Granola with Cherries, Chocolate, & Pistachios


Homemade granola with dark chocolate, cherries, and pistachios from Our Best BitesSo if you’re still looking for a last-minute gift for your friends and neighbors and kids’ teachers, today’s post is for you If you’re looking for something a little different on Christmas morning, this post is for you. If you’re freaking out that Christmas is a week away and that panicky feeling keeps rising up in your chest and you desperately need chocolate, this post is for you.

Finding a good granola recipe that isn’t COMPLETELY horrible for you and/or doesn’t use 52,000 ingredients that will sit in your freezer/pantry for the next 3 years (not that I would know anything about this) can be quite the task. I love this recipe from Melissa d’Arabian because it meets that criteria, plus a) it’s super customizable, so all my fantasies of coconut, cherries, and chocolate were able to come true, and b) it’s pretty hands-off; none of this “stirring every 5 minutes for the next three hours” business. Okay, the three hours might be an exaggeration, but the every 5 minutes thing is not. That’s pretty much a recipe for disaster at my house.

To flavor the granola, you’re going to need coconut oil (try and find virgin coconut oil, the kind that still smells and tastes like coconut. This is my favorite brand), cinnamon, ginger, honey (you can also do part honey and part oatmeal syrup–I actually like straight-up honey better for a few reasons–real maple syrup is very expensive, so it seems like a waste when you can’t even really taste the maple flavor. Also, honey has a more distinct flavor and the syrup can become a little bitter during the baking process), water, and vanilla.

granola ingredients

Preheat your oven to 300. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

Place the coconut oil in a small, microwave-safe mixing bowl (or a large cereal/soup bowl)–if you didn’t know, coconut oil is solid at room temperature. You know, just in case you’re ever on Jeopardy.

coconut oil

and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until melted.

melted coconut oil

Whisk in the cinnamon and ginger,

granola spices

then add the honey, water, and vanilla and whisk until combined.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 4 cups oats, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup Rice Krispies, and wheat germ.

dry granola ingredients

Drizzle the oil/honey mixture over the oats and toss well to combine. Spread the mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet

granola on baking sheet

and place it in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes (be sure to get all the corners and edges because they’ll be the first to get crispy), until the granola is golden (by and large, it won’t come together like commercial granola, and it will crisp up after it’s cooled off. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

baked granola

When the granola has cooled, add the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut, 1 cup dark chocolate chips,

chocolate chips

cherries (chop ’em up after you measure them),

chopped cherries

and nuts. I’m using pistachios,


but you could pretty much use any nuts you want here–cashews and macadamia nuts would be especially delicious. My only advice would be to make sure they’re salted so you get that dimensional flavor. If you’re using unsalted nuts, you might want to add a pinch or two of salt to the honey/cinnamon/oil mixture. Toss well to combine.

finished granola

Stir in an airtight container for a few weeks; it will last longer if you refrigerate or freeze it.

Eat it straight as a snack, sprinkle it over yogurt, or pour milk over it and eat it like cold cereal.

Homemade granola with dark chocolate, cherries, and pistachios from Our Best Bites

Makes about 8-9 cups.

Homemade Granola with dark chocolate, cherries, and pistachios from Our Best Bites

ALSO. If you haven’t headed over to our recently opened olive oil shop, go check it out! If you hurry, you can still get your order before Christmas!

OBB Shop is Open

Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Would you know how many cups the tulip jar holds or its size or model number. Thanks! Sounds delish!

  2. I’m not familiar with wheat germ (and no experience with ground flax)… is it added for texture an/or nutrition? Or can it be omitted? Thanks! Love homemade granola, so much less $$$ that store bought.

    1. Yep! I meant to put that in the recipe…maybe once I get out of my pajamas (if that happens today…), I’ll go change it. 🙂

  3. Made this today with toasted pecans and mini chocolate chips. Awesome stuff! I love having something delicious to look forward to every morning when I wake up!

  4. Guess i didn’t read all the comments. Will check World Market. It is just down the road in our mall. Just think they are so cute.

  5. Looks like a real great recipe. Can you share where you bought those adorable jars?

    1. I got mine at World Market–they’re Weck tulip jars. Aren’t they adorable?! They also sell them at Williams-Sonoma and you can order them from their website (

      1. Yep! Those are Weck tulip jars. You can order them from their website, but I’d go with World Market or Williams-Sonoma.

  6. Is there anything that can substitute for the rice crispy cereal? No rice and no sugar… Is it essential to the final product or could I just omit it?

    1. I would just omit it. You might want to try adding in something else for texture, but I’m not sure what to suggest. 🙂

  7. Thank you so much! I will try this with canola oil! 🙂 love all your recipes, you girls are amazing!

  8. I noticed that this was listed under gluten free. Wheat germ is a no no for anyone that is celiac or intolerant.

  9. This looks so delish! I’ve had a thing lately with pistachios with chocolate. This sounds like the perfect combo.

  10. This looks delish. And I’m loving that honey container. Also, I believe this would pair well with your large Diet Coke from DQ the other day. But, who am I kidding? I think everything pairs well with Diet Coke. 🙂

    1. Ummmmm…yes, haha! My ultimate breakfast of champions is either a sugar cookie or our soft ginger cookies with a Diet Coke. Breakfast. Of. Champions.

  11. Did you change your format? I am only getting a partial post visible via Feedly. I use a reader so I don’t have to click through to the actual blog :/

    1. Yeah, unfortunately. 🙁 There are spam blogs and generally dishonest people who have programs that skim RSS feeds and email subscriptions for full posts, lift them, and then republish them as their own. It’s almost impossible to contact a human there and when you do, they’re almost inevitably not-nice people. Our only recourse is to file a complaint with their blogging platform (blogger, wordpress, etc.), which is a hassle and can take weeks for them to make a decision. In the meantime, people who are searching for our recipes are reading them somewhere else (or are finding them and not knowing where they come from). So I know it’s one more click, but we have to do it to protect our work, you know?

      1. I get that you have to protect yourselves (unfortunate, but necessary) but would it be possible to include a picture? For some reason, maybe because I’m a “visual” learner, I really miss the pictures.

        1. Definitely something we’ll look into–I love the idea of having a picture. 🙂

  12. I read “part honey and part oatmeal syrup” and just sat here wondering what in the world oatmeal syrup was and how they ever made a sugar substitute out of something like oatmeal, but then I kept reading and realized you meant maple syrup. Ha! 🙂 I love finding new granola recipes!

    1. Oh my gosh, can I get a nap for Christmas (and I seriously just almost wrote “breakfast” instead of “Christmas,” hahaha!) Thanks for the heads up! 🙂

  13. Is there any possible substitution for the coconut oil? I am allergic to coconuts but I would love to try making this granola with a few substitutions! 🙂

    1. Kimberly, if you were asking for a specific substitution, try vegetable oil. I use canola in my granola and it works great!