Cherry Pecan Bran Muffins

Cherry Pecan Bran Muffin

Sometimes I think I would be perfectly happy in the kitchen making nothing but muffins all day long.  Quick to prepare and endlessly adaptable, muffins are fun, easy, and delicious – and I believe everyone should learn to bake them.

If you’ve been reading about my kitchen adventures for any length of time, you already know that I tend to make a lot of whole grain muffins.  While I do love sweet, cake-like muffins, I decided long ago that if I’m going to snack on something that tastes like dessert, I’d almost always rather go for an actual cupcake.

So while my muffins might not fall into the category of health food, I do try to find a nice balance between flavor, texture, and nutrition.  These cherry pecan bran muffins are no exception.  The muffins are packed with fiber but aren’t overly dense or heavy; the tart cherries and pecans lend a wonderful flavor, but also pack a nutritional punch.  Tart cherries are filled with antioxidants, are a natural source of melatonin, and might help to ease the pain of arthritis, and when taken out of the pie, pecans are good for you as well.

Cherry Pecan Bran Muffin Crumb

I’ve been eating these muffins for breakfast with a side of Greek yogurt, but they also make a great mid-afternoon snack.  You may substitute other dried fruits or nuts for the cherries and pecans, but I found this combination to be a delicious one.

Cherry Pecan Bran Muffins

1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup dried tart cherries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with butter, nonstick baking spray, or paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together wheat bran and boiling water; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  When wheat bran has cooled, whisk in the egg, milk, oil, and brown sugar.  Pour wet bran mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon until just combined.  Fold in the chopped cherries and pecans.

3. Divide batter between the twelve muffin cups (a regular-sized ice cream scoop works well).  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 18-22 minutes, or until the top of the muffin springs back lightly to your touch or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Check early and don’t let them over bake.

Nutrition Info per serving (one muffin):  252 calories; 11 grams fat; 37 grams total carbohydrate; 4 grams fiber; 15 grams sugars; 5 grams protein.  Nutrition information is approximate – analyzed through

Cherry Pecan Bran Muffin with Butter

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  1. SallyBR

    My husband LOVES bran muffins – I do not, but to humor him, I try a small bite every time he gets one (usually that happens only while we are traveling, in some Starbucks of sorts). Not sure why, I think I’m warming up to these….

    I will give this recipe a try, it will be a nice surprise for his weekend breakfast

    12:53 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  2. Julianne Fuchs-Musgrave

    I absolutely disagree with you! If this isn’t what “health food” is–then it should be. Your posts/photos/recipes always make me smile–how healthy is that!!

    Thanks as always

    1:15 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  3. Meredith

    I only recently discovered Pinch My Salt and am in awe. I love what I’ve seen so far and always look forward to your next adventure. Thanks so much!


    1:24 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  4. Sally

    It’s hard to beat a good muffin! I’ve been looking for a healthier recipe! I’ll have to give this one a try.

    1:54 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  5. Alison @ Hospitality Haven

    I agree – muffins are fabulous. They are so versatile! They’re great for breakfast, a snack, something to eat on the run…and you can make numerous combinations!!! I love your combo of cherries and pecans – sounds delicious.

    2:01 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  6. Charles Thompson

    They certainly look HEALTHY and delicious. I can always use a another muffin recipe. Thanks!

    2:24 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  7. The Teacher Cooks

    I agree everyone should know how to make muffins. It is always my first lab in my class. I love to add fruit to bran muffins. I will have to try cherries! Love what you have posted this week. By the way my students loved your photo of the wedding.

    2:41 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  8. Calantha

    I agree entirely. Warm, hearty, whole-grain muffins are the best. I too will have a piece of cake or a cupcake if I’m looking for something more sugary-sweet!

    2:59 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  9. My Year on the Grill

    That’s a beautiful muffin. I agree about cupcakes and muffins… better to have just a bit of health and save teh desserts for special occasions

    And at my age, I need the roughage

    3:44 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  10. Kathy

    Nicole, I wonder if I could find out how many carbs are in one muffin ? Jim is allowed 20 carbs for a snack.

