Dark Chocolate Granola

I’d have no business telling you how utterly addicting and delicious and fantastic this granola is except that I’ve made six batches in the last two weeks and am therefore declaring myself an expert in everything dark chocolate granola.

It’s a talent rare few possess, this dark chocolate granola know-it-all business.

Talk about addicting. We’ve been eating this tasty granola blend on vanilla yogurt every day for who knows how long (and we aren’t counting because we’re just enjoying).

So tremendously yummy. I cannot get over how much I love those little pockets of melted dark chocolate throughout the granola. It’s heavenly. Absolute heavenly.

Dark Chocolate Granola

And if the dark chocolate granola wasn’t fabulous enough, how pretty is it with the freeze-dried strawberries and yogurt bites peppered throughout?

Not only do they add a perfect pop of Valentine’s (or anytime) color but the sweet tartness of the strawberries adds a delightfully fresh crunch and the creamy yogurt bites are never bad. Never, ever.

FYI: I’ve mentioned before that I snag all my freeze-dried faves from ThriveLife and am a huge fan of their company. My love is unsolicited. They don’t know me, pay me, send me free stuff, or really care I even exist (that’d be a sad thought except I have a big bowl of dark chocolate granola right here to make me feel better).

I’ve been a customer for years and finally convinced my sister, Emily, to try it out (she’s now a consultant which makes me proud that I finally was the one to tell her about something cool since she’s always the one finding the neat-o stuff and I’m, like, the last person on the planet to find out about it).

Em asked me to do a short and simple step-by-step video for her new YouTube channel since she’s growing her business and because this granola kind of rocked both of our worlds.

Dark Chocolate Granola

I have a feeling this chocolate granola would be the perfect little Valentine’s snack/treat for a school party packaged up all cutesie except, judging by many of your comments over the years, I think homemade treats at public school may be a thing of the past?

Well, think of it this way – at least you don’t have to share.

Based off a long-time granola favorite, this yummy chocolate version is fabulous plain or with those extra specials thrown in there.

My bet is you won’t be able to eat just one handful. And I don’t want to be forceful or anything but keep in mind, you should probably respect my opinion since I am an expert after all.

One Year Ago: A Few Valentine’s Favorites
Two Years Ago: Strawberries and Cream Stuffed French Toast
Three Years Ago: Nutella and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Dark Chocolate Granola + Valentine’s Twist

Yield: Makes about 8 cups of granola

Dark Chocolate Granola + Valentine’s Twist

The freeze-dried strawberries and yogurt bites are optional but add a delicious texture and flavor combo to the dark chocolate granola (plus it pretties it up a bit). I get my freeze-dried strawberries and yogurt bites from ThriveLife.


  • 3 cups (10.5 ounces) rolled oats (not quick)
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) coarsely chopped almonds
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) unsweetened, Dutch-process or dark cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup (2.5 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, avocado oil or a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1-2 cups (6-12 ounces) chocolate chips
  • Freeze-dried strawberries and vanilla yogurt bites (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line two large (11X17-inches or so) baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, cocoa powder and brown sugar and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine maple syrup, oil, vanilla and salt.
  4. Slowly pour the maple syrup mixture over the oatmeal mixture, stirring well. Spread the granola evenly on the two prepared baking sheets.
  5. Cook for 1 hour, stirring once or twice, until the granola smells fragrant. Add an additional 10-15 minutes if needed to help the granola crisp up a bit.
  6. Remove the granola from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Stir very lightly if you want to incorporate them a bit into the granola and then walk away. Let the granola rest until the chocolate chips have melted and then cooled, 1-2 hours (you can speed this up by popping the baking sheets into the refrigerator).
  7. Break the granola into clumps and add freeze-dried strawberries and vanilla yogurt bites, if desired. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

Recipe Source: adapted from this favorite coconut and cashew granola

42 Responses to Dark Chocolate Granola + Valentine’s Twist

  1. […] has used Thrive in a lot of her amazing Mel’s Kitchen Cafe recipes like these muffins, and this granola to name a […]

  2. Anna says:

    I have made this a couple times now. I find that an hour is too long. It has a little bit of a burned aftertaste and it is super crunchy. It smells fragrant after about 30 minutes. . . Next time I make it, I will cook it less.

