Five-Week Bran Muffins

Mix the batter now, bake in small batches up to five weeks later

A favorite recipe from a 2002 column, published online for the first time in 2007

Recipes that can be prepared in advance get my special attention. For two decades now, I have pulled out this muffin recipe whenever there’s a crowd at the house. It’s easy to transport to someone else’s place too!

During the next couple of weeks, many homes will fill with family and friends visiting for the holidays. With this make-ahead-and-bake-later recipe, treat family and guests to hot muffins every morning with all the pleasure and little the effort.

Add a big pot of coffee, butter and a selection of jams and you’ll find yourselves lingering over the morning table day after day. Still in your pajamas at noon? It happens!

And because the batter is in the frig waiting to be baked, at the last minute, you can invite friends in for hot coffee and muffins before heading out into the cold.

This recipe is so flexible: it works for a crowd, yes, but also for a small household, a few muffins at a time. For big crowds, double or triple the batter. To bake a small batch, fill the inside muffin cups to equalize heat distribution.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. What do you serve with morning coffee? Share a favorite recipe via e-mail.


Mix now, bake later
Mixing time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Makes 21 medium muffins
  • 1 cup 100% Bran cereal (Post)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2-1/2 cup flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups All-Bran cereal (Kellogg’s)
  • 3/4 cups raisins

In a small mixing bowl, soak 100% Bran in boiling water until liquid is absorbed and let cool. In a large mixing bowl, blend sugar and shortening. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add buttermilk and 100% Bran mixture and stir lightly. Add dry ingredients and stir lightly. Fold in raisins and All-Bran.

Cover and refrigerate up to five weeks. When ready to bake, spoon out 2 heaping tablespoons (about 1/3 cup) of batter per muffin but do not stir the batter. Bake in greased muffin tins for 20 minutes at 400F.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per muffin: 166 Cal; 4g Protein; 6g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 26g Carb; 4g Fiber; 268mg Sodium; 24mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 3 points

More Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes

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2007 | I had trouble finding the Post 100% Bran cereal though the Post website says it's still being sold. So I used 3 cups of Kellogg's All-Bran and the muffins turned out just fine. I also used golden raisins; the taste was perfect but I missed the color contrast.
Originally published in 2002, published online for the first time in 2007

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Hi! These look good. My grandma used to make a similar "refrigerator bran" muffin but we lost the recipe so I'm so glad you posted this! Do you know if it matters if you substitute butter for shortening? Libby
Thanks, Libby! I've been making them so long, I have no idea where the recipe originated so who knows, maybe your grandma and I got the recipe from the same place?!

As for the butter question, I asked that myself when I made them this week. I elected to go with the shortening (which isn't hydrogenated anymore so there's no longer the transfat issue) since Crisco, we know, is shelf stable and I am indeed not planning to bake any more muffins until Christmas, still 2+ weeks away. I really don't know if there would be a difference in the muffins, especially from a food safety point of view. And since I don't know, it's not something I feel comfortable recommending. (If others have a sense on this issue, I'd love to know your thoughts.)

If I were baking the muffins right away, I wouldn't hesitate to use butter, however.
Buttermilk will stay good for 5 weeks? That's a pretty impressive time scale for batter to hold up.

If you're looking to replace the shortening with something a little healthier, you could try applesauce/mashed bananas. I actually just posted Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter & Peach Bran Muffins that uses no shortening or butter. I used applesauce, peach puree and peanut butter to make up for unhealthy fats.

- The Peanut Butter Boy
Thank you for your five week bran muffin recipe . . . and also your note about the Post Bran cereal and using all All Bran . . .

Just wanted to let you know that I make this recipe with dried cranberries (I don't personally care for raisins) . . . it is delightful!
I love refrigerator bran muffins! Just finished off a batch for the kid's breakfast this morning!
I don't use cereals, though. It always seemed silly to me to pay for the bran to be transmogrified into a cereal shape only to dissolve into . . . . well, braniness in the liquids. So now I buy a box of Hodgson Mill Wheat Bran and follow the recipe on the box.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna