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Extra Crisp (Top Secret!) Granola 🥄 gluten free, keto & paleo

This paleo and keto granola is extra crisp and a real flavor bomb! Think a combo of toasted nuts and seeds, all caramelized with one great and easy coating.

Note: this recipe was first published on November 2017, and has since been updated to provide more deets and tricks!

Keto granola in a bowl with raspberries and milk
(Extra Crisp!) Paleo & Keto Granola

Paleo & Keto Granola

Extra (Extra!) Crisp!

I wanna tell you guys a little story! Once upon a time, gnom-gnom was (for a super brief period!) a physical little bakery in Mexico City. Clearly it didn’t work out (oops!), and the lack of demand kept the project from going further. 

But this ‘top secret’ granola was one of the best sellers along with our candied pecans… which incidentally used the same topping. Coincidence? I think not!

And the credit goes to? Our sesame ‘sugar’ (now no longer) top secret coating!

Flavor aside, this keto granola is simply suuuper crunchy, even after soaking in almond milk for 10 minutes (you know, while I took the pictures!!)

So feel free to pair it with ice-cold almond milk and raspberries, allowing the granola to soak in the milk for a few minutes will flavor it as well (good stuff!). But it also goes great with Greek-style yogurt and strawberries, if that’s your thing.

The Secret Ingredient: Sesame Sugar (i.e. Halva)

I borrowed the sesame sugar coating from our favorite candied pecan recipe ever. The lightly toasted sesame seeds add such an incredible depth of flavor and aroma!

Once mixed in with the sugar and the cinnamon, an incredible coffee scent will arise. And expect such coffee earthiness to be present in the actual keto granola too.

And if you know the Middle-Eastern sweet treat halva, a mix of sesame and sugar, you won’t think twice about whipping these guys up asap.

Freshly baked Keto granola on a baking tray
(Extra Crisp!) Paleo & Keto Granola

A Nutritional Powerhouse

This keto granola is a breeze to customize to your taste-buds desires. Having said that, just make sure to keep the dry to wet ratios roughly the same. And I highly suggest you leave the coating unchanged.

So here’s a run through of what goes into it, and the nutritional perks we know you’ll love. And at 3g net carbs (and 18g fat!) the macros are pretty ideal.

Almonds: are one of the preferred keto nuts, and with reason. They contain a bunch of healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamin E and magnesium.

Pecans: are very rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (mainly oleic acid) and full of antioxidants (reduce inflammation and reverse damage) and manganese (useful for weight loss).

Sunflower seeds: are incredibly rich in a bunch of nutrients, namely vitamin E, copper and vitamin B1. But you will also find that these guys are a great source of manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, niacin and vitamin B6. Yup, ideal!

Pumpkin seeds: are little nutritional powerhouses, just like sunflower seeds. Their nutrient profile includes magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc. But they’re also very rich in antioxidants, for that extra boost.

Chia seeds: are simply awesome. These tiny Mexican guys pack a whole lot of protein and add a whole lot of crunch. Chia seeds contain large amounts of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of high quality protein, and several essential minerals and antioxidants. So if you’re on keto, and having trouble passing (you know, 💩), chia seeds are bound to become your new best friends.

Flax seeds: are a great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, but also good for fiber, vitamin B1, copper, magnesium, selenium and phosphorus. Whoop!

Sesame seeds: are jam packed with healthy fats, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin B-6.

Blackstrap molasses (optional): 1 teaspoon (7g) adds 5g net carbs (depending on your macros, very little effect on carbs/serving). But carbs aside, blackstrap molasses is a nutritional powerhouse rich in vital vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium.

Cinnamon: ranks number 1 (out of twenty-six other spices and herbs) in terms of its antioxidant capabilities. Plus, who doesn’t love cinnamon?

Pink Himalayan salt: is highly recommended on the keto diet, and with reason. It contains roughly 84 minerals and trace elements, so a real upgrade from your usual table salt. Plus, it amps the flavors a bunch in this keto granola.

