Healthy Breakfast Bran Muffins with Apple


These healthy breakfast bran muffins may sound pretty ordinary, but they’re packed with oats, apple, spices, dates or golden sultana raisins – and low on sugar too.

Healthy Breakfast Bran Muffins

At this time of year I’m always looking for ways to bring a smile to my teenagers’ faces in the mornings. Let’s face it, it’s easy to get on that downward spiral of fatigue with a general lack of winter sunlight, the girls’ mock lycée exams and crescendo-ing snatched snooze alarms before reluctantly pushing aside the duvet (sound familiar?). We’ve needed to cheer up by starting the day with quick and easy comfort food that’s a bit nostalgic. Baking up a batch of these warmed healthy breakfast bran muffins with dates and apple has added a wee smile on my face too, thinking of Granny.

First let me show you some bright and cheery Scottish heather, snapped in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens over the weekend, then my French heather back in the garden, just after I got home, just west of Paris. There, that’s a sunshine fix for us – now for the muffins!

scottish heather Edinburgh

Bran Muffin Inspiration

Looking for some cheery nostalgia, I brought out Granny’s Black Book of Scottish recipes again. I took it as a sign as the book opened directly at page 43, with Miss Adams’ recipe for Bran Muffins.

Only Granny would have known who Miss Adams was, as I can’t find any family members who had heard of her.  In any case, it was the perfect time to make these healthy breakfast bran muffins, as I’ve just discovered Hamlyn’s of Scotland’s new Oats and Bran. It took me right back to the time my Mum used to make bran muffins using a well-known breakfast cereal but when I checked the company’s website, it wasn’t up there – but who knew that Granny had a recipe?

Breakfast bran muffins

Granny’s handwritten recipe for Bran Muffins and Hamlyn’s Porridge Oats & Bran

So bring on these deliciously moist Breakfast Bran muffins, adapted from Granny’s Black Recipe Book with added healthy oats, dates and apple – and using weights (grams/ounces) to volume (cups).

Healthy Breakfast Bran Muffins

Find Us Some Dates

Incidentally, if you’re curious why I always use weights rather than volume, see my post on measuring your baking here. And if you’re not curious and use cups, then I thoroughly recommend you read it now, as it will change the way you bake.  It’s not as important for making easy muffin recipes like this one, but boy – you can’t make macarons, fancy cakes consistently well, or French patisserie without digital scales!

As you can see from Miss Adams’ recipe, granny suggested using dates. I love that squidgy concoction.  She often mixed dates with apple in her recipes, so I added the apple in these too for old times’ sake.

healthy breakfast oat date muffins

Moist Muffin Recipe Low on Sugar

The apple makes the bran muffins extra moist and with the dates’ natural sweetness, there’s no need to add anything to them. If you make the muffins the night before, just warm them slightly to serve for breakfast.

healthy breakfast bran muffins

Healthy breakfast bran muffins

Healthy Festive Muffins with Gingerbread Spice

To turn these oat muffins into festive treats, just add a teaspoon of gingerbread spice.


Healthy Breakfast Bran Muffins

Breakfast Bran Muffins
5 from 6 votes

Healthy Breakfast Bran Muffins with Oats, Dates & Apple

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course : teatime, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine : Scottish, American, British
Servings : 9
Calories : 153kcal


Irresistibly moist bran muffins with oats, dates and apple for a delicious healthy start to the day. Add apple spice or gingerbread spice at Christmas to make them a festive treat.


  • 100 g / 3.5oz plain flour all-purpose
  • 50 g / 1.75oz porridge oats with bran (Hamlyn's) or oats with 1 tbsp wheat bran
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt fleur de sel
  • 1 organic egg
  • 100 ml / 3.5fl oz milk
  • 70 g /2.5oz butter (unsalted) melted
  • 50 g /1.75oz soft dark brown sugar (Muscovado)
  • 100 g /3.5oz soft dates (Medjool) roughly chopped (or golden raisins)
  • 50 g /1.75oz apple finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mixed/apple spice (or 1tsp gingerbread spice)
  • 1 tbsp porridge oats for sprinkling


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan); Gas 6.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, oats with bran, baking powder and salt. Add the dates and apple (and apple spice if using) and coat in the flour mix.
  • In another smaller bowl, beat the egg with the milk, melted butter and sugar. Mix together then add to the dry flour ingredients, stirring well until the batter is smooth.
  • Spoon the mixture into paper cases inserted in buttered muffin tins (or directly into silicone muffin moulds). Fill ¾ of the way up.
  • Sprinkle with a few porridge oats and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Leave to cool completely for about 10 minutes before taking out of the tin.


Best served fresh on the day but for busy bakers, make the night before and store in an airtight container once cool.
Variations: Instead of 100g dates, mix 50/50 of dates and sultanas. Another variation is to replace the dates with soft dried apricots – particularly the organic dark ones.
Christmas Version: Add gingerbread spice to make them into Gingerbread Apple Muffins!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post but was thrilled to receive Scottish Porridge Oats & Bran from Hamlyns of Scotland in return for this recipe in their ‘Oat Cuisine’ collection (I wish I’d thought of that one!)

From the market

From the kitchen

8 responses to “Healthy Breakfast Bran Muffins with Apple”

  1. 5 stars
    Gosh, I do remember making these. I think I can smell them as well. Time to try again.

    • Well, Mum, I sincerely hope you do. I love these ones with the date and apple added.

  2. The oats have sold this recipe to me! And I’m now researching digital scales – you have convinced me I need them. Since the brand you use only seems to be readily available here from a certain intergalactic mail order supplier whom I have sworn to avoid if at all possible, I’m turning to good old John Lewis for my shortlist.
    On muffin recipes, my recipe book of choice up to now has been Susan Reimer’s ‘Muffins Fast and Fantastic’. As well as being a talented baker, Susan is a key figure in the Scotland-Malawi partnership which aims to increase food security in Malawi through teaching improved agriculture methods. I worked with her husband while I was at Edin Uni. You think academics talk about lofty things all the time? Not a bit of it – we discussed food, which is how I had Susan’s book recommended to me!

    • Thanks, Linda. I didn’t see your comment but hopefully by now you have the all important digital scales. After all the muffins from Susan’s book (sounds great!), you’ll be making the French teatime recipes too.

  3. 5 stars
    These look delicious!
    I’ve had trouble finding a good muffin recipe as I keep making the same old chocolate and blueberry ones and can’t seem to find many other variations online… These are perfect! On top of it, they’re healthy – thank you for uploading this! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    I can almost smell these! They look like a soft and proper muffin, not one of those dry, cardboard-like concoctions! Lovely recipe and so nice to see the Hamlyn’s bag! My favorite oats!

    Nice recipe card, btw!

    • Thanks, Christina. You’re dead right: they’re moist and I tried a few attempts until it was just the right consistency. I hate a dry muffin, just like you! Thanks for your comment with stars – now we can see that they should be horizontal not vertical, lol!

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