Bran beautiful! Moist, marvelous muffins.

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Fiber.

It’s just so virtuous. So healthy. So… dull.

It’s true, fiber isn’t the flashiest ingredient out there. I mean, next to chocolate, or strawberries – or the pepperoni on your pizza – fiber is an also-ran in the looks/flavor department.

But, like any wallflower, fiber can become the belle of the ball when put in the right situation.

Like these bran muffins.

Talk about moist, tender, and delicious… I tell you, Mr. Man, these are the bran muffins you want to bring along to the desert isle. And not only are they tasty, each packs about 7g of fiber – a good head start on your daily requirement.

Not only that – the batter can be made ahead, then left in the fridge for weeks, ready to scoop out and bake as many as you want: from two in the toaster oven for a his-and-her breakfast, to the full batch of 18 for your celebratory graduation brunch.

And this recipe has an interesting history. First printed in our 200th Anniversary Cookbook (published in 1990, and celebrating its 20th anniversary this year), it comes with this intro:

“Some of you may remember hearing the voice of Betty Crocker over the radio a number of years ago. The voice actually belonged to Zella Lane, who’s a real person who really does love to bake. She lives in Virginia, and has her daughter ship King Arthur Flour to her since it’s not available in that region. [Now, 20 years later, our flour is available nationwide - Ed.] This is one of Zella’s favorite recipes…”

Radioland’s Betty Crocker actually baked with King Arthur Flour – well, who knew?!

We may be prejudiced, but we’re certain it’s the flour that makes these muffins so delightfully delicious. Just ask Betty… er,  Zella!

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Like many older fiber-rich recipes, this one starts with breakfast cereal. (Remember Shredded Wheat bread?)

Put 1 cup bran buds or twigs; or 1 3/4 cups bran flakes in a bowl.

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Add 1 cup boiling water, and stir. The cereal will break down and the mixture will become mushy.

Let the mixture cool to lukewarm. This will take about 45 minutes.

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Add 1/2 cup vegetable oil to the cooled cereal.

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Stir to combine.

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Set it aside; you’ll use it later.

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Put the following in a bowl:

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups cup raisins or currants

I first made this with golden raisins, then with currants. I prefer the currants, as they’re smaller and distribute themselves throughout the batter more nicely.

Don’t like raisins or currants? How about dried cranberries, chopped dates, or another dried fruit? If you’re not a fan of dried fruit – end of story – simply leave it out.

Can you substitute fresh fruit? Only if it’s quite dry (e.g., blueberries); and only if you stir in the fruit just before baking, rather than with the initial batter.

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Whisk together. Set it aside; you’ll get back to it.

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Whisk together 2 large eggs, 2 cups buttermilk, and 1 1/4 cups sugar.

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Add the flour/raisin mixture…

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…and 2 cups bran cereal (buds or twigs); or 3 1/2 cups bran flakes.

Stir to combine.

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Now add the cooled cereal/water/oil mixture.

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Stir to combine.

Cover the bowl, and refrigerate overnight. For longer storage, transfer to a covered container, and refrigerate.

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Next day, look how the bran cereal has absorbed the liquid. The batter has thickened considerably.

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan, or line with paper cups, and grease the cups. Use as many wells as you like; since this recipe can live in the fridge for a couple of weeks, there’s no need to bake 12 muffins all at once.

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Heap the thick batter in the muffin cups.

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A generous 1/4 cup batter (about 3 1/2 ounces, or 100g) is a good amount to use.

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Sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

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Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, till a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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They’ll rise nicely.

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Remove from the oven, and tip the muffins in the pan to prevent their bottoms steaming and becoming soggy. Serve warm; or transfer to a rack to cool completely. Serve with jam, if desired.

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OK, here’s the batter after it’s been in the fridge for 2 weeks. How will it measure up?

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Here’s a muffin baked 1 day after the batter was made…

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…and here’s one baked 2 weeks later. The 2-week batter produced a somewhat craggier top, but height was the same.

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And how about making mini muffins?

