Make-Ahead Bran Muffin Batter

Mix Now, Bake Later In Small Batches

Ever wonder if you can make a big batch of bran muffin batter that will keep in the fridge not just for days but for weeks? It's a busy cook's meal prep miracle! The batter can be 100% whole-grain and is ready for the oven, no last-minute measuring, mixing or cleanup.
You'll be a star! Think hot muffins for a crowd! Better still, how about a small batch of bran muffins on a whim, even just one or two or three muffins at a time?! You can even bake a single muffin in a mug in the microwave!
This is one of my very oldest recipes and I'm always happy to have a container tucked into the refrigerator, ready for muffins on the fly for several weeks. Even with just two of us, we can definitely go through four bran muffins a week. Still sound like too much? Just cut the recipe in half.

Make-Ahead Bran Muffin Batter ♥, mix now, bake in small batches later, including a single microwave bran muffin in a mug.

Real Food, Fresh & Family-Tested. Moist & Tender Muffins with Crispy Rounded Tops. Year-Round Breakfast Staple. Budget Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Great for Food Gifts. How to Feed a Small Crowd for Brunch. Now 100% Whole-Grain.

  • "I make this recipe with dried cranberries . . . it is delightful!" ~ Penny

Just Imagine ...

... padding into the kitchen some sleepy morning. You turn on the oven, let the dog out, make the coffee, scoop some batter into muffin tins.

Twenty minutes later? Hot muffins!

It must've been a dream, right?

No ma'am. iI's a make-ahead muffin batter that's kept in the fridge, ready to bake up small batches of muffins any time later, including a hot muffin-for-one Microwave Bran Muffin in a Mug.

Tis a busy cook's morning miracle!

Make-Ahead Bran Muffin Batter ♥, mix now, bake in small batches later, including a single microwave bran muffin in a mug.

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!

On holidays and weekends, many homes fill with family and friends visiting from out of town. 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 fridge 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 (just two or three muffins, say), fill the inside muffin cups to equalize heat distribution. For just one muffin at a time, use a mug and the microwave!

Make-Ahead Bran Muffin Batter collage ♥, mix now, bake in small batches later, including a single microwave bran muffin in a mug.

What's In the Muffin Batter? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • Bran Cereal Did this recipe originate on some long ago box of bran cereal? Probably. The original recipe called for two bran cereals, Post 100% Bran (which doesn't seem to be available in the U.S. anymore, although apparently is in Canada) and Kellogg's All-Bran (easily found in the U.S. anyway). For quite a few years, I have used just one cereal, the All-Bran product. I do think an all-bran cereal is better than a bran flake cereal, however.

  • Regular Flour or Whole-Grain Flour The original recipe called for all-purpose flour but for a 100% whole-grain bran muffin, make a 1:1 substitute with a flour called "white whole wheat" that's whole-grain finely ground from a tender variety of wheat. I haven't tested this recipe with plain "whole wheat flour" but think it would work well.

  • Sugar Both white sugar and brown sugar work well. These muffins are barely sweet.

  • Fat This recipe dates back decades, so no surprise, it calls for solid vegetable shortening, you might generically call it by the brand name "Crisco". I keep small containers of Crisco on hand for Flaky Tender Pie Crust but think that both butter and solid coconut oil would be good substitutes.

  • Wet Ingredients Just the usual for muffins, eggs and buttermilk. No buttermilk? A decent substitute can be made with regular milk and vinegar. Just measure out 2 cups of regular milk (whole, 2% and even skim), remove 2 tablespoons, then stir in two tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar.

  • Dried Fruit Raisins work but I'm especially fond of dried currants because they're small, that means every muffin has more bites of fruit. In addition, currants have no added sugar. In fact, this is a great way to use currants that have gotten kind of dried and shriveled, they plump right up in the muffin batter. One reader loves these muffins with dried cranberries, I think they'd be great! But they are sweetened and large: to adjust for the latter, I would chop them into small bits in a mini food processor (affiliate link), that way, fewer distribute further. Could you use snips of dried apricot? Yes!

