Homemade Granola and Coconut Yogurt

I can’t lie to you. Each holiday season, I play favorites. No, no! Not with my kids, silly. No, I end up embracing, loving, dreaming of and obsessing over the one treat or food gift that has stolen my heart and that I want to give to everyone. Even amid all the thousands of decadent holiday treat and food ideas swirling around to tempt me, there is always one that stands out. No contest, this granola and yogurt has won. Easily. While granola may not make your heart go pitter-patter with holiday gluttonous (the likes of which is astounding around the internet this time of year), I think I have officially declared it my favorite holiday gift this year especially when gifted with a jar of luxurious, thick homemade coconut yogurt. It’s unique and refreshing and healthier than caramel-coated-double-chocolate-fudge-filled-candy-cane-brownie-bark. That isn’t to say I won’t be bombarding you with all sorts of naughty treats the rest of the week, but still, for the record, this is healthy-ish.

Personally, I’ve been eating this granola on my yogurt every single morning for the past month, no exaggeration, pinkie swear. It is amazing. A perfect balance of salty and sweet, it is  completely divine with creamy yogurt and just about perfect for independent snacking. Between coworkers, friends, neighbors, teachers, UPS delivery guys (we are BFF’s thanks to Amazon Prime), at least a few people on my list are getting some of this granola and yogurt. I won’t be able to live with myself if they don’t. Of course, if you don’t want to go to the work of making your own yogurt, buying a tub of good-quality, tasty yogurt would work just fine to go along with the star of the show: the salty sweet granola.

Homemade Granola and Coconut Yogurt

Many of you already love and use another favorite granola recipe of mine. It’s incredible and you could obviously use and package that one up instead/also, but this granola is definitely worth a try. It has a completely different flavor profile with the olive oil and different types of nuts, plus it is cooked at a higher heat for much less time (the nuts and coconut are brilliantly added toward the end of baking time to ensure they don’t burn). I hate to play favorites, but this is definitely my go-to granola right now. When it first came out of the oven, I wasn’t sure about the strong aroma from the olive oil and the salty bite – but after it sits for a day, the flavors meld and subdue and it is wonderful (plus I cut the salt down just a tad, too).

Granola and yogurt may not be the most exciting “treat” in the world when faced with cookies and cakes and brownies, but I promise it’s a worthy gift (or just a lovely thing to enjoy yourself). I definitely wouldn’t turn it down if someone showed up at my door with it; in fact, I’d probably hoard it all to myself. Enough with the talk, just make it!

Homemade Granola and Coconut Yogurt

Again, I’m using jars and twine here. Not too original, I know, but I have hundreds of jars in my storage room and always pick them up at the thrift store when I see them, too, so I’m constantly adding to my collection. You could swap out the jars for disposable tupperware-type containers or use a bag and tie for the granola and a jar for the yogurt.

A Note About the Yogurt:
The recipe below is only for the granola. Here are the details on the yogurt: I’ve changed up my method for making homemade yogurt quite a bit (I’ll do an updated post come January most likely) but in a nutshell, I heat milk in a pot on the stove over high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 180 degrees F. Take it off the heat and add sugar, vanilla extract and coconut extract to taste, stirring well to dissolve the sugar (I use about 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon coconut extract for every gallon of milk – this makes for a very, very mildly sweet yogurt; if you want it sweeter, add more sugar to taste). Let the milk cool to between 110 and 120 degrees F. Mix 1/2 cup plain yogurt with a cup or two of the warm milk and then stir that mixture back into the pot with the milk. Fill quart-sized canning jars with the milk/yogurt mixture. Place in a cooler with an equal number of covered jars of extremely hot water. Close the cooler and let the yogurt culture for 8-10 hours (I’ve also done this by placing the jars in the oven that has been preheated to 175 degrees and then turned off. I cover the jars with a large towel and turn the oven light on to maintain a bit of warmth for 8-10 hours). Straining the yogurt is optional; using whole milk, I rarely strain the yogurt, I simply place the jars in the refrigerator. If using 1% milk, I often strain the yogurt through cheesecloth in a strainer for about an hour and then whisk to recombine the yogurt and refrigerate. This seriously is the best yogurt in the world.

One Year Ago: White Chipper Chocolate Cookies
Two Years Ago: Sweet Berry Bruschetta
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Haystack Cream Cheese Squares

Salty Sweet Granola and Coconut Yogurt {Sugar Rush Gift Edition #4}

Yield: Makes about 10 cups

Salty Sweet Granola and Coconut Yogurt {Sugar Rush Gift Edition #4}

This granola is much better if left to sit, covered, for 12-24 hours - the flavors meld and the olive oil aroma dissipates. Also, the different ingredients are variable - add the type of nuts you prefer. You could also add dried fruit after the granola bakes and cools.