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Bake for 15 minutes; works like a charm. The entire recipe will make 18 full-size muffins, or 45 minis.

Good to the last fiber-filled bite!

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Zella Lane’s 2-Week Bran Muffins.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Allan

    Looks like a great recipe. If the mixture is kept in the fridge longer than overnight, should I think about stirring in a tablespoon of water before putting them into the muffin tin for baking?

    Nope, Allan – fine as is. Just scoop, bake, and enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  2. Jamie

    These look great. I love bran muffins but really dislike raisins, but I doubt they’d be bad without them. Adding to the to do list!

    Jamie, fine without raisins, of course – but how about dried cranberries or some other dried fruit? If you dislike all dried fruit, then leave it out; I think it adds another layer of flavor, that’s all. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  3. Jen

    Those do look tasty, PJ. I actually love bran muffins (weird, I know)!

    Any thoughts on what to use instead of raisins or currants (not a fan). Do you think dried cranberries would work? I assume fresh fruit (like blueberries) would add too much liquid?

    Jen, any dried fruit would work. Frozen would be too messy. Fresh: maybe blueberries, but stir them in right before baking, not with the initial batter. You’re right, these are already moist, and you don’t want to introduce too much excess liquid. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  4. cindy harris

    This recipe looks yummy. I ordered some fun chopped dates from KAF. Can I use them in place of the raisins or currents?

    Absolutely, Cindy, date-bran muffins will be yummy! : ) PJH

    Reply
  5. Wei-Wei

    Personally, I don’t like muffins very much. To me they’re just cakes POSING as health food. I’d rather get my fiber from fruits and veggies… but I wouldn’t turn down a muffin ;)

    Reply
  6. Shirley

    I notice you made the mini muffins without papers. Grease the pan instead? Really looks like a recipe I could use and make as I wanted a small batch of muffins.
    Yes, give the pans a spritz of cooking spray if you aren’t using liners. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. Teresa

    I love the flavor complexity that molasses provides. Can some of the sugar be replaced successfully with a liquid sweetener, like molasses or maple syrup?

    This will be an experiment. Generally, you may substitute up to about 1/3 of granulated sugar with one of these alternates with no additional adjustments. Experiment, Have Fun. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  8. nancy

    would shredded carrots also work as an add-in to make a carrot – bran muffin?

    Yes. Experiment with various grater sizes. The shred size can influence the final texture. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  9. marsha

    These look great. Two questions- can you suggest a dairy-free substitute for the buttermilk? And, to lower the fat content, could you use less oil or maybe combine oil and applesauce?

    For the buttermilk, try using 1 tablespoon of vinegar added to 1 cup of soy milk, or other milk replacement. The oil/applesauce alteration will be an experiment. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  10. Anne

    These look great!! Would it be too much to substitute your fabulous white whole wheat flour for the AP?

    This will be converting the recipe to 100% whole wheat. This will be an experiment. You may need to increase the amont of liquid to accommodate the additional bran. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  11. FRAN S

    I have to say I too LOVE Bran muffins. I bought all the stuff a month or so ago and never got to it. This week I bought stuff for Blueberry muffins sooo it will be a muffin weekend! This post is just the motivation I need now I just have to carve out the time.
    I have one tiny complaint to make: my mother used to have an apron that said “never trust a skinny chef”. I have always loved that quote, it is sort of my mantra, that being said, I am so very dissapointed that the KAF t-shirts do not come in PLUS sizes. I love to bake and it shows! I love KAF and I’d love to show it by wearing a t-shirt but I’ll have to wait to you expand the line (pun intended!) or I may just have to settle for a hat! In the meantime I’ll just keep on baking spirits bright!

    Reply
  12. Don

    Can I use wheat bran instead of all bran cereal? I always have that on hand or is there a receipt that I can us bran for muffins.

    No, this substitution will not work. This recipe only works with a prepared cereal. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  13. fer

    I have more freezer room than refrigerator room (strange, I know — long story) so I just cook up the whole batch and freeze them. So easy to pull out one or a few and pop them in the microwave for a few seconds — they come out nice and moist. Grandchildren love them, too.

