This easy Chocolate Cherry Paleo Granola makes for a crowd-pleasing homemade holiday gift! Warning: it’s hard to refrain from munching on this fabulously crunchy, nutty, and maple-syrup sweetened gluten-free treat, so package it up and give it away before you eat it all yourself!

An overhead shot of a tray of chocolate cherry paleo granola, a tasty homemade holiday edible gift

The best paleo granola!

My family loves this crunchy grain-free granola and I’ve been gifting it to all my friends—paleo or not—and getting rave reviews! I love giving and receiving DIY edible holiday gifts, and luckily, this paleo granola is super simple to make and customizable to delight even your pickiest pals.

A collage of the cooking steps to make chocolate cherry paleo granola.

Ingredients

  • Nuts/Seeds: Because we’re making a grain-free paleo granola, the base will be a combination of nuts and seeds instead of oats. I love using almonds, unsweetened coconut flakes, cashews, walnuts, and raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), but you can change up the combination of nuts and seeds in this granola to your liking. Please keep in mind that the baking time may change if you use a combination that browns faster or slower in the oven—just keep an eye on the granola during the last 10 minutes of cooking and use your nose as a guide.
  • Maple syrup: This granola tastes best sweetened with grade A amber color, rich taste maple syrup (formerly known as grade B maple syrup), but if you’re not a fan, you can definitely substitute an equal amount of honey.
  • Refined coconut oil: I use refined coconut oil in this recipe because it doesn’t have a pronounced coconut-y taste. However, I also include 2 cups of coconut flakes in this recipe, so I clearly like the taste of coconut. If you don’t want to use coconut oil, use melted ghee or avocado oil instead.
  • Ground cardamom: The secret ingredient in this paleo granola is a sprinkle of fragrant ground cardamom, which lends an exotic aroma to the granola. (You might have a jar leftover if you recently made my Carrot Cardamom Soup!) If you don’t have any ground cardamom, feel free to substitute ground cinnamon and a little ground nutmeg in place of it.
  • Dark chocolate: The best dark chocolate to use in this recipe is whichever one you like to nibble on as a snack. Me? I chop up my favorite 80% cacao or higher chocolate bar to use in this paleo granola because I don’t normally snack on chocolate any sweeter than that. But feel free to substitute what you and your pals like!
  • Dried cherries: Dried cherries are the perfect tangy counterpoint to the nutty granola and dark chocolate. I buy dried cherries that are unsweetened (e.g. dried Bing cherries from the farmers market) or dried cherries sweetened only with fruit juice. Dried apricots or cranberries are a great substitute if you can’t find dried cherries.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Diamond Kosher salt: A smidge of salt makes every dessert taste better! If you use fine sea salt, use half the amount of Diamond Crystal kosher salt.

Can you make this granola keto?

Unfortunately, I haven’t tried this recipe with a keto-friendly sweetener. If you do use an alternative sweetener and it turns out great, please let me know in the comments so other readers can benefit. (Looking for a mildly sweet paleo granola recipe that uses only fruit as the sweetener? Check out my Tropical Paleo Granola recipe!)

Tips for making the best paleo granola

  • Use fresh nuts and seeds—you don’t want to gift a batch of stale-tasting granola!
  • Stir the granola mixture and rotate the tray at the halfway baking point to ensure that the nuts and seeds cook evenly.
  • Take the granola out of the oven when the nuts and seeds are golden brown and everything smells toasty and maple-y. If you smell anything burning, you waited too long!
  • Cool the granola completely before adding the chocolate and dried fruit. It’ll crisp up once cooled and form nice clusters. Everyone loves clusters of granola—it’s scientifically proven!
A close up of cherry chocolate paleo granola in a clear jar and a bowl of granola on top of coconut yogurt in the background.

How to make Chocolate Cherry Paleo Granola!

Before you get your hands dirty, preheat the oven to 300°F with the rack in the middle. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Two hands are flattening a piece of parchment paper in a rimmed baking sheet to make cherry chocolate paleo granola

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, cardamom, and salt.

