Zella Lane's 2-Week Bran Muffins

Recipe by PJ Hamel

Some of you may remember hearing the voice of Betty Crocker over the radio a number of years ago. In real life, the radio Betty was Zella Lane, who gave us this recipe — "a whale-of-a-big-one which will keep for six weeks in the refrigerator." Interestingly, Zella regularly baked with King Arthur flour. Sorry, Betty...

While we haven't let this batter sit for 6 weeks (it never lasts that long), we've left it for 2 weeks in the fridge, and it's been just fine. The recipe as written makes about 18 muffins; it doubles easily.

Put this together the night before baking, so the bran can soften and the batter thicken.

10 mins
20 to 25 mins
9 hrs 15 mins
18 standard muffins, or 45 mini muffins
Zella Lane's 2-Week Bran Muffins


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. In a small mixing bowl, pour the boiling water over the 1 cup of cereal. Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm, about 45 minutes.

  2. While the water/cereal mixture cools, blend together the flour, soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the raisins or currants. Set it aside.

  3. Stir the vegetable oil into the cooled water/cereal mixture. Set it aside.

  4. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and sugar. Combine this with the flour/raisin mixture.

  5. Stir in the dry cereal.

  6. Finally, add the water/bran/oil mixture, stirring till thoroughly combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

  7. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan, or line with paper cups, and grease the cups. Use as many wells as you like; since this recipe can live in the fridge for a couple of weeks, there's no need to bake 12 muffins all at once.

  8. Heap the thick batter in the muffin cups; a generous 1/4 cup batter (about 3 1/2 ounces, or 100g) is a good amount to use.

  9. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, till a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

  10. Remove from the oven, and tip the muffins in the pan to prevent their bottoms steaming and becoming soggy. Serve warm; or transfer to a rack to cool completely.

  11. To bake mini muffins, heap the batter in the muffin cups, and bake for about 15 minutes, till the muffins test done.

  12. Yield: 18 standard muffins, or 45 mini muffins.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Want to bake these muffins in your air fryer? Check your air fryer's recipe book or instruction manual to see if it includes directions for making muffins. If not, see if there's a cake recipe, and start there for your baking temperature, reducing the time a bit since muffins are smaller than a cake and will bake more quickly. If you don't have any guidance from the manufacturer, preheat your fryer to 325°F and bake your muffin(s) for 10 minutes. Open the fryer, see if the muffin(s) are done and, if not, continue to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Watch carefully, as you may need to tent the muffin(s) with foil toward the end to prevent their tops from burning.