These Pumpkin Spice Bran Muffins are healthy and delicious! Each muffin only has 200 calories and is packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats. The pumpkin flavor is a perfect change to Banana Bran Muffins for Fall and Winter!
You know I love a good bran muffin moment. I always have a plastic freezer bag of muffins in my freezer at all times. Right now I have these pumpkin spice bran muffins but before that I had my Best Blueberry Banana Bran Muffins and these Strawberry Whole Wheat Muffins.
Decadent treats are my weakness but I am just as obsessed with healthy, filling snacks. Mix up the snack pack with apple spice energy bites, pumpkin spice energy bars or tropical energy bars. They are perfect as a healthy breakfast on the go or tucked inside a lunchbox for a dessert or afternoon snack that is just sweet enough!
Table of Contents
What makes these Pumpkin Spice Bran Muffins moist?
- Pre-soaking the wheat bran in buttermilk helps hydrate the bran before mixing, which keeps the whole muffin moister.
- Buttermilk has just enough fat to add richness and moisture even after baking.
- Bananas and pumpkin puree are always mission critical to adding moisture to quick breads.
- I have found that coconut oil makes muffins moister than the same amount of vegetable oil. Plus, it is a healthy fat and that sounds like a win-win to me!
- Whole Wheat Flour: I prefer either King Arthur or Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour. Every brand has a slightly different flavor and texture depending on their grinding process. Both these companies take care to control the temperature of the flour during grinding, which preserves the natural flavors, antioxidants and vitamins that are destroyed at warmer temperatures.
- Wheat Bran: The bran is the outer layers of the wheat kernel. It is mostly fiber but also contains vitamins and antioxidants. I use wheat bran to increase the fiber and also bind together the wet ingredients without adding additional calories.
- Oat Bran: The bran is the outer layers of the oat kernel. It is mostly fiber but also contains vitamins and minerals. I use oat bran to increase the fiber and also bind together the wet ingredients without adding too many additional calories.
- Flaxseed Meal: Flaxseed meal is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and it an excellent binder for healthy snacks. The meal absorbs moisture while adding nutrients and a laundry list of health benefits!
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix: My Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix recipe is fine-tuned to work in pumpkin pie as well as it does in muffins, rolls, oatmeal, or cookies!
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is lass salty than table salt and a teaspoon weighs less than other finer ground varieties. It heightens the flavor here and will keep your muffins from tasting dull or flat.
- Baking Soda: Do check the freshness of your baking soda! It does lose potency over time. If it's not fresh, send it to the back of the refrigerator to absorb some odors, or clean your marble countertops with it!
- Baking Powder: Double acting baking powder will react instantly when it is mixed with an acid and then again when it is heated. Because it is double acting, it has a slower, more stable rise than baking soda alone.
- Low Fat Buttermilk: I generally bake with low fat buttermilk rather than full fat. It provides just enough fat to keep quick breads moist and enough moisture to hydrate the bran. The acidity also activates the baking soda for a nice, tall muffin.
- Eggs: Whole eggs allow you to emulsify all that oil into the batter, resulting in moist, not greasy, muffins.
- Coconut Oil: I use organic extra virgin coconut oil in these Pumpkin Bran Muffins because it makes the moistest, most tender crumb! It keeps the muffins moist longer than vegetable oil and has all the added health benefits. Winning.
- Bananas: In an ideal world, I choose bananas that are ripe but only just beginning to spot. I find this to be the peak flavor for these muffins.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla Extract adds a beautiful flavor itself but it also boosts the flavor of other ingredients around it like pumpkin and banana!
- Dark Brown Sugar: Using dark brown sugar adds sweetness along with a little moisture. This will keep the muffins softer while adding a nice, rich molasses flavor. Coconut sugar or light brown sugar can be substituted if desired.
- Pumpkin Puree: I use Libby's pumpkin puree because it is consistent and that is what I use to develop all my recipes. Use whichever brand you prefer. Just be sure to grab pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie mix! I would not suggest substituting homemade pumpkin puree due to the varying moisture content. Canned pumpkin puree is tightly controlled within a certain percentage.
- Raisins: Raisins add a little sweetness and a wonderful chewy texture to these muffins. They blend perfectly with the spices for the perfect balance of flavors.
- Pumpkin Puree: I would not suggest substituting homemade pumpkin puree due to the varying moisture content. Canned pumpkin puree is tightly controlled within a certain percentage
- Pumpkin Spice Mix: The recipe is written using my Pumpkin Spice Mix but I include individual spice measurements in the Notes section of the recipe.
- Raisins: I love the flavor combination of raisins, pumpkin and pumpkin spice, but feel free to add whichever dried fruit you prefer. You can also skip the raisins.
- Coconut Sugar: You could substitute coconut palm sugar for the dark brown sugar in this recipe if you prefer.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pumpkin Spice Bran Muffins
Store baked pumpkin spice bran muffins in an air-tight container at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen. Zip-top plastic bags also work nicely.
These bran muffins will keep 3 days at room temperature, a week in the refrigerator or 2 months frozen. For optimal freshness freeze muffins after cooling and reheat as desired.
Absolutely! These pumpkin spice bran muffins freeze beautifully. I keep mind in a zip-top freezer bag in the freezer so that I can eat them as desired.
If you have the time, you can thaw them at room temperature in a sealed container or in the refrigerator. If you don’t then you can easily reheat them in the microwave or toaster oven. I reheat them in the muffin liners to retain moisture.
You can make as large a batch as you’d like. I personally make a double batch so I have plenty for the freezer and snacks later in the month.
Pastry Chef Tip
Soaking the wheat bran and oat bran in buttermilk before mixing into the batter keeps the muffins extra moist. Bran takes longer to hydrate than milled flours, so this gives it a chance to soften and doesn’t pull from the moisture of the muffins.
Pumpkin Banana Bran Muffins
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup wheat bran
- ½ cup oat bran
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon Pumpkin spice mix (see notes for individual measurements)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
- 1 banana (mashed)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ⅔ cup dark brown sugar (packed)
- 10 tablespoons pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
- ¾ cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 400° and grease or line 12 muffin tins.
- Mix buttermilk, wheat bran and oat bran in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
- Mix sugar, oil, egg, vanilla, banana and pumpkin and mix thoroughly.
- Add pumpkin mixture and buttermilk mixture to the dry mixture and stir gently until just combined and a few lumps remain. Fold in raisins.
- Pour into prepared tins. Fill the cups all the way to the top to ensure you get nice tall muffins.
- Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few clinging crumbs.
Before You Go!
Check out our other delicious, chef-developed recipes for Muffins!