Oat bran contains a unique type of soluble fiber, known as beta-glucan, which helps to lower cholesterol. While not very delicious, oat bran can be used for baked goods like cookies and muffins, and it gives them a rich texture, nutty flavor, and pleasant aroma.
If you need oat bran in a recipe and you are out of stock or have no time to run to the store, you will need suitable oat bran substitutes that would not compromise the texture and nutritional profile of the end product.
Luckily, there are several alternatives to oat bran, such as corn bran, oatmeal, chickpea flour, rice bran, wheat bran, sunflower seeds, whole-wheat flour, almond flour, and buckwheat seeds. But keep in mind that each ingredient serves a different purpose in a recipe.
Some substitutes are best used for stabilizing and leavening, while others are suitable for sweetening, flavoring, and thickening the dish. So, choose your substitute depending on your need and the recipe you are making.
Best Oat Bran Substitutes
1. Wheat Bran
Like oat bran, wheat bran is also the outer layer of wheat kernels but has a harder and drier texture. It is also rich in fiber and makes an excellent replacement for oat bran in a dietary meal.
However, wheat bran does not have an appealing flavor like oat bran, but it does have an earthy flavor and a pleasant aroma.
You can use a 1:1 substitution ratio when replacing oat bran with wheat bran, but you need to add more liquid when cooking wheat bran as it has a drier texture.
One of the best oat bran substitutes, oatmeal shares a similar origin as oat bran with the same nutty flavor. Oatmeal is also known as rolled oats, and the whole grain is dehusked, steamed, and flatten before use.
It can be added to cereals, muffins, cookies, pancakes, or porridge, and you will need 3/4 cup of oatmeal in replacement of one cup of oat bran.
Oatmeal has a wetter, denser, and heavier consistency compared to oat bran because it is the whole grain, so when making baked goods like muffins, you would need to rough grind the rolled oats in a food processor or a blender to achieve a fluffy texture.
Rolled oats are super nutritious like oat bran; their dietary fiber helps maintain your digestive health and lowers cholesterol levels.
It also contains vitamin b1, or thiamine, which helps to boost energy levels and enhance your mood. Nonetheless, its nutritional benefits are still lower than oat bran.
3. Rice Bran
Rice bran is the outer part of the rice grain, including the germ, pericarp, and aleurone layer, and has a reddish-brown color.
This substitute has a neutral flavor, so when used in place of oat bran, you may be unable to tell any noticeable difference in the recipe.
Rice bran can be used in place of oat bran in muffins, breakfast cereals, bread, cookies, and other baked recipes. You can use a 1:1 substitution ratio, which means one cup of rice bran for one cup of oat bran.
Rice bran is a great substitute for oat bran, especially for people allergic to gluten, because it is completely gluten-free.
But it could cause choking due to its overly dry texture, so consume rice bran slowly and carefully when swallowing, and when cooking, you should add more water to reduce its dryness.
Rice is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin E, and antioxidants.
4. Corn Bran
Corn bran is made from the exterior layer of the corn kernel when milling corn coming. It has a semi-sweet and mild flavor which is incorporated into the dish when substituting oat bran with corn bran.
Corn bran can be used in many dishes such as bread, cereals, pancakes, cookies, and even tortillas. You can use corn bran to make cornflakes from scratch, which can serve as a snack or breakfast cereals.
However, this may not be the best substitute for making muffins because corn bran has quite a bland taste and may not whet your appetite when making a corn bran muffin.
Corn bran is also gluten-free and is beneficial to those with celiac disease. It has a high-fiber content, making it the perfect healthy substitute for oat bran for those combating diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
5. Whole-Wheat Flour
Whole-wheat flour is simply ground wheat grain, which includes the bran and germ. It is a great substitute for oat bran that adds a nutty kick and a rich brown hue to baked goods. Whole wheat can be used in bread, cakes, tortillas, cookies, or any kind of flour-based recipe.
Whole wheat also contains a high amount of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and minerals like magnesium, and it has been proven to eliminate the risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
However, whole wheat flour may contain small traces of gluten, so if you have celiac disease or can’t process gluten, you would need to consume this flour with extreme caution.
6. Chickpea Flour
Chickpea is a member of the legume family, and it is turned into flour by blending dried peas into a fine powder. It has a nutty and earthy flavor similar to that of oat bran.