  3. Mamalala says:

    This is such a great recipe. I went to Trader Joe’s to get the freeze-dried strawberries/raspberries. I also use the Gerber vanilla yogurt melts. What I love about this granola is while you’re cooking at your house smells like brownies. Made these for gifts for two of my friends, and I am making a second batch for another group of people. So yummy. Thanks Mel.

  4. Corinne says:

    This granola is sooooo good, and so addicting! Thank you for sharing. :0)

  5. Jacqui says:

    Mel – just jumped over to your sister’s website and purchased the yogurt bites and strawberries. Can’t wait to try this granola! Thanks for all of your great recipes!

  6. Andrea says:

    This has become a breakfast (and snack) staple at our house! Soooo good!! My husband claims that it tastes like oreos in his cereal….and believe me he knows. For a different variation of it I added about a half tsp. of mint extract to the liquids and left out the almonds. Then when it came out of the oven I added some of the Andes mint chips to it in place of the chocolate chips. It was soo good. Thank you for the recipe!

  7. Stephanie Nelson says:


  8. Kristen says:

    Hi Mel,
    Where do you buy Dutch process cocoa powder?

    Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      I buy it from Penzey’s spices usually and sometimes just on Amazon (although the last few times they’ve shipped it, there’s been cocoa powder everywhere in the box it came in – not fun!).

  9. Sam M says:

    I made this last night and it is delicious! I didn’t have any maple syrup, so I subbed honey. I Also, increased the coconut and left out the almonds. My entire house smelled like chocolate while it was baking and I sampled way too much while it was cooling! I’m kicking myself for waiting almost 2 weeks to try this. 🙂 I didn’t have any dried fruit, but I’m going to try it with fresh berries and yogurt tomorrow for breakfast! Thanks for another great recipe!

  10. MC says:

    This was so delicious! I made it with a few substitutions based on what I had around the house; I replaced the almonds with chopped pecans, and instead of maple syrup I used an extra 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of water and about 1/8 teaspoonful of maple extract. I did not even have chocolate chips on hand (!), so I can only imagine how much more delicious it would have been with a handful melted in. Thank you!

  11. Liz says:

    Seriously, some smarty pants really needs to develop a chocolate essential oil. This granola made my entire house smell as if I was in Hershey, Pennsylvania. And it’s such a snap to throw together, I’m tempted to make it daily just to have that heavenly aroma lingering again. Even my hair smelled like chocolate when I laid down in bed last night–haha! I couldn’t find freeze-dried strawberries or yogurt bites in 3 different grocery stores (nor had the patience to wait for an Amazon Prime delivery), so subbed in freeze-dried raspberries and yogurt-covered raisins. Looks, smells and IS delicious! Awesome!!

  12. Teresa says:

    This was fantastic. We had a snow day from school today, so it was a perfect day for it. I used 1/4 c. unsweetened coconut as we are not huge fans, and upped the oats by 1/2 c. I also used all walnuts as we love them, and the richness they added was amazing. One cup of chips was plenty sweet for us. I kept nibbling at it while it was cooling, but it really is best completely cooled. Delicious!

  13. Wendy says:

    Fabulous! My whole family loved it and it is so ‘cute’ with the freeze dried garnishes. I did leave out the almonds for the nut allergy kid in our family and upped the oats/cocnut, plus added a fourth cup of chia seeds because I <3 them. Thanks for another winner!

  14. Jill says:

    making this today. when does the salt come in? sprinkled on top with the chocolate chips?

  15. Rochelle says:

    Hi Mel,
    I’m usually good about figuring out substitutions, and I can just sub peanuts for the almonds (allergy), but can I sub extra oats for the coconut (also an allergy) without altering the texture too much? I love granola, but with a severe tree nut allergy, it’s a tough one to make, and impossible to buy!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Rochelle – I think you could definitely leave the coconut out – maybe sub in 1/2 cup extra oats. It will affect the texture a bit but I think it would still be tasty.

  16. Rachel says:

    Being pregnant, as soon as I see something that looks good, I have to have it. I was making this 5 minutes after I read your blog. Oh my goodness…. YUM YUM YUM!!!! THANKS!!!

