The Healthiest Banana Bran Muffins

The healthiest banana bran muffins with no added sugar. These bran muffins are sweetened with bananas and are high in fiber. Perfect for a light and nutritious breakfast or snack!

The Healthiest Banana Bran Muffins

Where do you stand on bran muffins? Do you like them? Personally, they were never my go-to muffin flavor, but I do appreciate their extra dose of fiber. And really, I’m up for any healthy baked good.

I first decided to create a healthy low-sugar bran muffin after being asked by countless patients for a healthy bran muffin recipe. I searched and all the recipes that I found contained a generous amount of added sugar. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying muffins with sugar, I wanted to share a low-sugar version.

I’m calling these muffins the healthiest banana bran muffins for good reasons. First, they’re sweetened with fruit. Second, they’re made with whole wheat flour (believe it or not, but most bran muffins aren’t). Finally, they’re packed with fiber thanks to the added bran. That last one goes for every bran muffin of course.

Put all of these things together and you’ve got very nutritious muffins. Of course they might not literally be the healthiest on earth, but they’re certainly the most nutritious muffins I know, so let’s just go with it.

These muffins are highly customizable. This recipe is a great base, but I’m sharing some ingredient substitutions and additions below if you want to take it to the next level.

What You Need: Overripe bananas, apple sauce, eggs, avocado oil (or light-tasting oil), vanilla extract, all-purpose whole wheat flour, wheat bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt.

muffin ingredients in a bowl
muffin mixture in a bowl
muffin mixture in muffin tins
baked muffins in muffin tins

How to Make The Healthiest Banana Bran Muffins:

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make healthy banana bran muffins.

  1. Getting Ready

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom of a muffin pan or use muffin liners.

  2. Mix the Wet Ingredients

    Mix all the wet ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, including the mashed bananas, apple sauce, eggs, avocado oil and vanilla extract. 

  3. Mix the Dry Ingredients

    Stir all the dry ingredients together in a different bowl, including the flour, wheat bran, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Avoid overmixing.

  4. Bake

    Transfer the mixture to the prepared muffin pan, making 12 muffins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Ingredient Substitutions and Additions:

  • For the Apple Sauce: Some readers have had success replacing the apple sauce with Greek yogurt. If you use plain Greek yogurt, you will lose some of the sweetness of the apples. Read below for tips on adding sweetness to the recipe.
  • Add Spices: For more flavor, try adding a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or cardamom to the muffins.
  • Add Fruits: Feel free to add blueberries or dried raisins to add a light sweetness to the muffins. Raspberries, dried cranberries and other fruits could work too. Have fun with it!
  • Add Nuts: You can add a crunch to the recipe by adding chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans.
  • Add Chocolate: Add chocolate chips for extra sweetness. Of course they won’t be fruit-sweetened in this case, but it would be a delicious addition to these nutritious muffins.
  • Make them Vegan: You can make these muffins vegan by using a flax egg or other egg replacement. The results might vary slightly. I’m currently working on a vegan recipe and I will update this post to share the other version when they’re done.
  • Make them Gluten-Free: Some readers have had success using different flours. You can try replacing the wheat bran with oat bran (use certified gluten-free if needed) and the flour with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free flour mix. Some have also used almond flour with success, but I can’t guarantee the same results as I haven’t tried it myself.
stack of bran muffins seen from the side

A Note on the Sweetness of the Muffins:

Note that these muffins aren’t overly sweet. They’re not meant to be sweet dessert-style muffins. I would describe them as lightly sweet breakfast muffins, which are best when served with nut/seed butter, jam or other toppings. So before you tell me that these are not sweet, please know that this is not the intention of this recipe. Please keep this in mind when you leave a review. That being said, most of you said you LOVED this recipe! I love them too and I’m so happy to see you guys make this recipe.

Healthy Bran Muffins FAQ:

Can I Add Sugar to the Recipe?

If you want a nutritious fiber-rich muffin recipe with a little more sweetness, you can add a bit of sugar. I haven’t tested this recipe with sweeteners myself, but many readers have made them with a touch of honey, maple syrup or even stevia. If you use honey or maple, I would recommend starting with 1-2 tablespoons as adding more might affect the texture of the muffins. If you want them sweeter, try adding granulated sugar to taste.

If you don’t want to add sugar to the batter, but would prefer a sweeter snack, I highly recommend serving them with a fruit jam or a bit of honey.

What Are the Nutrition Facts for Bran Muffins?

I don’t include the nutrition facts in my recipes for specific reasons. As a dietitian, I truly believe that having a healthy relationship with food is incredibly important and that we can enjoy nutritious foods without needing to count calories or macros. That being said, I understand that there are times when knowing certain macronutrient numbers is helpful or necessary, such as carb counting for insulin purposes. Each one of these muffins have 15g of carbs and 3.7g of fiber. If you want more information on the nutrition facts, some readers have shared the details in the comments. I hope this helps!

