Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from me every week!

I don’t receive negative email very often, but last week I received a doozy. A mom who is new to weelicious and has a child with severe nut allergies said she was disappointed with weelicious’ over reliance on nut butters in school lunch. I don’t feel that I’ve ever aggressively promoted nut butters (in fact I go to great lengths to try and offer substitution ideas and even dedicated a section of the website to nut, dairy, and egg-free recipes), but because they’re inexpensive, have a long shelf life, are a great source of protein, and loved by most kids, they can be a life saver for parents.

Coincidentally, the very same day I received the email from the concerned mother, I was informed that there was a child in one of my children’s classes with a severe peanut allergy. In light of these two events I wanted to understand more about the subject of nut allergies. The first thing I learned was the difference between airborne and non-airborne nut allergies. Children with an airborne nut allergy can get extremely sick from just being in the proximity of a peanut. Children with non-airborne nut allergies are generally OK to sit next to a child with nuts in their lunch, but could have an averse reaction if they ingest them. Non-airborne allergies get even trickier since nut butters can easily smear on a table or spread to common classroom objects via sticky fingers and if a child with a nut allergy accidentally ingests nuts by touching something contaminated and putting their fingers in their mouth, they could become ill or worse. What you realize very quickly, is that whether airborne or not, the risk of a child getting sick is almost equal.

The good news for parents of children with nut allergies (as well as parents of non-allergic children in nut-free schools) is that many seeds — sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, and flax among them — are fantastic, high in protein substitutions for nut-free classrooms and can be used in most recipes calling for nut butters. I’ve used sunflower butter for years in recipes like World’s Greatest PB&J, PB&J yogurt and Banana Dog Bites.

These Sunflower Butter Bran Muffins are packed with tons of fiber and are protein-rich to keep kids sated during the day. And since sunflower butter tastes very similar to peanut butter, most kids won’t be able to tell the difference. That’s good news for everyone in the classroom!


Sunflower Butter Bran Muffins

No ratings yet
Servings: 12 muffins
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes



  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a bowl, combine the bran flakes and milk and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg, oil and sunflower butter.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the mini chocolate chips, if desired.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 340mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g
Did you make this recipe?Mention @Weelicious or tag #weelicious!

About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


  1. I noticed the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of baking powder. Is that a typo? It seems like a lot – maybe should read 1 teaspoon? Thanks!

  2. The price of organic food ment that it was out of my reach. I am lucky thguoh and live on 5 acres so now I grow my fruit and vegies and this year I have grown my own beef and lamb. I have my own chickens so organic free range eggs are also on the menu. This means I have save thousands and this helped my pay off my mortage. So good all round

  3. Thanks for the info on nut allergies – didn’t realize there were different types! I’ve actually never tried nut butter, but thinking I should give it a try now.

  4. I’ve just started thinking about what my daughter could bring when it’s her turn to be snack helper at preschool – it’s a peanut/nut free school – and this sounds like the perfect thing! I’m excited to try them. – they look delicious! One question – if I wanted to use a mini muffin tin, would I cook them for the same amount of time?

  5. And now I know what to bring to play group. Thank you, yet again. 🙂 Just received the cook book, btw. Love. It.

  6. I just made these tonight and they’re delicious, super moist with great flavor! I had never had sunflower butter before tonight, it’s so good!

  7. Is Sunflower Seed Butter something you should buy organic, or is conventional fairly free of pesticides?

  8. Catherine, I think you do an awesome job of recommending alternates for most of your recipes. Frankly, if people suspect allergies, they can very well do research on their own and find alternates just as easily. My son has a nut allergy, the only safe nut for us is almond. The only thing I might add here is that using Sunbutter as a substitute in recipes that contain Baking Soda and/or Baking Powder can turn them green as they cool. I have first hand experience and almost dumped a batch of cookies out of concern. No worries, it is the chlorogenic acid contained in the seed (instead of the plant) that creates the reaction.! Thanks for the delicious recipes, my family truly appreciates it!

  9. Catherine, I have been a weelicious devotee for a few years now AND have a child with severe tree nut allergies. I have never ever felt it was your responsibility to accommodate all the different food allergies out there. In fact, you have been MORE than sensitive regarding food allergies and have offered substitutions where applicable. You cannot expect to make everyone happy all the time. I have always thought it my responsibility to find suitable substitutions for your various meals, sauces, etc. that call for nuts/nutbutters, NOT yours! On that note, however, THANK YOU for taking the time to post this recipe and the notes that go along with it regarding the peanut/tree nut allergy epidemic. You are so kind and that was not something you HAD to do, but chose to do it! Thank you, you have been life-changing for my family in the kitchen.

  10. Hmm I’m not sure, but it’s worth a shot! You might need to soak that a little longer to get it soft enough!

  11. Oh Catherine! Weelicious is so great! And you, my dear, must have the patience of an angel. As a reader, I sometimes get annoyed just reading the 20 million questions people have about substitutions and such… as though it’s your responsibility to make sure everyone in the whole wide world can eat the recipes. I don’t know how you manage. I could never do what you do and deal with all the comments. You do a great job and it does happen that the recipe that you post is not suitable for my family, then, I just skip over it and come back the next day! You provide so much variety! Thanks for all you do.

  12. The way the bran flakes work in this recipe is they soak up the milk and make for a moist muffin. I did try this exact recipe with unprocessed bran, and although it was delicious, the muffins were very crumbly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating