As a child, one of my favorite cereal was Honey Bunches of Oats. Obviously, from the name alone, this wasn’t a cereal that remained one of my favorites through the transition to veganism. Luckily, there were plenty of new culinary discoveries that made it easy for this cereal to disappear into ancient memories (this is getting a little bit dramatic). After making homemade Lucky Charms a few years back, I began to think about all of the other cereals that could be homemade. Then, vegan Honey Bunches of Oats was born. Or, Agave Bunches of Oats.
While I don’t go for cereal most of the time now (why does a box of cereal cost $6?), it seems like cereal for breakfast was a childhood ritual. Cereal before school on weekdays, and cereal with Saturday morning cartoons. Cereal for a snack, and cereal for dinner sometimes. There is something nostalgic about cereal, and making homemade vegan versions of the sugary breakfast cereals I enjoyed as a child.
Vegan Honey Bunches of Oats or Agave Bunches of Oats is basically a granola made with cornflakes, oat clusters, and almonds coated with a sweet, agave-based binder. The syrup is really just sugar and water (hey, breakfast cereal isn’t supposed to be totally healthy!). Since this cereal is corn and oat-based, it’s safe for gluten or wheat-free diets, and could be nut-free without the almonds.
Are Honey Bunches of Oats vegan already?
For some reason, there is a misconception that honey is vegan and much debate over the topic. At the end of the day, it’s an animal product, and the honeybees aren’t producing it for humans. Some great honey substitutes are agave nectar and products like Bee Free Honey.
Using agave nectar to replace honey
As I was researching, I took inspiration from other Honey Bunches of Oats dupes like this and this. For my version of the recipe, I decided to use agave nectar because it’s the most readily-available vegan sweetener similar to honey. Because the sweetness in Honey Bunches of Oats is a very light flavor—not caramel-y or molasses-y—I decided to use light agave nectar, granulated sugar, and only a touch of brown sugar.
One of my favorite parts of this cereal was how the “honey bunches” were separated from the cornflakes, but they also mixed together a little bit. So the recipe calls to make the oat-y granola separately from the cornflake mixture. But then you mix them up a bit on the baking sheet. This ensures that there are plenty of bunches, but also sweet, crispy cornflakes.
Get the recipe:
Vegan Honey Bunches of Oats
- 1/3 cup light agave nectar or bee-free honey
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups oats divided
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 4 cups cornflakes
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Combine the agave nectar, brown sugar, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over low medium heat.
- Stir to dissolve the sugars in the saucepan, then remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Place 2 cups of the oats in a small to medium-sized mixing bowl. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of oats, sliced almonds, and cornflakes.
- Pour approximately half of the agave and sugar mixture over the 2 cups of oats. Stir with a wooden spoon to create granola clusters, using your hands if necessary.
- Pour the remaining agave and sugar mixture over the bowl containing cornflakes, oats, and almonds, then stir to coat.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. You may need two sheets, depending on the size of yours.
- Mix the contents of the two bowls together and spread out evenly on the cookie sheet(s), about an inch thick. If the mixture is too densely-packed on the cookie sheet, it won't bake all the way through, but if it's too spread out, it will burn.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes, stirring once or twice partway through baking so the mixture does not burn on the edges.
- Remove from heat and let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage.
Serve with your favorite non-dairy milk, and fresh fruit.