Banana Bran Muffins

*TWO more favorite recipes updated with new pictures and details:
Sweet and Sour Chicken (no exaggeration, this is Brian’s favorite meal of all stinkin’ time)
Creamy Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

I figured after the last post, I kind of owe you something on the higher end of the healthy-Richter-scale.

Enter these lovely little muffins. Healthy and hearty, the bran flakes make a sturdy yet moist base for a banana muffin that has a light hint of sweetness brought in by a smattering of chocolate chips.

Banana Bran Muffins

I’ve made batch after batch of these and now keep them in the freezer to pull out one-by-one for a quick snack. When school was in session, they were the perfect addition to a school lunch but now that the kids are home, I’m throwing these little wonders at them all day long in order to fill the bottomless pits that seem to be their feeding style these days. Wonderful for breakfast or for snacking or for whatever you please, really, it’s nice to know that healthy and nutritious can truly be delicious, also.

Banana Bran Muffins

One Year Ago: Chicken Cordon Bleu {The Easy Way!}
Two Years Ago: The Ultimate Stuffed Zucchini
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffles

Healthy Banana Bran Muffins

Yield: Makes 24 muffins

Healthy Banana Bran Muffins


  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups bran flakes
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, applesauce and sugar. Add the eggs, bananas and buttermilk and mix well. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, bran flakes and chocolate chips. Mix just until evenly moistened. The batter will be lumpy with a few dry streaks.
  3. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the muffins in an airtight container for 1-3 days or freeze in a resealable freezer bag or airtight container for up to a month.

Recipe Source: adapted from Quick Cooking September/October 2002

58 Responses to Healthy Banana Bran Muffins

  1. These were a great way to use up too-ripe bananas. Very substantial seeming. Very moist. As expected, very bran-ny tasting, but the bits of choc helped! I used 1/4 c Splenda and 1/4 c real sugar as well as 1/2 + 1/4 c AP flour w/ 1/2 + 1/4 c ww flour. Def a keeper!

  2. Jenny Crandell says:

    Can you make the batter the night before and refrigerate it, then bake in the morning? We have been making different recipes of yours everyday for breakfast and dinner for the past 3 weeks and have LOVED every one! Thank you for making our meal time so much more enjoyable! πŸ™‚ (I am Dixies sister…so glad she introduced me to your site!)

    • Mel says:

      Hey Jenny! You wouldn’t believe all the stories I know about you. πŸ™‚ I haven’t tried that but I think you could definitely make that work. Just add another 30 seconds or so onto the baking time to account for the cold batter.

  3. polly says:

    I just made these but substituted brown sugar for the white sugar, whole wheat flour for white flour and 2 1/4 wheat bran for bran flakes (I had some left over from a diet). They are dense, but very satisfying and they feel very healthy!

  4. Kate says:

    The whole family loved these ages 37-2. I used all bran instead of the flakes because that is what I had so they were dense but nice and filling. I ate two this morning for breakfast and it was too much. I also used regular chocolate chips because I have learned I only like mini ones in my granola bars. I will be making these again!

  5. Hillary says:

    I just wanted to leave a comment in case anyone else is wondering, but I used wheat bran in place of the bran flakes in this and they came out just fine. I bought the wheat bran for another bran recipe on this site and was able to finish up the box with this recipe. I love finishing things!

  6. Jules says:

    Mel, these are my favorite muffins, EVERYONE loves them and they freeze so well! I subbed raisins for the chocolate since I really wanted them healthier :). Now it’s pumpkin season and I really want to make these with pumpkin. I have looked at other pumpkin muffins but I just love this recipe. Do you think I could sub pumpkin for banana or some of the applesauce? Whattaya think?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jules – definitely on the pumpkin! I haven’t tried it myself but think it’s a great idea – you’ll have to experiment a bit but I’d probably sub out the bananas for the pumpkin to start and maybe even add a little more, depending on if you want more pumpkin flavor. Good luck!

  7. Rachel says:

    Just finished making these–delicious as usual, Mel! I didn’t have applesauce, so I used vanilla yogurt, and regular milk instead of buttermilk, plus a little splash of vanilla, and white wheat flour. They taste great, and my picky 3-year old has already eaten 3 of them. That’s always a good sign πŸ™‚

  8. viktoriya says:

    Instead of chocolate chips, could I use bran flakes with raisin cereal (raisin bran)?

    • Mel says:

      Viktoriya – That should be fine, although the muffins won’t be as sweet without the chocolate chips.

      • viktoriya says:

        Well could I still use raisin bran AND include chocolate chips perhaps?

        • Mel says:

          Sure! Although it might be worth a try with just the raisin bran to at least see how it works out. It’s a good idea…just haven’t tried it myself so I don’t know how it would affect the overall flavor of the muffins.

  9. Jamie says:

    I made these this morning and they were delicious! I made mini-muffins and I had to stop myself and my kids at 4 each! Thank you for such a delicious recipe (as always!) πŸ™‚

  10. Holly says:

    I am looking forward to making these muffins. Question… Do you think I could substitute oat bran for the bran flakes?

  11. Andrea W says:

    I was given a whole case of super ripe bananas. After making a big batch of fruit leather, dehydrated banana chips and then some banana bread I STILL had several bunches. These looked perfect to throw in the freezer for busy mornings. I had ALL Bran cereal on hand. I used 3 cups of that and left everything else the same. They are delicious and have great texture! yay for healthy!

  12. […] Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  13. […] Chocolate Chip Bran MuffinsΒ (Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  14. Deb in Dayton says:

    Made these last night. OMG!! These are delicious!! Thanks Mel for another simple and great recipe.

  15. simplysalted says:

    I have made these twice now. They are fabulous and an easy way to get a quick and healthy breakfast on the go! Looking forward to trying out some other recipes on your blog! I am hoping to post the recipe on my blog soon ( and will make sure to give you the props! Thanks again πŸ™‚

  16. Jackie says:

    Made these tonight with my kids along with the double chocolate muffins. These were my favorite though. So good hot from the oven!

  17. Natalie says:

    I just made these. Happiness in the form of a muffin.

  18. Candace says:

    Yum! We’re eating these now. I had plans to make the pumpkin bread later this month, but now I’m thinking about subbing pumpkin for some or all the bananas in this recipe and see how it turns out. Maybe add a little pumpkin pie spice. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  19. Mel says:

    Liz – I freeze any and all quick bread type recipes (muffins, loaves, etc.) so if you have a quick bread-type recipe and are going to make it into muffins, my guess is that it will freeze just fine! Good luck!

  20. Liz says:

    I can’t wait to make these muffins again, they were yummy! I took them to some elderly (diabetic) neighbors (half with the choc chips, half without) and they loved them too.

    Question about the freezing … can I assume most muffins are freezable? I have a “healthier for you banana bread” recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. If I make the whole thing into a loaf I’ll eat it in two days. It’s dangerous. So, I’m wondering if I could make them into muffins and then freeze them like you do these?

    Sorry to pester you with cooking questions … especially for a recipe that isn’t even yours! But I know you use ATK recipes, and you’re an expert on everything kitchen, so I figured you’d have an answer.

  21. Yum! These muffins look so hearty but would also satisfy a sweet tooth. I have bananas beautifully browning on my counter so I’ll have make this with them!

  22. AF says:

    Do we know the nutritional information for these muffins? These are awesome!

  23. […] And finally, if you want to pack a little something sweet that’s also relatively healthy, try these banana bread muffins made with bran flakes and semisweet chocolate chips. Again, they freeze well, so you can turn on the oven just once, and have many days of dessert on hand. (Mel’s Kitchen Cafe) […]

  24. Rachel Russell says:

    Arg! Discard my note above- just took the time to read previous posts and caught the error!! THANKS!!!!!!!!

  25. Rachel Russell says:

    we also used whole wheat pastry flour with major success!! Question though- when we print out the recipe (printable version without picture)- it changes the title to ‘Healthy Banana, Oat and Bran Muffins’. . .but without oats in the recipe.. was I supposed to add oats?? (worked like a charm without them- but was just wondering!)

  26. Ruth Mason says:

    These are sooo good. I am really glad that I did not half the recipe. It is hard to believe that there is only 2 T butter in the entire batch. White whole wheat flour (instead of AP flour) works great. I filled my muffin tins 3/4 full and got 18 muffins. Thank you for such a tasty, healthy recipe.

  27. Candela says:

    These were delicious! I made them twice since you posted the recipe. These are the first healthy banana muffins I make that actually taste good. Thank you for sharing!

  28. These look SO good. I hate how all the healthy recipes use bananas, just because I’m allergic to them. Okay, not all the healthy ones, but a lot. They’re just so wonderfully creamy and sweet and… perfect. πŸ™‚ I love that picture of the inside! Yummy.

  29. Kelly says:

    I took the tip of another commenter and used Grape Nuts in these muffins- I had been looking for a good use for them for weeks! I didn’t want these to be break-your-teeth crunchy, so I mixed the buttermilk and applesauce in with the Grape Nuts and let it soak for about 10 minutes before I threw it all together in the mixer.

    They came out hearty, nicely sweet from the banana, and that little hit of chocolate makes it soooo good!

  30. Terri says:

    I made these this weekend, and my kids (okay, and their mom) loved them! I had to go ahead and pop them in the freezer to keep everyone from eating them in a matter of hours.

