14 Muffin Pan Hacks To Change Your Life

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Our home kitchens these days are havens for various gadgets. Each year brings a new hottest trend, and it's somewhat difficult to resist the urge to own something that is usually described as "revolutionary" and promises to make your life and cooking easier. Along with valuable concepts, the market is flooded with some rather questionable gadgets you buy on a whim and most likely stack on the back shelf, never to be seen again.

Instead of always looking for new and groundbreaking tools with only one purpose, we should think about how to repurpose the things we already have. This is where the muffin pan comes into play. Naturally, you can use the standard or the mini pan to create some seriously tasty treats, but the humble muffin pan has more potential than we might realize.

This roundup will show you some alternative ways to use the muffin tin to make your life much easier. These hacks don't necessarily refer only to cooking but rather also how to cleverly use the muffin pan in ways you haven't thought of before, whether as a neat container, a serving tray, or a portioner for your ingredients. This might be your inspiration to use the muffin pan more smartly and more often.

1. Make perfect size portions of baked oatmeal

Oatmeal is packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It helps keep your cholesterol in check and is often lauded as one of the best breakfast options. Although you can easily customize your morning oats, it's unlikely that you'd choose to eat only stove-cooked oats every day, and let's not forget that they do take some time to prepare. To get your daily dose of oats but in a different way, why not try baked oats? As one TikTok user explains, you can whip up the dish in no time by mixing mashed banana, oats, eggs, and baking powder, and then you can add the rest of the ingredients to your taste. The greatest thing about this idea is that you use your muffin tin for baking these mini-size oat snacks. Just add a scoop of the mix in each cup — use paper wrappers for easier portability — and bake the perfectly portioned oat breakfast.

Another great hack with these mini-sized breakfasts is that you can easily freeze them. Make sure you pack them individually, so they will be easy to pull out and thaw. You can either leave them until the morning or use a microwave. Either way, you get an easy, nutritious, and convenient breakfast that you can prep for the entire week.

2. Use it to serve condiments at parties

If you're throwing a party with food involved, you will most likely want to serve some condiments to go with the tasty treats you've prepared for your guests. However, organizing jars of relishes, sauces, and seasonings can be quite tricky. The jars can be too large or too small, and the content is sometimes difficult to scoop out. If you want to portion them, it will require several bowls, which you might not have on hand or discover are a bore to clean later.

To avoid all the clumsy containers of various sizes and shapes, organize your condiments in a muffin pan — just scoop each condiment into one muffin cup. You will have your condiments neatly arranged and all in one place, making things much more convenient. Besides standard condiment options, muffin tins are suitable for various toppings, such as sliced veggies or fried onions. Just serve one spoon with each cup, and you're good to go!

To make the cleaning easier, you can line each muffin hole with aluminum foil before you fill it with a condiment. This way, you can simply throw out any leftovers and clean your muffin tin in no time.

3. Use it to bake eggs

Eggs might be our favorite go-to breakfast, especially for those cozy mornings when we get some extra time to lounge around. The choices are usually the standard trio: fried, scrambled, or omelet. But no matter how much you love each of these techniques, you sometimes need something more, and we might have the perfect idea that will boost your breakfast and make you feel that you have everything under control — and naturally, it will all be done with the help of the muffin pan.

The recipe for baked eggs inside the muffin tin is easy and convenient, and it doesn't require many ingredients. Just tuck a bread slice inside the muffin cup, and top it with an egg, some shredded cheese, and sliced scallions. Then bake. You can easily adapt the recipe; just make sure not to use some rustic bread, as it will be challenging to fit it inside the muffin cups. Of course, these basket eggs work great as a filling breakfast, but you can serve them as a lighter lunch or a great brunch option.

4. Freeze your broth for easier use

Cooking broth is not an effortless task, especially if you opt for bone-based stock, and the whole process is usually too time-consuming for your daily cooking schedule. But sometimes we need that soothing feel of homemade soup, and if you designate some time for making it, it's good to know that broth is easily made in large quantities. Of course, you're not going to eat it all at once. Broth is easily preserved, and the mighty muffin pan will help you to ideally portion any leftovers.

Chef Lindsey Farr explains that freezing your broth inside the muffin pan is a genius idea as you get ideal portions that you can later thaw and serve as a soup or easily incorporate into sauces, risotto, or pasta dishes. Even if you opt for store-bought broth, this hack can be helpful as you can use it to preserve any leftovers. After freezing, release the broth cups from the tin using hot water and a spatula, and pack them in plastic bags that you can easily fit inside your freezer.

