Gingerbread Granola

Add a little Holiday Cheer to your breakfast routine! A healthy granola that tastes like a Gingerbread cookie, look no further! This Gingerbread Granola can be enjoyed year round, but is most festive during the Holiday Season.

This Gingerbread Granola is made with healthy, whole food ingredients such as squash, dates, blackstrap molasses, and pumpkin pie spices. Add in your favorite nuts or seeds for extra crunchy and some healthy fats. Top it off with baked apples or fresh pomegranate to complement the flavors. 

A few notes before you get started:

SQUASH: Buttercup and butternut squash both work fantastic in this recipe. I prefer buttercup over butternut, in general, in my household as it is much sweeter and  has a creamier texture. If you are not familiar with preparing squash, carefully cut it in half with a sharp knife. Remove the seeds with a spoon, and then place the squash, flesh side down, onto a baking sheet. Add a little water to the bottom of the pan and roast at 425F for at least 30-40 minutes or until the flesh can be easily poked with a fork. You’ll want it to be well cooked for this recipe for all that delicious sweet flavor. Remove the squash from the skin and store in air-tight containers until ready to use. If you are planning to just use the squash for this recipe, you can also freeze in smaller batches until ready to use next time.

SQUASH ALTERNATIVES: No squash, no problem. I have not tried a sweet potato version yet, but I know it will be great! Just swap in a cooked and mashed orange or Japanese sweet potato for the squash in the recipe. Feel free to also use canned pumpkin puree, though from my experience it is not as sweet as the squash variations.

OATS: I have only tried this recipe with old fashioned rolled oats, but feel free to play with other kinds. 

DATES: I find it most helpful to soak the dates in hot water, even if you have a smaller blender. It’s not going to ruin your recipe if you have little date pieces in the granola, just adds a different touch. I prefer to get this part of the granola as smooth as possible, though. If your dates are super soft, you could probably skip this step. I buy the pitted deglet nour dates in bulk from Costco (though medjool dates are by far my favorite!) and I find that they need a little more help softening-up for this recipe.

BAKE TIMES: The time will vary greatly on a number of factors. Convection vs regular oven, how well you break up the clumps, the number of pans used (how well spread out the granola is) and how many cups of oats used. A more moist granola will result in more bake time, as well. Since there are a number of variables that impact time- it’s important to regularly check the granola and give it a good stir. The first 20-30 minutes, the granola needs a little less babysitting. But then after that, you’ll want to be sure to give it a good stir every 5-10 minutes to ensure it doesn’t burn.

ADD-INS: Feel free to use this recipe as a base and add in any additional nuts, seeds, or dried fruit of choice.

Gingerbread Granola

Kristina DeMuth, MPH, RD, LD
Gingerbread Granola is naturally sweetened with dates and squash, and spiced with pumpkin pie flavors. This is a delicious recipe for fall and winter, but can be enjoyed year round. When squash is out of season, just swap in a roasted sweet potato! Enjoy this granola with your favorite smoothie or on top of your favorite fruit. It tastes exceptionally great with cooked apples or pomegranates.  
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Servings 12


  • ¾ cup pitted dates
  • ¾ cup cooked, mashed buttercup or butternut squash
  • ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
  •  1½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • cup water (or more as needed)
  •  5-6 cups rolled oats


  • Soak the dates in hot water for 10-15 minutes to soften. Drain off the water (feel free to use this water in the recipe, just measure out what is needed).
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. If an option, use a convection bake setting.
  • Add the dates, squash, molasses, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, vanilla, and water to a high speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add up to 4 tablespoons of water, as needed, to the blender to help smooth out the texture.
  • In a bowl, combine the oats with the date- squash mixture. Stir until the oats are well coated. Feel free to add a little more oats, as desired. Spread the granola onto lined baking sheets.
  • Bake the granola for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven. Break-up the larger clumps of granola and stir well. Place the granola back into the oven and continue to check every 5-10 minutes, stirring often to help keep the granola from burning. The granola may take up to a total of 45 -60 minutes. Cook times may vary.
  • Once the granola is crispy, remove from the oven. Allow the granola to cool completely before storing away in  silicon bags or glass containers.
  • Store in the cupboard for 2 weeks. For longer storage, keep the granola in the freezer.


Makes about 6 cups.