Classic Bran Muffins

These refrigerator bran muffins are made with real unprocessed wheat bran and are filled with fiber, super hearty, and actually taste delicious! This bran muffin batter can be prepped ahead and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week! This way you can bake a fresh muffin each morning or bake them all at once!  Pin it for Later »

Bran muffins lined up with one muffin having a bite taken out of it to expose the texture inside

Refrigerator Bran Muffins Recipe Overview

Bran muffins have a reputation for being very healthy but not very tasty. I have to disagree with this assumption about all bran muffins. It is possible to make a high fiber bran muffin that is also very tasty!

Bran muffins made with unprocessed wheat bran, rolled oats, and golden raisins

These muffins are true bran muffins in the sense that they are made with whole unprocessed wheat bran and are not made with bran cereal. This eliminates the processed ingredients that cereals are filled with and keeps these muffins a little extra wholesome and hearty!

What is Wheat Bran?

The wheat grain consists of 3 parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Wheat bran is a byproduct of producing white flour where the bran and the germ are removed and only the endosperm is milled.

A close up picture of unprocessed wheat bran

The outer shell of the wheat grain is the bran and contains a great deal of fiber as well as essential fatty acids. It is often added into things like muffins for those who are looking to increase their fiber intake. But as a bonus, it happens to create delicious baked goods as well!

Using Whole Wheat Flour in Bran Muffins

I prefer to use whole wheat flour in my bran muffins for several reasons. The first reason being that we are already adding wheat bran into the muffins, so why use a flour that has had the bran removed? Seems a little counterproductive!

A bag of whole wheat flour

Whole wheat flour has more flavor and nutrition than white flour, but it is often given the reputation of creating baked goods that are dense and dry in texture. The advantage of using whole wheat flour in this bran muffin recipe is that we are going to allow the batter to rest. This additional step allows the wheat flour to completely hydrate and soften and will result in fluffy muffins with a beautiful texture!

Refrigerator Bran Muffins

It is common practice with bran muffins to make the batter at least a day before the muffins are baked. I tested many recipes, both that call for resting and those that don’t, and I far preferred the batters that rested.

Resting the bran muffin batter in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but preferably 12 hours, before it bakes results in the best texture and flavor of the bran muffins. This refrigerator bran muffin batter can actually stay in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Refrigerator bran muffin batter with various mix-ins being added such as raisins, rolled oats, chocolate chips, and almonds.

I love baking a fresh muffin or two in the morning and the flavor actually gets better and better. The batter will start to ferment slightly (think sourdough) and the muffins really have such a great flavor by the end of the week. I also love leaving out the mix-ins from the initial batter and that way I can mix in what ever I want into the muffins I am baking that morning so they never get boring!

How to Make Bran Muffins

We are going to use the muffin mixing method to make these classic bran muffins. The process is quite easy!

Step 1: Mix together the dry ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients with a whisk until they are well combined.

Step 2: Mix together the wet ingredients

Mix together all of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl until well combined.

Step 3: Combine the wet and dry ingredients together

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir together until combined.

Step 4: Add Mix-ins (if desired) and Chill Batter

If you want to fold any mix-ins into the batter, you can do so at this point. Dried fruit, nuts, and rolled oats are all good options. My favorite combination is rolled oats, golden raisins, and toasted pecans.

After the batter is complete, cover it and chill it for at least 2 hours, but preferably 12 hours, before baking. The batter can also be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week to bake small batches of fresh muffins each morning. The flavor improves over time.

Step 5: Bake the Muffins

After you let the batter rest, you can bake them. Sometimes I bake a large batch to share with friends. Or other times I leave the batter plain  and add various mix-ins when baking small batches at a time.

FAQ about Bran Muffins

  • Can I make bran muffins without sugar?- I believe these muffins have the best flavor when made with brown sugar. However, you can substitute the sugar for coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup. See recipe notes for substitution ratios.
  • Are bran muffins high in fiber?- Due to the unprocessed wheat bran and whole wheat flour in the recipe, these bran muffins are fairly high in fiber.
  • Can I substitute the wheat bran for oat bran?- Yes! You can substitute the wheat bran in this recipe for oat bran at a 1:1 ratio.

Bran Muffin Tips & Tricks

  • This muffin batter should rest for 2 hours at the minimum, but resting it for at least 12 hours will give you the best texture because it allows the wheat bran and whole wheat flour ample time to hydrate.
  • This batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. I love baking off a couple each morning for fresh hot muffins. I find the muffins taste better as the week goes on because the flavor keeps developing.
  • Alternatively, baked muffins can be cooled completely, wrapped well, and then frozen for up to 3 months.

