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Homemade hot granola trail breakfast

I’ve been inspired by Phil’s homemade Logan bread to come up with some of my own replacement recipes for those expensive freeze dried food pouches that are marketed to hikers. For me, one of the most important meals of the day is breakfast. Have a bad breakfast and my day and the upcoming hike is an ordeal, have a good energizing breakfast and I feel ready to tackle anything. I could easily go off on a morning cup of coffee tangent here, but I’ll save that for another post.

I’ve tried many different types of breakfasts on my hikes ranging from full cooked breakfasts (with all the fat) to combinations of healthy individual items; fruit, nuts, breads etc – with somewhere in the middle being the freeze-dried ‘just add water’ pouches. I’ve just never been able to strike the right balance between weight, nutrition, and cost.

One of my favorite trail breakfasts had been the freeze-dried instant oatmeal mixes that when re hydrated with a little hot water turn into a delicious hot oatmeal breakfast – yum! The problem was that they nearly all make enough food for 3 people to eat and are just too darn expensive to buy on a regular basis. So, I wanted to come up with a better solution.

I’d like to say that I strove for weeks testing new ideas and every combination possible, but the truth is that my wife stumbled across a basic granola recipe and thought that with a little adjustment it might make the perfect trail granola mix – and boy was she ever right on the money!

At first I wasn’t much of a believer, but after one taste I was a convert. Here’s the basic recipe – you can substitute some of the ingredients to suit your personal tastes.

  • 3 cups of thick rough uncooked oatmeal (Silver Palate)
  • 1 cup of chopped almonds, pecans or any combination of your favorite nuts
  • 1 cup, or any combination, of dried fruit (cranberries, golden raisins, apricots, dates, cherries, blueberries)
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Transfer the mixed ingredients onto a large baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick, butter-flavored spray or similar
  3. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking time
  4. Allow to cool completely on cooking tray
  5. Store in an airtight container

This mix makes approximately 20 portions with one portion being ~ 1/4 of a cup of the final dry mix. To each portion of the dry mix we added three heaped tablespoons of non-fat powdered milk. Here’s a close up of what a portion size looks like in my trail cup.

I used small snack size Ziploc baggies to store my individual portions of the dry breakfast mix with powdered milk already added. On my digital scales each pack weighed in at 2.2oz including the baggie – not too shabby on weight eh? To re hydrate, just add 1/3 cup of water and let stand for 2-3 minutes. I prefer to add hot water, but it works just as well with cold water :)

Here’s the finished breakfast ready to eat. I hope you get a chance to make some for yourself and like the results. It’s drastically cut down on weight, and cost for my hiking trips and I’m positive the nutritional value has increased too.

Note: The very first batch that my wife made she used the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 golden raisins

This is my favorite combination.

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  • I don’t understand how this comes out dry, when you use a cup of maple syrup and brown sugar, surly it all melts into a big sticky goo?
    I really like the sound of it though.
    I am guessing that oatmeal is the same as porridge oats?

  • Roley, you mix it all up and spread it onto a baking tray and bake it at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking time. Then let it cool down. Step #3 above :-)

  • looran

    how long is the shelf life for this mix? im going on a 4 month backpacking trip and dehydrating and packaging all of the meals myself, but i wanted to make the granola ahead of time. im hearing stories of granola going rancid over long periods of time when made with oil so this recipe appears to be better , but my question is how long (or how long do you think) this would last if vacuumed sealed? also, could could i substitute the syrup with honey? thank ya much!

    • I tend to make it in small batches a few days or a week before I’ll need it. It’s not something I would recommend making and storing for long periods of time given the ingredients.

  • looran

    never mind friend, i did more research and what i want to do with your recipe is not smart for such long storage. here’s why in case anyone else comes across this with a similar question: certain foods are not meant to be stored free of oxygen, such as vacuum sealing because Botulism can form. Botulism thrives in low-oxygen environments. As stated by this website ( ) “GRANOLA, nuts, BROWN SUGAR, and dehydrated fruits and vegetables (unless
    they are dry enough to snap inside and out) should not be stored in
    reduced oxygen packaging (such as #10 cans or pouches with an oxygen
    but thank you anyways for providing a great recipe i can use when im not trying to dehydrate. happy trails!