Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Granola

I don’t think I’ve ever met a handful of granola that I didn’t like.

The only thing I don’t like about granola is how expensive storebought granola can be. I don’t understand how manufacturers can get away with charging so much for so little. One little bag of granola can be $6.99 or more, and it’s so simple to make.

I also don’t like how addictive granola is but I can’t help you with that one since I couldn’t keep my hands off this stuff.


To make this batch of fall-flavored crunchy clusters, I simply combined the ingredients in one big bowl, stirred, and watched as the oats were drenched in a rich, amber-hued liquid.

The liquid coating that bathes the oats is a blend of pumpkin puree, peanut butter, coconut oil, molasses, agave (or honey) and is infused with the spices and flavors of fall, including cinnamon and brown sugar, nutmeg, cloves, and pumpkin pie spice. That’s some bath water, let me tell you.

I transferred it onto a baking sheet and baked it off. This is not rocket science. It’s granola.

The baking process is a two-stage one, with the dried fruit being added in the second half of baking so that it doesn’t char before the oats firm up and turn into granola.

When you’re ready to bake the granola, keep it light and airy on the baking sheet rather than packing it down. Air needs to be able to circulate to dry out the oats and create those crunchy little balls of granola glory.

 After baking for about 20 to 25 minutes, the bottom of some of the oat pieces, especially around the edges of the baking sheet, will have begun to brown and crisp up. Give the oats a good tossing and stirring on the baking sheet, and add the dried fruit of your choice now.

I used a blend of raisins and dried cranberries. The golden raisins are sweet and the dried cranberries are a little bit tart. The dried cranberries puffed and plumped up while baking and I thought only fresh cranberries plumped up, but I was wrong.

If you want to add nuts or seeds, go for it. I like nuts and seeds, but never in baked goods or in sweets, including in my granola, so I kept them out.

You could also add coconut flakes, pretzel sticks, or just about anything that you have laying around that sounds like it could be good. It will probably work out just fine.

Bake it for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until it’s sufficiently crunchy and browned.

Watch the granola closely in the second round of baking because it won’t seem crunchy and done, especially in the middle section of the baking sheet, but it firms up quite dramatically as it cools.

You don’t want to end up with burnt little rocks, which can happen since the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, brown sugar, molasses, peanut butter and vanilla are all inherently dark, and get darker during the baking process. It can be hard to discern normal darkness from burnt, which is why you need to keep a watchful eye and use the sniff test.

Once your house is so ridiculously perfumed with the scents of fall and you just cannot stand one more second of it and you want to climb into the oven and camp out because the scent is just too delicious to resist, I’d say the granola is probably done. I also think this sniff test works well with banana bread or chocolate chip cookies and that once you intensely smell the scent of the food wafting through the house, it’s likely ready.

I love varied textures in food and between crunchy oat clusters, chewy dried fruit, and firm chocolate chips, I was in texture nirvana. I added the chocolate chips after the granola was baked and had cooled because I wanted whole chips to bite down into, but they can be added during the second half of baking for a melted chocolate-coated version.

If a pumpkin pie met a gingerbread house and stopped off for Thanksgiving dinner for cranberry sauce and a smidge of chocolate along the way, that’s what we’re working with in terms of flavors. Pumpkin dominates the profile, and it’s enhanced by the molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

There’s a hint of both peanut butter and coconut from the coconut oil. Canola oil may be used you don’t have or like coconut oil; however, you may want to work on that coconut oil situation.

There’s no reason to ever pay five bucks again for a handful of storebought granola, which I find is frequently tasteless, burnt, or stale. Make your own and feel free to customize your blend. I provided some options and suggestions in the recipe section.

Now the only problem you’ll have now is reaching for one more handful, one more handful. One more handful.


Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Granola (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

Makes about 5 cups granola


1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup agave or honey (use agave to keep vegan)

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup coconut oil, in liquid state or melted (canola or vegetable oil may be substituted)

1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses (blackstrap may be used, but it’s more pungent)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon+ cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon+ pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch salt, optional

3 1/2 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not quick cook or instant; use certified gluten-free oats if necessary)

To be added halfway through baking

1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I used 3/4 cup Trader Joe’s raisin medley and 3/4 cup dried cranberries; try diced medjool dates, apricots, candied ginger or your favorite dried fruit)

1 cup nuts and/or seeds, optional (I used none)

To be added after baking

1 cup+ semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 300F and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a Silpat liner, parchment paper, or spraying very well with cooking spray; set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine pumpkin puree, peanut butter, agave or honey, brown sugar, coconut oil, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and whisk until mixture is smooth and combined (If you don’t keep all of these spices on hand, that’s okay; use what you have. All spices should be added to taste, increasing the amounts if you prefer more intensely-flavored granola and noting that the intensity will fade a bit during baking so that even if the coating mixture tastes a bit bold prior to baking, it mellows out somewhat). Add the oats and stir to coat. Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread it uniformly and keep it piled loosely; don’t pack it down. It will take up the entire surface of a standard-sized large baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Remove granola from the oven and stir and fluff it up. Add the dried fruit and optional nuts or seeds and stir to incorporate and disperse them. Keep the mixture piled loosely and and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until edge pieces of granola have browned and crisped, even if center pieces are less well done, which is okay because granola will harden up considerably more while it cools. If you prefer extra crunchy granola, you wish to bake for closer to 30 minutes on this second round but take care not to burn it, which becomes a bit tricky to judge well-done from burnt because the mixture is inherently brown and gets browner during baking.

