Granola is a popular and potentially versatile snack, typically made from a base of whole grain, lightly toasted rolled oats. These oats are often burnished with a few other ingredients, such as nuts, brown rice, hemp seeds, flax seeds, or dried fruit, and often sweetened with sugar, honey, or other sweeteners. While the nutritional profile of granola varies from brand to brand, it is generally a calorically rich, filling, high fiber snack, though is often also very high in sugar and fats. 

A lot of folks enjoy granola as a quick snack, while others eat it with milk or over yogurt for a more substantive breakfast option than cereal. There are a ton of granola options on the market. Before clicking on purchase, it’s wise to compare a few to figure out exactly what’s inside the bag. We rounded up some of the best granola, taste-tested them, and gave our picks. 

best granola

Editors’ Choice:

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Honey and Oats

Pros:

  • From a snackability standpoint, Manitoba Harvest’s granola earns points for its texture. Rather than having little bits of seeds and granola running out of your hand when you grab a handful – never a good thing! – the structural integrity of this granola creates little mini clusters as the pumpkin seeds and oats and hemp seeds all stick together in unique and wonderful combinations. 
  • Taste-wise, this granola leans on the flavor of its ingredients, augmenting it slightly with honey and tapioca syrup, a natural sweetener and binding agent. The result is a very natural tasting snack with just enough sweetness to leave you wanting more. Well played. 
  • Nutritionally, ⅓ cup contains about 111 calories, 4.5g protein, and 13g of carbs.
  • Certified as a B Corporation, a movement intended to signify businesses that use ethical practices.

Cons:

  • Cost-wise, these are a bit pricey compared to some of the other granolas we reviewed.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Honey and Oats
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Honey and Oats
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Honey and Oats

Coming in with delicious clusters of granola goodness and a punny name to boot, Manitoba harvest Hemp Yeah! would make a great addition for folks who enjoy a fresh tasting, crunchy, natural tasting granola. With a hint of honey for sweetness, this granola relies on its unique ingredient profile - including hemp and pumpkin seeds - to create a fantastic taste profile.

Best Value:

Nature’s Path Honey Almond

Pros:

  • From a taste and texture perspective, this was one of our favorite choices. Nature’s Path offers a delightful crunch, with some of the granola sticking together in small clusters. It’s sweet without being cloying. 
  • In a bowl of milk, this granola holds its form, remaining crunchy while the nooks and crannies of each hunk of grainy goodness serve as a perfectly structured vessel for your milk of choice. The sweetness also mellows out a bit when mixed with milk. 
  • USDA Organic, non-GMO, and gluten free. 
  • A ⅓ cup serving size includes 140 calories, 21g carbs, 7g sugar, and 3g protein. 
  • Available at a very affordable price. 

Cons:

  • Despite its title, there aren’t a ton of almonds in the mix here. There are certainly a smattering of roasted almond bits throughout the bag, and encountering one is truly a delight, but it’s also possible to grab a whole handful and come up with nothing but oats. 
  • At just 3g protein per ⅓ cup serving, this checks in a bit low from a protein content perspective.
Nature's Path Honey Almond
Nature's Path Honey Almond
Nature's Path Honey Almond

Nature’s Path offers a crunchy and tasty honey almond granola. This straightforward product, made gluten free whole grain rolled oats and bits of roasted almonds, earns top marks for taste. To this reviewer, this is what granola should taste like. 

Unique Flavor:

Bob’s Red Mill Apple Blueberry Granola

Pros:

  • Flavor-wise, Bob’s Red Mill Apple Blueberry Granola is heavier on the blueberry than the apple. Though there are some small dried apples in the mix, the overall vibe of this granola bag is definitely blueberry.
  • Ingredients include whole grain rolled oats, sugar, brown rice, and dried apples as well as other flavorings.
  • Served in a bowl with milk, this makes a lovely breakfast option, and can even be warmed up and served as a hot cereal.
  • From a cost perspective, this is one of the most reasonably priced granolas on the market. 

Cons:

  • The texture in this granola is not quite as crunchy as some of the other options on this list. 
  • There’s something a bit off putting about the overall blueberry-ness of this flavor despite the fact that no actual blueberries are listed in the ingredients. 
Bob's Red Mill Apple Blueberry Granola
Bob's Red Mill Apple Blueberry Granola
Bob's Red Mill Apple Blueberry Granola

True to its name, or at least half of its name, Bob’s Red Mill Apple Blueberry Granola provides a strong blueberry flavor, with maybe a hint of apple thrown in for good measure. Made with rolled and kiln-toasted whole grain oat groats and brown rice, this very simple granola might be a great option for someone looking for a sweet breakfast option.

