Favorite Bran Muffin

I think I’ve found my favorite bran muffin. The recipe was sent over by a friend who said it was bakeshop quality – just like you’d get at Little Miss Muffin. And she was right. The muffins were moist, the perfect sweetness, had just the right amount of oil to keep them from being too rich or too dry, and had an interesting blend of flavors from bran, wheat germ and trio of extracts.

favorite Bran Muffin

The recipe is adapted from Marcy Goldman, an accomplished recipe developer and author who also happens to be known for her famous “Lawsuit Muffins”.  The original recipe appeared in Cook’s Illustrated in September 1993. The recipe makes about 20 very large muffins. My muffins were done in exactly 20 minutes at 400, but if you know your oven runs hot, you might want to bake 15 minutes at 400 and 10 minutes at 350. But make sure to start your muffins at 400 because putting the batter in a hot oven is one way to help get a nice crown.

Favorite Bran Muffin

Here’s an updated photo of the same recipe. I made this batch with dark brown sugar and used slightly larger paper liners. I also used fewer raisins and left out the nuts.

Another thing I’ll point out is that the batter needs at least a few hours in the refrigerator – preferably 8. This is actually a good thing because you can make the batter the night before and make the muffins fresh in the morning.

favorite bran muffin

Here’s another shot of a muffin made with the same batter. This one was baked in a standard size foil liner and the batter was stacked to the top.

Here are a few more photos. Same recipe, but I cut it into 1/3 and made 6 jumbo size (Texas size) muffins. I also stirred some All-Bran cereal into the batter just for extra texture.

Favorite Bran Muffin

I didn’t pile the batter, but rather filled it just to the top, so these jumbo size muffins don’t have huge crowns.




Favorite Bran Muffin
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated September 1993, this recipe gives you dark, moist, flavorful bakery style muffins.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 20
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (11.8 oz)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup light brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons, packed firm
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter extract (optional)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup wheat bran (not the cereal)
  • 1/2 cup whole dates, plumped with scalding water, drained, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dark raisins, plumped with scaling water (optional)
  1. Whisk first five ingredients together in a bowl; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk next 7 ingredients together. Whisk in eggs, followed by the buttermilk, wheat germ, and bran. Let batter rest 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk flour mixture into egg mixture with a heavy duty scraper or rubber spatula, making sure that ingredients at the bottom are incorporated into the batter. Fold in raisins and dates.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight (or for a minimum of 1 hour).
  5. Preheat oven 400 degrees. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners – you’ll probably only need 20 out of the full 24.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin tins filling to the top. Put a little water in the 4 empty cups
  7. Bake muffins for about 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. Stick a skewer in one muffin to see if it's cooked through, and if not, reduce oven heat to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. In addition, make sure the tops aren't browning too quickly. If tops are browning, lay a piece of foil loosely over the top and reduce heat to 350 as directed.
  8. Let muffins cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pans
This recipe makes 18 jumbo muffins. For jumbo muffins, bake at 400 for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for about 15 minutes more.

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  1. says

    Does Fuzz like raisins in her muffins? My kids wouldn’t have gone for that when they were young.
    These look great! I like their crowns.

  2. says

    No, she doesn’t like their texture. I put raisins in my muffins and left hers plain. They are even better with the raisins.

  3. says

    Ooh, I’ll make these. I have everything for these.
    Wait, I don’t have maple extract. Do you think I should just leave it out, up the butter extract or use a little maple syrup?

    Well, figure this. A few of my kids like when I just give them a box of raisins to eat, but they don’t like them in baked goods. Or nuts. They will eat nuts straight up, but don’t like them IN things.

  4. says

    Katrina, Fuzz is the same way. She likes raisins straight out of the box, but she won’t eat them in baked goods. I guess it’s a texture issue.

  5. says

    Your muffins are gorgeous – I’m going to have too try them. I added them to my LiveBinder folder.

  6. Heather says

    So Anna, with all the bran muffins you tried, did you ever try one that was more of a sticky, upside down bran muffin? I’ve looked for so long for a recipe like this. A local convenience chain sells one in their little bakery case and I like them, but I know home-made would be SO MUCH better. The outside is a sticky,carmelized, almost hard texture , but the inside is like a regular bran muffin. And the shape for sure indicates it is done as an “upside down” muffin.

  7. janet says

    My mouth is watering….why don’t you live next door to me so I can run over for a bran muffin to go with my coffee??? lol Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Stephanie says

    Yum! I still haven’t found a bran muffin recipe I’ve loved. I’ll have to give this one a try!

  9. says

    yeah you have to have raisins with bran muffins and/or morning glories.
    i love using wheat germ in my bran muffins, but have to be really careful on the amount as they dry out fast..
    so if you like this, then i have to try it. i want to add coconut too.

  10. says

    These are fantastic. I admit that because of all of the ingredients it can be complicated. I add ground flax seed to the recipe aprox. 1/2 to a 1 cup and it doesn’t effect the texture at all! The first time I made them I didn’t have the maple or butter extract and substituted 1/4 melted butter and 1/4 cup real Vermont maple syrup they were fabulous.
    They always rise good and are nice and soft in texture. I do usually have leave them in few extra minutes at the lower heat suggested. Juts plan on that. And don’t forget the water!! If you only have 6 cup muffin pans just put boiling water in another pan in the bottom of the oven. I use a twelve cup muffin pan and put a corning ware pan with water in it on the bottom of the over. Tonight I’m making them using half whole wheat flour. I always make a double batch because of the complicated nature of the recipe. Measure and mix the groups of ingredients in separate bowls and then blend together. Good Luck !

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