Keto granola in a bowl with raspberries and milk
(Extra Crisp!) Paleo & Keto Granola

The Deets

Keep in mind that giving a light toast to a handful of the nuts and seeds will amp up their flavors a bunch, so I cannot recommend enough that you get it done. And yes, I know that they’re going in the oven for an hour… but they’ll be going in candied, so you want to get that toast before.

Still, doesn’t take more than 5 minutes with a pan or skillet. Just be sure to keep an eye on them, as you only want them lightly golden. Or you can do 10 minutes in the oven at 350!

The Sweetener

Like any respectable candied recipe, this one works best with a brown sugar replacement! My current favorite is Lakanto’s golden (tastes and smells sooo good!!), there’s only some light cooling aftertaste and it crisps up nicely in a few hours. 

Your other option is to use allulose and xylitol (non-corn though to avoid tummy troubles!)

As mentioned earlier, I also like to add a blackstrap molasses for that extra brown sugar kick (and a tonne of umami!). But then again, its totally optional! Though must say, I’m rather fond of sticking to the more natural route with blackstrap molasses.

Keep in mind that blackstrap molasses is considered a low glycemic sugar. One teaspoon (7g) adds 5g net carbs, so just 0.4g net carbs a serving (i.e. half the sugar of a strawberry!). But carbs aside, it’s also known to be a nutritional powerhouse rich in vital vitamins and minerals; such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium.

Fun fact: Molasses contain high amounts of chromium, which has been studied to increase glucose tolerance levels.

And if using xylitol, make sure to be careful if you have a pup around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys! 🐕

Keto granola in a bowl with raspberries and milk
(Extra Crisp!) Paleo & Keto Granola
Keto granola in a glass container with a black background
(Extra Crisp!) Paleo & Keto Granola

Looking for more keto cereal recipes?! Don’t miss out on our cinnamon toast crunch or cocoa puffs

Suuuper Crunchy Gluten Free, Paleo & Keto Granola. Just 3g net carbs! #keto #ketobreakfast #lowcarb #glutenfree #paleo #healthyrecipes #cereal

(Extra Crisp) Paleo & Keto Granola

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free granola, keto granola, paleo granola
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 216 kcal

This paleo and keto granola is extra crisp and a real flavor bomb! Think a combo of toasted nuts and seeds, all caramelized with one great and easy coating.

Print

Ingredients

For the keto granola

Serving suggestions

  • almond milk ice cold!
  • full-fat Greek style yogurt
  • raspberries
  • strawberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F/120°C. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper or a baking mat. 

  2. Mix almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds in a large bowl. Set aside. 

  3. Lightly toast sesame seeds over medium/low heat for 4 to 6 minutes. Watch out they do not burn or they'll taste bitter! You know they're ready when they're lightly golden, and you press one between your fingertips and it turns to powder. 

  4. Add sesame seeds, sweetener, molasses (optional) and cinnamon to a food processor and pulse a couple times until powdered and mixed thoroughly. 

  5. Add sesame sugar to nut mix and combine thoroughly. Set aside

  6. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold gently into granola mix until fully combined. 

  7. Spread granola onto prepared baking tray in a single layer and sprinkle with pink Himalayan salt. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until they begin to harden, checking every 15 minutes or so. Allow to cool completely, as they'll continue to crisp up while cooling. Depending on the sweetener you use, these might get their full crunch after an overnight rest (think xylitol!). 

  8. Break up in chunks and store in an airtight container for up to a week, in the fridge for 2, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. 

Recipe Notes

*Lightly toasting the nuts and seeds lightly in a pan or skillet (or roasting for 10 minutes!) brings out the best in them! So I highly suggest you get them golden and fragrant before tossing with the mix. 