5. Use it to organize your cooking ingredients

Cooking requires some skill, but the success of your dish depends a lot on the organization. The French cracked this hack long ago by ensuring that all ingredients are prepared and ready to go before they start cooking. This genius technique goes by the name mise en place, and it means that you will prepare all of your ingredients — this entails measuring, slicing, washing, or pre-cooking — and place them in individual containers within your reach (via Escoffier School of Culinary Arts). Depending on the number of components, you might end up with a hefty amount of bowls and plates of different sizes, with no place to neatly organize them.

Instead of disproportionate, bulky containers, the magic trick here is to use the muffin pan to organize all your cooking ingredients. This will allow you to have all the components in one place and ensure that you never forget to add a particular ingredient.

6. Poach your eggs inside a muffin tin

Poached eggs are one of the healthiest ways to enjoy your daily dose of protein — as it does not involve any use of fat — but the poaching process can be a little tricky. It usually takes some skill and practice to get those perfectly cooked eggs that will be firm enough to hold the yolk but remain soft and runny in the center. The easiest way to always get the perfect poached egg is to stay clear of the classic stovetop technique. Instead, grab your muffin pan and poach your eggs inside the muffin cups.

Southern Living tested this genius hack, and the results were surprising. The process involved adding a splash of water to each cup before dropping the eggs in and baking them until they're set. The result was a soft egg with a nice runny center. Though the authors claim that, appearance-wise, the eggs didn't entirely mimic classic poached eggs, the amount of effort certainly pays off for all the inconsistencies.

This hack doesn't require skill and can save a ton of precious time. If you always thought of poached eggs as an overly complicated dish that could only be recreated at a restaurant, this hack could also save you a lot of money that you used to spend on an overpriced eggs Benedict.

7. Use the back of the tin to make edible bowls

Some of the previous items from the list are pretty clever, but this hack will make you see your favorite muffin pan in a whole different light. Muffin pans are designed to hold the ingredients inside the holes, that is, in the cups that are evenly distributed across the tray. The genius hack here is to turn the pan upside down, and what you get are neat molds that are perfect for shaping edible bowls.

For the savory version, Play Party Plan uses store-bought biscuits neatly tucked around each reversed cup. As they bake, the bowls puff up but retain the hollowed form and are then easily filled with any savory filling. The most famous sweet version is the classic cookie bowl, and as one TikTok user shows, it works perfectly. You're supposed to press and shape the cookie dough around the cup and then bake it until it turns golden and crisp. Remove each cup, flip it, and then fill it with a scoop of ice cream and your favorite topping. The recipe here uses chocolate chip cookie dough, but nothing stops you from switching it up for your favorite flavor.

8. Freeze your sauces

Nothing beats homemade sauces; the only negative thing about them is that they sometimes require a long time to cook and reduce to the right consistency. And as time is one of the precious commodities these days, we frequently skip the homemade route and opt for some bland store-bought sauces that are more convenient but significantly less tasty. However, Kitchen Treaty has a hack that saves time and leaves you with a delicious, flavorful sauce. It all comes down to dedicating some time to cooking a large batch of sauce and then preserving it by freezing it. And if you're wondering what's the best way to freeze the sauce, the answer is quite obvious — the muffin pan is your go-to tool. Distribute your sauce into equal portions inside the cups, then freeze it. Frozen sauce patties should be kept inside plastic bags, and you can easily pull them out and thaw them before use.

Along with standard vegetable or meat sauces, you can also freeze pesto. Freezing the sauce in a muffin tin is especially useful for these herb-based sauces, as it is also a genius way to preserve some seasonal herbs. As Oh My Veggies explains, a mini muffin pan works perfectly in this case as it can hold an ideal amount of pesto for one or two servings, depending on the purpose.

9. Boil large batch of eggs in no time

Muffin pans and eggs are a match made in heaven. As we've already learned, you can easily poach eggs in the oven using a muffin pan, but you can also apply a similar technique to get a uniformed batch of hard boiled eggs. This next neat hack will save time and is especially useful if you are whipping up a large breakfast or just prepping for the following week.

