Pumpkin Bran Muffins (with optional 2-ingredient frosting)

By Ann Fulton

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Bran muffins are a seemingly wholesome way to start the day, yet so many bran muffins rely on sugar and oil to create moisture and flavor…  Enter pumpkin!

These satisfying muffins offer the health benefits of bran and pumpkin with ingredients that are easily kept on hand. As an added benefit, the recipe uses the whole can of pumpkin, and the batter may be mixed the night before and baked in the morning.

In my house, there are always boxes of the kids’ favorite cereals available for a quick meal. Proof of a successful breakfast recipe occurs when the kids choose it over their go-to cereal. I’ve made countless batches of these muffins, and they’re the winner every time.  (I’m happy to say they’ve become a reader favorite, too!)  Use the optional two ingredient frosting for a tangy-sweet treat on these or other muffins and quick breads.

For a gluten- and dairy-free option that tastes nearly identical, click here.

 

Pumpkin "Bran" Muffins

The photo above shows the gluten-and dairy-free adaptation for this muffin. A few easy changes create a muffin that tastes almost identical.

….And some old photos.  The photo at the very top of the page was featured in the November 2014 issue of Susquehanna Style.

Pumpkin Bran Muffins
When using melted coconut oil or butter, it is helpful to bring the ingredients to room temperature prior to mixing. This will prevent the oil or butter from solidifying again.

Yield: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 15-ounce can 100% pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 cup bran cereal (like Fiber One or All Bran)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Optional: Shredded coconut and/or coarse sugar for sprinkling; *Speedy Cream Cheese Frosting* (see notes for easy recipe)
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, bran cereal, raisins, butter or melted coconut oil, and sugars. Stir in the eggs and the buttermilk.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to the pumpkin mixture and stir to just combine.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin and scoop the batter into the pan. I like to use a large ice cream scoop. Cups will be rather full but they will not overflow.
  6. Sprinkle the tops with a little coarse sugar, if desired, then bake for 23-28 minutes or until the muffins pass the toothpick test. (Check a little early as all ovens vary.)
  7. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then remove to rack to cool completely.
  8. Store leftovers in refrigerator and rewarm gently in microwave, if desired.
Notes
  • My latest favorite addition to these muffins is coconut, which complements the flavor of pumpkin beautifully. If you are a fan, consider stirring up to half a cup of shredded coconut (unsweetened or sweetened according to preference) into the batter and sprinkling a small amount on the muffin tops prior to baking.
  • For a slightly decadent topping option, stir approximately 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup into a quarter cup of cream cheese (the mixture will be creamier if the cream cheese is softened first; if not, just keep stirring until smooth). Use as a speedy cream cheese frosting for the muffins. Feel free to adjust the amount of maple syrup up or down to your liking and double the recipe if you’d like to frost all the muffins.
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Comments

  1. Annmarie Uselmann

    Wondering… can you make this batter and keep in the fridge so muffins can be made fresh in the a.m.?

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Annmarie, I bake the muffins all at once, although I’ve had one or two readers tell me over the years that they’ve done exactly that. So, while I can’t guarantee from personal experience, I think refrigerating the batter should work well. If you do try, feel free to report back.

      Reply
  2. Adrienne

    These are just right! Good flavor and texture! I’ve made them several times. I love how they contain buttermilk (once I used yogurt because I’d forgotten to buy buttermilk) and I’ve added toasted chopped pecans when I didn’t have raisins. Delicious! (Once I used banana instead of pumpkin..! It worked) I haven’t tried the frosting yet but maybe next time.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Adrienne, I’m so happy you’ve made these on repeat and love that you’ve adjusted the recipe based on what you’ve had on hand. Thanks so much for the great feedback!

      Reply
  3. Rennee Toomata

    I made these muffins with coconut milk, sea salt, all bran buds and they were delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Doubling the spices is always a good option for those who enjoy more intense flavor. As for the baking time, did your muffins require more or less time? And did you bake a batch of 12? I’d be happy to help troubleshoot if needed!

      Reply
  4. Joan

    Very good recipe! I used All-Bran, King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour, coconut oil, and honey instead of sugar. These are very moist and tasty. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Cristie Spring

    5 Star Recipe.I like how tasty these healthy muffins are. I added 1/4 of wheat bran. I used Cracklin Oat Bran for the bran cereal. I added 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. I mixed 1/2 cup of cream cheese with 1/4 cup of honey for the topping. These muffins are good with and without the cream cheese topping. This recipe made 18 muffins.

    Reply
  6. Lauren O'Connor

    Hi Ann! I actually was inspired by your muffin recipe. I wanted to find bran muffin recipe that incorporated pumpkin and there it was. Although I substituted the buttermilk for yogurt and forgot the butter/oil… (it worked). My girls absolutely loved them. I also used Grapenuts (soaked in milk) because that’s what I wanted to use up. Yep, my girls poured the cereal in the bowls, added milk and conveniently forgot to eat it. lol!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Lauren! So great to see your name pop up! I’m delighted the muffins were a hit with everyone and appreciate your feedback along with tweaks, intended and not!

      Reply
  7. Jamie C Leddy Doss

    I just made these and the recipe that you have made the muffins taste soapy. So I made them again and took out the baking powder and they turned out a lot better. I find when you use an acid (butter milk) with soda and powder together it tends to be too much and tastes soapy or like acidy salty bitter…. Once I got the ratios right they turned out great!!!!

    (I volunteer at a food pantry and they gave me a ton of bran flakes and we don’t really eat cereal so I had to find out what to do with them. I just made crunchy chocolate peanut butter balls and tonight I’m making eggplant parmesan… I wonder if no-bake cookies would work?)

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Jamie, I’m so glad you were able to tweak the recipe to suit you and use the bran flakes you were given in the process. It sounds like you have lots of good ways to enjoy them–and I’m sure your work at the food pantry is much appreciated!

      Reply
  8. Chelsea

    Made a batch of these today and just tried one… delicious! I’m happy with how moist they are. And it’s the perfect level of sweetness. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Pingback: The Fountain Avenue Kitchen – Pumpkin “Bran” Muffins (a gluten- and dairy-free adaptation of an FAK favorite)

  10. Mary Lou Keller

    So funny Ann, I was going to comment on these, when I saw my previous comment (not sure how long ago that was) but I am going to make these, they look amazing! I love the addition of toasted coconut, I LOVE coconut!

    I will let you know how they turn out when I make them!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      I hope you like them as much as we do, Mary Lou! (And hope you are drying out after the massive rainfall down south!)

      Reply