Best Low Carb Recipe:

Low Karb Keto Nut Granola

Pros:

  • Low Karb Keto Nut Granola recreates the texture and general ethos of whole grain granola with sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, and pecans. Though not quite as crunchy as the crispy granola we’re used to, this texture certainly works. 
  • From a taste perspective, Low Karb Keto Nut Granola gets top marks. Sweetened with erythritol (a sugar alcohol), monk fruit extract, butter, and cinnamon, this works as well as a snack as it does in a bowl with milk. 
  • A ⅓ cup serving contains 10g carbs, 18g fat, and <1g of sugar. 

Cons:

  • Due in part to the cost of its ingredients, this product is a bit more expensive than most traditional granolas on the market. While it becomes a bit more affordable if purchased in bulk, this is still a pretty expensive product. 
Low Karb Keto Nut Granola
Low Karb Keto Nut Granola
Low Karb Keto Nut Granola

Low Karb Keto Nut Granola is a unique and delicious combination of sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, and pecans blended in a manner that resembles the texture of whole grain oat granola. The result is a snack that is higher in fat, but lower in carbohydrates than a typical granola. Folks looking for a low-carb granola alternative may want to check this out.

Also Consider:

KIND Vanilla Blueberry Clusters

Pros:

  • Made with oats, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, and quinoa, making this a very unique combination of grains. 
  • KIND’s Vanilla Blueberry Clusters offer a very serviceable taste profile, with vanilla extract, molasses, and blueberry puree added to create a balanced bite. 
  • A ⅓ cup serving contains 110 calories, 21g carbs, and 3g total fat.
  • Pairs well with milk, as it remains crunchy.

Cons:

  • Though these are labeled clusters, they’re not very cluster-y. Instead, a handful is a lot of diffuse bits of grains and seeds. This doesn’t affect it as a cereal or yogurt topping, but makes it a bit tricker to eat as a dry snack. 
  • There’s also flax seeds in this granola, which consistently got caught in this reviewer’s teeth. 
KIND Vanilla Blueberry Clusters
KIND Vanilla Blueberry Clusters
KIND Vanilla Blueberry Clusters

For a straightforward granola with a unique combination of grains and fruit, check out KIND Vanilla Blueberry Clusters. Made with oats, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, and quinoa, this is a solid tasting combination available at a reasonable price. 

Methodology

Granola is a bit of a nebulous term and can encompass a variety of things. When looking at granola options, it’s wise to consider some key differentiators. 

Ingredients 

Probably the most important consideration when shopping for granola is checking out the ingredients list! Many granolas start off with a base of whole grain oats and build from there, sometimes adding in a combination of other grains, fruits, and nuts. Low carb granola options replicate the texture and idea of granola while utilizing nuts instead of grains. 

Nutritional Facts

Not all granolas are created equally. Depending on your dietary needs, it’s wise to take a look at the nutritional facts. Some are decidedly more calorific, while others utilize recipes that look to cut down on added sugars. If weight management is a goal, it’s wise to consult with a medical professional. 

Cost

Try to compare the total cost by the amount of ounces in a bag. You’ll note that the serving sizes on each label are not uniform, so it’s wise to consult the ounces in the bag to get a true feel for value.

Taste

One of the biggest variations of taste in various granolas is in their sweetness. Some granolas use cane sugar as their second listed ingredient, and the result is a very sweet taste. Other brands do not focus as much on sweetening their ingredients, allowing the grains and nuts and whatnots to speak for themselves.

Texture

Some granolas features decidedly crunchier oats. Others do not toast their oats quite as much, and the result is a softer granola. This one comes down to preference. 

FAQ

Why is granola so bad for you?

Generally speaking, granola can be quite a calorie-laden snack. As long as you’re being diligent about how much granola you have, however, it’s not necessarily bad for you! If weight management is an issue, it may be wise to consult a dietician. 

Is granola full of sugar?

The amount of sugar in a given package of granola varies greatly from brand to brand. Take a peek at the nutrition facts to determine how much sugar, and how much added sugar, is present in a bag of granola.

Is granola healthy for weight loss?

As with any food, an individual’s habits and the amount they eat goes a long way towards determining its health benefits. For some, granola may be a healthier alternative to breakfast cereals high in added sugars. However, it’s wise to consult a dietician or a health professional with weight management goals. 

BarBend Tips

  • Some folks carry a bit of a misconception that granola is a uniformly “healthy snack.” While opting for whole grains and nuts is always a great idea, it is still a very calorific idea. If weight management is a goal, it may be wise to consult a dietician or health professional. 
  • In addition to checking the sugar levels, it may be wise to check out the added sugars level. For more information, check out our added sugars explainer.

Granola is a simple term that can encompass several different types of products. With so many different types of granola available, it’s important to gain as much information as possible before selecting one!