    Reply
  14. SoupAddict Karen

    Mmm, yum … I have some dried figs sitting around with no particular place to go (bought them to experiment with gluten-free, low calorie granola bars – still working on it. Gluten-free (check), low calorie (check), flavor (check), binding (not so much)). So, the figs need a home until then.

    I love the idea of the batter sitting around in the fridge for a week or two. Makes breakfast on the run a snap (baking the night before, of course). Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  15. Patricia

    Can you substitute whole-wheat flour or a white/whole blend? Would that make it too dense?

    Certainly, experiment with this substitution. As you will be using 100% whole wheat, you may need to increase the water to accomodate the additional bran. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  16. Sandy

    Yum…these are a must-make. They remind me of muffins I used to make when the kids where small…the recipe used the raisin bran cereal and would keep in the fridge for a long time…since it made a big batch it was so handy to scoop some batter in pans and bake up fresh muffins as needed. Will certainly give your recipe a try!

    Reply
  17. Nickolina

    I have been making a version of this for years, got the recipe from a friend over 20 years ago. I should do it again!

    If you don’t use muffin papers you get a nice, crispy-ish crust (spray or oil the tin) but you have to tip them out to cool.

    Our problem was keeping it in the frig for two weeks or whatever, it always got used up in two or three batches with 6 in the house munching muffins like snack food. The other problem was cleaning the tin…yuck. I do see that special sponge thingy in the catalog, just didn’t get that far yet.

    Reply
  18. Deah =)

    These are excellent…I have made a very similar recipe (larger batch, no fruit) many, many times, and they always turn out perfectly moist. They are just right for quick breakfasts or snacks…mmm…I think I need to make some again soon. =)

    Reply
  19. Kelly

    I LOVE bran muffins…I have a similar recipe and they are awesome. To get my kids more into them I add semi-sweet mini chips and they loved them! I do half of the batter with raisens or cranberries and the other half with the chocolate chips and we are all happy!

    Reply
  20. Geri

    I cant wait to make these, my daughter loves bran muffins. However you cant seem to buy them without rasins, and she dosent like rasins.

    Reply
  21. Dan Hefelfinger

    Can you add canned, drained pineapple tibits or small chunks?

    Or could you place it on the bottom of the cup?

    Dried apricots I guess would work also?
    Cannded pineapple will add too much liquid but dried aprocots will work very nicely. JMD @KAF

    Reply
  22. Lorraine

    I am a new visitor on your site and oh boy am I glad my niece told me about you!!!I had to get the flour 230 miles away( my sister in law sent it to me) so now I can try what you all are bragging about!!Montana has great flour so tomorrow I will make your muffins with YOUR flour and then I will compare it with ours.I LOVE the recipes,thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  23. Jules

    I’m thinking that these would be fabulous with Flav-r-bites. I don’t tend to use them in muffins because of the short baking time, but this is a great opportunity.

    Reply
  24. Lois Feldman

    I am looking forward to trying this wonderful bran muffin recipe. I was wondering if I could use brown sugar as a substitute for the white sugar, or use 1/2 and 1/2. Would this work and give them a good flavor? Also, has anyone tried a bit of cinnamon in the batter or sprinkled on top? I have made them using brown sugar and that worked well. I think cinnamon would be a good edition. Give it a try and let us know. Mary@KAF

    Reply
  25. Ellen

    I’ve used a similar recipe from one of Jane Brody’s old (yellowing) cookbooks. The finest bran muffin ever! I add the raisins or cranberries to the boiling water mix to soften them.

    But, where can I get bran twigs, buds or flakes without high fructose corn syrup? The closest I can get is a combination flakes, twigs and granola mix. Something from the regular grocery store would be a plus.

