Thrilled to share this 30-minute recipe for healthy bran muffins with you! Made without refined sugar and positively packed with dietary fiber, these wholesome bran muffins are a tasty AND nutritious treat. Dairy free, no mixer required, and the add-ins are up to you!
What do you think of when you think of “bran muffins”? Healthy but tasteless? Nutritious but dry? Well, I set out to change the humble bran muffin’s reputation, so get ready to rethink your preconceived notions. Because these healthy bran muffins are flavorful, moist, and anything but bland!
A few test batches later and we have ourselves a perfectly delicious, healthful, not-overly-sweet bran muffin that adults AND kids enjoy. I had a 2-year-old, 5-year-old, 6-year-old, 9-year-old, teenager, plus adult taste testers here… approval all around. 😉
Here’s Why You’ll Love These Healthy Bran Muffins
- Wholesome and nutritious
- Slightly sweet, cinnamon-spiced, nutty flavor
- Packed with insoluble dietary fiber
- Hearty but NOT dry, just like these applesauce muffins
- Sweetened with honey—no refined sugar
- Dairy-free baking recipe if using a dairy-free milk
- No mixer required
- Healthy grab-and-go breakfast or anytime snack
- Freeze well
- Add-ins are up to you: raisins, nuts, blueberries… choose your favorite
Recipe Testing for Bran Muffin Success
I adapted this recipe from my morning glory muffins and blueberry oatmeal muffins, two of the most popular healthier muffin recipes on my site. The recipe went through 3 rounds of testing:
- The first test batch I made was too wet—not enough whole wheat flour, so they tasted a little greasy.
- For the second batch, I left out the applesauce and let the batter sit for about 15 minutes before baking, so the bran could soak up some of the liquid. This made the batter really thick, but then the muffins tasted too dry. Better to bake the batter right away.
- My third try was the “just right” Goldilocks-approved batch of bran muffins, which is the recipe I’m sharing with you today.
What Is Wheat Bran?
The bran is the protective outer layer, or shell, of the wheat kernel, which is stripped away during the milling process. But it’s actually super rich in insoluble fiber and other nutrients, and has a lightly sweet, nutty flavor. What’s not to like about this superfood?!
What Type of Wheat Bran Should I Use?
A lot of bran muffin recipes call for bran cereal, but we are just using straight-up wheat bran here, so there are no added ingredients from the cereal.
I usually find wheat bran in the cereal aisle near the oats, or you can buy it online. I like Bob’s Red Mill brand (not working with them, just genuinely like their products). No need to soak it or sift it or anything before using, just add it as a dry ingredient.
A couple questions & answers:
- Can I Use Bran Cereal Instead? I recommend using wheat bran for these muffins, but I know some recipes call for grinding bran cereal (either flakes or strands, such as All-Bran or Fiber One) into crumbs to use in place of wheat bran. I haven’t tested it myself with this recipe. Keep in mind that most bran cereals include sugar.
- What if I Can’t Find Wheat Bran? If you’re unable to find wheat bran at your local store or purchase it online, you can try these blueberry oatmeal muffins or chocolate chip baked oatmeal cups instead. The recipe is similar, and you can choose any add-ins you prefer instead of blueberries (such as raisins).
- Can I Make These Gluten Free? You can’t without completely changing the recipe. I recommend my blueberry almond muffins instead.
All the Ingredients You Need:
- Whole Wheat Flour: I love using whole wheat flour in baking when I can. It can dry out baked goods, so it’s important to pay attention to the ratio of wet ingredients to balance it out. I use it in these peanut butter banana muffins, too!
- Baking Soda + Baking Powder: These leaveners help the muffins rise up tall. I usually use 1 teaspoon each in most muffin recipes, but that proved to be too much baking soda (it left a little bit of an aftertaste). So, use 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon soda here.
- Salt: Flavor enhancer.
- Cinnamon: A favorite ingredient in many muffin recipes!
- Egg: The egg helps to bind the ingredients together. If you’d like to make these muffins vegan, swap the egg for your favorite baking egg substitute.
- Honey: Likewise, you can swap the honey for maple syrup to make these muffins vegan.
- Coconut Oil: This is one of my favorite ingredients in baking. To avoid a coconut-y flavor, look for one that’s labeled “unrefined.” If you don’t have coconut oil, use vegetable oil, avocado oil, or melted butter instead.
- Applesauce: Unsweetened, smooth applesauce takes the place of more oil. If you don’t have applesauce, mashed banana is a great replacement.
- Vanilla Extract: Baked goods’ favorite flavor enhancer (shh, don’t tell the salt).
- Nondairy Milk: I tested this recipe with plain (unsweetened) almond milk, but you can use oat milk or your preferred type of nondairy milk. You could also use regular dairy milk or buttermilk.
- Optional Add-ins: I used raisins in the pictured muffins, but you can certainly leave the bran muffins plain or fill with fresh, frozen, or dried blueberries; dried cranberries; chopped nuts; apples; etc.
How to Make Your Bran Muffins
Making these bran muffins is as simple as combining the dry ingredients in 1 bowl, combining the wet ingredients in another bowl, then whisking them together and folding in your raisins or other add-ins. Honestly couldn’t be easier—even simpler than whipping up a batch of zucchini muffins.
*Success Tip: The batter will quickly start to thicken up as the wheat bran absorbs the liquid—think instant oatmeal, or bran flake cereal absorbing milk the longer it’s left in your bowl. Scoop the batter into your lined muffin pan as soon as all your ingredients are combined, and bake.