  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups unsweetened or sweetened flaked coconut, lightly chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups raw almonds, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until combined. Spoon out 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture and set aside to use later.
  4. Stir the large portion of the wet ingredients into the oat mixture, tossing to coat evenly.
  5. Divide the granola between the two baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring and flipping half way through.
  6. Toss the nuts and coconut with the reserved olive oil mixture.
  7. Add the nut mixture to the granola after it has baked for 20 minutes and bake for an additional 7 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. This granola tastes better if left to sit for a day or two before eating.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Melissa at Faux Martha by way of The Kitchn (I decreased salt slightly and used a different variety of nuts as well as sweetened coconut instead of unsweetened since I can’t find that in my neck of the woods)

47 Responses to Salty Sweet Granola and Coconut Yogurt

  1. Mamalala says:

    I made this tonight and I swear it tastes like a churro. Love this granola and we made your Valentine’s Day one too- decadent and delish.

  2. Mollie says:

    Oh. My. This was amazing granola. I’m super sad it took me so long to finally try making this! I made your tikka masala last week, so I finally got around to picking up some cardamom, and that inspired me to finally try out this recipe. I did mess with it a bit (sometimes I can’t help myself!). I used light (which refers to color and flavor, not calories!) olive oil, which may be why mine tasted amazing right out of the oven? Maybe I’m missing out on the flavor that the EVOO brings, and I’ll probably give that a try one of these days to see if it makes a difference. Also, I used 5 cups of oats and 4 cups of crisp rice – I like to add volume to my granola with out adding too many calories, and crisp rice seems to do the trick for me. I can never eat just a 1/2 cup serving, so this allows me to eat a bit more without eating all my calories for the day at breakfast. Adds some extra crispy-ness too. I did use 1/2 pure maple syrup, and 1/2 homemade maple syrup (I was almost out of my real maple syrup!). For all my other granola recipes I have started to cook them at 250 for 75 minutes, and it makes it so I don’t have to stir/flip the granola during bake time (the one thing that I loathe about making granola!) I stuck to the recommended temp and bake time for this recipe, but next time I make it, I may give the low and slow method a go, and see if it saves me the stir and flip without sacrificing flavor and crunch. This is going in our regular rotation for sure, along with your peanut butter granola. It’s definitely a “premium” granola. Not sure if I’ll be sharing with my kids, but definitely gift-able. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Mamalala says:

      Thanks for posting your suggestions on how to get granola a bit more lower in calories. I was one the fence wanting to make this. Going to make it today!

  3. Natasha says:

    I paused briefly when measuring out the expensive maple syrup, then I remembered I was making one of Mel’s recipes. This is delicious! I’m not sure I can ever go back to store bought granola now. I didn’t use the cardamom, but instead used 1 tsp cinnamon. Thanks for your awesomeness!

  4. […] from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe: Salty sweet Coconut cashew – I’ve tried this, and it’s amazing Peanut butter – hmm, […]

  5. […] Awesome granola (we make Mel’s fantastic Salty Sweet Granola) […]

  6. Layla says:

    Can I substitute macadamia nuts with another nut? Say pecans or walnuts?

    Thanks! Can’t wait to try this!

  7. jess says:

    I just found your website and have pinned a bunch of your recipes! Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing all of your amazing ideas! I am making this granola as we speak. My humble suggestion is to use avocado oil rather than olive oil to avoid the scent after baking. I find it to be similar to olive oil but milder for baking and as a bonus its smoke point is very high…above 500 degree farenheit.

  8. Andrea says:

    Can I use quick oats on this one?

  9. Kara says:

    If you have become an expert on making yogurt, I’d love a post with all of the experience and knowledge you have on making your own! There seems to be many ways to make it, but is there a “best” way? Easiest way? Crockpot, mason jars, in a cooler, in the oven, etc.? Maybe it’s foolproof? I’m new at this and would love to be able to add it to my list of things I make from scratch when I can. Thanks for your help! I love your blog. 🙂

  10. Kirsten says:

    This may sound silly, but when you sweeten/flavor the yogurt can you use that yogurt as your starter still for next time?

    • Mel says:

      Kirsten – that’s not a silly question at all. I’ve used the sweetened yogurt as a starter and it works just fine…simply makes the next batch a little sweet, too (and just barely since it isn’t a ton of starter).

  11. Bethany says:

    This sounds so good. I’d like to make it. I only have whole cardamom pods that I crush. Do you know the equivalent of how many of those I would use? The whole pods have a stronger flavor than the ground, so I don’t want to overdo it. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Bethany – hmmm, I am not sure how many cardamom pods you should use. Have you tried googling a conversion? I don’t want to lead you astray and have the flavor be too overpowering!

  12. Amy says:

    Such a great recipe. We love the granola and the yogurt is fabulous! I’ve tried to make yogurt before, but epic fail. This method worked great. I’m making my second batch today. This time with a vanilla bean and orange extract. One question I have about the granola… have you tried making it with your homemade maple syrup? Pure maple syrup can be pricey. Just wondered if it would taste the same with the homemade stuff.

    • Mel says:

      Amy – that’s a great question! No, I haven’t tried making it with my homemade syrup but I’ve been tempted before. It’s just that there really is no substitute for that pure maple syrup flavor. If you try it, let me know! I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before I give it a try, too.

