What Is Oat Bran?

By: Bob's Red Mill | December 12 2021

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.

Oat Bran

Whether you're an oat aficionado or a newbie, you're probably wondering what oat bran is, how it differs from the oatmeal that you enjoy regularly, and if oat bran is gluten free. Oat bran is the outer part of the whole oat groat!

Low in saturated fat and containing zero cholesterol, oat bran is a good of dietary fiber. This 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

bowl of oat bran and wooden spoon

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.

Water Retention

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.

Cook Time

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 Oat Bran?

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 groat, 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?

Healthy muesli breakfast with oat bran, nuts and raisin

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.

Note: Eating raw oats is generally safe, but may cause digestive issues or increase the risk of foodborne illness.

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

oat Bran Muffins

Photo by: This Week for Dinner

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!


  1. Dick Freeland
    I'm having a problem finding oat bran at the local stores. I live in Solana Beach, Calif 92075. There are two grocery stores in our community, a Vons and a Sprouts. Both carry your brand, but both have been out of Oat bran for the last several weeks. Can you direct me to a local store where I can find Oat Bran?
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Dick! Our Customer Service team may be able to assist you further. Reach them at 1-800-349-2173 or [email protected]
  2. Lou
    how much magnesium does a serving have and why is it not listed on the label?
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Elisabeth Allie
      Our oat bran has not been tested for magnesium, so unfortunately we don't have an answer for you.
  3. Barbar F Barbour
    Barbar F Barbour
    In additon to your explanation of Oat Bran, I would appreciate a simple chart showing the nutrition facts of a serving of Oat Bran, as you have done in your 10 grain cereal package-or at least the amount of dietary fiber.
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Elisabeth Allie
      Hi there--nutritional info can be found here: https://www.bobsredmill.com/oat-bran-cereal.html
  4. hamza
    the ingredients section of your oats products says that the product is made from whole oats but the article says ""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"" , im a little bit confused , does your oats products contain the whole grain with its bran or only the inner part without the bran ?
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Elisabeth Allie
      Our oats are all whole grain (except our oat bran, of course). We've corrected the article!
  5. hamza
    does all your oats products made from the whole oat grain (groat) or is there some oats products that had its bran removed ?
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Elisabeth Allie
      Hi there! Our oats are all whole grain, except our oat bran, which is just the bran. :)
  6. Mandy
    Hi there,
    Do you test each batch of oat bran for mycotoxins? I have heard oat bran can be particularly affected by fungus metabolites. Thanks!
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Hi Mandy, please email [email protected] for assistance.
  7. narin may
    is oat bran or oat groat that redute cholesterol
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Elisabeth Allie
      Hi Narin! We recommend checking with your doctor or medical professional.
  8. Virginia Fleet
    Virginia Fleet
    The Brattleboro VT Food Coop, where I get my oat bran in bulk, recently got a new shipment that had a slightly coarser grind than their usual product. I preferred the taste and texture of this coarser grind but the Coop is not able to reliably procure that kind. I would like to know whether Bob's oat bran is fine or medium grind.
  9. Matthew
    Maybe I'm crazy, but all of a sudden there seems to be no oat bran around. Is there a problem right now? Are you discontinuing it? I'm in the Twin Cities & had no problem finding it at Fresh Thyme, Cub Foods, WalMart (sometimes).
    Thank you!
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Hi Matthew! We are not discontinuing Oat Bran. To find specific products near you, use our Store Finder!
  10. abrown
    Hi, you have a typo under "What Is Better, Oatmeal or Oat Bran?". It says "goat" instead of groat.
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Thank you!

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