**I'm very fond of adding blackstrap molasses for a real brown sugar kick (and a tonne of umami!).. It adds 0.5g of carbs per serving (it's packed with nutrients), and a whole load of punch. But it’s totally optional, and you can just use your regular sweetener.

Please note that nutrition facts are estimated for 45g of the keto granola, which is roughly 2/3 cup. 

Nutrition Facts
(Extra Crisp) Paleo & Keto Granola
Amount Per Serving (45 g)
Calories 216 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 10mg0%
Potassium 225mg6%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 6g24%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 5IU0%
Vitamin C 0.3mg0%
Calcium 123mg12%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

104 comments

  1. Cat says:

    For years I have made vanilla almond granola and honey roasted peanut granola using the traditional recipe with rolled oats. Since changing to a low carb lifestyle I have really missed that granola on Greek yogurt. This recipe has given me back granola! I made it using 1/2 cup each of almonds, walnuts and pecans because we all love walnuts. I don’t think it messed with the macros too much. I took a page from another commenter and made part of it into granola bars, using a silicone mold. I baked the pan of bars and the remaining granola on the same sheet pan for the same amount of time. The granola was crunchy and delicious and the bars were a bit chewy (which we all loved) and equally delicious. The granola bars have the added benefit of being easy to take with you anywhere, but there is no way to eat a whole bar in one go! It’s just too filling!!!! Thanks soooo much, Paola! This stuff is like crack! 🤣

  2. Minaz says:

    I don’t have sunflower seeds…i forgot about them and they are no good anymore! 🙁
    Can I omit and just increase the other nuts?

    Thanks

  3. Joi says:

    Ahhhmmmayyzin!! I subbed walnuts for the pecans , skipped the sesame, added my own toasted coconut flakes (no sugar), and 1 tsp of molasses & vanilla extract. OMG! I had to drop off baggies to friends so I wouldn’t eat it all!!!

  4. Bets says:

    Wow—just what I was looking for! I used to eat a bowl of cereal every morning, and dropping that for eggs on keto was getting tiring. I used 4T of Swerve, which made it plenty sweet enough for me (almonds have a nice sweetness). Thanks!

  5. TIffany says:

    Can’t wait to try this!! Have been on Keto for 2.5 weeks, and the only thing I miss is breakfast cereal. I swear, if I see another scrambled egg…

    Anyway, my question is: where I live I don’t have access to Swerve or xylitol. I do have Stevia drops and powdered erythritol. Can I use that instead, and if so, how much? (repeat: I’m new to this!)

    Also, I can’t find molasses; is it for flavor/sweetness or for stick-togetherness? Could I use unsweetened cocoa powder instead, and if so, how much?

    Thank you thank you thank you in advance!!!

    • Tina says:

      Tiffany, I have made some batches with unsweetened cocoa powder and it gives a wonderful “Count Chocula” flavor!!
      The molasses is both for flavor, crunch and and old fashioned brown sugar flavor, but can be made without-I have done both.
      In answer to your sweetener issue, I have found that a blend of sweeteners provides the most natural flavor.
      Also, for your scrambled egg delimma, have you tried fried, baked, omelette, frittata, etc?

      Sylvia in Italy- I do bake mine in convection oven which utilizes a fan. I think it crunches up better without over-cooking.

      Am making like my 10th batch tomorrow- and I always double the recipe!
      Merry Christmas Everyone!

  6. Lisa says:

    Just made a batch last night and it’s now Saturday morning. In bed, with a bowl of this delicious granola and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Now all I need is some cartoons and I’ll be transferred back to my childhood!

    I know it may be breaking keto rules, but I added a variety of freeze dried fruit (100% fruit) that I broke into small pieces and distributed throughout the granola. It’s like I have my adult, keto version of a kids’ cereal. YAY!

  7. Stephanie says:

    This recipe nutritional info didn’t calculate out the same for me, for starters I only got 9 1/2 cup servings, not 15 2/3 cup servings, the net carbs comes out to 8.7 according to My fitness pal, I am not sure why I am seeing such a variance.

