Apple Vegan Bran Muffins
4.27 from 15 votes

These apple vegan bran muffins are the perfect, wholesome muffin for fall. Made with bran, whole grain flour, and chopped fresh apple pieces, they’re packed with fiber and good nutrition.

An angled photograph of vegan apple bran muffins, each wrapped in a white liner, resting on a white surface.

I ate a bran muffin nearly every day in college. I found them at the nearest campus coffee outpost. They were irresistable, a perfect combination of nutty and buttery sweet.

I haven’t thought about those muffins in years, but recently I got to thinking about a homemade vegan bran muffin. They sprung to mind immediately. These apple bran muffins are less sweet and a little smaller than those campus muffins were. Yet they have that same hearty texture, the earthy notes of molasses, bran, and whole grains.

The muffins they have plump little pockets of fruit, too. In this case, however, that fruit is tender, chopped apples, rather than raisins.

I have nothing against raisins—I use them in muffins all the time—but I love the taste of apple here. The mix of brown sugar and apple is ever so reminiscent of candy apples. Yet it’s delivered in a super wholesome, fiber-rich package.

A few whole grain vegan muffins are resting on a white surface. Each is wrapped in a white liner.

What is a bran muffin?

Simply put, bran muffins are muffins that are baked with some form of bran. This could be wheat bran or oat bran. Oat bran is my preference because it’s milder tasting than wheat bran, but either will work well in this particular bran muffin recipe.

Bran doesn’t replace flour in bran muffins. Usually, it’s included along with flour. It gives bran muffins a denser texture than other muffins, and it also helps to pack them with added nutrition.

Health benefits of bran

Oat bran is the outer layer of an oat groat, which is the whole form of oats. It’s part of both oat groats and steel cut oats, but it can also be eaten on its own. Oat bran can be prepared like a hot cereal, or it can be added to baking, as it is here.

Oat bran happens to be packed with nutritional benefits. These include protein (5 grams per serving), fiber (4 grams per serving), and iron (10% of the RDA per serving). Oat bran is also a good source of minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. It’s low in fat, and thanks to all of the fiber, it’s very filling.

What about wheat bran? Wheat bran is similar to oat bran in that it’s the outer part of the whole grain. It, too, is rich in fiber, protein, and phytonutrients. It’s also a source of B vitamins.

No matter which type of bran you use, these vegan bran muffins are more nutrient dense as a result.

Is bran gluten free?

Wheat bran is not gluten free. Oat bran can be gluten free, but it can also be subject to cross contamination. If you have celiac disease or avoid gluten, be sure to check the packaging of your oat bran to ensure that it’s gluten-free certified.

Flour options for vegan bran muffins

When I originally developed the vegan bran muffins, I used all whole wheat pastry flour as my flour. Now, I prefer to use a mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry (or white whole wheat) for a more tender texture.

You have options when it comes to the baking flour for the vegan bran muffins. You can use all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, light spelt, or a gluten-free all-purpose blend that you know and trust.

You can also do what I like to do, and use a mix of two parts all-purpose flour to one part whole grain flour. I think this is the best combo from a taste and texture perspective. But I’ve made the muffins many times with entirely whole grain flour, and they still turn out nicely.

An angled photograph of a freshly baked vegan breakfast treat. It's positioned simply on a white surface.

How to make apple vegan bran muffins

One of the many reasons that I love baking muffins is that they’re low-key, as far as baking projects go. Mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, fold together, scoop, bake.

These apple vegan bran muffins are no exception. The only slightly unusual step here, for me, is that I add the chopped apple pieces to the dry ingredients. Usually I fold add-ins like fruit into the wet batter. However, I find that adding the apple pieces to the flour/bran mixture helps to keep the fruit evenly distributed.

You’ll also need to make a flax egg in the first step of the recipe. This is easy! Combine a tablespoon of ground flax meal with three tablespoons of warm water. Allow it to turn into something like gel while you proceed with the recipe, then add it to the wet ingredients.

The ground flax mixture will help to bind your muffins together, doing some of the work that eggs can accomplish in baking.

Meal prep & storage

The apple vegan bran muffins can be stored at room temperature for up to three days. After that, I recommend freezing them to keep their freshness, but you can also store them for an additional two days in an airtight container in the fridge.

More muffin recipes

If you love these vegan bran muffins, or you’re a muffin person in general, here are a few more of my fall baking favorites:

Six vegan apple bran muffins are stacked on a white surface. Some muffins are upright, while others lie sideways.

An angled photograph of vegan apple bran muffins, each wrapped in a white liner, resting on a white surface.
4.27 from 15 votes

Apple Vegan Bran Muffins

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax meal
  • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour (120 g)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour* (60 g)
  • 1 1/2 cups oat bran (180 g; substitute wheat bran)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (64-96 g; adjust to fit your preferred level of sweetness)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 apples peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup applesauce (256 g)
  • 1/3 cup melted vegan butter or avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly oil or line a muffin baking pan. Mix the ground flax meal with 3 tablespoons warm water and set it aside; this is a flax "egg."
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Fold in the apple pieces, making sure they all get nicely coated.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce, flax egg, oil, and molasses. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is just combined. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until the tops of the edges of the muffin tops are just browning and a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out mostly clean. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or individually wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.

Notes

See post for notes on flour options.
An overhead image of a whole grain baked good, which rests on a clean white surface.

It’s all well and good to snack on hummus or a snack bar or energy bites. But honestly, nothing beats the afternoon snack of a homemade muffin and a cup of coffee or tea. Nothing!

I love this nutritious option so much. Hope you’ll love the apple vegan bran muffins, too.

xo

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Recipe Rating




    28 Comments
  1. 4 stars
    These are wonderful I added walnuts and raisins , I thought the mixe was very thick so I just added 1/2 cup cashew milk they came out perfect ..next time I will add dates , I didn’t have molasses but I bet they even taste better with it . I used maple syrup the good stuff .

  2. 4 stars
    Delicious and healthy. Thanks for figuring out a great vegan bran muffin. I did caramelize the apples with peel on and added some chopped rosemary as it is often hard to follow a recipe exactly :). I am wondering if you tried less flour, more bran in the development of the recipe?

  3. I’ve got these in the oven right now! I also forego oil when possible so i’ve made some variations. I threw in some extra apple sauce, pureed ginger, marmalade and cardamom instead of clove and didn’t have any molasses… so, we shall see. Anyway, I do love the foundation- was seeking something without milk (even non-dairy as we drank it all) eggs, oil, butter etc… And while very few recipes fit that bill, this should at least come close. Smelling delicious.

  4. 5 stars
    Hi:
    I finally made these muffins last night and they are truly spectacular!! I used organic apples and kept the peel on. The muffins are nicely spiced, not too sweet, very moist and will be a keeper, for sure. This recipe definitely makes 12 good sized muffins
    Thank you for sharing your recipes, Gena. They’re very much appreciated.

    Wishing you peace & blessings.

  5. 5 stars
    Hi! I just came across this recipe yesterday and was inspired to try it. I had to leave out ginger and clove because I didn’t have any in my stash and I only had a single apple, but I have to say these are my new favorite vegan bran muffins of all time…I love the apple bits in them. It adds a whole new dimension to the texture and flavor. Thank you for posting this recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    Gena, these turned out so beautifully, I can’t stop eating them. At least I’m getting a whole bunch of fiber. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. 4 stars
    It was delicious! I didn’t have apple sauce so I substituted it with jam that was sitting on the fridge shelf too long. It turned out well!

  8. 3 stars
    Made these this morning – they turned out very dry. Is the batter supposed to be so thick after mixing? It was the thickest muffin batter I’ve ever worked with. Muffins were pretty dense after cooked as well. The flavour is good though.

    • Hey Katie,

      The batter should be thick–thicker than other muffins–and the finished muffins should also be a be denser than the norm, as bran muffins sometimes are. But the texture definitely shouldn’t be dry! It’s supposed to get nice and moist. Sorry that you had that result.

      G

      • Oddly, after sitting in the ziplock overnight, they now are wonderfully moist, and texture has improved a lot! They are “acting” more like muffins today, and I’d say the flavour has deepened! It’s my first time working with spelt flour, perhaps that’s why I was surprised. Thanks for the quick reply!

  9. 5 stars
    Guys, remember an apple a day keeps the doctor away. I love bran muffin too. 🙂

    – Gustavo Woltmann

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bran muffin quite like the one you’ve described- they’ve always been rather dry, and either dusty or unpleasantly sweetened. But your description sounds magical. I’m not a vegan, but one of my resolutions for New Year’s is to try new techniques and to rely on less animal products. I can’t wait to make these.

  11. Gena, I used to love bran muffins too! I used to make them as well as buy them like you did. I love this recipe, and since i’m not intolerant of wheat gluten or bran, but the starch, I might try these with spelt flour–or some version thereof–thank you!! I have been thinking about devising a recipe and now I have lots of expert help with that! Happy New Year! xo

  12. It’s been years since I’ve had a bran muffin, but I love them too!! I should really make these. I haven’t seen Autumn Glory apples, but I hope to find them somewhere. I love trying new varieties of apple!

  13. Hello Gena- this recipe looks amazing. I am not a baker so have no experience with substitutions. I do not use oil and wondering if you could recommend a substitute for the oil that would not compromise the receipe.

    • Hi Hallie!

      You can replace the oil with the same amount of applesauce or pureed prunes. The texture of the muffins will be slightly denser (and maybe less moist) than it would with the oil, but you’ll get the best results that way. I hope the recipe is a hit!

      G

  14. Me too, Gena! I fell in love with bran muffins in college, and they weren’t the healthy sort either. 😉 I would love to try out your vegan version here, as they look wonderful and sound so warm and fragrant with all of those spices. And your new site- it’s so fun and clean, with a beautiful new logo and such great bold typography. Really really great!