This soaked oat dehydrator granola recipe is nutritious, tasty and incredibly simple. With just a little forethought, you’ll have a nice batch of delicious homemade granola, ready to be consumed for breakfast or a quick snack!
I’m such a fan of breakfast food. In our house, the go-to breakfast is soaked oats, soaked the night before and cooked in the morning. But on occasion, we forget to soak them (imagine that!). It’s nice to have some options premade that are just as healthy since the grains were soaked or sprouted! Enter soaked oat dehydrator granola! (Also, sprouted wheat German pancakes… yum)
When you stroll down the health food aisle at the grocery store, there are a lot of “healthy” granolas to see! But if you look a little closer you will see they are either FULL of preservatives and a crazy amount of sugar or are astronomically expensive- not exactly the ideal breakfast food for your body or your wallet… That’s why I love making my own granola. I can control exactly what goes into it and how it is prepared and cooked. Inexpensive, maximum deliciousness and maximum health benefits! That’s pretty much my goal with every recipe I make.
I’ve become obsessed with all things soaked and sprouted, since I want my body to keep and use the nutrients from what I’m eating!! I love this raw granola recipe cooked in the dehydrator because the low temperature allows all the nutrients that are unlocked from the soaking process to be maintained. Also, it tastes delicious. It’s a win-win-win!
The History of Granola
Granola goes way back to 1863 (crazy, right?!), although its first form isn’t exactly what you know granola to be today. It was invented by Dr. Caleb Jackson, who made a sort of paste with graham flour, cooked it, broke it into pieces, cooked it again and broke it into smaller pieces. He actually called it “granula”, naming it after the granules of graham flour or the Latin word for grain “granum” (depends who you ask). It had to be soaked in milk the night before consumption because it was so dense and dry.
More than a decade later, John Kellogg (yup, that cereal guy) developed a similar type of cereal, with a few additional ingredients. This version did not have to be soaked overnight, so it was definitely closer to our modern versions. He changed the name to “granola” because of legal issues with Dr. Jackson.
It seems that granola just kind of disappeared until the hippie movement of the 1960s. It has since then been recognized generally as a “health food”.
Dehydrator Granola Health Benefits
Made from soaked oats and other whole foods, this granola is packed with nutrition. These common, simple ingredients are also readily available at most grocery stores and online! You don’t have to go searching for anything weird!
Rolled Oats – Rich in fiber, protein, many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Oats keep you feeling full longer than many other breakfast cereals and breakfast foods, as well as lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes!
Whole Wheat Flour – Contains phytase, which when soaked with the oats in an acidic medium, helps to reduce the phytic acid that is present, improving the digestibility of both the oats and wheat. It is high in fibre, while white flour has none, since the fibre resides in the bran, which is what is removed to make white flour. Whole wheat is also a good source of some vitamins and minerals.
Coconut Oil – Contains healthy fatty acids, which can transform quickly into energy, maintain heart health and improve brain function.
Butter – Butter, especially from grass fed cows, is a good source of a variety of fatty acids, as well as some vitamins and antioxidants. Health experts often recommend to consume butter in moderation due to its high content of saturated fat.
Coconut Milk – Just as coconut oil, coconut milk contains good fats that have health benefits, contains many good nutrients and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Honey – Contains anti-oxidants and is generally considered “less bad” than white sugar or corn syrup. However, it is still sugar, so the less you consume, the better! The same is the case with other natural sweeteners that you might substitute in for the honey.
Why Are Soaked Oats Healthier?
Soaking grains unlocks many nutrients and health benefits that you otherwise wouldn’t get from eating the grain unsoaked. Most grains, including oats, contain phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that protects all that is good in the grain from being released. So all the healthy things in the oats just pass you by, or rather, pass through you! Soaking oats in an acidic liquid helps to neutralize the phytic acid, so your body can make use of the nutrients in the oats. This also makes it easier on your gut as the oats pass through because it doesn’t have to work as hard!
Soaking has a similar effect on grains as sprouting and fermenting (sourdough). Fermentation is the most effective way to neutralize phytic acid, but I’m going to be honest, sourdough intimidates me (I tried to maintain a starter a few years ago and it was an epic failure). One day I’ll get up the courage to try again, but until then soaking does the job just fine!
Why is Dehydrating Healthier Than Baking?
There are a number of undesirable things that can happen to many ingredients when they are heated above a certain temperature. With this granola recipe, the main one to consider is loss of enzymes and antioxidants in the ingredients when heated above 110°F. Coconut oil and butter should not be heated above their smoke points of 350°F, but that is not a concern in this recipe, since you’ll be cooking at 200°F if using the oven method.
Ways to Eat Granola
I’m always looking for healthy snacks to take with me when I’m going to be out for a while. Granola can be eaten on its own as an on-the-go snack or it can be mixed in with your favorite trail mix! Just toss in a Ziploc or a small tupperware container to go.
Granola is also very popular as a breakfast food and can be eaten with milk or almond milk (or any plant-based milk, really) as a cereal, or added to your favorite cereal for extra substance, flavor and texture! It can also be eaten as a topping on yogurt or a smoothie bowl.
You can even eat it with pudding or ice cream as a way to jazz up your dessert!
Granola Topping Ideas
When eating granola with milk, plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream, you can have a lot of fun with different toppings! Some ideas are fresh fruit (banana slices, strawberry slices, fresh blueberries), hemp seeds, toasted coconut flakes, dark chocolate chips or chunks and your favorite nut (sliced almonds, pistachios, pecans). You could also drizzle with some natural peanut butter, honey or maple syrup.
Can Babies Eat Dehydrator Granola?
