As most of you know, I’ve been busting out healthy muffin recipes on the internet since 2011. Call me the muffin queen or just the muffin woman. Whatever the name, there’s no such thing as too many muffins.
While muffins are my specialty, they also so happen to be my Grandma Gloria’s favorite thing to bake. Before my Grandfather passed away a few years ago, she used to always bake him batches of muffins for snacking. They were two peas in a pod. We still miss Grandpa to this day but remember him through little things and by keeping his memory alive.
My Grandfather’s absolute favorite muffins were banana nut, but he also LOVED my Grandma’s famous healthy bran muffins. I asked her for the recipe a few years ago shared them on the blog, so you know I had to bring them back for you. They’re tall, hearty, full of flavor and the ultimate muffin to spread with whatever topping you like. Grandpa loved honey and butter, but I adore peanut butter and jam.
For those of you who don’t know the infamous Gloria, she’s my wonderful spirited, sassy grandmother. She’s Puerto Rican, so much of the food she cooks tends to be Spanish inspired. My Nana (Great Grandmother) taught her how to cook everything from scratch when she was a young girl. Ever since then, it’s been one of her favorite things to do.
When my Grandma isn’t making homemade pozole, empanadas, and arroz con pollo, she is usually baking muffins the size of my face. Seriously give her a half hour and she’ll make you an incredible meal, but provide her with a couple of hours and you’ll have a masterpiece to eat. She treats every meal she makes with affection, putting the utmost love into her creations — it’s an extraordinary quality. She pours her soul into stews and she throws her spice for life into spanish rice. Cooking is like an expression to her, and everything is always made with love.
Fall in love with nutritious bran muffins
I mean, what could be more classic and nostalgic than a soft, fluffy bran muffin? Not only are they delicious and baked with love, but they also pack:
- 5g of fiber
- Nearly 5g of protein
- And 10% of your daily iron needs!
Ingredients in these healthy bran muffins
You’re going to LOVE all of the nutritious, wholesome ingredients in these bran muffins. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
- Flour: you’ll need whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour to give the muffins their perfect fluffy texture.
- Wheat bran: what makes these bran muffins, of course, is wheat bran! Some bran muffin recipes call for bran flakes, but wheat bran keeps them super hearty and filled with fiber. I think oat bran would work well, too.
- Applesauce: this helps to add moisture to the muffins.
- Eggs: you’ll need 2 eggs to help the muffins bake up properly.
- Milk: feel free to use any milk you’d like! I like to use unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
- Sweetener: we’re sweetening these brand muffins with brown sugar and the flavor queen — blackstrap molasses. I didn’t realize how nutritious blackstrap molasses was until I started using it a few years ago. In fact, it’s the healthiest form of molasses and contains the most vitamins and nutrients. Plus, the blackstrap molasses adds so much delicious flavor to these muffins — they almost taste like gingerbread muffins. Did you know that 1 tablespoon of molasses provides nearly 20% of your daily iron needs + a good amount of potassium and magnesium? I’m NOW obsessed.
- Coconut oil: I love using virgin coconut oil for flavor and to keep this recipe dairy free.
- Baking staples: you’ll need both baking powder and baking soda, plus cinnamon and salt.
- Apple cider vinegar: the apple cider vinegar helps to activate the baking powder and soda to give the muffins extra fluff.
Optional ingredient swaps
I highly recommend sticking to the recipe as written to get the best results possible, but there are a few ingredient swaps that will work out well:
- For the wheat bran: I think that oat bran would also work well in place of the wheat bran.
- For the brown sugar: coconut sugar is a great swap.
- For the coconut oil: feel free to use melted vegan butter or, if you’re not dairy free, melted butter.
- For the applesauce: I think using mashed banana would also work well. Just be sure to measure it to be 1/3 cup.
Can I use a different flour?
While I cannot suggest a gluten free alternative to the whole wheat pastry flour, I do think you could sub all purpose flour. You may need to add a few extra tablespoons or regular flour for additional density.
Can I make them vegan?
Sure! Feel free to swap the 2 eggs for 2 flax eggs. Learn how to make flax eggs here.
Have fun with delicious mix-ins
I LOVE jazzing up these bran muffins with yummy mix-ins! Here are some things you can add to make them your own:
Don’t forget to top them a little butter or your fav nut butter on top for a super healthy filling snack.
Storing & freezing tips
- To store: place these bran muffins in an airtight glass container or reusable silicone bag at room temperature for one day, then I recommend storing them in the refrigerator. Feel free to warm them up in the microwave before eating.
- To freeze: allow the muffins to cool completely then put them in an airtight container or reusable silicone bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Once ready to reheat, you can thaw at room temperature, or heat up in the microwave in 30 second intervals.
Our fav tools for baking muffins
Don’t forget to check out all of our favorite kitchen essentials.
More healthy muffin recipes to try
I hope you love these bran muffins and bake them for someone you care for. They won’t last long! If you make this recipe, be sure to rate the recipe below and leave a comment below! You can also upload a photo to Instagram and use the hashtag #ambitiouskitchen.
Grandma’s Healthy Bran Muffins
Wholesome, healthy bran muffins inspired by my Grandma! These easy bran muffins are made with whole grains, are deliciously moist thanks to applesauce, and get a lovely sweetness from blackstrap molasses. They’re truly the perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack and are freezer friendly!
- Dry Ingredients:
whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
- Wet ingredients:
brown sugar (or sub coconut sugar)
eggs, at room temperature
unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
apple cider vinegar
melted coconut oil (or melted butter or vegan butter)
- Optional mix-ins suggestions if you like:
fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with only 10 liners and spray the inside of them with nonstick cooking spray — DO NOT SKIP THIS.
In a separate large bowl mix together dry ingredients: wheat bran, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl mix together brown sugar, molasses, applesauce, eggs, almond milk, apple cider vinegar until well combined, smooth and creamy. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula until just combined. Stir in melted and cooled coconut oil (or butter), mixing again until just combined. Stir in any mix-ins you’d like.
Divide batter evenly into 10 muffin liners and bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Cool muffins for 5 minutes then remove and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Muffins are best served warm with a little butter on top.
To make vegan: use two flax eggs instead of regular eggs (2 tablespoons flaxseed meal mixed with 6 tablespoons cold water).
To make gluten free: I have not tried to make these muffins gluten free. It kind of defeats the point of a bran muffin.
See the full post for tips, tricks & easy ways to customize these muffins!
Servings: 10 muffins
Serving size: 1 muffin
Saturated fat: 6.5g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on March 26th, 2018, and republished on March 12th, 2023.