    • Paola says:

      Hi Stephanie! It sounds like you’re counting in the sugar alcohol as regular carbs (and it’s common practice to subtract them) xo!

      • Joady says:

        Paola, this is an issue for me too. I love your site and recipes but although you can subtract Erythritol, Xilitol is not the same and almost everyone agrees that it should be counted between 50 and 70 grams per 100g as carbs as it has a substantial impact for most people. Do you not find that you react to it? Thanks again for all the great work

        • Paola says:

          HI Joady! Honestly I know that it’s higher GI, but it’s still only 7 which compared to sugar is still nothing. We’re all different and I’ve never found xylitol to kick me out of ketosis etc, then again we’re all different (and I don’t overindulge in sweets). For instance, eating a handful of strawberries will raise my sugar levels more than a brownie with xylitol. So it’s up to all of you to test how your bodies react to different foods.

          Also it’s not like the recipes HAVE to be made with xylitol, that’s why I give options. Erythritol and allulose are awesome too, but I’ll always give my opinion on which sweetener works best in every recipe as they all behave differently in different types of baked goods. In the end it’s up to you guys xo!

          • Joady says:

            Absolutely fair Paola, I use a combination of monk fruit extract, xilitol and tagatose usually as a blend. With Keto I notice so much as you say how enormous the variability between people is. Thanks and keep up the great work. We’ve got 7 Keto’ers in the family and you’re our go to for amazing recipes

    • Deborah says:

      For me the 2/3 cup worked out just right as a serving size. I weighed the 2/3 cup and for me it was 60 grams ( I had added some coconut flakes which weigh nearly nothing). It all depends on how big you leave your chunks after they are baked…more chunky means less tightly packed and more air spaces. I broke mine up into chunks about the size of a blueberrie/ blackberry.

      As the nuts/seeds are so nutritionally dense I found the 2/3 cup / 60 grams, with a few berries and some milk/cream over it all, very filling as satisfying. Too satisfying….has a second helping before going to bed…..dangerous stuff as it is soooooooo delicious.

  8. Silvia says:

    Hi there from Italy, thanks for the recipe which is currently in the oven. Do you use a fan while cooking or not?
    How I wish you could reply ASAP, hopefully when it’s still baking!!!! ;-D

    • Paola says:

      Hi Silvia! Sorry we’re Mexico City time so I was still asleep when you where cooking 😂! No fan, but doesn’t matter much with this recipe (all you need is a nice and low consistent heat) xo!

  9. Deborah says:

    OUTSTANDING !!! So nice, and the perfect texture…..substantial and crunchy without being too dense (remember the old Saturday Live skit on “Quarry Cereal”, ie, like eating rocks). This is fabulous. I customized it a bit, added one cup of roughly chopped walnuts to the mix because I love them and for the Omega 3s. I also added 2 cups of toasted coconut flakes to the mix after the nut/ egg white mixture had been baked (as the coconut gets burned so easily…better to toast it on its on and add in the end). I have extended family who are also doing low carb and plan to make a batch of this to bag up as Xmas gifts. Just love this stuff. Love your recipes Paola.

  10. Felicia says:

    Thank you so much this turned out fabulous and husband is very excited finally a bar he can take with…I made half the batch in silicone forms for bars…I am going to try and drizzle some chocolate on the next ones and seal in food saver bags to extend life.

  11. Kari says:

    This one looks so complicated that I’d rather make a bigger batch. What is your suggestion on how and how long to preserve this celicacy?

    • Paola says:

      Hi Kari! In an airtight container it should last well over a month (depending a bit on your humidity)- try and pack it in several containers so you’re not opening it daily as that would defeat the purpose. But if you find it’s losing its crunch you can always pop it back in the oven for a bit. xo!

  12. Jennifer says:

    Hi
    Due to GI issues, my consultant has told me to avoid all sugar (even natural ones) – can this recipe work without the molasses and sweetener?