More Fruit-Sweetened Muffin and Bread Recipes:

the healthiest banana bran muffin with bite taken from it
The Healthiest Banana Bran Muffins
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4.92 from 48 votes

The Healthiest Banana Bran Muffins

These are no ordinary bran muffins. These are sweetened with bananas and applesauce, plus they’re made with whole wheat flour, making them the healthiest banana bran muffins. They’re high in fiber, low in sugar and make the perfect snack when served with nut butter, butter or jam!
Course Snack
Cuisine vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 large overripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom of a muffin pan or use muffin liners.
  • Mix all the wet ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. 
  • Stir all the dry ingredients together in a different bowl, then stir in the wet ingredients until combined. Avoid overmixing.
  • Transfer to the prepared muffin pan, making 12 muffins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let them cool a few minutes before removing from the pan. 

Notes

Note that these muffins aren’t overly sweet as they’re only sweetened with fruits. They’re great served as a healthy snack with peanut butter or butter/margarine! If you want them sweeter, try serving them with a touch of honey or jam. You could also add chocolate chips or fruits to the batter, such as blueberries, raspberries, dried raisins or cranberries.
Some readers have had success replacing the apple sauce with Greek yogurt. 
For different flavors, try adding a touch of spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and/or cardamom to the muffins.
You can add a crunch to the recipe by adding chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans.
You can make these muffins vegan by using a flax egg or other egg replacement. The results might vary slightly. 
For a gluten-free option, you can try replacing the wheat bran with oat bran (use certified gluten-free if needed) and the flour with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free flour mix. 

If you make these banana bran muffins, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys. And of course, if you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!

This post contains affiliate links. I only share products that I trust and recommend. Choosing to use these links helps to support me and this blog. Thank you! 

142 Comments

  • Lucie Woloschuk

    I’m just baking these awesome looking sweets! I’m just wondering if you know the protein and calories for these muffins?

  • Jackie

    5 stars
    Wow, these are the best bran muffins ever and I’m not very good at baking. . I like bran muffins myself but not the extra sugar. Thank you so much for this recipe.

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      Hi Delores, I don’t have the nutrition facts for this recipe, but if you make my banana bread into muffins (it’s a very similar recipe), they’re about 20g of carbs per muffin. Hope this helps!

    • Jennifer

      5 stars
      Thank you I love this recipe and turned it vegan. I don’t really eat refined sugar so for clean eaters this is a bread with a touch of sweet, perfect! I substituted protein powder for the flour, coconut oil used, and Bob’s Redmill egg replacer for the eggs. Excellent recipe. Blessings

  • Lisa

    4 stars
    Just made these- altered it a touch! 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 cup rolled oats- delicious!
    Made a second batch with 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1 T. of chia seeds, and a TON of frozen blueberries (had to bake an extra 5 minutes- but worth it for the extra fiber/fruit!) They were amazing. Everyone wolfed them down- the teenagers begged me to make them all the time!

    • Dale Bronson

      5 stars
      We added a 1/4 tsp each or cinnamon and cardamom. These were delicious. They will be on the table at Christmas Brunch.

      • Jennifer

        Thank you I love this recipe and turned it vegan. I don’t really eat refined sugar so for clean eaters this is a bread with a touch of sweet, perfect! I substituted protein powder for the flour, coconut oil used, and Bob’s Redmill egg replacer for the eggs. Excellent recipe. Blessings

  • Rhonda

    4 stars
    I can’t say enough how impressed I am with these muffins! I added a tsp of cinnamon, substituted coconut oil for the avocado oil and added chopped pecans. These are so moist and just sweet enough. Thank you!

  • Amber Blake

    1 star
    Sorry! Didn’t like them; even added a bit of cinnamon & raisins- still so bland! Sadly, they do need a touch of sugar..

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      It’s not for everyone I suppose, but I must say, you were warned. I did specify many times in the recipe that these aren’t sweet bran muffins. They’re made to be a high-fiber muffin without any added sugar that can be eaten for breakfast or a snack with nut butter, jam or other normal bread toppings. Instead of seeing them as a sweet muffin, try seeing them as a high-fiber bread in muffin form that should be enjoyed with regular bread toppings. I’m sorry you gave them a 1 star rating as the recipe was not meant as you thought they should, but thanks for the feedback!

  • Jane

    5 stars
    Great recipe!!! Made it for my 1 year old for quick breakfast or snack. I used coconut oil and added chia seeds and she loves them. I also used bran cereal soaked in warm water. First time making on of your recipes and will definitely not be my last. Thanks.

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      Hi Sarah, I don’t have the calories for these, but the recipe is inspired by my banana bread, which is similar. The banana bread made into muffins will come to about 145 calories. Hope this helps!

    • Nourished by Caroline

      Hi Amanda, I haven’t tried it, so I can’t guarantee it will work. My thought is that it would work fine for the texture, but you’ll lose some of the natural sweetness of the recipe. I definitely think it’s worth a try though! You could add a touch of granulated sugar or top it with sweet ingredients when serving. Let me know if you try it!

  • Nick G

    5 stars
    These were super healthy and god dang good!

    I’ve tried a few banana bran muffin recipes and this is tied for #1..not as tasty as the other one, but way healthier, as the other recipe uses a 1/2 cup of honey, and is a tad too sweet for my liking..so next time I’m going to combine the two recipes, and try 1/4 honey mixed with 1/4 cup of applesauce, which methinks will be the perfect mix.