    4:38 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  11. James B

    I am always amazed by the sheer number of different varietes of muffins that can be made. I have yet to use bran or wholegrains in any of mine – somthing to try soon I feel.

    4:41 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  12. Sook

    Cherry Pecan sounds really interesting! What a great combination!

    4:56 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  13. Glenda Brill

    Those muffins look so delicious and real it seems like you can actually pick them right off the Computer screen. Even though you said they are not healthy you do have some very nutritious ingredients in them.

    I like trying different cakes and muffins myself, but to make them truly healthy and less fattening I substitute the whole milk with skim milk, and the white flour with wholegrain flour, and use honey or natural cane sugar for sweetening, and in place of canola oil I use olive oil .

    But I am sure yours taste just as good, you do have wheatbran and the cherry pecans for fiber.

    10:17 pm  Jan 15th, 2010
  14. Jen

    When I saw this recipe this morning, I immediately thought of the wheat bran languishing in my cabinet, and decided to make them. They were really good–hearty but not heavy, and just lightly sweetened. Thanks for the recipe!

    8:43 am  Jan 16th, 2010
  15. Ed Schenk

    Just because its healthy doesn’t mean it has to taste bad.

    10:17 am  Jan 16th, 2010
  16. Cookie Maker

    What’s not to like about bran muffins? Especially tender, golden ones that go light on the oil and are packed with fruit and nuts? I made these as soon as I saw the recipe!! Substituted diced dried apricots and oat bran since that was what I had, and added a teaspoon of cinnamon. Lovely. A keeper. Many thanks. I will take one of these over a cupcake any day!

    3:42 pm  Jan 16th, 2010
  17. Big Girls, Small Kitchen

    That is such an interesting recipe! I like your generous use of wheat bran and the technique of making it into a “wet ingredient” by mixing with water. I guess you could do the same for polenta or oatmeal, then add it to muffins?

    8:34 am  Jan 17th, 2010
  18. TasteofBeirut

    That recipe is right up my alley! I might substitute yoghurt for the milk though.

    2:00 pm  Jan 17th, 2010
  19. eatingRD

    yes you should bake all day long, because all of your muffin creations are THE best I’ve had. I’ve really enjoyed all your whole-grain recipes and appreciate that they actually taste darn good & are healthier 🙂 thanks for the recipe! can’t wait to try these.

    3:33 pm  Jan 17th, 2010
  20. Miss Franberry

    This looks like a great recipe to try! I have a whole bag of organic dried cranberries left over from last season that I may substitute for the cherries, but from my experience, dried tart cherries are a wonderful fruit to bake with.

    I just added you to my blogroll! I’m a tiny, budding, blog.


    3:34 pm  Jan 17th, 2010
  21. Nancy (n.o.e.)

    I love the look of these muffins. Dried cherries are a favorite of mine; the antioxidant properties are just the ‘cherry on top’, haha.

    9:58 am  Jan 20th, 2010
  22. Georgia.Pellegrini

    Bran muffins are such a hearty way to start the day, and I am so glad to see the delightful addition of dried cherries! Dried cherries have recently become one of my favorite toppings on my oatmeal. Hmm I sense a pattern…

    2:22 pm  Jan 20th, 2010
  23. The Duo Dishes

    Healthy, nutritious, tasty. Who says no to bran?

    11:28 pm  Jan 31st, 2010
  24. Lisa

    Wow I did not know all that about tart cherries. OF COURSE I only had almonds and sweetened dried cranberries. Made this recipe with the stuff I had. DELICOUS! cannot wait to try them the way the recipe is written.

    7:34 pm  Feb 3rd, 2010
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    10:00 am  Feb 8th, 2010

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    We also have great articles on foods that burn belly fat.

    1:52 pm  Feb 9th, 2010
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  31. Carol

    These have become my favorite muffin recipe over the last year! That burst of cherry and the crunch of pecans are wonderful.

    7:13 am  Jan 12th, 2011
  32. Igor

    You could also try replacing sugar with agave syrup. Just be sure to add some extra flour, to balance dry and wet ingredients. Anyhow, brown sugar is also OK.

    12:43 pm  Feb 12th, 2012
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