Wheat Bran vs Wheat Germ: What’s the Difference?

By: Bob's Red Mill | January 30 2019
Although they are similar in name and contain many of the same nutrients, wheat bran and wheat germ are actually two different ingredients with distinct properties and benefits. At a basic level, the bran is the exterior part of the wheat kernel and the germ is the portion inside of the seed that can grow into a new plant. Both of these components are what make whole grains so nutritious. In addition to the germ and the bran, whole grains also include the endosperm, which is the starch-filled portion that remains after whole grains have been refined. Whether you’re using them in cereal, yogurt or baked goods, wheat bran and wheat germ can be purchased separately and utilized for a variety of recipes and creations. Regardless which one you use and how you use it, they each offer an added boost of nutrition to those who choose to indulge in them. Let’s take a closer look at their similarities and differences, so you can find the best way to incorporate them into your own diet.

Wheat Bran vs Wheat Germ

Let’s get to it: wheat bran vs wheat germ, what exactly is the difference? Fat and Carbohydrates A ¼-cup serving of wheat bran contains 50 calories and 0.5 grams of fat. A 2 tablespoon-serving of wheat germs contains 45 calories and 1 gram of fat. Neither contains cholesterol or trans fats.  Wheat bran contains 10 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of fiber, while wheat germ has 5 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber. Sugar Wheat bran has no simple sugars and wheat germ contains a minimal amount. Protein Both wheat germ and wheat bran contain protein. Wheat bran has 2 grams per ¼-cup serving, while wheat germ has 3 grams per 2-tablespoon serving. Vitamins and Minerals Both wheat bran and wheat germ contain thiamin, while wheat bran is a good source of niacin and wheat germ is a good source of folate. They both contain iron. , and wheat germ is a good source of vitamin E.

Wheat Bran

In the three different parts of the wheat kernel, the hard outer shell is known as the bran. When it comes to wheat bran nutrients, wheat bran contains protein, nutrients and minerals, and it has a distinctly sweet and nutty flavor. It’s famously known as an excellent source of fiber, with 1/4 cup offering 24% of the daily recommended value. Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran Our Unprocessed Miller's Wheat Bran offers a full-bodied texture to soups, cereals and salads. We make it by carefully separating the protective outer layer of the wheat berry from the endosperm and germ. By adding our wheat bran to your diet, you may feel full and satisfied for longer periods of time. You can use it to replace some of the flour in muffins or cookies, and you can also add it to your baked goods and cereals.

Wheat Bran Recipe

Wheat Bran vs Wheat Germ: What’s the Difference? | Bob's Red Mill If you like the idea of our wheat bran and are looking for a recipe to try, give this one for Raisin Bran Muffins a try. They are high in fiber and protein and taste incredible when paired with a tall glass of cold coconut milk or a mug of warm green tea. Make sure to store these treats in an airtight container so they don’t dry out. And if possible, make a double batch! Ingredients 1 1/2 cups Thick Rolled Oats or Organic Thick Rolled Oats 1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour 1/2 cup Raisins 1 1/4 cups Wheat Bran 1/4 cup Whey Protein Powder 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon 1 tsp Baking Powder 1 tsp Baking Soda 1/4 tsp Salt 1 cup Soy Milk, unsweetened 1 cup Applesauce, unsweetened 5 Tbsp Honey 2 Tbsp Molasses 2 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal 1 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil 1 Tbsp Vegetarian Egg Replacer 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 1 tsp Hazelnut Extract 1 tsp Stevia Extract Instructions Preheat your oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and pour over the dry ingredients. Fold until just mixed (don't overmix!) Spray a six-muffin tin with cooking spray and pour the batter in each tin. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the tops have browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Additional Wheat Bran Recipes

If you’re looking for a variety of recipes that integrate wheat bran, click the recipes tab on this page of our website. We’ll cover everything from fluffy pancakes to rye bread.
  • Wheat Bran Cranberry Quick Bread
  • Whole Grain Fruit Muffins
  • Whole Grain Apple Cinnamon Grains Muffins
  • High Fiber 7 Grain and Bran Bread
  • Bob’s High Fiber 7 Grain and Bran Bread
  • Bob’s High Fiber Bran Muffins
  • Low Carb Hot Cereal
  • Wholesome Fruit Muffins
  • 4 Grain Tasty Pancakes
  • Black Bran Rye Bread
  • Munch Bars
  • Orange Bran Flax Muffins
  • Banana Bran Nut Muffins
  • Hemp Cinnamon Muffins
  • Blueberry Banana Bread