Allow granola to cool on the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes before sprinkling with chocolate chips and stir to disperse them. If granola is not sufficiently cooled before adding the chocolate chips, they will melt, which is fine too; but I wanted whole chips in this batch. Transfer granola to a gallon-sized ziptop food storage bag or into an airtight container. Granola will keep for at least 2 weeks at room temperature in an airtight ziptop bag or container.

The recipe is highly adaptable and you can make substitutions:

From the type of nut butter used – try almond butter, cookie butter spread/Biscoff, Nutella (you may need to alter the quantity of oats used or baking time because many other nut butters and spreads tend to be runnier and thinner than peanut butter)

The quantity and types of spices used in the coating mixture – try cardamom, garam masala, or mix and match the various spices listed based on what you have on hand

The type of dried fruit used – try diced medjool dates, dried apricots, dried or candied ginger, or another favorite dried fruit

Add nuts or seeds – I don’t prefer nuts and rarely seeds in my granola but try honey roasted peanuts, salted peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds

The baking chips used – try butterscotch, white, milk, or peanut butter chips; toffee bits, or diced candy bars such as Snickers, Butterfinger, or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Take care that all ingredients used are suitable for your dietary needs. As written, the recipe is vegan and gluten-free. See the end of this post for a discussion on oats and their gluten status. Use certified ingredients as necessary.




Related Recipes:

Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter and Oat Snack Bars (No-Bake, Vegan, GF) – Small, quick recipe that makes just 3 bars in 5 minutes

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars (Vegan, GF)

Granola (vegan, GF) – Horrendous photos but the recipe still works and produces excellent granola

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars (No-Bake, Vegan, GF)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Coconut Oil Protein Bars (No-Bake, Vegan, GF)

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Do you like granola or have a favorite recipe?

Feel free to link up your favorite recipes.

The winner of the Cooking With Trader Joe’s Cookbook Giveaway is Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

111 comments on “Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Granola”

  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Recipes

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  3. “If you want to add nuts or seeds, go for it. I like nuts and seeds, but never in baked goods or in sweets, including in my granola, so I kept them out.” I love how you’re particular about your nuts & pb–so cute. This granola looks perfect for fall, so yum.

    I recently made some paleo granola( http://bring-joy.com/2012/08/09/grain-free-gluten-free-paleo-granola-bars/) , which my kids devoured. Reminds me that I *really* need to make it on a frequent basis, because it’s filling & calorie-dense which my active boys need.

  4. Lovely photos of the glass and granola! Homemade granola is on my to-make list but I just know I’ll eat the whole batch in like 7 seconds. I love the big clusters. Can’t be trusted around the stuff. :D

  5. Stumbled across this blog thanks to TheKitchn. I absolutely LOVE your recipes! As a German, I used to not even think about making things like granola bars myself because people over here just don’t do it. But by educating myself with American and Asian cooking websites, I’ve totally broadened my horizon and am eager to try all kinds of stuff. Especially love your blondie batter recipe by the way, I wouldn’t have thought of melting the butter in the microwave – so much quicker!

  6. Love homemade granola and the flavours in this version sound just perfect!

  7. Trader Joes makes a pumpkin granola that’s really addictive! This looks like it would give that version a run for its money!

  8. Agree! Its so awesome that granola is totally easy to throw together. I am a huge fan and so is my Dad. I actually bake him a batch pretty much every other week. I do a simple recipe most of the time: 2 cups oats, 1 1/2 cups coconut, 1 cup mixed nuts & seeds mixed into 2 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix to coat well. Bake on parchment on a cookie sheet at 250 for 1 hour. Simple, delicious! I need to try your recipe. This would go great in the birthday package I”m putting together for him!

  9. Love all the different flavors in this granola–it would taste great on my Greek yogurt (actually, this sounds so good I think I’d be having a little yogurt with my granola). I won’t buy it either because of the ridiculously high price but I haven’t made any in about 5 years. I think I can trust myself with just 1 little batch…(give me strength!!)

  10. All of these flavors sound amazing in this granola!

  11. Looks so good! Why can’t you use blackstrap molasses though? What is the difference?

    • You can use it; it’s just much more pungent in flavor and I prefer my molasses smoother so use unsulphered, but use what you enjoy.

      • This was the BEST granola I’ve ever had! I’m so happy with the results. I used raisins, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds as my additions. Thank you so much I will definitely be making this many more times :D

      • I’m thrilled that you loved it and had such great results and love hearing what additions you used. So easy to tweak it up based on what you have on hand for next time, too!

  12. Oh.My.God– pumpkin with peanut butter and chocolate? That combo sounds heavenly! I’ve never made my own granola but I have about five cans of pumpkin in the pantry and like a million containers of oats so it’s due to happen sometime soon….

  13. I am so lazy sometimes I swear, really I am. I never make granola. I bet that one smells heavenly too. I could absolutely go for a handful tossed into my oatmeal right now. YUM

  14. haha, i don’t think i have either {met a handful of granola i didn’t like}. no matter how many things there are in it that i don’t particularly ‘like’, it always turns out to still be delicious. but this one for sure looks AND smells amazing. and just makes me so excited for autumn :)

  15. Mmmm…this looks delish! Love all things pumpkin spice!!

  16. I love making granola! Lately I’ve been adding cereal to it to bulk it up a bit!

  17. I think I may have mentioned this once before, but if there is one food I had to choose to eat every single day for the rest of my life (if there was such a thing as having to choose one meal!) I would choose granola. I absolutely LOVE it. It always bothers my digestion, however, but my kids love it, too. Many mornings, I throw a bunch of ingredients in a bowl before school and bake it while unloading the dishwasher and then they eat hot granola with honey or maple syrup either with yogurt or milk. It makes our house smell like Christmas! Sooo good!

    I love that you added peanut butter to the pumpkin flavor. I bet that is incredible! And I love the little cup you put it in! It’s amazing how photography sells the product, isn’t it. Your photos rock and so do your recipes! Keep bringin’ the pumpkin recipes! Love them!

    Glad my boys love granola, too, or I would be shoving handful after handful into my mouth, regardless of compromised digestion! :-)

    • I didnt know that granola was your forever and ever food. That’s awesome. But I have to be careful, too, b/c too much is a little too much fiber :)

      And your comment yesterday re cinnamon and vanilla, great minds think alike!

      The glass was a thrift store find for like a buck earlier in the summer. I saw it when I was looking for something else and thought that will come in handy in the fall, for something. Yellow, leaves, fall colors. And sure enough it did.

  18. The PB-Chocolate combo can only get better when you add pumpkin to it! I’m running low on homemade granola, this might be next on my list of recipes to try!

  19. Averie! I have the same (or very similar) martini/wine glasses that your granola is in! Too funny. Also too funny is that i am in love with every single ingredient in today’s granola. PLUS it’s granola… you know I love it! Sometimes I honestly do not understand why people actually waste money on granola. It is SO easy to make and you can adapt it however you like! I know you don’t like nuts, but I LOVE them in my granola :)

    I like to add the chocolate chips into granola after it’s cooled too. It helps clump the loose granola together.. I love big chunks! The scent of granola and banana breads baking… I love it all. One of the best parts of making each. And what beautiful pictures. I’m always jealous of your perfect lighting! I recently made granola (much different than yours!) to post soon. Looking back, I wish it was a pumpkin granola. :)

    • I have all these pumpkin recipes and Im trying to dole them out one by one, one per week, and not overwhelm. But the longer they sit in my drafts, the more i am seeing other people post things that are so close and I’m like, well, maybe I should post them. But I don’t want a pumpkin week, all at once :)

      And yes it’s SO much cheaper to buy it! I mean, if you don’t have dried fruit (or nuts but I didnt use them) on hand, yes, it can get slightly expensive to purchase those JUST to throw into granola but 3 c of oats costs like what, 50 cents? And then some sugar and seasonings and a little oil, what, another 50 cents? So you have this huge batch of stuff for dirt cheap.

      The glass was a thrift store find for like a buck earlier in the summer. I saw it when I was looking for something else and thought that will come in handy in the fall, for something. Yellow, leaves, fall colors. And sure enough it did.

  20. This sounds absoluetely delicious, and I can’t wait to try making it this weekend! I recently purchased some Carrot Cake Granola that I have been enjoying in my yogurt or just by the handful. Oh restraint is so hard when it comes to granola!

  21. Looks amazing!!!! I am making your asian noodle pasta again today!!! I am having friends over for lunch. I know everyone will love it!!! I was smart and made a double batch of the sauce ;)

    • I always double the batch. I really don’t measure too closely – I just add a huge dollop of PB and then a bunch of sesame oil, ACV, and season it up and stir til I get something that’s on-point and pour it into a jar so I always have some on standby :) Hope the lunch ladies enjoy!

  22. I can’t believe you found a way to combine pumpkin with granola…I am in awe of your talents!

  23. Homemade is totally the way to go. I hate how much sugar is always crammed into store bought, it’s so nice to be able to moderate that. And add chocolate, because you should always add chocolate :)

  24. Granola is my absolute weakness! This looks incredible!

  25. Sounds wonderful. I bet it smells wonderful too!

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