Wheat bran is more than just a part of your breakfast cereal; but is a versatile ingredient you can use in numerous sweet or savory dishes! That’s why we always have a pack of it in the kitchen so that we won’t worry about scrambling for a wheat bran substitute.
But if you’re in a tight spot, we totally understand the need for an alternative. Maybe you forgot to buy or didn’t expect your recipe to need wheat bran. Or perhaps you’re going gluten-free! It doesn’t matter because it’s always essential to learn what you can replace what bran with when in a pickle.
The best wheat bran substitutes include wheat germ, rice bran, flax seeds, whole wheat flour, or even oatmeal! While they aren’t exactly the same, they provide similar flavors or textures to suit your dishes.
Wait, there are more to choose from! Read on as we share the best wheat bran substitute for whatever recipe you need to make.
What’s Wheat Bran?
If you’ve been searching for healthy food, you probably came across wheat bran, the hard outer layer of wheat kernels. It doesn’t sound appetizing, but it offers numerous benefits and uses in the kitchen that it’s worth storing for future dishes. (*)
Wheat bran offers a lot of protein, fiber, and nutrients, which can help lower the risks of heart problems and other diseases. However, it’s not safe to consume for those with gluten allergies! (*)
Fun fact: Half a cup of wheat bran has 63 calories, 4.5 grams of protein, 18.5 grams of carbs, 1.3 grams of fat, and almost 13 grams of dietary fiber. Moreover, it contains iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and vitamin B6. (*)
In terms of your dish’s quality, wheat bran can add more flavor and texture to baked goods, savory recipes, or topping for certain dishes. Whether you have no wheat bran, prefer a different taste, or have a gluten allergy, consider any of these substitutes:
The 10 Best Substitutes For Wheat Bran
1. Wheat Germ
We regard wheat germ, the inner part of wheat grain, as the most popular and best wheat bran substitute, tasting a bit nutty with a grainy texture. It has the closest flavor to wheat bran, popularly used in hot or cold cereals for added texture.
You can also use wheat germ topping for pies, yogurts, ice cream, or blend it with your smoothie. We use it for more cooking applications, even in baked goods or when cooking savory recipes. From coating meatballs to breaded chicken, casseroles to meatloaf, wheat germ adds more richness with a flavor resembling wheat bran.
Fun fact: Wheat germ and wheat bran have very different amounts of macronutrients. Wheat germ contains more protein and fat with less fiber. This means wheat germ contains more calories, which you may not appreciate when watching your weight.
2. Oat Bran
We consider oat bran as another fantastic wheat bran substitute, though we notice the latter is more nutritious. Wheat bran has more fiber, containing almost 25 grams a cup, while oat bran only has 14 grams of fiber per cup.
That said, oat bran is still a popular alternative with its rich and creamy oat flavor. Note that it tastes a bit sweeter than wheat bran, so you can lessen or diminish sweeteners when sprinkling oat bran on cereal or mixing it in smoothies.
If you plan on using oat bran as a wheat bran substitute for baking bread, make sure you mix it with flour for the bread to rise. Oat bran pairs well with yogurt and cottage cheese, or you can serve it with fruits.
3. Rice Bran
Rice bran is the rice grain’s outer shell, which you can use as a substitute for wheat bran for the same texture.
You can add rice bran to raw dishes like cereals and salads for a slightly earthy and nutty flavor. However, it isn’t that easy to find rice bran in supermarkets unless you live near an Asian specialty food store, particularly Japanese or Indian ones.
Rice bran works well in baked goods like biscuits, muffins, and rice bran pilaf. We recommend using it as a wheat bran substitute if you need a gluten-free option.
4. Flax Seeds
If you need a wheat bran substitute for a different texture, you can always try flax seeds, a highly versatile ingredient. You can enjoy its distinct texture and health benefits if you add flax seeds to omelets, refreshing smoothies, salads, or healthy spreads.
Note that you should never ingest raw or unripe flax seeds as they can result in indigestion problems. After preparing flax seeds properly, you can use them in many other recipes or sprinkle them on top of yogurt, cereals, or salads. Expect a crunchy texture and sweet flavor, elevating any dish’s taste!
5. Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is browner with a nuttier flavor than white flour, making it a suitable replacement for wheat bran whether you’re baking or cooking. Whole wheat flour adds more richness to recipes calling for wheat bran thanks to the fibrous texture.
You can use whole wheat flour to make savory scones, pizza crust, bread, muffins, rolls, or pancakes. To make a fluffier batter, increase the amount of water or any other liquid you’ll use.
Cornmeal comes from ground corn, as the name suggests. You can purchase it either in coarse or fine textures. If you want more crunch, we recommend using coarse oatmeal. For richness and texture, use fine cornmeal.
Cornmeal can add a slightly sweet flavor and buttery consistency to recipes, which you can use for cornbread, cakes, or other bread recipes, thanks to its sweetness. It also works well in savory recipes to thicken chilies, stews, casseroles, or baked dishes.
Ah, oatmeal. So much more than your typical quick breakfast. It’s also a versatile ingredient you can use in just about any recipe that calls for wheat bran. It consists of de-husked, steamed, and flattened oats meant for quick cooking.
Oatmeal has a bland flavor yet subtle earthy tones, absorbing flavors from the recipe’s other ingredients.
This ingredient adds richer texture and consistency to sweet and savory dishes, adding a heartiness to baked goods or a richer texture to smoothies. Since oatmeal has a subtle flavor, it intensifies umami flavors in chicken broth, baked casseroles, or stews.
8. Rye Flour
If you’re not a fan of bland-tasting wheat bran and want something with more flavor, then rye flour is the way to go. We appreciate its slightly milky and tangy taste, with some nutty and malty flavors combined.
It transforms the flavors of sweet recipes, from bread to cookies! Because of that strong, bold flavor, rye flour adds a unique aroma and taste to the dough. We use this best as a wheat bran substitute for pastries and other baked goods.
9. Almond Meal
This wheat bran substitute consists of ground sweet almonds, which you can use in sweet or savory recipes. Like rye flour, it has a different flavor, and we recommend it if you’re not a fan of wheat bran’s neutral taste.
This ingredient is made from blanched or unblanched almonds, giving it a rich consistency that adds depth and texture. Use almond meal in virtually any recipe asking for wheat bran, and you can expect a sweet, earthy, and nutty taste.
Whether it’s for cookies, salads, cereals, pancakes, macarons, or on top of yogurt, and almond meal elevates your food!
10. Cream of Wheat
This is a wheat-based porridge made from semolina, which you must with milk or water, creating something similar to oatmeal or grits. We only recommend using this for yogurts and smoothies or consuming it on its own.
Alternatively, you can use dry cereals as a substitute for wheat bran. You most likely have cereals already, so why not try it as a topping for baked goods, yogurt, or smoothies?
It’s not the best to incorporate in batters or baked goods, as it can ruin the dish’s flavor, consistency, and texture. Dry cereal contains other ingredients like flour, sugar, and other additives so that you won’t like its results in cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’d like to learn more about wheat bran, this section is for you!
Wrapping It Up
There are numerous substitutes for wheat bran, but there’s no best choice! It all depends on what flavor you want and the recipe you’re creating. We recommend wheat germ for sweet or savory recipes if you want something closest to wheat bran. You can also opt for whole wheat flour or flax seeds to experiment with different flavors.
Whatever the case may be, we hope our wheat bran substitute list gave you an idea of what to use for your next recipes. Check out what more we have to offer here at Nomspedia now!