Meet granola, breakfast cereal’s trendier sibling. Oh, you’ve met? It’s not much of a surprise since granola has become such a mainstream snack option for anyone looking for a more nutritious yet utterly delicious crunch to sprinkle over their meals.
Did you know that a doctor invented granola all the way back in 1863? The New York Times reports the man in Danville, New York wanted to experiment with cold cereals to support gut health to lead to overall health, so he used graham flour to create a more wholesome breakfast alternative called "granula." The news site says John Kellogg of cereal notoriety spun the granules of graham flour into something more commercial, and from there, products like cereal flakes evolved and thrived. In the ’60s and ’70s, hippies and friends reclaimed a more rustic version. Healthier granola got on the map as a down-to-earth, earth-conscious snack.
Now, granola is fun. You can find so many flavors from sweet chocolate chip to savory rosemary olive oil. And hidden within these crunchy clusters can be all kinds of hearty grains, surprising vitamins, and adventurous mix-ins. This list of the best granola brands will guide you to our favorites by factoring in all of the important aspects. The most important, of course, is taste because while granola can’t hold a candle to a Full English Breakfast, it can come impressively close.
Aldi is the best resource for the budget-conscious grocery shopper. It’s a small store, so you won’t find the immense variety that you would at a place like Walmart. But, if nothing else, Aldi makes for a more streamlined, efficient experience. The star of the show is always the special Aldi Finds aisle where fun, limited-edition products make brief appearances before the next season’s celebration.
Look in the pantry-items aisle, around all the breakfast foods, for the granola. Millville makes one of Aldi’s store-brand granolas, and if you’re looking for good granola on the cheap, this is it. There may be few choices involving protein or organic ingredients, but basic, comforting, and familiar offerings featuring honey, raisins, and cinnamon are almost always available. Fancier granola is found at other stores, and potentially in that Aldi Finds aisle, but affordable yet delicious products are Aldi’s bread and butter. And that is reason enough to land this brand on our list of the best granolas.
14. Nature Valley Granola
Apparently, this is the first granola brand to become a granola bar! Nature Valley began in 1973 with its granola cereal and had an amazing idea to make a portable bar that could be taken when hiking the trails of the great outdoors. The world is very grateful because, as you know, the world of granola bars is now ridiculously expansive. These snacks, however, would not have gone far if the granola they were constructed from left a bad taste in people’s mouths. Thanks to Nature Valley’s delicious formulas, the brand’s healthy granola bars became the way of the future.
When picking a bar to fuel your day, first determine your personal preferences: Do you need it nice and crunchy, jam-packed with protein, or zesty with sweet and salty factors? Once you decide which umbrella you fall under, you can choose your specific Nature Valley granola. You can’t go wrong with the Oats & Honey variety because it’s extra crunchy with huge chunks of granola goodness. For extra protein, the Oats & Dark Chocolate Protein Granola won’t leave you feeling deprived. But the Sweet & Salty Salted Caramel Cashew variety is too intriguing to ignore, isn’t it?
Most people know that Quaker Oats makes oatmeal. Since 1850, the Quaker company has been a trusted purveyor of a classic breakfast. In 1877, Quaker Oats registered the first trademark for a breakfast cereal. The breakfast brand aimed to represent simple quality and honest value — and that aim has remained true today.
Now if you’re worried that this granola might be just dry oatmeal, worry no more. While granola provides the same long-lasting, reliable energy of a bowl of oats, the healthy snack also provides a bit more. The textural contrasts in granola just can’t be beat! Take, for example, the Oats, Apple, Cranberry & Almond variety; that’s a lot of diversity in one convenient box of ready-to-eat deliciousness. Also, each ingredient brings a healthy dose of nutrients that you’d probably have to add yourself to a bowl of oatmeal. If you want to pour Quaker granola on top of your bowl of Quaker oatmeal, that would be the best of both worlds.
12. Honey Bunches of Oats
Here’s another familiar breakfast brand name! Most people know Post, the producer of fun, big-box cereals like Fruity Pebbles, Honeycomb, and, most relevantly, Honey Bunches of Oats. While some of its cereals lean to the dessert side of things (looking at you, Oreo O’s), the brand rolled out an option for those who like their breakfasts to taste more like a Monday morning than a Friday night.
Are you someone who fishes through the box of Honey Bunches of Oats for a higher ratio of bunches to flakes in their bowl? First of all, that leaves someone with a pretty sad, flaky bowl in the near future, and if you’re the only one eating it, that someone will be you. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment, and get a bag of honey-toasted granola instead. Have all of the best bunches collected in one bag — but better — because this popular granola brand is roasted to buttery perfection and clustered with whole grains, fiber, and vitamins. There’s also a pleasant Granola French Vanilla Almond variety, if you’re feeling fancy.
The Udi’s brand is entirely gluten-free. The Udi’s company offers products such as gluten-free breads, English muffins, and bagels that are safe for anyone with dietary restrictions like celiac disease. And its healthy granola is nutritious, simple, and full of flavor.