Always appreciate quick, uncomplicated prep work for breakfast recipes.
Enjoy the baked muffins warm and feel free to swipe a pat of butter on each, or apple butter, or my favorite honey butter. So satisfying!
Healthy Bran Muffins Recipe
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Flavorful, wholesome, and tender, these bran muffins are an easy and quick healthy baking staple. Make sure you’re using pure wheat bran, not bran cereal. Use your favorite add-ins, or leave the muffins plain. See Notes for freezing instructions and mini muffin instructions.
- 1 and 1/2 cups (195g) whole wheat flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 cup (52g) wheat bran
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (170g) honey or pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup (75g) coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup (60g) unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240ml) nondairy milk* (or dairy milk), at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (about 100g) raisins*
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or use muffin liners.
- Whisk the flour, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl until combined. Set aside.
- Whisk the egg, honey, melted coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and milk together in a medium bowl until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk to combine. Switch to a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and fold in the raisins (or other add-ins).
- Spoon the batter evenly into liners, filling them all the way to the top. Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F, then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 14–15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 20 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
- Muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature for a few days, then transfer to the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: For longer storage, freeze the muffins for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then heat up in the microwave if desired.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 12-Count Muffin Pan | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Muffin Liners | Cooling Rack
- Whole Wheat Flour: Feel free to replace with all-purpose flour, or use a mix of both all-purpose and whole wheat.
- Wheat Bran: I usually find wheat bran in the cereal aisle near the oats, or you can buy it online. I like Bob’s Red Mill brand (not working with them, just genuinely like their products). No need to soak it or sift it or anything before using, just add it as a dry ingredient. If you’re unable to find wheat bran at your local store or purchase it online, you can try these blueberry oatmeal muffins instead. The recipe is similar, and you can choose any add-ins you prefer instead of blueberries (such as raisins).
- Can I Use Bran Cereal Instead? I recommend using wheat bran for these muffins, but I know some recipes call for grinding bran cereal (either flakes or strands, such as All-Bran or Fiber One) into crumbs to use in place of wheat bran. I haven’t tested it myself with this recipe. Keep in mind most bran cereals include sugar.
- Coconut Oil: If you don’t have coconut oil, use the same amount of vegetable oil, avocado oil, or melted butter instead.
- Applesauce: If you don’t have applesauce, mashed banana is a great replacement.
- Milk: I use plain (unsweetened) almond milk, but you can use any type of milk—dairy or nondairy—that you prefer, or buttermilk. Nutrition information calculated using plain unsweetened almond milk.
- Raisins/Add-ins: You can use 2/3 cup of any add-ins you prefer instead of raisins, such as dried cranberries, chopped walnuts or pecans, fresh or dried blueberries, or peeled and finely chopped apples, or leave the muffins plain. If using apples, I usually use closer to 1 cup. Nutrition information calculated using raisins.
- Why the initial high oven temperature? Like I do for most muffin recipes, bake the muffins for 5 minutes at a very hot temperature. Then, keeping the muffins in the oven, switch to a lower temperature for the remaining bake time. This initial high temperature will quickly lift the muffin tops so they’re extra high, then the centers will bake during the lower-temperature bake time. This trick makes beautiful bakery-style muffins every time.
- Mini Muffins: If making these in a mini muffin pan, bake 12–13 minutes total at 350°F (177°C) the whole time.
- Nutrition Information Per 1 Muffin: Calories (191), Total Fat (7.3g), Sodium (174mg), Carbohydrates (31g), Dietary Fiber (4.2g), Sugar (14g), Protein (3.7g)
- Serving Size: 1 muffin
- Calories: 191
- Sugar: 14.1 g
- Sodium: 174.7 mg
- Fat: 7.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 31.4 g
- Fiber: 4.2 g
- Protein: 3.7 g
- Cholesterol: 15.5 mg
Keywords: bran muffins
Reader Comments & Reviews
I replaced coconut oil with olive oil, took out the applesauce and pure vanilla extract and blueberries instead of raisins, I DEFINITELY recommend it. Delicious!!! Thank-you Sally!
Hi! I followed this recipe exactly and it was much runnier when it was all mixed together – even with the raisins. Did you do anything different for this video and photos? thanks for letting me know!
Hi Lynne! The recipe isn’t any different. The batter will thicken up a bit as it sits and the bran absorbs some of the liquid. How did they bake?
Hi Trini, they did bake up nicely – they actually had a higher crown than your photo, and they didnt look as dense as your photo. everyone I gave them to really liked them! They were soft inside too. For me they were a little heavy (I think not being used to the whole wheat flour and the bran. I think next time I will try whole wheat pastry flour with the bran. Do you think that will lighten them up a little?
Love this recipe!! They are so yummy and healthy, one question is the calorie count for the regular size muffin or for the mini muffin?
Hi Kristin, we’re so glad you enjoyed these! The nutrition information is for one standard-sized muffin.
As an FYI, coconut oil, surprisingly, is not heart healthy – it is a saturated fat. After my husband had a heart attack years ago, the cardiologist sent him to heart rehab, which included working with the hospital’s nutritionist. The 3 worst oils are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, palm oil and coconut oil. Olive, avocado, and sunflower oils are much healthier.
The comment about coconut oil being unhealthy is dated and not true. In reality it is very healthy and highly recommended by functional medicine practitioners.
This is a delicious recipe! I used AP flour by accident and it still turned out great. I also subbed molasses for the honey bc I love the flavour, and added currants! So good.
I also subbed Greek yogurt for the applesauce as that’s what I had on hand!