Wheat Germ

Wheat Bran vs Wheat Germ: What’s the Difference? | Bob's Red Mill Moving on, what is wheat germ and what are wheat germ benefits? The wheat germ is the heart of the wheat berry. And it is the most most vitamin- and mineral-rich part of the wheat kernel. It’s also the embryo of the wheat plant (meaning it will give nourishment to the new wheat plant). Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Germ Our Wheat Germ is created from the finest wheat kernels and contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, vitamin E, and zinc. It has essential fatty acids and dietary fiber, which may control blood sugar levels. You can add this high-quality germ to baked goods, meatballs, cookies and more.

Wheat Germ Recipe

Wheat Bran vs Wheat Germ: What’s the Difference? | Bob's Red Mill If the idea of integrating wheat bran into your breakfast and snack routine excites you, try this company favorite, Bob’s Homemade Granola. This recipe has been loved by our company for years and has actually found its home on our bags of Shredded Coconut. It’s nutritious, delicious and can be eaten any time of day or night. Ingredients 5 cups Regular Rolled Oats 1 cup Shredded Coconut 1 cup Wheat Germ, toasted 1/2 cup Premium Shelled Sunflower Seeds 1/4 cup Brown Sesame Seeds 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds, optional 1/4 cup Chopped Walnuts 1/2 cup Honey 1/4 cup Melted Butter 1/4 cup Water 1 1/2 tsp Sea Salt 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 1 cup Raisins Instructions Preheat oven to 350°F; set aside two baking sheets. Combine oats, coconut, wheat germ, seeds and nuts in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix together the honey, butter, water, salt and vanilla extract. Pour over grains, stirring thoroughly. Spread mixture onto the baking sheets into a thin layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently. Oats should be crisp and brown, but coconut should not be burned. Allow to cool thoroughly, then add raisins and place in an airtight container. Can be stored up to three weeks without refrigeration.

Additional Wheat Germ Recipes

If you’re looking to take your wheat germ recipe creating beyond Bob’s beautiful granola, visit this page on our website. It will inspire you to create recipes that vary from dog treats to muesli!
  • Wheat Germ Corn Muffins
  • Whole Wheat Coffee Cake
  • Dog Treats
  • High Fiber 7 Grain and Bran Bread
  • Barb’s Hearty Herb Bread
  • Three Grains Bread
  • Low Sugar & Low Fat Granola
  • Tangy Cheese & Nut Wheat Bread
  • Bob’s Best Multigrain Bread
  • Seeded Teff & Amaranth Bread
  • Dr. Bruce Milliman’s Muesli
  • Craig’s World Famous Natural Granola
  • Outrageous Muffins
  • Toasted Wheat Germ
  • Multi-Grain Protein Snacks
Though they might at first seem to be similar, wheat bran and wheat germ are two very distinct ingredients. However, they both contain a multitude of nutritional ingredients and are a wonderful addition to a healthy diet. Whether you’re integrating them into your baked goods or using them in your meatloaf, we hope this guide has inspired you to use both wheat bran and wheat germ in all your upcoming cooking endeavours. Have any special ways you like to utilize wheat bran or wheat germ? Feel free to let us know in the comments below! At Bob’s Red Mill, we always love hearing what you create and how you create it!  


  1. Dolores Bennett
    Dolores Bennett
    Can I use wheat germ and wheat bran together in one bread recipe? I am trying to duplicate the old Roman Meal bread. It won't be perfect but I want to come as close as possible and not waste product and time.
    Your help will be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks, Dolores Bennett Cashmere, WA
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Dolores, you can absolutely use wheat germ and wheat bran together in one recipe. After all, if you use Whole Wheat Flour that contains the germ, bran, and endosperm of the wheat all in one flour :)
      1. Liz
        So my question is why is it split and what happens to the endosperm? Why isn't it sold as the whole berry?
  2. ProdAcc
    "A ¼-cup serving of wheat bran contains 50 calories and 0.5 grams of fat. A 2 tablespoon-serving of wheat germs contains 45 calories and 1 gram of fat."