    Thank you so much for all of your recipes. On my quest to replace processed foods with healthy options, your site has been such a resource. I hope you are enjoying your new baby, and I appreciate that you have continued to manage your site while being a very busy mom!

  31. Allyson says:

    Made these today and they were a huge hit with all my kids. Used whole wheat flour and loved them. Not sure if they are more dense than they would’ve been with white flour, but who cares? If the kids inhale them, it doesn’t matter! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  32. Melanie says:

    Made these tonight–they are delish! Couldn’t stop at just one. After reading the comments, I’ll be making your sweet and sour chicken this week as well!

  33. Cerissa says:

    Hey sis, I made these today. My kids loved them. Thanks for recipe.

  34. Tracey says:

    These look great! Can’t wait to try these! I might even experiment with making them mini size…good for little tiny hands. πŸ™‚
    I’m always looking for something else to make with the always overly ripe bananas that seem to end up on my countertop! … as good as your sour cream and buttermilk banana breads are, it’s nice to change it up a bit sometimes!! πŸ™‚

  35. Heather says:

    Yes, Sweet and Sour was the first thing I tried from Mel’s site and have fallen in love with everything ever since! It also made me a true believer and started to really enjoy cooking.
    These look great and maybe the kids will eat them. I will give them a try tomorrow morning. Can’t wait for something new!

  36. Ruth says:

    Hi Mel,
    I came to your site to print off the chocolate muffin recipe to try and waiting for me was the Healthy Banana Bran muffin recipe. I am so happy!! If they are as good as your refrigerator bran muffins, then they are a definite winner.

    Also, I wanted to share this tip: You know all those bran flake crumbs that end up in the bottom of the cereal bags—you know, the ones that nobody wants to eat. Well they are great for muffins. 1 scant cup of crumbs = 2 cups of bran flakes.

  37. Your sweet & sour chicken recipe is what made me a believer in blog recipes! It quickly became a favorite in our house! You are, hands down, my favorite blog. Plus, you read minds: I’ve been dreaming of bran muffins for days πŸ˜‰

  38. Traci P says:

    I really don’t like when people change recipes and then comment, so I apologize in advance. But…I was looking for this type of recipe to take on a road trip and wanted to get them in the oven before the heat kicks in for the next few days, so I used what I had. I didn’t have buttermilk so I used the milk/lemon juice combo. But the big thing I was missing was Bran Flakes, so I used Grape Nuts. I’m sure the muffins turned out much differently than yours, but it certainly worked, and they were yummy! BTW, the Grape Nuts were in the house from when I made the peanut butter balls you have on this site – my kids needed a break from those and I needed to use up the Grape Nuts! This is a really good, and obviously versatile, recipe!

  39. Mel says:

    Traci – I can’t believe you made these already! Thanks for commenting – and actually, I think it’s great when people add variations to the recipe and comment because it helps anyone else who might want to make the same changes. I’m glad the Grape Nuts came through in these muffins!

  40. Mel says:

    Natalie – yes, like bran flake cereal (I think the original recipe even used raisin bran but I wanted to eliminate some sugar so I went with plain bran flakes).

  41. These look absolutely delicious!!

  42. Tanya Phillips says:

    Sounds yummy! Saved to my recipe box, thanks!

  43. Natalie says:

    Bran flakes, you mean cereal?

  44. Mel says:

    Hey guys, sorry for the confusion. I don’t know what I was thinking when I posted this recipe but it doesn’t call for oats, which means I just got carried away with the recipe title. πŸ™‚ Sorry! I’ve fixed it all up so no need to worry about them missing oats (that’s what I get for writing blog posts when I was about ready to have a baby!).

    Charlotte – these are hearty muffins so you could definitely sub whole wheat but it might make them a bit dense.

    Maria – you can always try substituting 1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice.

    • Nicole says:

      Hi Mel, when you say ‘all purpose’ do you mean ‘wholemeal’? bit new to the whole baking thing! could i use plain flour? or does it need to be self raising?? Thanks

      • Mel says:

        Nicole – When I say all purpose I mean plain white flour either bleached or unbleached. Good luck with your new baking adventures!

  45. maria says:

    we don’t have buttermilk in Italy…what can I use instead?

  46. Charlotte Moore says:

    I wonder if whole wheat flour would not work as well??? How much oats???

  47. Kim in MD says:

    These look delicious, Mel, and I love that they are healthy! I don’t see oats listed in the ingredients or the directions, though. I will check back later to print this recipe…I can’t wait to make it!

  48. Valerie says:

    Am I in need of coffee or is this recipe missing oats? These sound tasty and I have some bananas waiting for a recipe.

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