amazing whole-grain muffins

Browned butter + yogurt + ripe banana = moist.  Add whole grains + brown sugar.  You end up with the perfect balance of not-too-sweet deliciousness.  Let’s do this.

These basic muffins bump up the fiber and protein with whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, and yogurt.  A ripe mashed banana adds sweetness and moisture without much noticeable flavor (these are not banana bread muffins).  The butter is browned for extra nuttiness.  Add any combo of nuts, fruit, grated vegetables, or warm spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. Enjoy as is, or split and gently toast before adding your favorite spread.

In the original recipe published by Cooking Light, it is recommended that you stir in your additions to the entire bowl of batter.  I like to make several varieties from the single batch.

Here’s what I use to make a half-dozen chocolate chip muffins …2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks mixed-in with half the batter.

And for a half-dozen fig walnut muffins …1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dry figs and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts mixed-in with half the batter.

These muffins are especially good when enjoyed warm from the oven.  If not eaten right away, wrap cooled muffins and store in pantry for 1 to 2 days.  They can also be frozen.  Check out this handy chart.

amazing whole-grain muffins

Adapted from Cooking Light

Whole-grain yet still tender, low-sugar yet still sweet.

Servings 12 muffins


  • 6 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour, wheat bran, and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

  3. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 90 seconds or until browned and fragrant, swirling pan frequently.  Combine butter, yogurt, sugar, vanilla, banana, and egg in a bowl.  Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined.  Add additional ingredients (if desired) to the batter and stir until evenly distributed.

  4. Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray or lined with paper.  Bake for 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 5 minutes.  Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe Notes

Cherry-Gingerbread Muffins - Add 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries, 1/3 cup molasses, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice to muffin batter.  Bake as directed.

Figgy Walnut Muffins - Add 3/4 cup sliced dried figs, 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to muffin batter.  Bake as directed.

Cranberry, Orange and Pistachio Muffins - Add 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped unsalted pistachios, 1 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind and 1/4 cup fresh orange juice to muffin batter.  Bake as directed.

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