From Scratch Bran Muffins


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I promise I’m gonna show you how to make these delicious, old fashioned, easily customizable, from scratch bran muffins in this post, but I gotta drive around the bend a bit first…

Have you ever eaten at a Picadilly restaurant? My great grandmother used to consider that one of the greatest dining treats! I have to admit, I’d much rather go to a cafeteria for lunch than an “upscale” restaurant. My tastebuds get far more excited about boiled cabbage and carved beef than a glass of wine and a …well whatever those places serve with wine.

Growing up, I’m sure there were nicer restaurants in Huntsville, but they didn’t exist in my little world. Every now and then on Sundays my grandparents would pick up Kentucky Fried chicken to go with our dinner and they’d take us out to eat at Piccadilly on very special occasions. On birthdays we’d get to go to Mullin’s Drive In, where I still find myself gravitating a few times a year for a small hamburger and an order of broasted potatoes.

Nowadays my favorite local haunt is The Blue Plate Cafe, a meat and three that is only open for breakfast and lunch. If you ever go there, ask for Selvenia, she’s a waitress who dishes up hugs along with sides of peach cobbler, and look up Jerry Sparks and tell him I sent ya – maybe he’ll send me an extra helping of tomato and cucumber salad next time I’m in! Speaking of Blue Plate, what a thrill for me to be featured in the latest issue of Alabama Magazine – which also lists Blue Plate as one of the “must try” restaurants in Huntsville! There is a big feature on me and my family (I love the photos) and another feature on my hometown and all there is to do here in the latest issue of Alabama Magazine. So if you live near the heart of Dixie, be sure and pick up a copy.

Now where was I before I went off in the ditch? Picadilly, yes!  My favorite part about eating at Picadilly is that you can usually get a bran muffin as the bread to go with your meal – and I dearly love bran muffins.

With that in mind, I’m bringing you my incredibly versatile bran muffin recipe. These can be made plain, or you can add in your favorites mix-ins. They can be made only slightly sweet for a dinner bread or muffin-sweet for a breakfast muffin or dessert.

This is just a good basic bran muffin recipe so feel free to make them exactly as I am in this tutorial or run for the hills with it!

See? If you stick with me long enough eventually you will be rewarded by me getting to my point! ~grins~

OH! If you’re looking for the recipe using Raisin Bran cereal, just click here to visit that post. I actually like these I’m about to show a little better though!

You’ll need: Wheat Bran, Vegetable Oil (or melted butter), Self Rising Flour*, Buttermilk, Vanilla, Egg, Brown Sugar, and Dried Cranberries and Walnuts – but you can use different add ins if you prefer them to the cranberries and walnuts.

*If you don’t have self rising flour, see my FAQ page on how to make your own

If you want to make your own buttermilk, here is an easy way. For each cup of milk, add 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir and allow to sit for five minutes before using.

Finding Wheat Bran – Wheat Bran is the hard thing to find here. If you have a health food grocery store near you, they should have it. I seldom go to those though because they are just so stinking expensive. I understand that it’s worth it and all that…but understanding that doesn’t soften the blow to my wallet or make money magically appear. My Krogers has an organic foods section and I can usually find it there, but I always have to look pretty good in order to find it.

Place your wheat bran and buttermilk in a bowl. 

Stir well. It will look kind of like sawdust paste :)

Add in egg, oil (or melted butter), brown sugar, and vanilla and stir well once more.

Add all remaining ingredients.

Note: I’m using chopped walnuts and dried cranberries but you can use whatever you like.

Get started customizing by adding 1/2 to 1 cup of any of the following or a combination of the following:

  • chopped nuts of your choice (pecans, walnuts, peanuts, etc)
  • Dried Cranberries, raisins, dried blueberries, chopped dried peaches, chopped dried apples, etc
  • finely chopped fresh apple
  • fresh grated carrots
  • Seriously, pretty much anything you’ve got a hankering for!

Stir until it’s well combined.

You’re not supposed to eat it at this point because it has raw eggs in it. I would never do such a harrowing thing as tasting raw batter. No sirreee…not me.

