Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

This easy recipe for healthy, whole grain bran muffins is a huge family favorite! The batter can be kept in the fridge for up to a month, which means you’ll only ever be a few minutes away from warm, fresh-from-the oven bran muffins!

The Best Healthy Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

It’s no secret that we love breakfast around here.

If you ask me, breakfast is the only thing worth waking up for (says the matriarch of a family filled with other morning-haters).

I’ve talked my head off about this before, but during the week, I try to get a quick and easy, warm breakfast in the kids’ tummies before sending them off to school, relying on cold cereal as a backup for the extra chaotic days.

I don’t get fancy on school mornings. There aren’t any pancakes in the shape of a unicorn.

There’s not a single slice of French toast garnished with strawberries and artfully dusted powdered sugar.

It’s all about healthy, hearty survival around here.

Functionally delicious. That’s what I like to call it.

The Best Healthy Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

Here are a few of our go-to, easy breakfasts:
Overnight Buckwheat Waffles or Pancakes
Whole Wheat Make-Ahead Pancake Mix
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancake Mix
Overnight Raised Waffles
Overnight Steel Cut Oats
Whole Wheat Blender Pancakes

Amid all those breakfast options (and even more of our favorite breakfast recipes here), excitement never gets quite as high as when these make-ahead refrigerator bran muffins show up to the party.

I’ll admit (and you can give me a hearty amen, cause I know you’re all thinking it), the bran muffin batter isn’t necessarily the most appealing-looking thing on the planet.

But humble looks aside, these bran muffins are stellar. Promise.

The Best Healthy Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

Out of all the muffin recipes on my site (yes, even the sweet treatsy ones), these bran muffins are my kids all-time favorites.

And to be honest, they might be my faves, too.

Ever so lightly sweet and packed with bran and other whole grains, these bran muffins are simple to make and so delicious.

The best part? You can mix up the one-bowl batter and store it in the refrigerator for up to 30 days!

That means you can have fresh, warm-from-the-oven bran muffins whenever you want with hardly any effort.

The Best Healthy Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

Bake two at a time!

No wait, how about 24?

It doesn’t matter, because that batter was born to be patient and wait.

When you are ready to bake some bran muffins, give the batter a good stir and start scooping.

To make quick, even work of the scooping, I use this cookie scoop for this batter (and actually most other muffin recipes, too). It’s the perfect size.

The Best Healthy Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

Sometimes, though, even knowing the batter is ok to stay unbaked in the fridge, I still bake all the muffins at once.

I let them cool and then toss them in large ziploc bags to go in the freezer.

I know it only takes a few minutes to bake a muffin, but there are some mornings where baking a muffin might be the thing that puts my time-sensitive person over the edge.

Pulling a few bran muffins out of the freezer and quickly warming  in the microwave for less than a minute? Yeah, we can do that.

Or rather, my kids can totally do that.

The Best Healthy Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

Occasionally we dig out the cute honey bear from the pantry to drizzle on these bran muffins, but most often, we keep it simple.

Warm muffin + sweet cream butter = bran muffin perfection.

Soft and tender, these bran muffins are amazing.

Considering I grew up eating bran muffins very similar to this at least weekly and loved every bite, it’s no surprise I’m looping my kids into the same breakfast cycle.

The Best Healthy Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

When recipes are this easy and stress-free and still produce such delicious results, you really can’t help but love them.

Have you made these bran muffins before? 

They are a long-standing favorite for my family and I know for many of you, as well.

Humble in appearance but magnificent in taste, these bran muffins are the best of the best.

I hope you love them!

The Best Healthy Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

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Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (about 8 ounces) wheat bran flakes or plain wheat bran
  • 2 cups (about 4 ounces) bran buds (look like little pebbles) or all-bran (look like little twigs) 
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups (1 quart) buttermilk (or equal parts sour cream and milk whisked together)
  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup, 4 ounces) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups (15 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups (about 25 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl with a tight fitting lid (needed if you aren’t baking the muffin batter right away), add the wheat bran flakes or wheat bran and the bran buds or all-bran.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the top, and mix well. Stir every couple of minutes while the mixture cools to room temperature. The mixture will be  thick and sticky; it’s ok if there are a few dry patches.
  3. After the mixture cools to warm room temperature, add the buttermilk, melted butter, applesauce, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir until ingredients are combined.
  5. The batter can be baked right away or stored in the refrigerator, covered well, for up to a month to bake as needed. Give the batter a good stir before using if it has been refrigerated.
  6. To bake, scoop the batter into greased or lined muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees (350 degrees for dark coated muffin tins) for about 14-16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
All images and text ©.

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Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Original (with the help of my amazing mom and sister, Em!)
Recipe originally posted September 2010; updated with new photos, commentary and recipe notes.

Healthy and Delicious Refrigerator Bran Muffins