  13. gina holstead says:

    Just made these, (in the oven now), but I was looking for a recipe for granola that started off by chopping the nuts in a blender.
    A few things are different.
    Is this the same recipe, presented differently.
    I can’t find where I saved the last one but it was delicious! (and it was gnom gnom)

  14. Ashleigh Keeney says:

    I was wondering how important the egg whites are. My daughter is allergic to egg and if the egg is not cooked to a minimum of 350F then she can’t have it and I’m exploring new recipes in an attempt to get her and her brother off of all things bread and sugar. Is this recipe dead for me new now or is there an alternative?

    • Paola says:

      Hi Ashleigh! Unfortunately this recipe is meant to work with egg whites, as they’re what binds everything together… my suggestion would be to browse through the vegan sites on how they do granola and exchange the sugary ingredients for keto ones.

      Alternatively, you could cook the granola at 350F for say 15 minutes and then lower the temp the rest of the time?

    • Tina says:

      The egg whites are vital if you want crunch. If you don’t, then coat in melted virgin coconut oil.
      You can cook at 350 and then turn down as was suggested. Also, I use free range eggs- most people have no problem with them.

  15. Tiffani Beckman says:

    holy wow!!! excellent recipe! I made a few adjustments for our household – adding in a drop of orange essential oil and cinnamon essential oil to the molasses really amped up the spices. also added some powdered ginger and allspice because I love them 🙂 I used macadamia and brazil nuts because we tend not to eat them and they are so good for us. they are big so I chopped them up. This is so good I’m glad I doubled the recipe!

  16. Tina says:

    This is my second time making this recipe. Hands down, it is the best low carb granola I have ever made. This time I think I scorched the nuts just a tad, but…more crunch!

    I also used the molasses this time instead of the sukrin gold.

    Can you smell it? Roasting in the oven as we speak!

  17. Jen says:

    Do you think if I chopped all the nuts coarsely and pressed them in a rimmed greased pan, bars could be made from this recipe?! Would they hold together? Going to make it for sure regardless, but I have been looking for a bar recipe for my kids! thanks 🙂

    • Paola says:

      Definitely Jen! Works great, I’ve done it before 😉 If you make it with xylitol just keep in mind that it can take up to a day to fully crisp up xo!

  18. Jane Ritchuk says:

    I must say this is ABSOLUTELY delicious!!! Better than those sugary, starchy boxed concoctions that passes for granola in the stores. When people say, “Keto! how can you stand that” I pull out a handful of this and show how great it can be. Thank you for all you do!!

    • Paola says:

      LOL that’s so awesome to hear Jane! And it’s my absolute pleasure, just happy to hear this granola is a winner for you 😉 xo!

  19. Emily says:

    Incredible. This crisps up nicely and holds its shape in almond milk or half n half. I add a handful of frozen berries and it tastes amazing.

  20. Alanna says:

    I have one major complaint about this recipe–I can’t stop eating it! Who can stop at one serving?! I used Penzeys Spice’s Chinese cassia cinnamon which really seemed to amp it up a notch. I made a couple modifications to the sugar part (based on what I had available), and was still very very very impressed: 6Tbs Just Like Sugar (from chicory root and bakes nicely), 1.5 tsp black molassus, and 1Tbspn Josephs sugar free maple syrup. Also, I added the egg whites into the food processor with the sugar/sesame/cinamon mix–easier. Yum!!!

  21. Kim Radcliffe says:

    Thank you for this delicious granola. My husband loves it and it now replaces his high-sugar breakfast, sprinkled over yoghurt. The recipes I have tried have all turn out beautifully. Can’t wait to try more!

  22. Stace K. Morgan says:

    I meant to thank you for the candied pecans! We made them for Thanksgiving and EVERYONE devoured them in minutes! That topping is really excellent! Will be making this for sure over the weekend thanks again! Stace

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