~licks the spoon~

Oh, by the way this is a Pyrex bowl in a pattern called “New Dot”.

Spoon out into 12 muffin cups.

You can either line them with muffin papers or just spray your muffin tin with cooking spray.

I have done both but I usually put these in muffin papers because I like to freeze them and it just makes it a little easier.

I have a “stunt muffin pan” that I usually use for photos but it was way back in the cabinet and this one hopped out first so I guess it was feeling neglected. I had Mama look over this post before I sent it out and she called to say “The post looks good, but I can’t believe you used that ugly old muffin pan…” I’m just keeping it real. Oh the tangent I could go off on about folks talking ugly and hiding behind the phrase “keeping it real”….but I’ll spare you that one today.:)

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on the top.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in muffin pan and then remove to cool completely on a towel lined counter or platter. Can serve warm, of course!

To freeze: Cool completely. Place in zipper seal gallon sized bags and freeze. Thaw by wrapping in paper towel and heating in the microwave until heated through, about 45 seconds or so.

What do you like in your bran muffins?

From Scratch Bran Muffins
  • 1+1/2 cups wheat bran*
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (or ½ cup butter, melted and cooled)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • ¾ brown sugar (Dark or light, your preference. Use 1 cup if you prefer them sweeter)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped nuts - I'm using walnuts.
  1. In large mixing bowl, stir together bran and buttermilk.
  2. Add in egg, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir well to combine.
  3. Add in flour, cranberries, and nuts and any other add ins you want. Stir well until completely moist.
  4. Bake at 375 for twenty minutes, or until golden.
Makes 12
*See post for tips on finding Wheat Bran and other add in options to replace cranberries and walnuts.

I’m giving away a complete Dollywood Vacation including tickets to the park, tickets to the Dixie Stampede Dinner Show, Tickets to Splash Country, AND A Cabin! Click here for details. Contest closes Tuesday, May 15th at midnight!

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  1. Susan says

    When I looked at the picture with the muffin tin, I thought “That is a well used muffing tin. Looks like mine”. Looks good, I will have to try this.
    Thanks for the post.

  2. Rheada Haynes says

    I love this recipe, however I prefer to use the mini muffin pans, for some reason I think that they are sweeter tasting in the small version. Yes I know it is in my head but I like it that way.

  3. Erika says

    I love Piccadilly! I really think they have the best vegetables in Huntsville. Their stuffed peppers are THE best I’ve ever had!
    Love Blue Plate, too – especially their tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. I would love to know how they make theirs.
    Can you tell I love to eat???

  4. Dianne says

    I can remember the muffin/cupcake tins that we had when I was growing up. They all looked well used which also means well loved. Those pristine pans in the dolled up food photos say FIRST TIME and NEVER REALLY USED! 😉 If I have a hard to find item that I’d like to have in my pantry, I first try out my local grocery–they do have a Red Mill section–and then I try Amazon for comparison. If I just want a little bit, I’ll buy the small Red Mill package. If I anticipate that I’ll use a lot of the product, Amazon is a great place to find larger packages.

    • says

      Hey Pat! You can try that and it will most likely work, but you’ll probably need more milk. The cereal (even All Bran) has a decent amount of sugar in it so your muffins will be slightly sweeter as well. Let me know if you try it!

  5. Courtney says

    Ahhh thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We love a store bought bran muffin mix and I’ve been searching for a good homemade recipe. Can’t wait to try these!!! (We mix in chocolate chips, which I’m sure negates the health benefits, but they sure are good!!)

  6. Peggy says

    Re: Searching for wheat bran: If you have a 7th Day Adventist grocery near you, they’ll have loads of it. I live near Collegeday, TN and Southern University…Village Mkt. there has more “exotic” add-ins that you can imagine. I buy vital wheat gluten in five-pound bags (for bread baking) and keep it in the freezer. Ditto earlier post for availability at Fresh Mkt. and freezing.

