Wheat Bran Substitute: Top 8 Wonderful Choices

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Bran is familiar to most of us thanks to the old breakfast cereal studded with raisins.

This was marketed as a healthier option because it has high fiber from the wheat product and lots of nutrients from the dried fruit.

So many dispute that it is that nutritious though since it contains too much sugar – a fact acknowledged by many nutrition experts.

But there is also no arguing the benefits which the grain has to offer.
And there’s a whole lot!

Wheat Bran, a Wonder Food

Bran is the skin or the outer layer of any edible seed – in this case, the wheat.

Removed during the milling process, this was initially allocated as animal feeds.

And while the agricultural industry still prefers this for their livestock, it has been recognized not just as fit but very important for human consumption due to its nutritional value.

  • A serving (half a cup = 29 grams) only has 63 calories.
  • Packed with protein at 5 grams per serving
  • Its fat content is incredibly low
  • Impressive fiber content at 13g per serving!

Some are convinced that this strengthens heart function and can prevent certain cancers.

Those are hypotheses for now, although studies are being done to prove that.

One thing is sure, though: this has numerous benefits to your digestive health.

The prebiotics this contains act as food for the natural flora in your gut, ensuring tiptop bowel health.

Dishes You Didn’t Know You Can Make with This Incredible Food

This isn’t just found in a box and eaten for breakfast. Numerous recipes highlight our featured ingredient:

  • Different kinds of Muffins
  • High Protein Cake
  • Whole Wheat and Flax Bread
  • Digestive Biscuits
  • Muesli with Nuts and Fresh Berries
  • Date and Honey Fiber Waffles
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Fish Croquettes

Except for the last two in the list, those enumerated are mostly baked confections.

But don’t assume that this is used mostly for sweet dishes.

It works well as a binder (hence the burgers), coating (for the croquettes), and as a thickener for gravy and other hearty sauces.

Although it has a slightly nutty sweetness, it won’t alter the flavor of your dish too much.

If you haven’t yet, give any of those recipes a try soon!

And If You Can’t Find Any? (The Suitable Substitutes)

But if you can’t find this particular bran, don’t fret. It isn’t the end of the world.

There are a few apt alternatives that you might have in your pantry right now.

Oat Bran

✓ for baking, for cooking, in beverages, as a binder, as coating, as a thickener

Just like wheat’s, this is the outer layer of the oat after the inedible outer hull is removed.

It is also widely used in baking nowadays.

This oat product has lesser fiber at 14 grams per serving than our featured ingredient at nearly 25 grams.

This is why the latter is consumed more by weight watchers.

But if you aren’t a strict calorie counter, go for this alternative because, all in all, it is just as healthy.

Substitution Ratio:

Because the two are practically the same in flavor, texture, and consistency, the proportion for swapping one for the other is just 1:1.

Oatmeal

✓ for baking, for cooking, in beverages, as a binder, as coating, as a thickener

Another healthy breakfast option just as is, this is also used for a whole lot of sweet and savory dish preparations.

Although groats are said to be the best option after its bran, any oatmeal products (quick, rolled, steel-cut) can be used as an alternative.

It’s also the most convenient option as this is a common purchase for the pantry.

Substitution Ratio:

For every cup required, use 1 and 1/3 cups of oatmeal.

Additional Info:

Because oatmeal is bigger, you may not get the right texture and consistency.
If this bothers you, blitz it for a bit in a blender or food processor so that you can achieve the flour-like feel of our featured ingredient.

Rice Bran

✓ for baking, for cooking, in beverages, as a binder, as coating, as a thickener

Just like the other bran products, this is from the milled chaff or outer layer of rice.

It is more commonly used to produce oil in Asian countries like Japan and India as its fat content is quite high.

Historically, Japan is one of the first to use this in a baked goodie, particularly the Kome Nuka biscuits.

