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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. rhonda t says:

    this is NOW one of our favs and something i’m sure we will keep on hand!! thanks for the hard work! we made it late one nite, and the next morning i jumped out of bed to have my “cereal” for the morning. i so anticipated my first taste of it because everything we have tried of yours is AMAZING!! 5 stars, freakin rockin amazin!!! thanks so much!

  2. Anna says:

    This is simple to make and also delicious. Nice to be able to reach into a jar and have a crunchy granola bite as well as in a bowl with milk. I wonder about adding a little cocoa next time…

  3. patricia says:

    I would love to try this granola, but cannot have eggs. Just wondering if you think whipped aquafaba would work for the eggs? Thanks for your help.

    • Anne says:

      Melted butter might actually work. I’ve made candied nuts this way, with egg white, and with melted butter and both come out great. I’ve done aquafaba for things where the whipped egg white is for lift and it’s been fine, but I’m not sure if it has the sticking power of egg whites!

      • patricia says:

        Thanks for your comment and help Anne, but I am allergic to dairy and eggs! No it is not easy to adapt these recipes to fit such a diet.

  4. Holly says:

    I am completely in love with this recipe! Thank you! I had to substitute hazelnuts for the almonds and hemp seeds for the pumpkin seeds, but I will be making this over and over again! I also couldn’t wait for it to cool, so I put it in the freezer so it’d crisp up faster! 😉 I could hardly stop eating it since it’s been so long since I’ve had “real” granola. I think I better double the recipe next time!

  5. Solora says:

    Just made this, why didn’t I start making it a year ago??? It’s absolutely delicious! Going to experiment with some cocoa powder and vanilla next! Thank you so much, you truly are a keto goddess!! <3

  6. Carole says:

    Wow…no matter what you add or how you do it, it always turns out crunchy and so flavorful. I even tried adding cayenne pepper to give it a nice bite and that blew me away. I can literally live on this. I even throw it in my spinach salad with roasted green bananas, crispy bacon, sweet onions and cooked egg. How can anyone not love eating like this to stay in a Keto state? Guess what I’m having for supper tonight…lol…

  7. Dana says:

    Sesame seeds didn’t powder. I toasted in oven on pampered chef toaster stone tray. They were oily in texture and just spun around with sweeteners until I added sugar free breakfast syrup.

  8. Ms. G.O. says:

    You really should put a warning label on this recipe, I could not stop eating it! (Made a half batch on a Saturday and polished it off on Monday.)

    Thanks a million for a brilliant granola recipe that will be a staple in my home.

  9. Jenn BG says:

    I LOVE this granola! I’ve made it every weekend for the last three weeks and find so many uses for it. I nibble as a quick snack, or lately I’ve been putting a serving over ricotta cheese sweetened with a little Swerve as breakfast. It’s so satisfying and has a great texture and crunch. With this recipe, I feel like I get to eat “regular” food. Thank you!!!

  10. Melanie says:

    Just made this for the first time and as it’s cooling in the pan I nibbles and nibbled telling myself, just one more piece…just that little bit sticking off the side….until I had to walk away to keep from eating the pan. This will be fabulous in the morning with vanilla almond milk, a few blueberries and some toasted coconut chips. Also considering adding cocoa nibs when I tire of blueberries. Thank you for the recipe.

  11. Julia says:

    Hi! I’m new to all this keto diets. I’ve decided to give it a try because the other diets demand to abandon meat and I don’t have energy all day and always hungry.
    I can’t understand 1 thing. WHY should you use sweeteners? I’ve heard they cause cancer. I’d rather don’t use anything! Can I use dry fruits instead? Or they are high in carbs? Thank you

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      I mean if you’re talkig about Splenda etc then yes, but Erythritol etc are natural seeeteners. You need to decide for yourself 😉

  12. Katy says:

    I’ve made this recipe many many times and it is always a hit. I have made many substitutions depending on what I have on hand. I’ve used different variations of nuts, I haven’t used sesame seeds if I’m out, etc. The granola is definitely THE BEST with these sesame seeds, but it’s not a deal breaker. The one requirement is molasses, NO MATTER WHAT. The molasses is the absolute best part and gives an umami that’s undeniable. Also a decent amount of pink salt really amps the flavor. I love this granola!!!

  13. Jenna says:

    I used walnuts instead of pecans because that’s what I had, and I didn’t have sesame seeds so instead I mixed together stevia, ground flax, cinnamon and the blackstrap with my fingers. I did everything else per the recipe and baked it for twenty minutes and it was crunchy and perfect. Thanks for the great recipe!

  14. JuliZ says:

    Hi Paola, I’m planning to make this today but I’m confused about when to add the blackstrap molasses. If I add it to the food processor with the Swerve and cinnamon won’t it be a gooey mess instead of a powder? Should I powder the dry ingredients first and then add the molasses?
    Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes!

  15. Sarah says:

    Oh I’m excited to try this. In desperation I came up with a recipe that’s rather shockingly similar 😝. I didn’t make the sesame sugar — which I sure will next time! — and I haven’t ever whipped my whites, just tossed the whites through the nut mix. What’s the benefit of whipping the whites?

  16. Chris says:

    Sounds like a great recipe. Can’t wait to try it. Only comment I have is we tend to talk about Omega 3s in seeds. Great crunch and otherwise nutritionally, but the O3s are not usable to the human body from plants.

  17. Nina says:

    I really don’t care for the molasses or xylitol, but I love dark chocolate. I have 80% dark chocolate with only 4 grams of sugar. How can I substitute this in with your granola without the sweetners? Would the recipe still be the exact same ?

  18. Loree says:

    Paola, Where are you? Actually, I am just wondering about your elevation… I’m in a new city at 7600 feet, trying to figure out if, when you say “very high elevation,” and provide your baking experiences there, whether I will have greater or lesser affects of my new elevation! Thank you for making Keto cooking possible for me, a person new to the kitchen! (It’s like you are reading my mind, giving the answers to all the questions in my head, right there in the deets!) And thanks for your help!

  19. Anna Knapp says:

    Don’t hesitate, just make this, it’s delicious. I used just 6T of swerve, as a personal sweetness preference adjustment, and this is DELICIOUS. Just had a bowl with labne and a few raspberries: thank you so much for developing it!

  20. Katy says:

    Snow day here in Michigan today, so nothing makes a cold day better than some granola! My daughters and I are going to bake up a storm today with your site, and the first to get made is this yummy granola. You are truly a master and we’ve been delighted with every recipe you’ve shared. ❤️

  21. Josh Stiller says:

    The recipe is delicious! However, when I calculate the net carbs I get 14g per serving. Can you please show me how you made your calculations?

  22. Pam says:

    Your recipes are amazing! We live in Louisiana and it’s Mardi Gras time so I’m going to make your cinnamon rolls and decorate with purple, green and yellow cream cheese glaze.

    We miss Red Velvet cake. Any chance you may be working on a recipe for that? Your butter-cream cheese frosting would be amazing with it.

    All the best!

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