  7. Jackie says


    Thank you for the trip down memory lane about Piccadilly! I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and one of my favorite things EVER was when we would go out to eat at the Piccadilly at the mall. Nothing quite equaled getting to choose a slice of cake in the dessert section — I always picked one of the layer cakes with tons of frosting :). I was in seventh heaven while I attempted to eat the entire thing, and I would always order sweet tea to go along with it. Now I will have to try the bran muffin recipe — can’t wait! :)

  8. Martha Ashberry says

    As I was reading about all the places you had been, I noticed a word I hadn’t heard before. What are “broasted” potatoes? And yes I am from the south too but must have lived a sheltered life. LOL

  9. Rene says

    My mom grew up in Monroe, Louisiana, but ended up transplanting to Wisconsin when she met and married my dad. One of the things I always looked forward to when we visited my grandmother was eating at the Picadilly cafeteria. It offered a wide array of Southern foods that we never got “up north”. That’s where I learned about crawfish etoufee (sp?!), gumbo, hush puppies, etc. I still have fond memories of those visits!

  10. Angela Lewis says

    Would love some of these right now! Your muffin tin is soooo familiar. Mine looks pretty bad, really. I know about Picadilly, Blue Plate and Mullins, but I haven’t been to a Picadilly in a long time and Mullins since, oh, I was probably a teenager or younger. Use to go there and sit in the car and order and just eat it in the car (altho, I have been in too). Memories of long ago.

  11. Lori says

    The first thing I noticed was your Pyrex bowl. I have the same one with blue dots! Love it! Not sure what year these came out but they are super cute. Can’t wait to try the muffins. Thanks:)

  12. Doris Flowers says

    Christy my Mom made these using All-bran cereal. That was before the days of wheat bran. Bet this recipe would work with the cereal. Think I’ll give it a try. Just finished making your peanut butter pie. That’s now my favorite to carry to covered dish dinners. Very, very good!!!

  13. Nicky Brett says

    Oh my heart! My grandma’s favorite eating spot was Picadilly! Can’t count the number of times we ate there. After I was out of college and struttin my big self with all my newly earned dollars, I went to take Grandma out to Sunday dinner after church. Where did she want to go? You guessed it. I couldn’t talk her out of it even though I was a big girl now with dollars to impress. Love it!!

  14. alice smith says

    Christy, I love raisins in my bran muffins and nuts-walnuts or pecans.. I am thinking about using some raisin bran cereal in place of the wheat bran..(that way I can make them without making a trip to the grocery store.) Love your recipes.. And the memories of Picadilly’s.. It has been years since I have eaten at Picadilly’s–live in West TN.

  15. pam elkin says

    Would you believe that i have been looking for a bran muffin recipe. This sounds great, thank you!! Want to have them here for a quick grab on the go snack for the family!

    I have wonderful memories of our local Picadilly and we also had S&W here in Asheville! That was so special and yet so simple to look back on it now. Those simple things are the best. Now we have to work hard to have those simple times and create special memories for our children. Everything is so fast paced. Thanks Christy for all of the good reminders!


    PS I did not even notice the muffin pan until you mentioned it,. Doesn’t everyone’s muffin pan look like that?

    • Pat says

      Hi Christy,
      Thanks so much for this recipe. I have been trying to find one that doesn’t use bran cereal. I also live in Asheville and was so glad to see another reply from someone in my town. Ditto on the appearance of the muffin pan. Mine looks that way too!
      Pat Staigo

  16. Lisa says

    Oh, how I miss Picadilly! (None in Brentwood, or even Nashville, as far as I know.) My very favorite thing is to get a veggie plate – greens, macaroni & cheese (is TOO a vegetable!), carrot souffle (swooooon) and a corn stick. All washed down with a big glass of sweet tea, of course.

    And if anybody has the recipe for their carrot souffle, I’d love to have it!