    These muffins are a good taste test to see how askew one’s taste buds and sensitivity to sugar is..if they’re too sweet for one’s taste, it’s likely that individual is the typical obese first world consumer of about 50x more sugar on a daily basis than should be ideally consumed, and it’s all but a given their taste buds are dysfunctional from an appalling diet.

  • Amanda

    Hi Caroline! What would you suggest as a substitute for applesauce in recipes like this? I have an intolerance to sorbitol and mannitol, so can no longer do apples or applesauce.

    • Nourished by Caroline

      Hi Amanda! Someone else tried Greek yogurt and said it worked! I haven’t tried it myself though. You can find her notes in the comments. She also added a touch of stevia, but you could try granulated sugar or maple too. Hope this helps!

  • Jessica

    5 stars
    I add a small handful (1/8c?) of carob chips, raisins and walnuts and cook them an extra couple of minutes. They’re in my husband’s lunch rotation and he LOVES them!

  • Janice

    5 stars
    This is an awesome recipe! I love the bran and banana ratio and, most importantly, that there is no added sweetener. The muffins rose nicely and the ripe bananas add the perfect amount of sweetness (IMO). Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Anna

    5 stars
    I really liked these. I had 3 old bananas that I needed to get rid of, but two were on the smallish side, so it was only a little more banana. I also did not have any applesauce, so crushed some pineapple in, and I added a bit of cinnamon. They were delicious and do not need sugar in my opinion. I will try some stewed Apple next time as I think it will be better than pineapple. But delicious nonetheless! Thank you for posting.

  • Rick F.

    For those of you asking for the nutrition facts on this recipe, here you go. These figures came out of using the Nutritionix app entitled “Track” for IOS (I put it in as a recipe). I am NOT affiliated with this company, just a happy user. I made no changes to the recipe in order to get these figures. These figures are per serving (of 12 servings total)

    Calories : 117 (calories from fat : 54)
    Total fat : 6g
    Saturated fat : 0.7g
    Cholesterol : 31mg
    Sodium : 202mg
    Total Carbs : 15g
    Dietary fiber : 3.7g
    Sugars : 3g
    Protein: 3.3g

    Vitamin A: 1.4%
    Vitamin C: 6.8%
    Calcium : 4.1%
    Iron : 6.2%

    Net Carbs : 11.6g
    Vitamin D: 6.8 IU
    Phosphorous : 113.5mg
    Potassium : 169mg

  • Jo Blankenship

    5 stars
    Love, love, love thee muffins. I added raisins, used regular flour, as it was all I had on hand. Getting ready to make another batch.

  • Yuki

    5 stars
    I don’t use refined sugar so often anymore after I had my baby so this recipe is perfect for me! Easy to bake and taste delicious! I can’t wait to try other sugar-free recipe that you created. Thank you Caroline!

  • Ilene

    Please send me the nutritional info. These look great! (Perhaps it’s there somewhere, but I can’t find it.)
    Ilene

    • Nourished by Caroline

      Hi Ilene, I’m sorry, but I don’t include the nutritional information with my recipes for several reasons. You can check out my breakfast banana bread recipe on the blog, where some people shared the nutrition information in the comment section (the recipe is similar to this one). Another option is to use a nutrition calculator app. If you want recipes with nutrition information, I do have some meal plans available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  • Amy

    4 stars
    Love the recipe I am sugar free right now in my diet and adding some sweetness to recipes through fruit has been a lifesaver. The things I changed was using only coconut flour, coconut oil in place of the applesauce because I didn’t have any and I added unsweetened coconut and raisins. I used coconut milk and almond milk. Delicious and will use again

  • Jo-Ann Sternberg

    5 stars
    Just made these for my son who is big on NO ADDED SUGAR.
    Such a simple recipe — and they are absolutely DELICIOUS! They will surely become a staple.
    Thanks so much — I’ll keep my eye open for more excellent ideas from you!

  • Tuula

    5 stars
    Thank you for a great tasting, healthy recipe. I love recipes that do not use sugar. These muffins are moist, delicious and so easy to make. Probably the easiest muffin recipe I have ever made. For those wanting a little more sweetness, I added dried cranberries to one batch, just because I needed to use them up. The muffins were quite sweet, sweeter than I need. I like them plain just as much. Thanks again.

  • Sarah

    5 stars
    These are delicious. Muffins sweeter than this are cupcakes. I did, however, add a few cals to mine by smearing butter on them right out of the oven. Yum.

  • Amanda

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. It was exactly what I was looking for – a healthy banana/bran muffin. I used coconut oil, and did half whole wheat flour and half almond flour (thanks to another baker’s comment). I added 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. The muffins were absolutely perfect. My picky 10 year old is gobbling them down right now. Love the recipes that are sugar-free. Thanks again!

  • Rose

    Love this recipe. As I am celiac, I subbed gluten free flour for the flour and gluten free oat bran for the wheat bran, with the addition of 1/2 t xantham gum and a few extra minutes baking time. They came out perfectly.