But because of its numerous health benefits (proven to treat diabetes, control blood pressure, reverse alcoholism, and several others), many are already including this in their diets.

Substitution Ratio:

This has a slight, pleasant sweetness to it but it’s quite similar to our missing ingredient overall so it’s measure for measure.

Flaxseed

✓ for baking, for cooking, in beverages

One of the oldest crops ever cultivated, all parts of the Flax plant are used for various things – for clothing, oil, medicine, and so many more.

It’s such a serviceable plant, its Latin name means ‘very useful’.

The discovery of omega-3 fatty acids makes this even more sought-after by health buffs.

Except for the slight nuttiness, this has the same flavor and (more importantly) nutrient profile as wheat bran so it will work as an alternative.

Substitution Ratio:

The proportion is also 1:1.

Additional Info:

If you’ve got picky eaters at home who won’t like whole flaxseed in their dishes, you could also blitz it for a minute or two in the food processor.

Whole Wheat Flour

✓ for baking, and very rarely for cooking (as a binder, coating, and thickener)

The usual white flour we see is wheat flour, made from the endosperm of the grain.

The ‘whole’ variant is processed using all parts of the grain.

The presence of our bran in that mix makes this an OK substitute.

However, a whole lot of tweaking must be done so that you don’t ruin your dish, particularly if that’s bread or cake which requires precise measurements.

Substitution Ratio:

To substitute, use ¾ c of this substitute and a couple of tablespoons of regular white flour for every cup of flour in the recipe.

Additional Info:

Yes, we are replacing the flour, not the missing ingredient. This is because wheat bran is usually added to fortify a baked good. It’s not the main component in a recipe – the flour is.

Don’t use a full measure or your cake or bread will be too dense. The bran already included in the mix will be enough.

Wheat Germ

for baking, for cooking, in beverages

If bran is the outer layer of the grain, the germ is the inner part of the seed which grows into a new plant.

Both are pretty nutritious and found mixed (the two above plus the endosperm) in whole wheat flour.

But they are separated as independent products for their characteristics:

The outer layer is fiber-rich.

The germ part is fatty.

Substitution Ratio:

Because there isn’t a whole lot of difference with the flavor or the consistency it provides, this is also measure for measure.

Dry Cereals

✓ as toppings for baked goods and in beverages like yogurt or smoothies

The widely available breakfast cereal with the same name can work as a replacement but for very specific dishes only.

The cereal does have bran in it but it also has other ingredients already (flour, nuts, sugar, etc.) which may ruin the flavor, texture, and consistency of your dish.

Substitution Ratio:

This is 1:1 as well.

Cream of Wheat

✓ mixed in beverages like yogurts or smoothies or as is – mixed with fruit and nuts

This is a wheat-based porridge made specifically from semolina.

And just like porridges, this is mixed with water or milk in a pot; done when a mush is formed.

When cooked, it is similar to grits but has a smoother consistency and texture.

Substitution Ratio:

It is also 1:1.

Additional Info:

If you’re just out to get a lot of nutrients in your diet, you could replace our featured ingredient with this. But this wouldn’t work that well with baking.

Get One Now and Store It For Up to a Year!

Wheat bran’s shelf life is pretty long at one year, especially if you store it properly.

If you’ve opened the pack already, transfer the contents to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge or the freezer.

And yes, a pack is enough especially if you’re using this as an additive to your recipes.

Here are some brands you might want to get on your next grocery trip:

  • Bob’s Red Mill
  • Bagrry’s
  • Quaker
  • Shiloh Farm
  • Baker’s Authority
  • 24 Mantra

But if you’re really out of luck and don’t have our featured ingredient, any of the substitutes will work just as well.

While many of the options in the list are readily available and are probably staples in your home, some are not that common.

Don’t hesitate to give those a try if you get the chance.

Experimentation in the kitchen may result in several fails at first but you can always be assured that it has yielded good results in the end.

Last Updated on July 22, 2021

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.