Banana Oat Bran Muffins

At Papawow, we're bringing sexy back.  We're bringing oat bran back too.  Who remembers the oat bran craze of the 1980's?  We do.  It was everywhere.  It was in cereal, muffins, and pizza dough; it may have been going into our coffee and our salad dressing too.  I think people were stucco-ing their houses with it, but then again maybe not, it was a long time ago.

I clearly remember advertising companies going overboard with it.  The high-fiber bran part of the oat grain was once a by-product of the milling industry.  It turned superstar, and then it all came crashing down in a Lindsey Lohan-esque fall from glory.  We watched in silent schadenfreude and giggled to ourselves.

It all began in 1983 when Quaker Oats started putting oat bran back into some of its cereal products.  No one blinked at first but as medical articles started to come out touting it as a way to lower cholesterol, it began to gain in popularity. 

The tipping point came in 1987 when the U.S. government launched its Know Your Cholesterol campaign and Harper & Row published Robert E. Kowalski's best seller, ''The 8-Week Cholesterol Cure."  Cholesterol was the devil and oat bran was going to save us all.

The 8-Week Cholesterol Cure stayed on the best seller list for two years.  Oat bran was hot, so hot.  Oat bran was in the papers, it was on the news, it was being invited to all of the post-Oscar awards' parties.  "Sales of Quaker Oats Co.'s oat-bran hot cereals jumped from 1 million pounds in 1987 to more than 20 million pounds in 1989" - LA Times.

The downfall; however, began in 1990 after a Harvard study found no significant differences in cholesterol levels between people who ate oat bran and those who ate products made with white flour.  It was like oat bran got caught shoplifting, or worse, like it got chased down the street by its wife wielding a golf club for its cheating and she smashed in the back windshield.

It was soon an oat bran love-fest turned bash-fest.  Sales of books and products with oat bran in them plummeted.  America reverted to its pre-oat-bran-frenzy eating habits.  Unfortunately for this backlash, there are great health benefits to eating it.

We may not be able to live forever eating steak & eggs three meals a day with our trusty oat bran muffin, but it does work its magic in mysterious ways.  More and more studies come out proving its healthfulness - we're here to prove its deliciousness.

It not only adds fiber to whatever you put it in, but it adds good texture to baked goods and some nutty flavor as well.  Don't abandon oat bran, embrace it.  If you still think we're nuts after trying these muffins, drop us a line.  These muffins are fantastic.


Banana Oat Bran Muffins (printable recipe)


  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, oat bran, baking powder, salt and whisk together to remove any lumps.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  Add in egg and vanilla and mix on low to combine.  Add in remaining wet ingredients just until combined: milk, applesauce and bananas.

Remove from the mixer and manually fold dry ingredients into the wet using a folding a spatula.  Once combined, fold in walnuts. Do not over mix.

Scoop batter into a greased muffin pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove muffins from pan and place on a cooling rack until ready to eat.

Makes 12-16 muffins

Banana Oat Bran Muffins Cooling

AuthorDave and Amy Koch