If you're a fan of oatmeal, then you're likely searching for another oat product that you can consume regularly. Enter oat bran, the breakfast you've been looking for. Like oats, oat bran is a nutritious food that's commonly enjoyed as a creamy hot cereal. However, that's not the only way that you can enjoy this superfood. Overflowing with health benefits, flavor and potential, we’re here to help you discover what oat bran is, learn about oat bran nutrition benefits and uncover the value this ingredient can bring to your kitchen.
Whether you're an oat aficionado or a newbie, you're probably wondering what oat bran is, how it differs from the oatmeal breakfast that you enjoy regularly, and if oat bran is gluten free. Oatmeal comes from the inner part of the oat groat. Oat bran, however, comes from the outer part. When oatmeal is processed, the bran's outer layer is often removed, allowing the oats to cook faster. But that doesn't mean the bran is just thrown away. Instead, that same bran is turned into a separate product—one that contains a great source of nutrition. What's more is, it's gluten free.
Low in saturated fat and containing zero cholesterol, oat bran is an excellent source of dietary fiber. In fact, just one serving of oat bran contains 7 grams of dietary fiber. This high fiber content helps keep hunger pains at bay for more extended periods, allowing you to control your appetite and resist cravings. Oat bran also contains more protein, B vitamins and iron than oatmeal does. It's delicious when enjoyed as a hot cereal but can be added to several different recipes for a unique taste and texture.
The Differences Between Oat Bran and Oatmeal
We've discussed how oatmeal and oat bran come from the same oat groat. Now let's take a deeper dive into their differences to see how oat bran vs oatmeal compare nutritionally.
Oat bran contains more fiber than typical oatmeal, which is highly beneficial for those experiencing digestion problems. Eating foods rich in fiber can help add bulk to your stools and remedy digestive issues like diarrhea and constipation.
Both oatmeal and oat bran are often mixed with liquids before being enjoyed. While you may be used to oatmeal soaking up all of the water around it, oat bran does this job even better. However, oats bran's ability to soak up large amounts of water means that you'll likely have to add more water to a bowl of oat bran than a bowl of oatmeal. Because of this, we don't recommend substituting oat bran for oatmeal at a 1:1 ratio.
Oat bran contains more antioxidants like protein, iron, thiamine and magnesium than oatmeal does. So, while both ingredients are excellent for you, if you require a quick boost of nutrients, we recommend reaching for a bag of oat bran. Or, better yet, mix these two ingredients to create a truly powerful meal.
When examining the different textures of the two, we've found that oat bran has a more creamy, mushy texture. Whereas oatmeal, though still soft and cream, is a bit harder. Noting the difference in texture is especially important when using these two ingredients in baked goods recipes as it can affect the ultimate result.
Because oat bran contains less of the oat groat, it usually cooks more quickly than oatmeal does. Its short cook time makes it an excellent healthy breakfast option when you're running short on time.
When comparing the taste of oat bran and oatmeal, oat bran has a slightly nuttier and sweeter taste. To enhance the aroma of oat bran, even more, we recommend toasting it before adding it to your recipe. Toasted oat bran can be easily made on the stovetop or oven to create a sweet-smelling and great-tasting ingredient.
What Is Better Oatmeal or Oatbran?
When deciding which ingredient is best for you, it's essential to note your unique nutritional needs. For example, because oat bran is the bran of the goat, it contains many nutritional benefits. Oat bran also contains fewer carbohydrates and 50% more dietary fiber and protein than oatmeal does, making it ideal for people following a low-carb diet.
Can You Substitute Oat Bran for Oatmeal?
Though oat bran can be used in many of the same recipes that oatmeal can, they're not often recommended as a 1:1 substitute for each other as the taste and texture may vary slightly. So always make sure to test your oat bran recipes first. If you don't mind this change in texture, swapping oatmeal out for oat bran can also have several nutritional benefits.
Are Oat Bran and Oat Fiber the Same Thing?
Oat bran is the casing that covers the oat groat and separates it from the inedible husk. Oat fiber is the product of grinding the hulls that are removed from the oat groats during the process. Though oat fiber has several health benefits of its own and works well in many baking recipes, it's not the same as oat bran and mistaking one for the other will surely lead to recipe mishap.
What Is Oat Bran Used For?
While oat bran is most commonly used to create a delicious bowl of breakfast cereal, there are several different ways that you can use this superfood ingredient. Here are a few of our favorite ways for how to cook oat bran.
Recipe to Try: Green Machine Smoothie
Making a smoothie in the morning is an excellent way to start your day off on a healthy note. And because it can be made in under five minutes, it won't put you behind schedule. Though fruits and vegetables are often considered the star in many smoothie recipes, we believe that the small add-ins are what genuinely take the recipe to the next level. Simple add-ins like nuts, protein powder and oat bran can add loads of nutrition to a smoothie that it wouldn't have otherwise.
Additionally, adding oat bran to your smoothie will also boost its creaminess, something that fruits and vegetables can't accomplish alone. So, for a smoothie recipe that you'll love sipping on in the mornings, make this Green Machine Smoothie. Packed with whole food ingredients like sweet apple, rich avocado and nutritious spinach, when combined with Oat Bran Cereal and Whey Protein Powder, it's an incredibly delicious and nutrient-packed smoothie.
Baking with Oat Bran
Baking with oat bran is an excellent way to step outside of your kitchen comfort zone without risking the quality of your baked goods. Incorporating oat bran into your favorite treat will add a tasty, chewy and unique texture to the recipe while also boosting the number of vitamins and minerals it offers. From muffins to oat bran bread, the many baking recipes that use oat bran are endless.
Recipe to try: Oat Bran Muffins
Out of all of the baked treats that we make regularly, the oat bran muffin tops the list as one of our favorites. There's something about their sweet taste, fluffy texture and grab-and-go nature that we can't get enough of. That being said, not all muffin recipes are made equally. At Bob's Red Mill, we strive to make delicious baked goods created with whole food ingredients, and oat bran is just that.
Adding oat bran flour to a tasty muffin recipe like these Cinnamon Bran Muffins is the best way to enjoy its great flavor and health benefits. The creamy texture and nutty flavor of oat bran make this muffin recipe one to remember. Light and delicious, these sweet muffins can be enjoyed as an on-the-go breakfast, mid-meal snack or even as dessert.
Other Uses for Oat Bran
If a bowl of cereal in the morning isn't exactly your thing, why not work oat bran into a savory dinner dish instead? Oat bran can be added to casserole, crisps and chicken pot pies taking the creamy factor to the next level. Although whole grain oats and oat bran are not interchangeable in all recipes, they can be used in several of the same dishes. So if there's a dinner recipe that you commonly add oat grain to, try switching things up and use oat bran flour instead. You may find that you like the new version even better.
Using oat bran in your everyday recipes is much easier than it sounds. And because a bit of oat bran goes a long way, just a tiny amount is needed for you to reap the health benefits. Whether you choose to make one of the recipes above, swap oat bran out for oatmeal, or enjoy a bowl of it plain, we're confident that it will earn a spot in your pantry soon. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, have a happy and healthy day!