While you might have heard of wheat bran as a component of your breakfast cereal, there are actually several ways you can incorporate it into multiple dishes and recipes.
At the same time, there are multiple situations where you can’t find wheat bran, or you need an alternative to replace it because you don’t like its taste.
Luckily, wheat bran can be substituted, and in this article, we’ll talk about several options that you can consider if you’re looking for a tasty wheat bran substitute. Keep on reading!
The best substitutes for wheat bran
Unprocessed wheat bran is a popular component in cereals and has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. You can consume wheat bran raw by mixing it into salads or smoothies.
It’s also used in baking muffins, cookies, and other goodies. It’s either mixed with flour or used to replace it completely.
You can also cook wheat bran in stews and casseroles as it adds richness to your savory dishes. You can use it to make pancakes, waffles, wraps, rolls, and bread or use it as a breading to coat fish, meat, or chicken.
But if you’re out of wheat bran for your recipe, need a gluten-free alternative, or want to add a new flavor to your recipe, you can still cook delicious dishes using one of the substitutes on our list.
1. Wheat Germ
Wheat germ is slightly nutty with a grainy texture. It represents the interior part of the wheat grain, so it’s very close to the flavor of wheat bran.
Wheat germ is a popular wheat bran substitute in hot and cold cereals because it adds a nice texture to your dish. It can be used as a topping in fruit pies, added to yogurt, sprinkled on top of your ice cream, or mixed with your smoothie. It can also replace wheat bran in baking.
You can also use wheat germ to coat meatballs, breaded chicken, or fish fingers. When mixed with your meatloaf or added to a casserole, wheat germ adds more richness to your recipe with a taste that resembles wheat bran.
2. Oat Bran
Oat bran is one of the most popular wheat bran substitutes and has a creamy, rich oat flavor. It tastes slightly sweeter than wheat bran, so it can be used without sweeteners if you’re sprinkling it on top of your cereals or mixing it into your smoothies.
If you want to use oat bran for baking bread, you need to mix it with flour, or your bread won’t rise. You can also use it to make delicious pancakes and waffles.
Oat bran has a subtle flavor, so it will work with multiple sweet and savory dishes. It pairs well with cottage cheese, yogurt and can even be served with fruits.
3. Rice Bran
Rice bran is made of the outer shell of the rice grain and can be used as a substitute for wheat bran in several recipes because it adds a similar texture.
Adding rice bran to your raw dishes like salads and cereals will add a slightly nutty and earthy flavor. However, rice bran isn’t always easy to find, but if you live close to an Indian, Japanese, or any well-supplied Asian food store, you might be able to get your hands on some.
Although rice bran is mainly used to make cooking oil, you can use rice bran to make muffins, biscuits, and rice bran pilaf. It’s also a good substitute for wheat bran if you need a gluten-free option.
4. Flax seeds
If you’re looking for a substitution for wheat bran that adds a different texture to your dishes, you can give flax seeds a try.
Flax seeds have a slightly earthy and nutty flavor with a subtle sweetness that makes them extremely tasty whether you choose to eat them alone or incorporated into a recipe.
They’re extremely versatile, so you can add them to your omelet, swirl them into a smoothie, use them to make a healthy spread or a vegetarian dish.
You can eat roasted flax seeds by sprinkling them on top of your salad, cereals, or yogurt. Raw or unripe flax seeds shouldn’t be consumed because they cause digestion problems.
When mixed with your granola, roasted flax seeds add a nice sweet taste and crunchy texture.
Ground flax seeds or flaxseed meals are usually used in baking, so you can use them to make muffins, wraps, cookies, puddings, biscuits, or add them to your casseroles and stews. Adding a couple of tablespoons of flaxseed meal will immediately elevate the taste of your dish.
5. Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is brownish in color and has a nuttier flavor than white flour. As a result, you can use it to replace wheat bran in cooking and baking.
Because it has a fibrous texture, using wheat flour will add more richness to your sweet and savory dishes.
