Clusters of oats, nutty pumpkin seeds, chewy dried cranberries, and warming fall spices mingle in this crunchy Vegan Pumpkin Spice Granola. It’s oil-free, gluten-free, and so delicious! Perfect for breakfast, snack, or even dessert!
This Pumpkin Spice Granola might be one of the easiest recipes you can make for fall and it’s so versatile! It’s cheaper than store-bought granola and tastes better, too!
Enjoy it with a splash of almond milk, sprinkled over dairy-free yogurt, with a side of fresh fruit, grab it by the handful, or even with a dollop of vegan ice cream!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Oats ~ Old fashioned rolled oats is going to give the best texture for this pumpkin spice granola. Quick oats won’t provide enough texture. Steel cut oats will be extra crunchy, but the ratio of dry ingredients to wet won’t be quite the same. I suggest sticking the recipe as written for best results.
Use certified gluten-free oats, if needed.
Rice cereal ~ I like the crispness of rice cereal. It adds an additional layer of texture. Not all crispy rice cereal is vegan. Nature’s Path and One Degree and Barbara’s Brown Rice Crisps are all vegan.
Spices ~ I use pumpkin pie spice for convenience and to bring out the best of the fall flavors. You can make your own spice blend by combining (from most to least) cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
A dash of salt balances the taste.
I also like to add a little pure vanilla extract.
Maple syrup ~ Use pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup. Maple is the perfect complementary sweetness to the pumpkin pie spice. It’s sticky texture is perfect for creating crunchy clusters with no oil needed! Do not swap for granulated sugar.
Pumpkin seeds ~ Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, reinforce those pumpkin spice vibes, but you can use sunflower seeds, pecans, walnuts, or almonds, if you prefer.
Dried cranberries ~ I really like dried cranberries in this homemade granola recipe. Dried cherries, chopped dried apricots, or raisins would also work.
Don’t add the dried fruit until after the granola has baked so they remain chewy.
Extras ~ After baking, feel free to add some coconut flakes or chocolate chips if you desire.
What you don’t need ~ No, there is no actual pumpkin in this recipe. Pumpkin purée has a mild, somewhat bland flavor on its own. I don’t feel it adds much to this recipe and the extra moistness just makes it harder to get a crispy, crunchy texture. Skip it and go big on the pumpkin spices instead.
Oil. Nope, don’t need it! You might see other recipes that tell you that you need the fat in oil to get a crispy texture and create crunchy clusters, but I’m here to tell you that’s just not true. Even after storage, this oil-free vegan pumpkin spice granola will stay crispy and delicious! Just don’t handle it too much or the clusters may crumble into smaller pieces, which you can certainly do if you like smaller pieces. Tastes great either way!
How to make the recipe
Please scroll down to the recipe card for exact ingredient measurements and instructions.
Add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl (1). Stir to combine (2).
Add the vanilla extract to the maple syrup and stir. Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and mix thoroughly so that all the ingredients are evenly coated (3).
Spread the mixture onto a prepared rimmed baking sheet and press it down into one big rectangle. The middle should be slightly thinner than the edges because the edges always cook quicker. This ensures even baking throughout. You want one thin layer without much space in between the ingredients (4). This is how we create big crunchy clusters.
*If you double the recipe, use two baking sheets to ensure all of the ingredients are in contact with the pan. You don’t want them layered on top of each other.
Bake for 20 minutes, turn the pan 180°, and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until golden and the edges are crispy (5). It will continue to crisp up as it cools.
Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack, sprinkle the dried cranberries over the top of the baked granola and allow it to cool for 10 to 15 minutes (6).
Once cool, gently break the granola into clusters with your clean hands.
We tend to eat this granola right out of the jar by the handfuls for snacks. Once you start, it’s hard to stop!
Make a pretty parfait by alternating layers of granola, yogurt, and fresh fruit.
This pumpkin spice granola is nut-free, so it’s perfect for packing into lunchboxes.
You can even turn it into dessert by serving it with a dollop of vegan vanilla ice cream or no churn vegan chocolate ice cream and a drizzle of vegan caramel sauce. It’s also great paired with vegan vanilla pudding.
Counter: Store the pumpkin spice granola in an air-tight container (I love mason jars for this) on the counter or in the pantry. Be sure the granola has cooled completely before transferring it to a container! It should keep well for at least 2 weeks, maybe longer. Though I doubt you can resist eating it all before that!
Freezer: You can also freeze homemade granola. Let it cool completely and then transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and place in the freezer. It should keep well for up to 3 months.
Thaw: If frozen, let the granola thaw at room temperature for about an hour.
Pro tips and tricks
~ Use old fashioned rolled oats for best texture.
~ Ensure all ingredients are evenly moistened before transferring to the baking sheet.
~ Press the mixture into one thin layer without much space in between the ingredients. The mixture in the middle of the pan should be slightly thinner than the edges since the edges will bake quicker. This ensure the granola will be evenly done at the same time.
~ Contrary to popular belief, do not stir the granola during baking! However, do rotate the baking sheet after 20 minutes to ensure even baking.
~ Add any dried fruit or chocolate chips only after the granola has baked, so they don’t burn or melt.
~ Allow the granola to cool completely before breaking it into clusters. Don’t handle it too much or the clusters may crumble…still delicious, but harder to eat by the handful.
~ To make this recipe gluten-free, use certified gluten-free oats.
~ This recipe can easily be doubled. Spread the mixture between two baking sheets to ensure everything gets nice and crispy.
Old fashioned rolled oats will provide the best texture for homemade granola.
Bake this pumpkin spice granola at 300°F. Any higher and the ingredients may burn before the entire mixture has time to dry out and bake through. Allow the granola to cool completely before serving to ensure a crunchy texture.
The granola is done when it’s golden in color and the edges are crispy. It will continue to crisp up as it cools, but it shouldn’t be wet coming out of the oven.
Yup! Homemade granola, like this Vegan Pumpkin Spice Granola can be frozen for up to 3 months. Make sure it is completely cooled before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or plastic bag.
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Granola
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
- Add the oats, brown rice cereal, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and salt to a large bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Mix the maple syrup and the vanilla extract together. Pour over the oat mixture and stir well until evenly moistened.
- Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet and press into a thin layer without much space in between the ingredients. The mixture in the middle should be slightly thinner than at the edges.
- Bake for 20 minutes, turn the pan 180° (but do not stir!), and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until golden with crispy edges.
- Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack, sprinkle on the dried cranberries, and allow to cool.
- Once cool, break the granola into clusters as big or small as you like. Don't handle it too much or the clusters may crumble.
Nutrition facts calculated based on ½ cup per serving.
Nutrition values are calculated using online calculators and are estimates only. Please verify using your own data.