Someone whisking together the wet ingredients to make cherry chocolate paleo granola in a large glass mixing bowl.

Stir in the nuts and seeds, and coat everything evenly with the wet ingredients.

Adding all the nuts and seeds to the wet ingredients of the cherry chocolate paleo granola

Don’t mix too vigorously or the coconut flakes will crumble.

Mixing the wet and dry ingredients of the paleo granola with a silicone spatula.

Transfer the paleo granola to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Transferring the cherry chocolate paleo granola onto the parchment lined baking sheet.

Use a silicone spatula to spread the granola evenly on the baking sheet.

Someone is spreading the paleo granola into a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet with a red silicone spatula.

Pop the tray in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Placing the tray of chocolate cherry paleo granola into the oven.

To ensure even browning, stir the granola and rotate the tray at the halfway point.

Rotating the tray of chocolate cherry paleo granola at the halfway point of baking.

Take the tray out of the oven and cool completely, about an hour. Break the granola up into chunks…

Someone breaking up the paleo granola into chunks after it has cooled down.

…and mix in the dried cherries and chocolate.

Someone adding dark chocolate chunks and dried cherries to cooled paleo granola on a rimmed baking sheet.

Pack your homemade paleo granola into sealed containers for your pals, and it’ll last for a couple of weeks!

A closeup of a jar filled with Chocolate Cherry Paleo granola and a bowl in the background with granola on top of coconut yogurt.

How to store the granola

This lip-smacking grain-free granola recipe verges on being a food without brakes for me—once I start munching, it’s hard to stop. That’s why I normally make this recipe only during the holidays to give away to friends or family. This granola keeps for at least two weeks in a sealed airtight container at room temperature. I also throw in a desiccant packet to keep the crunch longer. My favorite jars for gifting are these cute ones from Weck, but pint-sized mason jars work well, too.

How to serve the granola

This granola tastes fantastic on its own, but you can serve it over dairy-free yogurt or in a bowl with almond milk!

Need more ideas for DIY edible gifts? 

Check out this roundup of my favorite paleo-friendly homemade holiday gifts!


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).


 PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

Chocolate Cherry Paleo Granola

5 from 10 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Cooling time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 18 servings
This fabulous chocolate cherry paleo granola makes an easy and crowd-pleasing DIY homemade holiday edible gift! Warning: it’s hard to stop munching on this crunchy, nutty, and maple-syrup sweetened gluten-free treat so package it up and distribute to all your pals!

Ingredients 
 

  • ½ cup maple syrup grade A amber color, rich taste
  • ¼ cup melted refined coconut oil
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt 
  • 2 cups raw almonds roughly chopped
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup raw walnuts roughly chopped
  • 1 cup raw cashews roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raw pepitas
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chunks or your favorite cut up dark chocolate bar

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F with the rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, cardamom, and salt.
  • Stir in the nuts and seeds and coat everything evenly with the wet ingredients. Don’t mix too vigorously or the coconut flakes will crumble.
  • Transfer the paleo granola to a parchment-lined baking sheet and use a silicone spatula to spread the granola evenly.
  • Pop the tray in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. To ensure even browning, stir the granola and rotate the tray at the halfway point.
  • Take the tray out of the oven and cool completely, about an hour. Break it up into chunks and mix in the dried cherries and chocolate.
  • Pack your homemade paleo granola into sealed containers for your pals, and it’ll last for a couple of weeks!

Video

Notes

A serving size is ~ 1/2 cup.

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 27g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. Just made this but I doubled the recipe excluding the coconut flakes bummed that did have any. Next time. My house smells wonderful. Really good recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    All my friends who have tried it absolutely loved it and asked for the recipe. The world needs more of this granola!

  3. 5 stars
    This has been a staple in my kitchen for several years. It is so delicious. I leave the chocolate out and change up the nuts occasionally. At times I will switch out the cherries for cut up dates or a mix of both but I love the tartness of the cherries. My husband loves it with milk and I always put it on my yogurt.