Chocolate is usually a good choice, and a tropical spin elevates it to new heights in the Chocolate Coconut Granola. The best part actually isn’t the flavor, somehow, but the fact that it’s not only gluten-free but dairy-free and egg-free. Speaking of which, the Au Naturel Granola is also completely devoid of gluten, dairy, and eggs. When you see the ingredient list, the simplicity of this popular granola brand shines through: oats, wildflower honey, and a dash of canola oil. No room for allergens here! And if you wouldn’t mind a spin on the original ingredients, and an extra gram of protein, the Almond Butter Granola is for you.
10. Trader Joe’s
Grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s can be much more fun than a trip to other grocery destinations — certainly, the store has a loyal following. With friendly employees, hand-drawn signage, and plenty of new releases and fan-favorite products lining their well-maintained shelves, TJ’s has earned its devoted fanbase. There are even YouTube channels and Instagram accounts dedicated to discovering, reviewing, tasting, and "hauling" all the latest and greatest Trader Joe’s products.
It’s reasonable to expect that the best granola at Trader Joe’s would show up to the party in the same high style of all its other products. Try the summery Toasted Coconut Granola, the satisfying and nutrient-dense Almond Butter Granola, or the subtly sweet Pecan and Praline Granola. The most interesting variety, however, is probably the Organic Fruit and Seed Granola, which contains neither oats nor nuts, leaving only ingredients safe for those with allergies or are restricted in their diets. Full of sunflower seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds, the twist on healthier granola is not lacking in flavor.
9. Michele’s Granola
Michele’s Granola is practically homemade, completely delicious, and always delightful. Michele herself found a passion project in this culinary endeavor: She spent summers savoring freshly made granola bars straight out of the oven at the local bakery where she worked, and afterward, all store-bought versions fell flat. So, she made her own healthy granola brand, and it was too good not to share. Where else are you going to find bright and zesty Lemon Pistachio granola? Well, unless you decide to be like Michele and learn how to make homemade granola yourself, in which case, best of luck to you!
There’s no doubt you’re getting a high-quality granola product when you choose this brand! You can also feature Michele’s granola beyond breakfast, including making blondies using the Cherry Chocolate granola as a secret ingredient or chocolate turtles featuring the Salted Maple Pecan granola. If you can’t commit to a single flavor, try the variety four-pack or create your own sampler. Once you determine your personal favorite, there’s the option to order in bulk.
8. Purely Elizabeth
Purely Elizabeth believes that "food can heal," especially when it’s a superfood. The creative, vibrant, and jam-packed granola is made with organic ingredients, baked in raw coconut oil, and barely sweetened with coconut sugar. Weaving in ancient grains, this nutritious granola brand is tasty. For a company with the consumer’s health always front and center, Purely Elizabeth also makes grain-free granola.
Case in point: Do you actually want to be eating chocolate chip cookies at this very moment? You could buy some Famous Amos and crumble them over your plain Greek yogurt, but Purely Elizabeth has a better idea. You’ll want to immediately order the Vanilla Chocolate Chip granola for a much lower dose of sugar and significantly higher levels of vitamins and minerals. Honestly, you’ll probably find that it’s more delicious than having the cookies themselves. And everyone knows that you should double the vanilla extract in a chocolate chip cookie, right? Well, Purely Elizabeth seems to amp up the flavor!
7. Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods
Bob’s Red Mill is a familiar sight in the baking aisle. Started from a small yet mighty "kernel of truth" that carries into all its efforts, Bob’s Red Mill is a trusted brand name. Now, Bob offers up some fresh-baked, whole-grain granola for anyone who enjoys a higher-quality option than the more generic, highly processed, and sugary varieties. Many of the blends are gluten-free, Non-GMO Project verified, kosher, or a combination of all three.
Maple and Sea Salt Homestyle Granola is a definite winner for a best ranking granola with its sweetness stemming from unrefined sugar and maple syrup that lends a pancake-like flavor with a salty finish. There’s also a coconut granola, which adds some savory spices for an unexpected kick. For a bite of springtime, any time of the year, partake in the zing of lemon blueberry to delight in a pleasant freshness infusing the crunchy, fruity, and berry good snack.
6. Sweet Home Farm
Ready for some very pourable, immensely delicious granola? Welcome to the Sweet Home Farm, where throughout your stay, you shall not be served any boring meals thanks to its variety of options. When you sit down for breakfast, for example, and see a bowl of granola, you might feel crestfallen that it’s not a sizzling plate of flapjacks or a hearty cheese-filled omelet. But after a spoonful, you’ll have a new love for the humbler things.
The Three Sisters brand is guided by basic tenants: "nothing fake, nothing phony, be kind, always be improving, and appreciate great taste." These values come through clearly in its products, including these sweet granolas. You can enjoy the maple pecan, which is infused with real maple syrup and stirred with crisp nuts. Blueberry flax is another great choice to shake things up, and you can’t miss with classics like French vanilla or honey nut with almonds.