Bran Muffin Ingredient Functions

  • Wheat Bran is the main source of fiber in these muffins. It also adds a slight texture and nutty flavor to the muffins.
  • Whole Wheat Flour is the main structure for the muffins. Using whole wheat flour instead of white flour contributes to the flavor, nutrition, and fiber content.
  • Brown Sugar provides sweetness for the bran muffins and helps retain moisture.
  • Baking Soda neutralizes the acidic flavor from the buttermilk in the muffins. Baking soda begins working as soon as it is hydrated so as because the muffin batter will rest, the baking soda will not contribute to the leavening.
  • Baking Powder will do all of the leavening in the bran muffins. Baking powder is double acting, so it will activate when the muffins are baked to help them rise.
  • Salt, Cinnamon, and Vanilla serve to round out and flavor the muffins.
  • Buttermilk adds moisture and tenderness to the muffins due to its acidic nature.
  • Oil adds moisture and richness to the muffins.
  • Eggs help bind the muffins as well as contribute to some of the leavening.

Bran Muffin Variations

  • Banana Bran Muffins: Substitute the oil in the recipe for mashed banana. Chopped walnuts or pecans would also be a great addition to banana bran muffins.
  • Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins: Fold in your favorite kind of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks. The cinnamon can be eliminated for a more clean chocolate chip bran muffin flavor.
  • Blueberry Bran Muffins: Toss in fresh or frozen blueberries into your muffin batter. A little lemon zest would also be a nice compliment for blueberry bran muffins.

Refrigerator Bran Muffins

Yield: 14-18 Muffins
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
These refrigerator bran muffins are made with real unprocessed wheat bran and are filled with fiber, super hearty and moist, and actually taste delicious! This bran muffin batter can be prepped ahead and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week! This way you can bake a fresh muffin each morning or bake them all at once!

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (90 gr) wheat bran
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 gr) whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup (227 gr) light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 cups (474 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil
  • 1 TBSP (15 ml) vanilla extract

Mix-Ins

  • 2 cups mix-ins of choice such as dried fruit, chopped nuts, rolled oats, or chocolate chips (*optional, I like a mixture of golden raisins, rolled oats, and toasted pecans)

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients until well combined.
  2. Mix wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients until well combined.
  3. Combine wet with dry ingredients: Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  4. Add mix-ins: If desired, fold in your mix-ins. Alternatively, you can leave the mix-ins out at this point and add them in as you bake your small batches of muffins. This way you can have different mix-ins each time you bake a batch.
  5. Rest your batter: Cover your muffin batter and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but 12 hours is more desirable for the best texture. This batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week and should be moved into an airtight container if it will be stored for more than 12 hours. I like to bake a few at a time to have fresh muffins each day.
  6. Bake: When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C). Line your muffin tin with as many liners as muffins you would like to bake. Fill the muffin liner almost all the way to the top. Bake for 14-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Store: Baked muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. After that, they can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 3 months.

Notes

  • The brown sugar can be replaced with coconut sugar at a 1:1 ratio. Alternatively, you can substitute the sugar with 2/3 cup (160 ml) honey or maple syrup. Reduce the buttermilk to 1 3/4 cup (415 ml) if making this substitution.
  • The wheat bran can be replaced with oat bran 1:1 if desired.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1 Muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 203 Total Fat: 9g Carbohydrates: 29g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 15g Protein: 5g

References

I tested and compared these recipes while developing this bran muffin recipe. This recipe is not an adaptation of any one bran muffin recipe, rather has been developed utilizing the best characteristics from several different recipes. 

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2 comments on “Classic Bran Muffins”

  1. My mouth is watering. Bran muffins were our most-requested breakfast when I was growing up, and continues to be a favorite with each of our families. We always used the recipe on the cereal box. My sister experimented to adapt the recipe to a pancake, but that recipe is long gone, and my own attempts have failed. Those bran muffin pancakes were so delicious. Can’t find anything similar online. How would you adapt this recipe to pancake form? I really love reading your posts. Thank you!

    • Hi Robin! I actually feel like this batter could be used as is for pancakes! I haven’t tried it, but knowing the texture of it and the ratios of ingredients I actually think it would work really well! If I make another batch soon I’ll test it and report back! <3

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