As this YouTube video shows, to boil the eggs in the oven, simply place them inside the muffin cups and leave them inside the oven for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. The eggs should go from the oven straight into an ice bath (a mix of ice and water) where they will chill and set for about five minutes. All that you have to do after that is to crack, peel, and enjoy your perfectly cooked eggs.

Mind Over Much confirms that the hack works and even mentions that the method is superior to any other, making the eggs much easier to peel.

10. Portion and freeze fresh herbs using a muffin pan

If you're one of those rare individuals who always has fresh herbs on hand, we're happy for you. But for most of us, it seems like an impossible mission. Herbs can be quite tricky to cultivate as they tend to wilt faster if the conditions are not ideal. Buying them is a great option, but how much of that bundle of parsley will you use immediately? Most likely, not a lot. Of course, you can preserve them in the fridge, though the life span of fresh herbs tends to be relatively short. But don't worry. We have a great solution that involves using a muffin pan.

If you want to preserve the overload of fresh herbs on hand, Thanks For The Food suggests finely chopping any herb or spice you want and portioning it inside the muffin cups. Top the herbs with water and then freeze the whole thing. When completely set, remove the frozen herb packages from the tin, and pack them individually for easier use. Frozen herbs can be thawed or added directly to the dish, depending on what you're cooking.

11. Bake main courses faster using muffin tins

Many of us use muffin pans in a very limiting way, often ignoring the full potential of this classic kitchen tool. The pans are usually intended for cupcakes and sweet or savory muffins, and most of us don't realize that any dish can easily be transformed into a mini, one-portion meal that can quickly be shaped and baked with the help of the muffin pan. 

For example, take the classic meatloaf that is traditionally a hefty meal that requires about an hour in the oven. If you apply the muffin pan hack, you can have your small meatloaf balls done in under 20 minutes. Some classic savory pies, such as mini quiches, can also easily transform into muffin-size bites, as the shape of the muffin cup works great at imitating standard pie pans. An additional bonus is that the dish will look cuter in the mini version and immediately more appetizing.

12. Make any dessert into individual-sized portions

Desserts are always welcome. Whether you're a fan of decadent chocolate cakes or more into the light and bright fruit pies, the world of desserts has something for everyone. Those sweet parcels rarely leave us disappointed. Perhaps the only way to improve desserts is to make them into mini-sized, individual servings, and the easiest way to downsize is to use the muffin pan.

You can easily transform any standard dessert into a mini version with the help of the muffin pan. Classic apple pie gets a whole new meaning with this mini apple pie version, and if you want to make the bite-size version of some classics — such as these tiny cheesecake bites — make sure to use the mini muffin pan. For some reason, anything that comes in miniature form is somehow better, and individual portions makes serving a breeze, so there will be no clumsy cuts or broken pies. This hack might be especially useful for parties or large gatherings where food is served buffet style, and the best part about it is that you can always have an additional piece without feeling guilty.

13. Use muffin pans as the perfect picnic trays

This hack will make all those trips to the park much more enjoyable. Yes, you can get one of those fancy picnic trays, but why spend money when you already have a muffin pan, which can act as the perfect picnic accessory? As one TikTok user demonstrates in a video, muffin pans are already equipped with decent size cups. And the best thing is that they're all in one place. Muffin cups work great for separating out various finger foods. These muffin cups can also hold sauces or dips to create the ultimate picnic experience.

Apart from all those nibbles and snacks, a muffin pan works great as a cup holder, which is also quite convenient for outdoor activities. Make sure you use the standard muffin pan and not the mini version, as the latter does not hold the standard cup size.

14. Use the pan as a sushi mold

Sushi is one of those dishes we usually get from take-out or eat at a restaurant. The reason is quite simple: Making sushi requires a long list of ingredients and calls for several tools that are not staples in many households. It is also quite finicky. Our maki rolls, for example, do not compare to those made by a trained sushi chef. However, if you want to have a crack at a simplified homemade version of sushi, a muffin pan can greatly help you with this task.

As one TikTok user shares, the easiest way to make sushi at home is to use a muffin pan as the mold. Prepare your sushi rice, then tuck it inside the muffin cup, pressing it into the sides to create a bowl shape. Fill your rice bowl with a seasoned mix of fish and veggies — you can also opt for a simplified vegetarian version — and you'll get a quickly assembled sushi cup that is incredibly convenient to eat. Just make sure to line the muffin cups with parchment paper so your mini sushi bowl can be easily removed.