  17. Taterbug says

    One of my favorite family stories is about a visit to Picadilly’s! My parents took my brother to Picadilly’s when he was just a baby, and the restaurant was awfully busy that day. They were standing in line with a sweet older couple, who took to playing with the baby. While they were standing there chatting, the elderly gentleman took hold of my brother’s foot and popped the whole thing in his mouth. You could tell it was the sort of thing he did all the time with his own grandbabies, just fooling around. His wife wasn’t too happy that he did it out in public, though. We still kid my brother about the time he almost lost his foot at the buffet. :)

  18. says

    I also recently discovered the joy of bran muffins and posted a recipe for them on my blog! The one I used is just a slight variation of the recipe on the bag of wheat bran- I bought Bob’s Red Mill, too. Yours look great though with the buttermilk and everything! And don’t feel bad about your muffin tin. It does the job, right? People should find better things to snark about.

  19. Martha Ashberry says

    Well, this is my second batch and because I couldn’t find wheat bran I used wheat germ and both batches were WONDERFUL. The first was banana and the second was apple cinnamon. Mmmmm. Thanks Christy for another fabulous recipe. =)

  20. Bev says

    I tried these this weekend when my son and wife were visiting, notoriously picky eaters. They really seemed to like them and I loved them. I will definitely fix these again! My son bakes a lot of bread and gave me lots of good ideas for stir ins.

  21. bob says

    I just subscribed. I love your sense of humor and your good recipes. I just have
    one wish; that you would learn to stay-away from self-rising flour! It most always contains aluminum and it is SO bad for us.
    Thanks. :)

  22. Jennifer says

    Love these! However, I am on the verge of having to go to a more blood sugar friendly diet for at least 9 months. :-). So, could I use wheat flour and make it self rising?

  23. Linda Watters says


    Your Bran Muffins looks so tasty. I was wondering if you know the nutritional counts on this muffin. I saved this recipe and want to try it. Thought they would be nice to have in the freezer to pop out and have with a cup of hot tea for my breakfast with a slathering for cream cheese on them. I am diabetic and like to know the counts if you have them. Thanks for posting another great one, Christy.


  24. Beulah says

    I love Bran Muffins, however I don’t keep buttermilk on hand as it spoils before I use it all up so i use the powdered buttermilk, it works equally as well. I like to add chopped dates or dried cranberries to my muffin batter, once i added shredded zucchini and they were oh so good!. Wishing Katy Rose a Happy Birthday. Does not seem like she should be turning 8 years old.

  25. Dawn Marie says

    Christy, I made these yesterday, and they turned out perfect! So good!! I found “blueberry infused” cranberries at the store so that’s what I used, and because I love blueberries so much, do you think frozen blueberries would work?
    Thanks!!! Dawn

  26. Connie says

    I left the South many years ago to marry my Southern California boy but I am still a Southern Belle/Steel Magnolia gal. I have lost my elder relatives and sure miss their stories. I LOVE your stories and wanderings. Take care and stay off horses. I only rode a horse once and got seasick trying to stay on the sweet old thing.

  27. MimiG says

    I am so glad to see this recipe. I love bran muffins, but most I’ve ever eaten have raisings, which I cannot eat and have to pick out! But, the cranberries are not a problem. Can’t wait to make.

  28. Donna says

    Oh, Yum! I used to have a recipe similar to this that you could keep covered in the refrigerator for up to six weeks. Was so wonderful to get up and have two baking while I took a shower. A wonderful hot breakfast or treat!!

    • says

      Hey Kristin! This recipe is how I make mine, so I don’t have a honey recipe because I like this one so much :) However, I encourage folks to make my recipes their own by tweaking them to suit their needs and tastes. You might try just adding 1/2 cup of honey as it is written, but I’ve never done it personally so I’d love to hear how your experiments turn out! Please report back :)

  29. Eva says

    Love the muffins, now I have to find my muffin tins, they were waiting patiently to be cleaned up and put away after the tart marathon last Xmas, and they have simply disappeared. The only one I can find is a brand new non stick, and while its ok, it just doesn’t bake like the others, and since there are 4 of two different sizes its kind of odd they aren’t where I can find them. Talk about your scattered brains, mine went on holiday and hasn’t come back.

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