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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 or xylitol (non-corn though to avoid tummy troubles!). Just keep in mind that your granola will take up to a day to crisp up.

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

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.
4.94 from 47 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 15 servings
Calories 216 kcal


For the keto granola

Serving suggestions

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


  • Preheat oven to 250°F/120°C. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper or a baking mat. 
  • Mix almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds in a large bowl. Set aside. 
  • 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. 
  • Add sesame seeds, sweetener, molasses (optional) and cinnamon to a food processor and pulse a couple times until powdered and mixed thoroughly. 
  • Add sesame sugar to nut mix and combine thoroughly. Set aside
  • Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold gently into granola mix until fully combined. 
  • 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!). 
  • 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. 


*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. 


Serving: 45g | Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 6g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 2.4mg
Keyword gluten free granola, keto granola, paleo granola
Whip up this recipe?Comment below or drop me a line @gnomgnom._ and tag #gnomgnomyum!


  1. Petra says:

    5 stars
    Totally hit the spot! Delicious. Already regretting I did not make a double batch. Silly me, I should’ve known, since every single recipe of yours I ever made was a huuuuuge hit.
    Another keeper 😋 Thank you, Paola!

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Lol Petra I get you! I feel like I need to add this as a note: *Highly* recommended to double up! 😉

  2. Meredith says:

    Late to the party, but I made this today. It’s so good! I was smart and have already portioned it out for daily breakfast planning. It is definitely worth the small bit of work. I’m excited to try out different seasonings (i.e. apple pie spice mix, pumpkin, etc.) so I can’t prevent any boredom with it. It’s a go-to snack/meal for sure!

  3. Karen says:

    5 stars
    Love this so much. Really impeccable recipe and so filling and nutritious. Has anyone figured out what a serving size is in cups? When I weigh out 45 grams, it’s only 1/8 c ., which is way less than 1/15th of the recipe, (15 servings). I would like to be able to know if the serving size is 1/2 c, 3/4 c. or what. Thanks!

  4. Cherie says:

    5 stars
    I’ve died and gone to heaven!!! This granola is the real deal. As other’s have said, the only thing wrong with it is that you can’t stop eating it! My teenage son loves it so much that he devoured about 1/4 of it in one sitting LOL. I added macadamias, hazelnuts, walnuts and shredded coconut as well and just added another egg and increased the dry ingredients a wee bit. I’d give it 10 stars if that was an option. Love love love it!!!

    • Anne says:

      You could try aquafaba (chickpea water) which can make a meringue like substance. I’ve used it elsewhere as a vegan egg white substitute when cooking for people allergic to eggs.

  5. Daryl says:

    I make 2 batches of this every month (if it lasts that long). My husband absolutely loves this for his breakfast every morning. I’ve added walnuts to the mix and increased the quantity of the nuts to 4 cups. I add coconut flakes as well. I’ve shared it with friends and neighbors. Given them as gifts. Thank you for this great recipe.

  6. Amber says:

    This sounds so rich and decadent. I’m wondering if we could just use Tahini in place of the sesame seeds? Have you tried that?

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      I’m not sure how it will crisp up Amber… but I’m surely intrigued by the idea!! (LOVE tahini!!!)

      • Amber Farquhar says:

        No, I didn’t try it because I’m currently trying to be nut/seed free this month. Nuts and granolas we’re making me overeat and then feel inflamed.

  7. Sarah Goodman says:

    5 stars
    Made a batch today!!
    Love love love this granola!
    I add a few chopped walnuts to mine and sometimes a little nutmeg.
    I always toast the nuts and seeds in the oven and sometimes don’t bother grinding down the sea same seeds and it’s still a bowl of crunchy goodness!
    I love mine with cold fresh almond milk and a spoon of Greek yogurt.

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Sounds like you’re counting sugar alcohols as regular carbs Sue, remember its common practice to subtract them as you do fiber xo!

  8. Jane says:

    I’ve just finished making my second batch of this granola. Oh my! It is the best I’ve ever made. It crisps up nicely and stays crisp until the very end. This is a true winner!!!! This time I chopped up a 1/4 c dried cherries which adds only 2 net carbs per serving. This granola served over my homemade L. Reuteri yogurt Is the bomb!

  9. Jane says:

    I used this recipe the last time I made granola and it truly a winner! We typically eat our granola over yogurt and need only a little bit to satisfy. This stays crunchy all the way to the end.

  10. Gabriela says:

    5 stars
    Excellent! For those who don’t have access to blackstrap molasses: I have replaced it with sugar free peanut butter and it worked just fine.

  11. Jan says:

    I’m very keen to try this. It sounds yummy, and it looks like the closest I’ve found to one that I purchased and really love. But, I’m wondering about the amount of cinnamon though, seems small for 15 servings. I’ve seen other recipes that call for 1 or even 2 tsp for only 4 servings. Thanks.

  12. Diane Heiserman says:

    5 stars
    Oh My Yum! I may have to hide it away from the family, so I can have it all to myself! I used different brands for the brown sugar replacement and molasses but was yummy none the less. My carb count came out to 4g per serving.

    DEFINITELY roast the seeds!!!!

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