These moist and flavorful Bran Muffins are a great breakfast on-the-go or snack. The batter will keep in the fridge for as long as a month & the baked muffins freeze beautifully. A perfect recipe for muffins that are ready at a moments notice!
I feel that Bran Muffins tend to get a bad rap. My previous experience with them had been that they were dry, bland muffins that were healthy enough to become a guilt-free breakfast food and that's about it. I knew I needed to do something to make them better. Using cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar in the muffin batter adds great flavor that complements the nutty flavor of the bran cereal perfectly. A Bran Muffin with flavor, what a novel concept!
I found an old Bran Muffin recipe in one of the recipe boxes passed down to me from my great aunt. I don't recognize the name on the top of the recipe card, but my guess it was a friend that passed this recipe along to her. I think this form of recipe sharing is a lost art. Instead we take a picture of a recipe, send it via text or email, or pin it on our Pinterest board. I find something so special about an old handwritten recipe, most of mine being written in beautiful cursive handwriting. The recipe cards may have bent corners, stains on them and handwritten notes or changes, but I consider these "imperfections" part of the original recipe rating system. I think the more loved a recipe card is, the more delicious and popular the recipe. Let's bring back the art of trading handwritten recipes!
I'm using the basic recipe from this passed down Bran Muffin recipe and tweaking it to add some more flavor. I hope when my girls look at this recipe card one day with all the handwritten notes on it, they will see how far of a journey this recipe has made through the generations.
How to Make Flavorful Bran Muffins
To start the Bran Muffins, pour boiling water over a bowl containing 1 cup of bran cereal. Doing so helps soften the cereal before adding it to the batter which will ensure the muffins are tender and moist. Think of pouring water over a dry sponge. The sponge soaks up and holds the water. Same concept here with the bran cereal.
While the cereal mixture is cooling off, cream together shortening and both sugars. One change I made to this recipe was switching out some of the white sugar for brown. All brown sugar is is white sugar mixed with molasses. I knew this molasses flavor would work with these muffins perfectly. Add eggs and vanilla extract to this mixture and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. This original recipe called for no spices or addition of flavors. No wonder it was bland! Adding cinnamon and vanilla help boost the flavor of these Bran Muffins. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the egg mixture. Buttermilk adds a slight tang and also helps keep the muffins moist. Mix in the cooled cereal. Finally, add in 2 more cups of dry bran cereal. The batter will be very thick!
Fill muffin tins lined with a paper baking cup ¾ full, which gives the muffins a nice, rounded top. I use a ¼ cup measuring cup and it fills them perfectly. I found making the muffins in a paper baking cup prevents the bottom and sides from getting too browned. Bake muffins at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes until the muffins bounce back when pressed.
Bran Muffin Storage
Cool the Bran Muffins completely on a wire rack before moving to an airtight container. This recipe will make about two dozen muffins. The muffin batter will also keep in the fridge for four weeks, so you can make fresh muffins whenever the craving hits!
Baked Bran Muffins also freeze beautifully. To freeze the muffins:
- Place muffins on a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure they are not touching each other
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a couple hours until the muffins are frozen solid
- Remove muffins from the baking sheet and place in a freezer bag or container to store in the freezer
Flash freezing the muffins on a baking sheet ensures the muffins won't stick together when frozen so it's easy to grab one of two to thaw out at a time. Frozen muffins will keep for 2-3 months.
I encourage you to cherish recipes that have been passed down to you from others. Also keep in mind that these recipes aren't written in stone. It's ok to make changes or additions to a recipe to make it your own! Doing so gives the recipe it's own story that will hopefully live on for many generations.
Other baked goods:
- 3 cups bran cereal divided
- 1 cup boiling water
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper or parchment muffin cups
- In a bowl pour boiling water over 1 cup of bran cereal. Set aside to cool.
- In a separate bowl, cream sugars and shortening until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla extract.
- In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk to the egg mixture. Then add cooled bran and 2 more cups of bran cereal.
- Fill muffin each muffin tin ¾ full (batter will be very thick!)
- Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes until muffins bounce back when pressed. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Store muffins in an airtight container.
- The Bran Muffin batter will keep in the fridge for up to a month!
- To freeze baked bran muffins:
- Place bran muffins on a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure they aren't touching
- Place baking sheet in the freezer for a couple hours until completely frozen
- Move muffins to a freezer bag or container to store in the freezer.
- Muffins will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer