There are regular ol’ bran muffins…and then there are Upside Down Bran Muffins with Buttery Molasses Glaze and Toasty Pecans to Boot, which is probably what I should have named them. These barely qualify as muffins they are so good, guys. You will never be satisfied with whatever bran muffin you used to eat. 

bran muffins

My sister Laura told me yesterday that they always tell their kids that Labor Day weekend is to celebrate work, so they have to do lots of it. (Then she followed up with “Our kids will probably need therapy someday.”)

I’m just bummed I didn’t think of this idea sooner, because it’s GENIUS. I’ll even pay for the therapy.

bran muffins recipes

Eric spent the day doing yard work (and didn’t cut any power cords! It’s a miracle!) and I made and photographed some homemade Hostess Cupcakes that are coming your way really soon. (Be excited about this.)

And the kids just played. A part of me wishes I had put them to work, (to quote Calvin’s dad, “It builds character!”) and then a part of me just loves hearing them in the background, building forts and being kids together. (This is the nostalgic part of me. The real reason is because making your kids do chores is way more effort than doing chores, can I get an amen. Major props, Laura.)

bran muffin

We had a new friend of a friend over for Taco Tuesday last week, and I offered him a Bran Muffin. I warmed it in the microwave and handed him a fork, because the glaze is pretty sticky. When he finished eating, he looked up and said, what did you call what I just ate? I said it was a bran muffin, and he said, “I don’t think that qualifies as a bran muffin.”

And now I’m sitting here editing these photos, while baby Valentine keeps pointing at the screen saying “Cake. CAKE!” So maybe I need some lessons on how to make actual healthy bran muffins. (More on that below)

bran muffins with molasses

How to make Bran Muffins

You start by making the glaze: brown sugar, molasses, and melted butter. Stir it together and then get this: use a pastry brush to paint it all directly into a muffin tin. I’d never heard of this method for muffins before but I’M OBSESSED. I can’t wait to test it with other kinds of muffins. The next one I try will be a blueberry muffins with lemony glaze painted on the pan, wouldn’t that be amazing??

bran muffins with wheat bran

bran muffin recipe with pecans

how to make bran muffins

As the muffins cook, the glaze in the tins completely melds into the bottom and edges of the muffin. There is nothing left in the pan when you turn the muffins out, just a little grease. I was worried about it being a sticky mess, but it was easier to clean the pan than after baking regular muffins.

You know how the muffin top is usually the best part of a muffin? (I mean there was an entire Seinfeld episode about it!) Not so on these muffins. You get the muffin top, PLUS glazed bottom deliciousness.

bran muffins healthy

Don’t be alarmed when you notice these muffins barely rising above the edge of the tin. It’s because of the glaze on the edge of the pan. If you baked these without the glaze (I tried it) they puff up just fine. But a flat top works out nicely because you’re serving the muffins upside down anyway.

how to make upside down bran muffins

mimi's cafe bran muffins

I included this picture so that you could see the crispity edge of the muffin batter that spills over the top of the tin. Normally this would be a sign that you over filled your tin, but for this recipe it’s just right. Because who doesn’t want that golden deliciousness! Those were my favorite bites.

If you wanted to healthify these muffins, here’s how to do it: cut the sugar and molasses in the batter down to 1/4 cup each, and skip the glaze altogether. Top each muffin with a pecan before baking. They will still be really delicious bran muffins, but not over the top. Just promise me you won’t skip the sour cream in the batter. It’s what makes these muffins so moist and tender!

healthy bran muffins recipes

I’m dreaming of topping these muffins with Cinnamon Honey Butter. So much for making these healthier!

Come back later this week for a 30 minute chicken dinner, Indian style. I think you’re going to love it!

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One year ago: Pumpkin Butterscotch Molten Lava Cakes
Four years ago: Goat Cheese Steak with Balsamic Glaze
Six years ago: My Favorite French Bread (I love this recipe if you want a double rise. If you are in a hurry, try this One Hour French Bread)


Bran Muffins with Molasses Glaze

4.75 from 4 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 14 Muffins
There are regular ol' bran muffins...and then there are Upside Down Bran Muffins with Buttery Molasses Glaze and Toasty Pecans to Boot, which is probably what I should have named them. These barely qualify as muffins they are so good, guys. You will never be satisfied with whatever bran muffin you used to eat. 


For the muffins

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the glaze

  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 28-30 pecan halfs


  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. 
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat softened butter until smooth and creamy. 
  • Add 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup molasses. Beat well.
  • Add vanilla and egg and beat, remembering to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. 
  • Add the sour cream and mix it all together.
  • Add the wheat bran and flour but don't stir. Make a well in the flour and add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir it into the flour a bit with your teaspoon. 
  • Beat the dry ingredients into the batter until just BARELY combined. Make sure there are no parts that are too dry or liquidy, be sure to scrape the edge and bottom of the bowl, and then stop. Over mixing the batter makes for tough grouchy muffins. Set the batter aside.
  • In a small bowl, melt 5 tablespoons of butter. Add 2 tablespoons of molasses and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Stir it until it's combined. 
  • Use a tablespoon to divide the batter into your muffin tin.*
  • Use a pastry brush to spread the glaze all over the bottom and sides of each muffin tin.
  • Place two pecans snugly next to each other, flat side up, in the bottom center of each muffin tin that has glaze. 
  • Divide the batter between the muffin tins. See photos for how full I made mine. About 3/4 of the way full.
  • Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, WITHOUT opening the oven, decrease the temperature to 350. 
  • Bake at 350 for another 5-10 minutes. The muffins are done with they are not shiny on top and a toothpick comes out of the center without any batter on it. 
  • Let the muffins rest in the pan for about 5 minutes. Don't go longer than that, otherwise the sticky glaze will start to set and it will be tough to get them out. 
  • Place a sheet pan or large tray over the muffin pan. Use hot pads and flip the pan over so the muffins are released upside down onto the pan or tray. 
  • Eat hot! These are really good even on day 2. Store them covered on the counter.
  • Muffins are great for freezing. Seal in a ziplock bag and they will keep for a few months. Let thaw in the sealed bag on the counter, then heat up for 10-20 seconds each in the microwave. 


*The recipe makes about 14-15 muffins, depending on how deep your muffin tin is. I used two muffin tins, with only 2 muffins in the second pan. Don't hate me. I know that's annoying. I couldn't figure out how to decrease the recipe without reducing the sugar or sour cream, and that was a compromise I just wasn't willing to make. Also, full disclosure, I only added the glaze to the first pan of 12 muffins. It was a little less than 1 tablespoon per muffin. Be sure to butter the tin well if you are omitting glaze on any of the muffins.
You can reduce the amount of sugar in these bran muffins if you're into being healthy. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup molasses to the batter. You can skip the glaze altogether; be sure to grease the muffin tin well. (If you skip the glaze I recommend placing 1 or 2 pecans on top of the batter, instead of the bottom.)
This recipe is based off of my best friend's mom's recipe! Thanks Anne! I got the idea for the glaze on the bottom from some knock off Mimi's Cafe Muffins I saw on Lou Lou Girls.


Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 293mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 452IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Calories: 293
Keyword: bran muffins, glazed, molasses, Muffins
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

More muffins you are going to love!

Cinnamon Sugar Dipped Muffins (French Breakfast Puffs) << so easy!!

french breakfast puff with a bite


Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake Muffins with Maple Syrup < like pancakes, but no flipping

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake Muffins with Maple Syrup from The Food Charlatan


Raspberry Lemon Glaze Muffins << old favorite! These are so good!

Raspberry Lemon Muffins from The Food Charlatan


More muffin recipes from blog friends!

Chunky Monkey Banana Muffins from Barbara Bakes
Gingerbread Apple Muffins from Well Plated
Carrot Cake Muffins with Crumb Topping from Oh Sweet Basil

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    1. I haven’t tried that Andrea! Add them in completely frozen, and start out with maybe 3/4 cup? Enjoy!

      1. Thank you for the response! I’ll have to give it a try. Just letting you know, in your email response it says to click link to see response, but there wasn’t a link provided. In case you weren’t aware so any adjustments can be made on your end to fix any issues. Have a great day!

        1. Thank you so much for this feedback Andrea! My team and I have been trying to figure out the best way to provide email responses to comments, so I’m glad you told me about this bug. I’ll look into it. Super helpful!

  1. Update:  the syrupy bottom on my muffins were somewhat burnt.  My oven burns hot and I have not mastered this issue.  Half of the syrup boiled over onto the tin and all over the oven bottom – big smoke!  Reason: muffin tins were filled too high – next time I will fill to 3/4.  When i flipped the muffin tin, some came out, some did not, although i sprayed the tins (don’t do that!) so I had a lot of broken torn muffins and my pans were a mess.  Probably due to the burned molasses around the muffin.  I wonder if you baked the muffins and then pour the syrup over them after…like you would do when you make hole and pour things into cakes?  My husband loves molasses and he ate them anyway.  He liked them.  Don’t skip the pecans for each muffin, they turn out nice and chewy.  I think I would add raisins next time.    I’ll try these again.

  2. so far, a lot of my molasses syrup has boiled out of my cupcake pan, I guess I had too much batter in them?  I did spray the muffin tins….don’t do that because then you can’t paint the sides of the muffin holes, it won’t stick.  I will update when it’s done cooking.  I really was hoping the molasses batter would soak up like a tres leche cake.  I’ll have to try this again soon if it’s a flop, only I’ll use less batter in each cup and make sure the bottoms are nice and juicy and NO spray.  

  3. I’m on there Noom diet program. I record everything I eat, including its’ nutritional aspects. Could you please post these……..calories, sugar, protein, carbohydrates, sodium & fat. Thanks.

  4. These are delicious! I ground up bran cereal flakes since I didn’t have bran flour. I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, used your reduced sugar/molasses option, and kept the wonderful glaze. I also used nutmeg for half of the cinnamon. I topped with autumn little leaf sprinkles I found. They stuck on nicely when I flipped them out of the pan still warm and gooey. We love them! Thank you!

    1. Genius Denise! I haven’t tried this with ground bran cereal, that’s a great idea. And I love the sound of the leaf sprinkles. Thanks for the tips, and thanks for reviewing!!

  5. Excellent Recipe! Followed the recipe exact & they did not disappoint. They were very sweet & so I made them again the following day & took your advice & used 1/4c each of the sugar & molasses. This did help & they were perfect. I used a ‘cannele’ pan (12 qty) the 2nd time around & they came out the perfect size & consistency (and kinda cute). I did not use pecans because I didn’t have any on hand. I did add golden raisins to the batter (just a handful or so) and this added an extra zing. Would like to get the exterior of the muffin crusty, crunchy all the way around because that makes it extra special! LOVE these muffins!! This recipe is a ‘TEN’ in my book!

    1. So happy to hear the muffins were a success Catrina! I bet it was really pretty in a cannele pan! Thanks so much for taking the time to review!

    1. Hi Connie! I don’t provide nutritional info for my recipes, but you can definitely plug the ingredients into an online calculator!

  6. When does the sour cream go in?   My muffins are in the oven and I just realized I forgot to put the sour cream in!  I was reading the instructions and didn’t see sour cream anywhere.  Dang it, they probably aren’t going to turn out now.  I wondered why I barely had enough batter to fill up 12 muffin cups, and why the batter was so dark.  Rats!  Thats what I get for not reading the recipe good enough.  I’ll try again tomorrow!

    1. Lorinda, I’m so sorry you had troubles! When I first published this recipe, the sour cream was listed on the ingredient list, but I had forgotten to include in the instructions when you were supposed to mix it in. A reader notified me and I fixed the recipe, but if you had printed the recipe before then, that might be the mix up. I’m so sorry, I hope the next time they turn out better!

  7. Thank you for this recipe. I made it this afternoon in x-large muffin tins, gave it 5 more minutes at 350 degrees. I am not sure what I might have done wrong, as mine turned out to be rather dry. I want to put something over them to moisten them. Any suggestions?

    1. Hey Kirsten! If they are dry that means you probably baked them too long. I haven’t tested this recipe in a larger muffin tin so I’m not sure how long it should be baked. I would make more of the molasses glaze and drizzle it over each serving!

  8. What can I use to replace the bran in this recipe.? I have never eaten bran since reading an article about bran being indigestible and causing bleeding in the stomach of humans. This information was verified by a study where they gave a large number of medical students bran and their stomachs were pumped awhile later. Each one contained blood. It was formerly a food for cattle that have four stomachs, but the cereal companies surmised that they could charge much more if sold for human consumption, and they did. It was touted as having a laxative effect for the elderly, whose stomachs are more delicate as they age. I would like to make these muffins, but not with bran or bran containing cereals. Any suggestions , anyone?

    1. Hey Dee! I’ve never heard such disparaging things about bran before! I’ll have to look into it. I would actually try using flour in place of the bran. Let me know how it goes! I haven’t tried it so it’s not a guarantee.

    1. Oh no, I’m so sorry you had to toss the batter! That’s unfortunate. Yeah, I published with the error of not saying when to add the sour cream, but then fixed it within a few hours. So sorry. Did you get to make the batter again? How did the muffins turn out?

      1. My 1st attempt with these muffins and they were fabulous! I substituted Kelloggs All Bran Buds, because that is what I had and they worked just fine. Also, I chopped the pecans for the top. And I also added 1/2 cup each, raisins and more chopped pecans to the batter. Absolutely wonderful recipe! This will be a family favorite!

        1. I’m so happy to hear the recipe was a success Donna! Great idea adding raisins and pecans, I bet that was delicious. Thank for the tips and review!!

  9. You forgot to add the sour cream in the direction section. Unfortunately I had to toss the batter because I had already put it in with muffin cups with the topping.

  10. The instructions don’t say when to add the sour cream. I interpreted it to be after the addition of the egg and vanilla.

    These smell delish

    1. Eep, sorry about that Lori! I fixed it. Yes you are exactly right, after the egg and vanilla is when to add. Good intuition! You must be an experiences baker :) Thank you so much for letting me know!

    1. Thank you so much for saying that Tull! It makes me ridiculously happy when I receive comments like this. And thank you for subscribing!

  11. Oh my gosh these look delicious! This is a brilliant idea to keep muffins from sticking to the pan, I must try them!

    1. Yes you seriously need to make them! It’s a good idea both for not sticking and for ultra moist muffins!

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