The Best Granola (Grain Free Granola, Too)!

The best granola is the perfect pantry staple. It’s the linchpin of every good yogurt parfait, a sophisticated sundae topping, and a convenient snack by the fistful that’s (unfairly) become synonymous with foods that are healthy or hippie-ish to a fault. Listen, people. I’m confident there are “crunchier” foods we can malign. We tried some downright delicious and desserty granolas—even a grain free granola that really knocked our socks off. Save the hate for foods that are actually lame, like unsalted rice cakes or those weird meal replacements that come in cube form.

Over the course of two taste tests, we plunged our greedy little mitts into roughly 20 bags and boxes of granola to find the best of the best. We were looking for a granola that’s hearty, flavorful, and has some constitution. We want big clusters, not a bag full of oat dust. And if you promise nuts, give us nuts! From the best granola for yogurt to granola you’ll be stoked to eat all on its own, this is the best store bought granola.


best granola

Best Interesting

Simply Nature Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt

This chocolate sea salt granola from Aldi is the best granola if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary to add to your breakfast repertoire. It’s chocolatey in a bitter way and genuinely salty to boot, but the unusual mix of flavors works. I was on the fence, but my colleagues absolutely loved its robust crunch and constitution. “There’s no sawdust in the bottom of this bag,” one taste tester observed.

Credit: Liv Averett / Aldi

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

best granola

Best Budget

Millville Crunchy Granola Oats, Almonds & Honey

We loved this granola’s “big-ass clusters,” as one taste tester called them. Sadly, though, it’s a little short on almonds. If you’re promising almonds, give us almonds! Better yet, incorporate them into those clusters rather than just sprinkling them into the bag alongside the other components. Our nut complaints aside, this granola is pleasantly sweet and has a nice, genuine honey flavor that I personally liked better than Nature Valley’s. It’s the best granola to pair with creamy vanilla yogurt.

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best granola

Best Desserty

Great Value French Vanilla Almond Granola

Being that it’s a breakfast food, sometimes it’s easy to forget that granola is really good as a dessert component too—or as a dessert unto itself. This budget granola from Walmart would make a great topping for vanilla ice cream, or you can just pour it into a bowl with some nice, thick Greek yogurt and call it dessert. It’s sweet and it’s super crunchy because it’s packed with puffed rice. That miiiiight be a cost-cutting measure, but it works. My notes on this were actually, in real life, “Soooo good. Man, so good.”

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Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best grain free granola

Best Grain Free

Kiss My Keto Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chips Granola

I tried several grain free granola brands, and wow, most of them are absolutely terrible. See, the problem is that a lot of them are loaded with fake sweeteners and you can taste it. The sweetener in one grain free granola had a chemical effect that actually made my mouth cold as I ate! Really weird and awful. Kiss My Keto is another story. It’s so tasty! It’s made with dried coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanut butter, peanuts, pecans, cocoa nibs, and some alternative sweeteners that don’t absolutely ruin the flavor. Really, this just tastes yummy and peanut buttery. Sporked editor-in-chief Justine Sterling wished it was a little sweeter, but thought it would be a great mix-in with something that’s already sweet, like one of the best keto yogurts. I don’t generally love keto foods, but this one is outstanding.

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best snacking granola

Best for Snacking

Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats & Honey

The internet is full of memes about Nature Valley granola bars turning to piles of dust the instant you even look at one. Well, this bag of store bought granola kind of cuts out the middleman by just serving up crumbs and clusters. That’s a good thing! Maybe Nature Valley just swept up the granola bar factory floor (just kidding; don’t sue me), but those granola bars are a classic snack and this granola has the exact flavor and crunch but with waaaaay more protein, a whopping 13 grams versus 3 grams in the bars. It’s a little dry, but I’d still eat it by the fistful (or in a bowl with oat milk).

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best granola with cranberries

Best with Fruit

Bob’s Red Mill Cranberry Almond Homestyle Granola

Prior to our second taste test, we hadn’t ranked a single granola with dried fruit in it, but only because we hadn’t found one this good. Bob’s Red Mill cranberry almond granola is so delicious. In addition to tangy dried cranberries, it’s packed with toasty coconut and earthy pepitas (who doesn’t love pepitas)? Bob’s uses high quality oats and it really tastes like oats, but oats that were perfectly seasoned with warm spices like cinnamon. If you like the tang and chew of dried fruit, this is the best granola. Try it!

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best granola ancient grains

Best Texture

Nature’s Path Organic Ancient Grains Probiotic Granola

Ancient grains are really having a moment in our modern, slightly dystopian world! This tasty granola from Costco is made with spelt, quinoa, amaranth, and khorasan wheat, which in addition to being old as hell has grains that are twice the size of modern grains of wheat. “Wow, it’s a textural wonderland,” said Sporked senior  writer Jordan Myrick when they tried one of the nice, big clusters in this bag. “It looks like a galaxy of planets, the chunks are so huge.” Justine liked the “cozy” cinnamon flavor. “It makes you want to curl up next to the fire and have a big bowl of granola,” she said. I took this gargantuan bag of granola home after our tasting and I can confirm it’s one of the best granolas, whether you eat it with milk and yogurt or straight from the bag on the couch. Or by the fire if you have one.

Credit: Liv Averett / Costco

Rating:

9.5/10

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best granola

Best of the Best

Purely Elizabeth Original Ancient Grain Granola

The granola you find on a restaurant brunch menu has to be really good to go head to head with, say, benedicts oozing with hollandaise sauce and biscuit sandwiches stacked with slices of bacon thicker than a book of crummy poetry. Of all the packaged granolas we tasted, this one from Purely Elizabeth is the best granola if you want to replicate what you’d get in a fruit-scattered parfait at a nice breakfast spot. This bag is full of plump clusters of salty-sweet oats and grains (amaranth, quinoa, chia seeds), and a hint of cinnamon that compliments that natural sweetness of coconut sugar. One taste tester thought it was reminiscent of French toast. Except, you know, crunchy and way easier to throw together if you don’t make it to a restaurant for brunch.

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Other granolas we tried: Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond, 365 Oat and Honey Granola, Bear Naked V’nilla Almond, Nature’s Path Organic Love Crunch, Post Honey Bunches of Oats Granola, KIND Clusters Oat & Honey, Safe + Fair Birthday Cake Granola, Sprouts Nut Butter and Banana Granola, Purely Elizabeth Grain Free Vanilla Almond Butter, Lakanto No Sugar Added Cinnamon Almond Granola, Nu Trail Blueberry Cinnamon, Cascadian Farm Coconut Cashew


About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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