  13. Anona says:

    I can’t wait for your post on yogurt!! 🙂 I am trying yogurt right now from the description you posted. But I am excited to see what other things I should do to make the yogurt delicious :). I love plain Greek yogurt but it is so expensive to buy!! So I am excited to convert to homemade. I made yogurt following directions for your last post last year or so. I liked it but my kids don’t like plain. I am hoping the sugar from this one will taste more like vanilla for my kids. I would love to know what other flavors you put in your yogurt!

  14. Robin says:

    Love it!!!
    Your coconut cashew is my fav granola recipe! I just tried this yogurt twice once vanilla and once coconut and loved both!
    Thanks so much 🙂 I make my yogurt in the crockpot http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/10/you-can-make-yogurt-in-your-crockpot.html?m=1
    And I was able to add the sweetener ( I used pure maple syrup) and flavor in there. yum!

  15. Staci says:

    And thank you for the input on the spice! And in advance for advice on the yogurt!

  16. Staci says:

    On the yogurt, I made it and the kiddos loved it! We are just wondering do you think the sane recipe would work with different flavors? ?? Say possibly lemon extract?

  17. Staci says:

    I just have a question about the cardamom, it is the one thing I don’t have, and to be honest I am just not motivated enough to leave my house. Lol. I have read subs that range f4om ginger to just cinnamon….. suggestions?

    • Mel says:

      Staci – cardamom is such a unique flavor that nothing will sub perfectly for it and it is what makes this granola so delicious in my opinion. Having said that, I know the feeling of not wanting to leave the house…so you could try subbing from what you found online but the flavor will be a bit different. Good luck!

  18. Karin says:

    I cant wait to try this. Right now my favorite granola is from The Sister’s Cafe http://www.thesisterscafe.com/2008/03/my-favorite-granola-ever

  19. Jess says:

    I totally agree that in this season of sweet treats, something like granola is such a welcome gift, Mel. It’s so thoughtful and, honestly, so much more useful than tons of cookies. 😉 The salty sweet combo sounds incredible, but that coconut yogurt is blowing my mind – I must try that stat!

  20. Carrie says:

    Hey, dumb question… When you say ‘olive oil’ do you mean extra virgin olive oil? Just trying to figure that out before I use a whole cup of the good stuff…

    Side note, have you ever tried Smitten Kitchen’s granola made with egg whites? The egg whites make it soooo crunchy and clumpy. The flavors in yours look fantastic though. I might try a marriage so I can have clumpy coconut cardamom granola. mmmm….

  21. Jessica says:

    This looks so good. What are your thoughts about using vegetable oil instead of olive oil? I don’t know if it’s the brand I have, but from past experiences I am worried the olive oil aroma will be overwhelming.

  22. Lisa says:

    Love this idea! Where do you buy your coconut extract? All I can find is imitation coconut extract.

  23. Kathy A says:

    Hey Mel, thanks for the fabulous recipes! Have you tried half & half in the homemade yogurt? Just curious if it would work???

    • Mel says:

      Kathy and Jena – I’ve only ever made this yogurt with 1% or whole cow’s milk. My cousin Tami has tried it with coconut and almond milk but I remember her saying it was pretty runny (although several mentioned on the original homemade yogurt post that they’ve tried it with alternate types of non-dairy milk). I think half-and-half would work – will probably be ultra thick!

  24. I wish I was eating this for breakfast right now! It looks so great 🙂

  25. Tina says:

    Could you use coconut oil instead of Olive oil?

    • Mel says:

      Tina – I’ve used coconut oil in the other granola recipe I referenced (the coconut cashew granola) but not in this one. I’m guessing it would work fine…but I do love how this granola has a deliciously unique flavor because of the olive oil.

  26. Ruth says:

    This granola looks wonderful! That being said I cannot imagine any granola being better than your Cashew Coconut Granola. I guess I will have to make it so I can see for myself. Thank you, Mel for all the gift ideas and recipes.

  27. Heather says:

    I am addicted to coconut greek yogurt. I didn’t even think of making my own! I am going to try both of these recipes soon!

  28. Anne Schofield says:

    Mel, if you are anyone else wishes for unsweetened coconut, Amazon often has the Lets Do Organic or Bobs Red mill brand available. I use subscribe and save and it is a much better deal than buying it locally, even when you do have that option. We love The Bobs brand version of flaked coconut as the flakes are huge, and they are wonderful in granola and cookies. We have been using the Food52 olive oil granola genius recipe for a long time, but I am trying your method of waiting to add the nuts and coconut next time. And I love that you added cardamom! Yum!

  29. Jena says:

    Hi Mel,
    Do you think I could make the yogurt with Almond or Coconut Milk?
    Thank you!!

  30. First off, this granola — I am loving that there is coconut and macadamia nuts in it!! And that yogurt? Now I’m super curious. I want to see more!!

  31. Stacey says:

    These both sound so good! The yogurt actually sounds easy to make!

  32. Maureen says:

    I’m afraid I’m off topic here, but one day (not this year but maybe next — and without the artificial colors?) I’d love to see your take on Fruitcake. It gets a bad rap, but I’m sure you could redeem the often-maligned holiday treat. 🙂

  33. Coconut granola. Mmm. That’s my kind of granola. Definitely have to try! Have all the ingredients on hand too.

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