    Two buttermilk recipes in a row, you’re on a roll! Have you tried a natural foods store or a food co-op for the twigs – the high fructose corn syrup? They might have them there. Good luck in your search and happy baking! mary@ KAF

    Reply
  26. Summer

    I made these muffins last night and baked them this morning, they were fabulous. I made a few healthy upgrades and the recipe still turned out perfect. First for the oil I used 1/4 c virgin coconut oil and a 1/4 all natural apple butter (sweetened with apple juice rather than sugar). Since the apple butter was so sweet I reduced the sugar (which i substituted with unprocessed sucanat) to 1 cup. Additionally I used half skim milk and half fat free greek yogurt for the buttermilk (the yogurt is a good way to add in a little extra protein). Finally I substituted the AP flour with 100% KAF white whole wheat. I didn’t add fruit to the batter so that I could choose to add whatever I wanted later. The batter was quite stiff this morning so I added a splash of milk to the portion I scooped out of bowl to prepare. I also added some frozen blueberries. The muffins turned out fabulous and were a perfect pre-bike meal as we went mt biking after breakfast and both my boyfriend and I felt really great without getting hungry early.

    Summer, sounds great – I wouldn’t have thought of apple butter, or the Greek-style yogurt. I just made a big batch of Greek yogurt Thursday – now I know what to try it in! :) PJH

    Reply
  27. Natasha

    YUM!! I mixed these up late last night & baked these this morning with cranberries. I substituted 1/2 of the oil with applesauce and they turned out wonderful. Using 1/4 cup of applesauce and 1/4 cup of oil rather than 1/2 cup of oil, I removed 54 grams of fat and about 480 calories from the batch which is roughly 3 fat grams per regular sized muffin. I also used vinegar and skim milk to make “buttermilk” because I don’t keep buttermilk on hand. I made 6 this morning and can’t wait to make more as the week goes on! Very good!

    Great tips, Natasha – that’s a lot of calories! Thanks for sharing – PJH

    Reply
  28. Monica

    Thank you! Your timing for posting the perfect recipe is always impeccable. I have been looking for a Bran Muffin recipe for 6 weeks and this one is perfect. I have to bake for a tough crowd (The Family) and they will love these bran muffins because they are not dry. You guys at KAF are awesome. Thanks, again.

    Back at ya, Monica – we love our enthusiastic bakers out there! Hope the muffins were a hit – PJH

    Reply
  29. Willi Reinhart

    My first bran muffin attempt just came out of the oven. First impression, they look awesome. Second impression, they tasted as good they look. Thanks and keep posting great recipes.

    Super job, Willi – thanks for the feedback! PJH

    Reply
  30. Willi Reinhart

    PJ,

    Can you suggest other muffin recipes, like the bran muffins, that the batter can be stored in the refrigerator and the muffins baked in small batches over time? I love that aspect of the bran muffins.

    Thanks,

    Willi

    Willi, I don’t know of any other muffins where the recipe calls for you to keep the batter in the fridge for long periods; I’ve only ever seen this done with bran muffins, for some reason. And I’m still puzzled as to why it works; I’d think the leavener would lose its stuff. But I’ve never tried this with another muffin recipe; who knows, maybe it works well for others. It would be a good experiment – if you decide to pursue it, let us know what you find out! Thanks – PJH

    Reply
  31. Allan

    Made these today and left a five star review on the recipe page. Just a great muffin. When it came out of the refrigerator this morning, it did look dry, but I just scooped them out of the bowl into the muffin cups. They came out real moist and with the coarse white sugar on top a real nice desert with tea. I never thought I would like a bran muffin; these are great.

    Glad you like them, Allan – thanks for sharing your success here. PJH

    Reply
  32. Holly Graham

    I love bran muffins and have been looking for a good recipe. Do you think you could replace the raisins with dried apple pieces?

    Absolutely, Holly, go for it – PJH

    Reply
  33. SallyBR

    Well, I am now convinced to try this recipe. My beloved husband LOVES bran muffins (he is wonderful in other aspects, so I’m keeping him) – and I’ve been running away from making them in the 10 years we’ve been married…

    I’ll make this one = probably this weekend

    Reply
  34. Mlrichmond

    I made these wiith dried cherries and they are fantasic! Could some of the liquid be replaced with OJ, applesauce or pumpkin?,bd /> I would be an experiment, but one worth trying. Let us know how it comes out. mary@KAF

    Reply
  35. DianneB

    These muffins are ‘DA BOMB’!! Used to make them years ago, lost the recipe, now I have it again. Yeah!! My husband just loves these muffins. Arguably, this is the best bran muffin recipe of all of them I’ve tried. And as one reviewer suggests, I also cut the sugar back by at least a 1/4 cup. I don’t want or like it TOO sweet and I think it’s a better balance of flavors.