5. Good & Gather
Target, like Trader Joe’s, is frequently a pleasure to shop at: It’s so easy to find things you didn’t know you needed in shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors that you didn’t know existed. That’s dangerous, though, because it’s so easy to spend way more money than planned. That’s why the Target brand is a big win for shoppers. In the grocer section, look for the Good & Gather label — you can be pretty sure the items are slightly less expensive but no less intriguing.
Take, for example, the granolas ranking high on our list. It seems like every time you head to the store, you will find a new flavor that suits your individual dietary needs. In the flavor department, discover the Vanilla Confetti granola that makes every morning a little more of a celebration. Or get your kids in on the granola game by offering up a bowl of Cookies & Cream Granola, S’mores Granola, or Salted Caramel Granola. If you’re gluten-free, there are plenty of amazing varieties such as Almond Cashew Grain-Free. This granola brand is so good that all your gluten-eating friends will look at your breakfast with envy.
KIND is a top pick for both flavor and nutrition, whether you’re reaching for a hearty protein bar or a frozen dessert. That four-color label and all-caps name beckon with foods that will satisfy your taste buds and keep hunger at bay. Pair that KIND promise with good, old granola, and you have an obvious match. All the KIND granolas are made with a five-grain blend of oats, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa.
But remember, this isn’t just food you toss in your cart because of that high fiber and those "super" grains. Just a taste of the hearty, smooth, and savory Almond Butter Clusters granola will convert any skeptics. Also, while blueberry, strawberry, and apple flavors are common, it can be hard to find good raspberry-flavored products; the zingy, tangy sweetness of raspberries often goes unappreciated. KIND changes that with its raspberry granola, which tosses in chia seeds for added texture and nutrition. Speaking of chia seeds, if you’re looking to try a new granola flavor, the maple quinoa variety is a grain game-changer.
3. Love Crunch
You gotta love the amazing crunch of a quality granola, right? Love Crunch does and says so, front and center, on all of its products. Under the protective umbrella of Nature’s Path Organic, expect down-to-earth foods with sky-high flavor. The small print on this bag says "premium," and it’s not an unsubstantiated claim. As the first USDA-certified organic cereal on the market, Nature’s Path continues to further organic farming and sustainable practices. This favorite granola brand stands by its mission: For every product purchased, an equivalent donation goes to food banks.
In terms of granola tastings, chocolate plus peanut butter has been lauded previously in this article as a near-perfect combo, but the dark chocolate in this Love Crunch mix goes above and beyond. Besides, the creaminess of nut butter balances the crisp oats, and dark chocolate is less sweet than its milky counterpart. When the sweet tooth does hit, and especially if you wake up with one, give the Salted Caramel Pretzel a try. Nothing goes better with decadent caramel than a light sprinkling of salt — and no snack is a better vehicle for salt than a pretzel! Oh, and don’t sleep on Espresso Vanilla Cream Granola (pun absolutely intended).
2. Bear Naked
Bear Naked granola is a comforting sight on the grocery store shelves. It’s full of nutritious ingredients, consistently delicious, and always the right crisp, crunchy texture to complement a bowl of creamy vanilla Greek yogurt. There’s also something so rewarding about that gruff bear silhouette on the bag, who simply must have a heart of gold under his grizzly exterior. Maybe he’s just hangry and needs a good snack.
There are lots of ways to eat our pick for one of the best granolas on the market and lots of flavors to love, but a few bags are real standouts. Granola Cacao & Cashew Butter is the sophisticated version of the classic chocolate and peanut butter combo — savory, sweet, and rich. Granola Maple Pecan is like a walk in the woods on a lovely fall day. Toasty notes of maple syrup, robust but sweet molasses, and candied pecans really take it up a notch. Were you a banana bread baker during the darkest days of the pandemic, but now rarely have the time to mix up a loaf? Have it in granola form with the spot-on Granola Banana Nut.
1. Safe + Fair Food Company
The Safe + Fair Food Company exceeds the allergen-free claims made by most companies. The granolas are free from the top nine allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, milk, soy, fish, shellfish, and sesame. The granola also contain ancient grains, no GMOs, and all plant-based ingredients. This top granola brand in our ranking has a fantastic, light texture thanks to fluffy brown rice and millet that still stays as crunchy as traditional granolas. Skeptical about rice in your granola? Give this a shot, and you’ll never look back.
The best flavor is the Safe + Fair Birthday Cake granola. Still nutritious, the clusters are full of multicolored sprinkles and the nostalgic flavor of homemade vanilla cake. Savor the best of Florida when popping the Key Lime Pie granules into your mouth, which would be quite pie-like on top of vanilla ice cream or yogurt and graham cracker crumbles. While discussing pie, make the best crumbles with Honeycrisp Apple Pie. One last granola recommendation: Full Stack is modeled after the drizzles of maple syrup atop a pile of buttery, crisp-on-the-edges pancakes.