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • Is this recipe the same as the Five-Week Bran Muffins and the Six-Week Bran Muffins? Yes! Back in 2002, this was Kitchen Parade's only twelfth recipe, in 2021, there are nearly 600! Back the, I called it "Five-Week Bran Muffins". Other sites and bloggers have published the same or much similar recipes with the name "Six-Week Bran Muffins.
  • Could you use this same technique with other muffin recipes? I think so.
  • Could you use butter instead of vegetable shortening? I think so. That said, during this 2021 recipe update, I tried another bran muffin recipe that calls for butter and put about half the batter into the fridge to bake a few days later. Again, it wasn't this recipe modified with butter but still, the baked-later muffins had an odd fattiness. I owe us all a test of this recipe with butter.
  • Is this a sponsored post? No. My last name may be Kellogg and there are bloodline ties to the Kellogg cereal family dating back some 17 generations but no, this recipe is just one of my very oldest, dating back to the 1980s, decades before I started writing about food.

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If the idea of bran muffins on the fly hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...
Make-Ahead Bran Muffin Batter ♥, mix now, bake in small batches later, including a single microwave bran muffin in a mug.


Mixing time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Makes 22 medium-size muffins
  • 1 cup (60g) bran cereal (Kellogg's All-Bran, for example)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup (95g) solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Soaked Bran Cereal
  • 2-1/2 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 312g
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups (120g) additional bran cereal (Kellogg's All-Bran, for example)
  • 3/4 cups dried currants or raisins
  • Baking spray
  • Raw sugar, about 1 teaspoon per muffin, optional but make a crispy top

SOAK In a small mixing bowl, soak 1 cup bran cereal in hot water until the cereal absorbs the liquid. Let cool.

MIX In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the shortening and sugar until smooth and well-combined. (For brown sugar, be sure to work out any small lumps.) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add the buttermilk and Soaked Bran Cereal, stir lightly.

In a small mixing bowl (you can use the one that held the Soaked Cereal), stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until the cinnamon is evenly distributed throughout, this is a great visual cue that shows when dry ingredients are well-mixed.

By hand, stir in the flour mixture, 2 cups bran cereal and raisins. Transfer to a refrigerator container, one that's easy to scoop from.

REFRIGERATE Some recipes suggest letting the muffin batter refrigerate for 24 hours before baking into muffins but I have no trouble baking the first batch right away. Keep the batter tightly covered and refrigerated for up to five weeks, some recipes even say six weeks. I like to leave baking instructions right on the lid, that means anybody at all can bake the muffins without needing to refer back to a recipe!

BAKE When ready to bake, do not stir the batter! Heat the oven to 400F/200C and spray the the cups in a muffin tin, just the ones you'll be putting muffin batter in. Spoon out 2 heaping tablespoons (about 1/3 cup or 75g) of batter into each cup. Sprinkle each top with raw sugar. Bake for bout 20 minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the muffin tins.

ALANNA's TIPS Golden raisins taste great but I do miss the color contrast. An 18.6-ounce box of Kellogg's All-Bran is enough for three batches of muffin batter if you make a small reduction in the amount of bran cereal used. For whole-grain bran muffins, substitute white whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour. The King Arthur brand works like a charm!

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Muffin: 182 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 23mg Cholesterol; 245mg Sodium; 31g Carb; 3g Fiber; 14g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 5 & SmartPoints 7 & Freestyle 7 & myWW green 7 & blue 7 & purple 7 & future WW points

Make It a Muffin Morning!

~ muffin recipes ~

~ Hearty Heart-Loving Muffins ~
~ Morning Glory Muffins ~
~ Savory Muffins with Sweet Potato & Feta ~
from A Veggie Venture,
my food blog

Rhubarb Muffins ♥, less sweet, all whole-wheat, moist and fruity.

Perfect Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins ♥, healthy pumpkin muffins that stay fresh for days. Moist and spicy with great texture.

Cornmeal Muffins with Apple, another seasonal muffin ♥, studded with apple with a pretty sliver on top. Perfect for Fall Breakfasts. Autumn Comfort Food. Great for Meal Prep. No Mixer Required.

More Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes

~ recipes for breakfast & brunch ~

Easy Green Chile Egg Casserole ♥ No bread! Just eggs, green chiles, bits of cheese and a surprising ingredient, cottage cheese. Vegetarian. Low Carb. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly!

Spinach Brownies, another easy, healthy breakfast ♥ A Veggie Venture. Fresh & Flexible. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Great for Meal Prep. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. Low Cal. Vegetarian.

Light Tomato Basil Quiche Recipe ♥, a make-ahead, healthy, vegetarian and light quiche recipe.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ buttermilk ~
~ raisins & currants ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2002 (print), 2007 (online), 2015, 2021 & 2022

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Anonymous5/21/2008

    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!

  5. kirsten9/20/2011

    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