    Reply
  36. Linda Jack

    I haven’t tried this particular recipe (but I’m planning to) but I have tried another one, and I put chopped dried apricots in them. But then I really like dried apricots!

    Reply
  37. maggierose

    I am wild about your fabulous recipes and will be making the donut muffins and the bran muffins. I made about 20 loaves of your breads!
    You mentioned making a batch of Greek Yogurt, and I am looking for a recipe for that.
    I presume you use original yogurt from the dairy case as a starter.
    …maggierose…

    Hi Maggie – All you do to make Greek yogurt is to drain low-fat or nonfat (or even full-fat) plain yogurt. I use a yogurt drainer – you can also use paper coffee filters, though it’s kinda messy, and you have to use a few for a quart of yogurt (which will yield about 2 cups of thick Greek-style yogurt). Don’t try to drain flavored yogurt; for some reason the flavoring makes it too thin, and it just drips right through the filter – at least it did when I tried it… Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  38. Sierra

    That looks so delicious! I shouldn’t be looking at pictures like that since I’m on a diet. :(

    Reply
  39. big-guy in calabash N.C.

    I will try recipe tomorrow,I have been using KAF for years,I mix WHole-WHEAT,with White WH-WHEAT,& all-purpose in all recipes makes great pancakes,the grandkids love them.I found (organic milled flax seed) at Costco & you can use it to substitute for “eggs & oil”,I was surprised but I make some great muffins this way!

    Reply
  40. mona15851

    The recipe sounds really good & I intend to try it! Am I missing something or is there a way to print this without the pictures? I personally don’t make recipes while watching the computer screen, so I’d find it easier if I could click a button to print it & have the ingredients listed before the instructions like a standard recipe. I do get the recipe copied, but often think it could be easier.
    Try printing from this page. ~Amy

    Reply
  41. sauey

    I have used this recipe for as long as I can remember, and now my grandkids like these as much as my own kids always have. I have added lots of different things to these, dates,figs, dried cherries, chocolate chips, and they always turn out great. I have even added some oatmeal to them for a little extra texture. I have cut down the sugar and even added applesauce and they still are grerat. This is my go to bran muffin recipe!

    Reply
  42. JoBee

    Absolutely delishie! Am now trying to make it with another cereal that is mainly oats with pumpkin seeds and flax. Can’t wait to bake them up and see how they come out. It is amazing how much these muffins stave off the “hungries” all morning long

    .Glad to know they fill you up! Let us know how the substitutions go. Betsy@KAF

    Reply
  43. rita stevens

    Betty Crocker was close……but original recipe was from 1930′s off the back of a tin can of shreded wheat.Instead of the 2nd cereal you call Bran Flakes it is 4 large shrededwheat bisquits and
    you are suposed to pour the boiling water over the raisins and then the bran buds. You need the
    raisin flavor through out the muffin!
    Also this should be all doubled except the amount of raisins which remains 2 cups.
    and it should be refrigerated up to 1 month or even put in the freezer!
    I tried yours, mine are better. I kept grandmas shredded wheat can for years. LOL
    try this again and see if you like them even more. Rita (grandma was from Newkirk Iowa and raised
    9 children with these muffins. And yes King Arthur Flour is much better. Makes them a little lighter.
    I also put the 5 teaspoons of baking soda in with the buttermilk at the last minuet.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Rita, thanks so much for sharing your story here; I love that you kept the shredded wheat can! I actually remember seeing one of those cans, though can’t recall shredded what actually being sold in them. I’ll definitely have to try your method sometime. Cheers – PJH

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