  17. Natalie says:

    I’ve made two of your granola recipes this week. Can’t wait to try this one!

  18. Angela says:

    You are one hilarious dark chocolate granola expert!

  19. Natalie says:

    I was going to make my regular granola today but decided to try your recipe instead. Boy am I glad I did, SO YUMMY! I made the recipe twice. The first time I made it exactly as written. The second time I added 2 TBS PB2 powder and subbed half the almonds with peanuts. It was really good too. Thank you for the recipe!

  20. Jenn A says:

    LOVE chocolate granola and I sure do trust your recipes. Can’t wait to try it!

  21. Rebekah says:

    This is such a timely post! Costco makes the yummiest dark chocolate/strawberry granola and our family has been going through it so fast. I have been trying to find a comparable recipe so I could just make it at home and save a bunch of moolah!! Thank you so much!!

  22. Micole says:

    In the last comment I was wondering if log cabin could be a substitute for “pure maple syrup”

  23. Micole says:

    I have everything but pure maple syrup. Can I use store brand not “pure” like the Log Cabin brand?

  24. Mary P says:

    I loved the recommendations you gave for Penzey’s, and ordered them right away! And now I’d love your favorites from Thrive, besides the two you just gave. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Ah, too many to probably list but here’s a start: whole grain penne pasta; freeze-dried corn, spinach, celery, strawberries, blueberries, grapes (these are so delicious!); quinoa (love that it’s sealed in #10 cans to store in my food storage), honey crystals, unbleached all-purpose flour (not for every day baking but to keep on my food storage shelves), barley, powdered sugar (again, I store this for emergencies, like when I run out of my Costco bag!!), cornmeal, steel cut oats.

      • Hyo says:

        This recipe was fabulous! I used grape seed oil as my neutral oil and then when it came out, I added the dried Montmorency cherries for just an added tartness from Trader Joes. I did find freeze dried strawberries there too. Beautiful granola! Thanks Mel.

  25. Paige says:

    This granola looks amazing! I’m going to have to make this next week after our current batch runs out!


  26. Marne says:

    In the “aint it interesting” front, reading the email (on my tablet) showed the first photo and the last but not the two in the middle. However when I went to the website all the photos were there. As Alice would say “curiouser and curiouser”

    Nonetheless, many thanks for all your efforts on our behalf.

    • Mel says:

      I actually think I have the issue figured out, Marne (thanks to some developers much smarter than I). I’m hoping tomorrow’s email will show ALL the photos. Be sure to let me know. Thank you!

  27. Danielle says:

    Yep…that’s how it works…we can send any type of processed preservative filled junk food to class that is most certainly not good for anyone, but heaven help us if we actually want to send something homemade…its super lame in my opinion…
    Thanks for the recipe!!! I’m hoping a new battery fixes my thermometer and I can get back to yogurt making soon 🙂

  28. Jenn says:

    Have you ever tried those Gerber Yogurt Melts for babies? I love those things, both for my babies and myself! Are the Thrive yogurt bites anything like that? I’d totally buy some if I knew they were soft enough for my baby to handle.

    • Mel says:

      Hmmm, that’s a good question, Jenn. I’ve never had the Gerber Yogurt Melts but the Thrive bites sound similar. They are freeze-dried so they are a little crunchy when you first put them in your mouth but then they melt into creaminess. If I almost exclusively get the Greek yogurt bites from Thrive because they are lower in sugar than their other fruit versions.

    • Angie says:

      They are the same. I did notice, though, that the sugar content between brands varies. The Gerber yogurt bites were actually lower in sugar than one food storage brand in my local store (Auguson Farms, I think), so it would be worth checking. Once or twice a year, I have been able to snag the 1 oz. bag of Gerber bites for $1. That is the lowest I have ever paid for freeze dried yogurt. Even at the sale price of $1.49 that you see more often, it is a better price per oz. than most of the food storage cans of FD yogurt.

  29. Desiree says:

    Yum, Mel! I’ve got this in the oven right now and it smells so good!! I can’t wait to top my favorite yogurt with a big heap!

  30. Stacy says:

    I will be making this for my daughters’ basketball and soccer teams! Luckily, we are at a small private school and they still allow homemade goodies to come in. Thank you for sharing this seriously yummy looking recipe!

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