Use whole wheat flour to make a rich pizza crust or savory scones. You can also use it to make bread, pancakes, muffins, and rolls. To make sure that your butter is going to turn out fluffy, you need to increase the amount of water or liquid while mixing to achieve a good result.
Cornmeal is made from ground corn and can be fine or coarse. You can use coarse cornmeal instead of wheat bran in your recipes if you want to add some crunchiness, or you can use the fine one if you wish to add richness and texture.
When added to your recipes, cornmeal adds a buttery consistency and a slightly sweet flavor. Cornmeal is usually used to make cornbread, but it can be incorporated into other bread and cake recipes to add sweetness.
You can also add cornmeal to various savory dishes as it can be used to thicken stews and chili. Add cornmeal to your casserole or mix it with other ingredients in a baked dish to make it tastier.
Oatmeal is one of the most versatile substitutions for wheat bran because it has a rather bland flavor with subtle earthy notes, and it absorbs the flavors from other ingredients in the recipe.
You can use oatmeal in several sweet and savory recipes where it adds a rich texture and consistency.
Oatmeal is made of de-husked, steamed, and flattened oats that can be cooked fast. It adds yummy heartiness to baked goodies like bread, muffins, cookies, and biscuits. It can also be mixed with smoothies to give them a dense and rich texture.
Thanks to its subtle flavor, oatmeal will intensify the umami flavors in your chicken broth. Serve oatmeal with fresh or dried fruits and nuts, or add it to a baked casserole or stew. You can add it to your eggs or prepare a rich dip of oatmeal and tamari.
8. Rye Flour
If you find that wheat bran tastes too bland, you can use rye flour instead. It has a nutty, malty, a little tangy, and slightly milky taste.
When using rye flour as a wheat bran substitute in baking, will transform the way your bread, sweet and savory muffins, cookies, and other baked goodies look and taste.
Thanks to its bold and strong flavor, rye flour will add a unique taste and aroma to your dough. Use it in a pastry and top it with cherries and nuts. It will also work if you’re serving your cookies or muffin with chocolate.
9. Almond Meal
Almond meal is made of ground sweet almonds and can be used in different sweet and savory recipes if you don’t like the flavor of wheat bran.
Almond meal can be made from blanched or unbalanced almonds. As a result, it has a rich consistency and can be added to several dishes to provide a mouth-watering texture and more depth.
You can use almond meal in any recipe that calls for wheat bran, and it adds a sweet, nutty, and earthy flavor.
Use it to make cookies, sprinkle it on top of yogurt or mix it with your salads and cereals for a tasty breakfast. In addition, Almond meal can be used to make tasty pancakes and amazing macarons.
Almond meal can also be used in savory dishes. For example, you can use it as a tasty breading as it adds the needed crunch with a sweet and nutty flavor. You can also use it to make bread, savory scones, cheese muffins, or mix it with your meatloaf.
How to choose a wheat bran substitute
Just because you don’t have wheat bran doesn’t mean that you can’t execute and enjoy the recipe of your choice because there are actually lots of alternatives that you can try. Each option offers a different flavor and will work for a specific recipe.
- Best taste: wheat germ provides a similar taste and aroma to wheat bran, and it can be used in several sweet and savory dishes. You can also eat it raw by sprinkling it on top of your ice cream or yogurt.
- Best for desserts: if you want an alternative that adds a slightly sweet flavor, you can use oat bran or rice bran instead of wheat bran. They work for both sweet and savory recipes and taste exceptional if you’re making pancakes or muffins.
- Best texture: oatmeal adds richness to your baked dishes, but it has a bland flavor. Cornmeal is another popular choice because it adds a buttery texture to sweet and savory dishes with a subtly sweet flavor that goes well with several ingredients.
- Best alternative flavor: if you want to enjoy a stronger nutty flavor in your recipes, you can either use whole wheat flour, almond butter, or flax seeds to replace wheat bran. For a nutty, malty, and slightly tangy flavor, use rye flour to bake bread and muffins.