brown sugar, melted and cooled butter*, ground cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Spread the granola in an even layer on the baking sheet, pressing firmly to pack down. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven 30 – 35 minutes or until it's golden brown.
  • Granola won't be crispy when you remove it from the oven. Allow to cool completely in the pan to crisp up.
  • Store in at room temperature in an airtight container

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Notes

*If the butter is too hot, it can cause the egg whites to cook. The best way to avoid this is to allow the melted butter to cool. To speed up the process, heat the butter in the microwave for 30 second bursts at half power, stirring between bursts, until it's mainly melted. The residual heat will melt the rest of the butter without overheating it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Calories: 112kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 101mgPotassium: 69mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 89IUVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

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About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

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