Best Banana Bran Muffins
A no-fail recipe for banana bran muffins that strike the perfect balance of wholesome and delicious! These are made for real life — no tracking down strange ingredients or soaking flakes overnight — and make a fabulous grab-and-go breakfast or snack.
Even more dangerously ripe bananas on the counter? Make the ultimate banana bread or a delicious smoothie! This banana almond milk smoothie is our go-to year-round, and blood orange banana is a great option when winter citrus appears.
If you’re baking muffins at home, odds are you want something that tastes moist and delicious, yet is a little bit healthier than the calorie bombs you can buy by the dozen at your average grocery store or bakery. These banana bran muffins are just the thing. They have a fantastic texture and flavor.
Bran muffins are also very filling, because they are high in fiber, which makes them an excellent grab-and-go breakfast that will actually satisfy your belly. That’s thanks to the wheat bran, and in this case, a few tablespoons of chia seeds.
Ingredients and shopping tips
Here’s what you’ll need and where to find it. As always, see the full recipe below for detailed amounts and instructions.
- Wheat bran – buying coarse wheat bran is the way to go for making bran muffins from scratch. Some recipes start with bran cereal that needs to be soaked overnight; I can only dream of planning that far in advance. Where to find it? Coarse wheat bran might be sold in the baking aisle with specialty grains, or in the cereal aisle with oats and other breakfast grains.
- White whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour – We love a combination; use what you prefer or keep in the pantry. This recipe is flexible!
- Brown sugar
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Cinnamon – I add a lot of cinnamon to these – it goes perfectly with banana and literally spices up the whole batch.
- Vanilla extract
- Buttermilk – if you don’t have or want to buy this, you can also just use regular milk soured with either lemon juice or vinegar. So easy! See the recipe notes for the ratio.
- Two very ripe bananas. The more brown the better!
- Vegetable, canola, or coconut oil.
- Chia seeds – optional but tasty and a nutritional powerhouse!
Are bran muffins healthy?
Yes, bran muffins are healthy – well, they can be. As with anything, it depends on the whole package of ingredients. This recipe strikes a balance that works for our family of everyday eaters – the bananas add moisture and natural sweetness, but there is some added sugar as well.
You can make bran muffins even healthier by experimenting with applesauce in place of the oil; swapping honey, maple syrup, or molasses for the sugar; and using minimal all-purpose flour. Any swap will impact the texture and taste.
Do bran muffins have fiber?
Bran muffins are high in fiber – one from this recipe has an estimated 5 grams. This is pretty good for a small muffin, and considering that even my four-year-old will happily eat two muffins at a sitting.
Adding chia seeds really boosts the fiber content; two tablespoons disperse perfectly through the batter and add about 11 grams of the good stuff. Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids (source) – so basically just an all-around super mix-in.
How to make bran muffins from scratch
Like most from-scratch muffins, this is an easy recipe to follow! First you’ll mix together all of the dry ingredients in one bowl, and whisk well to combine.
Then mash the bananas in a separate bowl and whisk in the remaining wet ingredients. Pour those into the dry mixture, and fold with a spatula. Go easy here – you want everything evenly moistened, but just. Mixing too much can lead to dry and dense muffins.
As you can see, the batter will be a little bit lumpy, which is no problem.
Divide the batter evenly among 12 greased muffin tins. They’ll be filled almost to the top. Bake for 18-20 minutes and that’s a wrap!
More ideas for add-ins
- Add 1/2 or a full cup of raisins to make raisin bran muffins
- Add a handful of blueberries or chocolate chips
- Use flax seeds instead of chia seeds – they’re also high in fiber and have a great nutty flavor
The Best Banana Bran Muffins
- 1 1/4 cups wheat bran
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds optional
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 medium very ripe bananas
- 1 cup buttermilk see note
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable, canola, or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a muffin tin with cooking spray, or line with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, combine the wheat bran, whole wheat and all-purpose flours, chia seeds, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
- Peel bananas and, in a separate bowl, mash them until mostly smooth. Add the buttermilk, eggs, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold gently, just until combined. You want the batter to be even, but not over-mixed.
- Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin wells, filling each one almost to the top. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!
- These keep well at room temperature for 2-3 days. I usually store them in an airtight container but leave the zipper or lid just slightly cracked.
- The muffins also freeze very well and can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months! Defrost at room temperature overnight or microwave as needed straight from frozen for 20-30 seconds at a time.
- Feel free to play around with the ratios of whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and wheat bran. The recipe as written is my personal favorite, but I’ve made them with as little as 1 cup and as much as 1 1/2 cups wheat bran and they’re still good. Just adjust the other measurements so you still have 2 3/4 cups total among the flours and bran.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, use 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or vinegar to sour 1 cup of regular milk. Combine the juice/vinegar and milk in a measuring cup, let sit for 3-4 minutes, and proceed as directed.
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