You can use chickpea flour to replace oat bran in most batter-based recipes such as pancakes, waffles, or flatbread.
Chickpea flour is usually used in Indian dishes and is a vegan oat bran substitute. It is a rich plant-based product that provides the main source of protein in a vegetarian meal.
Chickpea is also full of fiber and minerals like iron and magnesium, all of which are beneficial to your health.
7. Buckwheat Seeds/Flour
This substitute may seem odd since it comes from a flowering plant and not a kind of cereal. But buckwheat seeds have a similar grain-like texture alongside other properties, like cereals.
This should be used as a last resort substitution, but you are sure to achieve a good result with it.
Buckwheat flour can be used instead of oat bran in many flour-based dishes, such as pancakes, crackers, cookies, sponge cakes, etc. Its nutty and earthy flavor enables it to perfectly complement citrus, herbs, and cheese.
Buckwheat contains a rich amount of nutrients like vitamins and minerals, especially from the seeds.
It also contains manganese, copper, and magnesium that help to promote healthy metabolism, heart health, and blood sugar control. Buckwheat is also gluten-free and carries non-allergic features.
8. Almond Flour
Almond flour is quite expensive compared to oat bran, but it adds a unique taste and a flavorful twist to your recipes. Almond flour is made from finely ground nuts which have a sweet, nutty flavor and a hint of fat.
Almonds are much more flavorful than oat bran, so using almond flour in recipes that call for oat is sure to make a more flavorful dish.
However, almond flour does not make a good substitute for crusty bread because of its fat content, giving the bread a dense and flat texture. It is best suited for moist baked recipes like cupcakes or muffins.
Almond flour can also be made into a smoothie by blending some frozen fruits like berries, milk, yogurt, and some almond flour in a food processor.
It contains lots of fiber, healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals like vitamin E and magnesium.
9. Sunflower Seeds
The last substitute option on this list for oat bran is sunflower seeds which belong to another seed of flowering plants and have a nutty and grassy flavor, unlike the rather bland and mild flavor of oat bran.
These seeds contain a rich amount of fiber similar to that of oat bran and can be used in muffins, cookies, bread, cereals, salads, or smoothies. Roasting the sunflower seeds before using them will help to better enhance their flavor.
Sunflower seeds can serve as a delicious quick snack like caramel sunflower popcorn, sunflower bars, or simply roasted seeds.
It contains lots of fiber, healthy fat, and protein. They are also very rich in vitamin E and selenium; vitamin E helps repair damaged skin and boost cell generation for better healing.
Selenium, on the other hand, is a powerful antioxidant that helps in metabolism regulation and improvement of your gut’s health.
Is Oat Bran The Same As Rolled Oats?
No, oat bran is not the same as rolled oats. There’s an obvious difference in their texture; oat bran has a coarse texture, but the rolled oats are the whole grain.
Both ingredients also have different origins, although oat bran and oatmeal are originally from oat groats. Oat bran is derived from the outer husk, while oatmeal is the inner body.
Finally, oat bran offers more nutritional value than rolled oats; it delivers up to 50% more fiber than oatmeal. There are also significant differences between their protein and calcium content, with oat bran having a greater amount than oatmeal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use flour instead of oat bran?
Yes, oat bran can replace up to ¼ of the all-purpose flour. For instance, if a recipe calls for 3 cups of all-purpose flour, you can use ¾ cup of oat bran and 2¼ cups of all-purpose flour.
Can you substitute whole wheat flour for oat bran?
Yes, you can! In a recipe that requires whole wheat flour, substitute about ¼ cup oat bran for the same amount of the flour.
Can I substitute psyllium husk for oat bran?
Yes, you can substitute psyllium husk for oat bran. In fact, 1 tbsp. of psyllium is equal to 14 tbsps. of oat bran.
Do rolled oats include bran?
Yes. Oatmeal is simply a whole-grain cereal, and about 12% of each whole grain oat is the portion of bran.
Is oat fiber similar to psyllium husk?
Yes, it is! Oat fiber is made from grinding the outer husks of oats, just like psyllium husk powder. It is also pure insoluble fiber with zero net carbs and is a fantastic source of fiber. Oat fiber gives an excellent texture to anything you bake!
Can you substitute oat bran for oats?
Yes, you can substitute oat bran for oatmeal in equal parts or 1:1 ratio when required.