Oat bran is a fiber-rich ingredient that works wonders in different types of dishes. It isn’t so delicious on its own, but its addition to things like cookies and muffins will completely change their taste.
But, oat bran can be a finicky thing to use while cooking. Sometimes, you could find that it’s not exactly ideal for you and you’ll need to find something else.
What is the best substitute for oat bran? Wheat bran is the best available substitute for oat bran, thanks to its nutrient profile and impressive taste. Wheat bran works with just about every dish that you can use oat bran with, so you don’t need to worry about compatibility.
An Overview of Oat Bran
Oats are seen by many as perhaps the healthiest grains to consistently put in your diet. They have high mineral and vitamin contents, especially when their outer hulls are taken out after harvesting.
During the processing phase, the remaining grain after the removal of the outer hull is eventually processed, thus giving us oatmeal. However, just under the hull is the oat bran later. Some prefer to take it out and sell it separately, while others prefer to leave it on the grain in the products.
The oat bran layer comes with a lot of fiber, and its gluten-free constituent makes it very healthy.
For a long time, oat bran has been seen as a breakfast item. However, the fiber is also easy to mold, and it can be used in different recipes – from muffins and bread to oat dishes and cookies.
Why Replace Oat Bran?
Allergies: While it isn’t exactly common, oat allergy is a pretty serious thing. At the same time, some brands of oat bran have gluten content, which might not be so great for people with gluten intolerance. So, there are quite a lot of health reasons to be careful around oat bran
Taste differences: Oat bran has a distinct taste, and you might not necessarily like it. So, you’ll need a substitute to work in its stead.
Non-availability: Oat bran isn’t particularly popular, and you might not find it at your nearest grocery store. So, you’ll need something different for your recipe.
Options for Oat Bran Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Oat Bran: Wheat Bran
Oat bran and wheat bran are similar in more ways than one. Besides the fact that they both have “bran” in their names, these two complement each other pretty well.
Like oat bran, wheat bran also comes with high fiber content. Interestingly, it has less of a fiber density than many other gain husks – and it even gives fewer grams of fiber per cup than oat bran.
Most people love wheat bran because of its rich nutrient profile. In this food component, you get to enjoy a low-calorie content, enough proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. You also get nutrients such as riboflavin, magnesium, iron, and so much more.
Even in small quantities, adding cereals with wheat flour to your diet every day will be more than beneficial to your digestion.
Besides that, wheat bran offers a great substitute for oat bran because of its versatility. You can use it in muffins, pancakes, bread, waffles, and more. If you’re looking for some thickening for your breakfast cereals and stews, then wheat bran is also a great addition for you.
However, you should note that wheat bran has a bit of a high gluten content. So, you want to be careful with consuming it, especially if you have allergies or gluten intolerance.
As for proportions, you have nothing to worry about. Wheat bran is a good one-for-one substitute for oat bran. But, you’ll need to add a bit more liquid to the wheat bran because it tends to be drier than oat bran. Once you get that out of the way, you’re more than fine.
Best Substitute for Nutrients: Corn Bran
Corn bran is another impressive substitute for oat bran. It isn’t as flavorful as oat bran, but it easily makes up for this deficiency with an incredible nutrient profile. Made from the outer shell of corn kernels, corn bran is processed similarly to oat bran. But, since they’re derived from different legumes, they taste different.
For one, corn bran comes with over twice the amount of fiber than you get in oat bran. It is high in minerals and vitamins, offering additional nutrients like selenium, copper, and iron. Corn bran also contains more of insoluble fibers, which can help to prevent constipation and keep your digestive system moving freely.
Apart from offering a proper, healthy breakfast cereal option, corn bran can also work in snacks – chips, muffins, snack bars, and much more. It doesn’t have the same flavor as oat bran, but you could easily make up for that by adjusting seasonings into the recipe.
Corn bran is a great one-for-one substitute for oat bran. So, as long as you can make up for the flavor differences, feel free to use it.
Best Flavor-Based Substitute: Oatmeal
Also known as rolled oats, oatmeal is basically oat bran, but with lesser processing. It comes with the outer bran layer and the grain layer, and its taste similarity with oat bran itself makes it a great option for people who don’t necessarily want a change of flavor.
At the same time, oatmeal comes with a lot of health benefits. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals, and it offers sufficient protein and fiber as well.
Oatmeal is a great substitute in different dishes, ranging from cookies and porridge to baked goods and as a topping for bread. Note that it isn’t a one-for-one substitute. Oatmeal will deliver higher densities when used for recipes like muffins and other light baked foods. So, you want to use a ¾ cup of oatmeal for one cup of oat bran.