Babies under the age of 1 should never consume honey! This is because, until this age, their little digestive systems are not equipped to deal with spores sometimes found in honey (both pasteurized and unpasteurized). Ingestion of these spores can lead to infant botulism (a very serious, potentially fatal disease). Learn more about infant botulism here. Because of the crunchy texture, I wouldn’t recommend feeding this dehydrated granola to your baby until about the age of 1 anyways. The great thing is that it does soften up quite quickly in the mouth, so my 1 year old hasn’t had any problems and quite enjoys it!
Tips for Making Dehydrator Granola
- If you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, it’s a good idea to make sure you specifically use gluten-free oats (oats don’t inherently contain gluten, but they are often processed and packaged in facilities with products that do contain gluten). Replace the whole wheat flour with buckwheat groats, which are gluten-free.
- Use filtered water if you can! Tap water has chemicals that you don’t want to ingest if you can avoid it.
- If you want to make a double batch, you will fill a small 10 tray dehydrator or 4 baking sheets in your oven.
- Cover food dehydrator trays with parchment paper and grease with a little olive oil, coconut oil or butter. This is optional, but I find it makes the job of removing the granola from the parchment much easier. You could also use Teflex sheets (a reusable nonstick sheet meant for dehydrators).
Variations of Dehydrator Granola Recipe
- The purpose of the whole wheat flour is to include an ingredient that contains phytase, an enzyme that helps break down the phytic acid and improve the digestibility of the nutrients in the oats. You can substitute the whole wheat with another high phytase grain, such as rye or buckwheat.
- To make this recipe vegan, use more coconut oil instead of butter and maple syrup instead of honey.
- Add ½ cup cocoa powder (when adding the sweetener after soaking) to make it chocolate flavored!
- After the granola is dehydrated, add up to 2 cups of any mix-ins you would like! Some ideas are toasted coconut flakes, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, chopped dark chocolate, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and dried blueberries. Have fun and go crazy with your add-ins! If you go overboard, you can always reign it in next time!
- Nuts and seeds contain phytic acid as well, but must be soaked in water with salt and drained and rinsed after soaking. It’s a different process than soaking oats, which do not have to be rinsed after soaking. Do not add nuts or seeds into the oat mixture before soaking! If you wish to add soaked nuts or seeds to the granola, soak and dehydrate them separately, then mix them into the granola. For a full guide on how long to soak and dehydrate different nuts and seeds, read this article.
Tools You May Need
Measuring cups and spoons
Soaked Oat Dehydrator Granola Ingredients
7½ cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut oil, melted (or ½ cup coconut oil + ½ cup butter, both melted)
1 can coconut milk or 1½ cups buttermilk
2 cups filtered water
4 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 cup raw honey or real maple syrup (or combo)
1 tsp sea salt
½ – 1 tbsp cinnamon ( I like to use 1 tbsp, but some people may find it a little much!)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
any add-ins (chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut flakes, etc)
Soaked Oat Dehydrator Granola Instructions
In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil, butter, coconut milk, water and apple cider vinegar.
Add oats and flour and mix well. Cover for 8 hours or overnight.
In a saucepan, mix sweetener, salt, cinnamon and vanilla over low heat until melted. Add to oat mixture and mix well.
Two options for cooking:
- Dehydrating (my preferred- retains more nutrients due to low heat)- Cover food dehydrator trays with parchment paper and grease with olive oil, coconut oil or butter. This is optional, but I find it makes the job of removing the granola much easier. You could also use Teflex sheets (a reusable nonstick sheet meant for dehydrators). Spread granola mixture out evenly on dehydrator trays, place in the dehydrator and set to 110°F. Leave for 18 hours.
- Bake- Preheat oven to 200°F. Spread granola over 2 baking sheets (or 1 extra-large baking sheet) lined with parchment paper. Bake for 4-8 hours, watching for the granola to become dry, keeping in mind it will crisp up more as it cools.
Allow to cool completely. The granola will be a crispy, yet somewhat flexible sheet. Remove from parchment or cookie sheet, place in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to gently break into pieces, or just use your hands. You can also pulse a few times in the food processor, just don’t overdo it, or you’ll end up with granola dust! Mix in up to 2 cups of add-ins. Store in an air-tight container for 1 month, or freeze for 6 months.
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- 7½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup whole wheat flour, rye flakes or buckwheat groats
- 1 cup coconut oil, melted (or ½ cup coconut oil + ½ cup butter, melted)
- 1 can coconut milk or 1½ cups buttermilk
- 2 cups filtered water
- 4 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup raw honey or real maple syrup (or combo)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ - 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- up to 2 cups of any add-ins (chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut flakes, etc)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine melted coconut oil, butter, coconut milk, water and apple cider vinegar.
- Add oats and flour and mix well. Cover and leave for 8 hours or overnight.
- In a saucepan, mix honey/maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and vanilla over low heat until honey is melted. Add to oat mixture and mix well.
- There are two methods for cooking: Dehydrate (my preferred- it retains more nutrients because of the low heat)- Cover food dehydrator trays with parchment paper and grease with a little olive oil, coconut oil or butter. This is optional, but I find it makes the job of removing the granola much easier. You could also use Teflex sheets (a reusable nonstick sheet meant for dehydrators). Spread granola mixture out evenly on dehydrator trays, place in the dehydrator and set to 110°F. Leave for 18 hours. Bake- Preheat oven to 200°F. Spread granola over 2 baking sheets (or 1 extra-large baking sheet) lined with parchment paper. Bake for 4-8 hours, watching for the granola to become dry, keeping in mind it will crisp up more as it cools.
- Allow to cool completely. The granola will be a crispy, yet somewhat flexible sheet. Remove from parchment or cookie sheet, place in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to gently break into pieces, or just use your hands. Store in an air-tight container for 1 month, or freeze for 6 months.