    Oboy... I apologize if I sound like a jerk, but why in the heck would you use fractional values AND different measurements when attempting to compare different items? I mean, the article asks the reader to apply a ratio of... 0.25 US cups : 4.057673 US tablespoons...???

    It's like checking out different methods of transportation, and the salesperson tells you that a bicycle costs 13490.13 Indian Rupees and a used Honda Civic costs 530554.7 Japanese Yen.

    Anyway, the recipes were helpful suggestions though, so thank you!
    1. Vidalia
      Oh my!!! I was thinking the same thing. It almost seemed that if you didn't catch it, you thought Bran was better but we germ was often better. Well I think so anyway since I could not grasp how to transfer the amounts!!!
  3. Leslie Weigel
    Id like to substitute wheat bran for wheat germ in a cookie recipe that calls for 1/4 c wheat germ. Should I use 1/2 c bran (2T to 1/4 c)?
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Leslie - Wheat Bran and Wheat Germ can be substituted for each other in a 1:1 ratio. If your recipe calls for 1/4 Cup of Wheat Germ, you may use 1/4 cup of Wheat Bran instead. Happy baking!
  4. John Holt
    I used to used unprocessed Bran in my Cereal to bulk my Stool . Are Wheat Germ and Wheat Bran simular to help Bulk Stools ? Or is one of them useful for bulking Stools ?
    1. Carl Hendrickson
      Carl Hendrickson
      I have used Wheat Bran as a stool softener but am finding it hard to locate. I found the Germ at Albertson will it do the same.
      1. Elisabeth Allie
        Those are two different parts of the wheat kernel, so they do not offer the same nutritionally. You can source wheat bran at a retailer near you with our Store Finder feature: https://www.bobsredmill.com/store-finder.html
  5. Betty Craig
    Craisins substituted for the raisins in the muffin recipe I use is, in my opinion, so much better. For both the raisins and the craisins I soak them in hot water for 10 minutes.
  6. Kay
    Thanks for the comparison of wheat germ vs wheat bran nutritional value. It was just what I was looking for! I have used either as an ingredient in winter bird feeder cakes, and I wondered which was more nutritious.
    It would be more helpful though if you could edit the article so that it compares "like vs like" in the nutritional section. If both bran and wheat germ were in 1/4 cups, or both were in tablespoons, the comparison would be obvious and the reader wouldn't have to get their calculator out, as well as trying to decide whether you're referring to US vs metric in cups (240ml vs 250ml) and tablespoons (15gms vs 20gms). Thanks!
  7. Susan
    Since the pandemic started, I am having trouble finding the Bob’s Mill wheat BRAN. I wonder why....
  8. Frederick Klein
    Frederick Klein
    That's interesting that Susan can't find Bob's Red Mill wheat bran. I can't find Bob's Red Mill wheat GERM. It's like it's just disappeared. So this time I bought the wheat bran instead.
    The cup/spoon comparison didn't help and it wasn't answered by you although several people mentioned it. I can't find your wheat bran and Sprouts is unwilling to order it although they carry your oat bran. They have your wheat germ and carry their own in their bulk section.
    What is the difference between your high fiber and unprocessed wheat bran?
  10. Nan
    Okay … so you can do a 1:1 substitution for wheat bran and wheat germ. Doesn’t that significantly impact the calories, for example, of the muffin baked?
    Thank you.
  11. Richard C Salter
    4 T per 1/4 cup, so just multiply Germ amounts by 2.
    Wheat Germ is 90 cal per 1/4 cup and 2 g. of fat. Wheat Bran is 50 cal per 1/4 cup and .5 g. of fat. Either way, both are healthy and good additions.
  12. Dave Goon Pan
    When comparing products, try and use the same units, eg 1/4 cup wheat bran as against 2tblsp wheat germ. Either 1/4 cup if germ then bran or 2tbsp germ then bran. Makes it eaier to compare.
    Regards dave

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