Here Are the Best Muffin Pans, According to a Baker Who Has Tried Them All

A former muffin bakery owner shares her top picks for muffins, egg bites, and more, with USA Pan’s 12-cup tin taking the (cup)cake.

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nordic ware muffin pan
Photo: Food52

While muffin pans (also called muffin tins) aren't the most glamorous baking accessory out there, they can be incredibly versatile kitchen tools. You can use your muffin pan to bake decadent cupcakes and mini pies as well as savory dinner rolls and appetizers—the possibilities are endless.

Muffins tins are also great for portion control, according to Brette Sember, author of The Original Muffin Tin Cookbook. She says the small bites are easy to store, freeze, and reheat. As a bonus, "kids love to cook in muffin tins, which gets them to try new things."

As someone who has baked a lot of muffins—I used to own a muffin bakery—I've probably gone through hundreds of muffin tins over the years. In testing out everything from the commercial to the cutesy or specialty sizes and shapes, I came to realize that there isn't one perfect muffin pan for every purpose.

In order to find the best muffin pans, I put some old favorites and a few new-to-me options through various tests to see which ones were warp-proof, which produced the most consistent muffin texture, and of course, which models allowed for easy muffin removal. Read on for my picks of the best muffin pans for every baker, including my absolute favorite, the 12-cup tin from USA Pan.

Our Favorites

Best Overall: USA Pan 12-Cup Muffin Pan

USA Pan Bakeware Cupcake and Muffin Pan

Also available at Williams-Sonoma.

Why It's Great

  • Quickly releases baked goods
  • Fluted surface allows for air circulation
  • BPA-free coating
  • Lifetime guarantee

Grain of Salt

  • Ridged surface can collect batter drips

This is a classic muffin tin with some attractive updated details. I was impressed with the eco-friendly coating, which the brand describes as its "nonstick Americoat coating." This patented silicone coating is PTFE, PFOA, and BPA-free. I also loved the fact that the ridged pan surface (not in the individual cups) promoted airflow while baking.

No matter where I used this muffin pan—traditional, countertop, or convection oven—the results of the muffin's size and browning were consistent. Sometimes muffins rise inconsistently depending on how much heat they receive, but luckily, that did not happen with this muffin pan. In fact, of all the muffin tins I tested, this one was the most reminiscent of baking in commercial ovens with commercial pans.

The Details: Alloy steel; measures 15.75 x 11 x 1.5 inches; hand wash only

Best Budget: Wilton Perfect Results Premium Nonstick Muffin and Cupcake Pan

Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick Bakeware Muffin Pan

Also available at Jo-Ann Stores.

Why It's Great

  • Affordable
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Durable and heavyweight

Grain of Salt

  • Stickers on the bottom can leave a residue

This is a great option for the budding baker in the family. It's also a suitable choice if you double your recipe or like to bake when traveling. This muffin tin has a nice amount of heft to it, so even beginner bakers won't see their best efforts get smashed when trying to release the muffins from the pan.

Some bakers don't trust the notion of a nonstick pan, but this one is extremely slick. So much so that if you try a nonstick spray, you're just going to be left with small black puddles underneath your muffins. Trust the coating and pour your batter in without adding any spray; you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easily muffins and cupcakes will pop out. But like any other baked product, make sure to pay extra attention when using fruit or vegetable ingredients and cool completely before removing muffins. In all, this is such a good muffin pan it's really hard to believe it comes at a budget price.

The Details: Steel with reinforced nonstick coating; measures 10.5 x 15 inches; dishwasher safe

Best Mini: Nordic Ware Naturals 24-Cavity Petite Muffin Pan

Nordic Ware Muffin Pan

Also available at Amazon and Houzz.

Why It's Great

  • Made of rustproof aluminum
  • Uncoated, so a great alternative to Teflon
  • Provides uniform heat

Grain of Salt

  • Scratches are more visible

If you prefer to create your own coating for your cupcakes or muffins, an aluminum pan presents a great option. Instead of pouring in batter, you can gently coat each cup with butter, shortening, a dusting of flour, or a combination of all. Aluminum reacts differently to products like tomato sauce, so if you're planning on making egg cups or pizza bites, your muffin tin may start to discolor sooner.

This pan was consistent with doming and the browning of each muffin. While I tested them in various ovens, the fluffiness factor was not affected at all; however, the muffins had a slightly thicker crust when baking in this tin. Overall, this is a great option for mini muffins, since you can visually gauge the browning process while they bake.

The Details: Uncoated aluminum; measures 16.5 x 10.75 x 0.81 inches (24-cup pan); hand wash only

Best Jumbo: Wilton Performance Aluminum 6-Cavity Jumbo Muffin Pan

Wilton® Performance™ Aluminum 6-Cavity Jumbo Muffin Pan
Bed, Bath & Beyond

Also available at Walmart.

Why It's Great

  • Perfect for small batches
  • Can also be used for mini cakes
  • Easy to store

Grain of Salt

  • Might need to experiment with baking times

As with many of the aluminum pans I tested, this jumbo pan baked the muffins evenly and consistently. Interestingly enough, it's not the sturdiest pan, despite its larger cavity size, so I was extra careful when pouring in larger amounts of batter.

I tested this tin with and without liners and found that liners produced a moister muffin, while muffins without liners were denser. I noticed that baking cupcakes became a little bit tricky since I wanted them to be soft and airy, but the larger cup required longer baking time. Coffee cake-type muffins turned out nearly perfect in these jumbo cups. As an all-around jumbo muffin tin, it delivered the most consistent and impressive results with a wonderful crisp muffin top.

The Details: Hard anodized aluminum; measures 14.5 x 9.5 x 2 inches; hand wash only

Best Silicone: OXO Good Grips Silicone Baking Cups

OXO 12pk Baking Cups

Also available at Amazon and The Container Store.

Why It's Great

  • Can be used with or without a muffin tin
  • Handles help with transport and removal
  • Features batter fill lines

Grain of Salt

  • Silicone cups can sometimes lose their shape

Baking with silicone is a love or hate situation for most bakers. Cookbook author Brette Sember favors them, saying, "Silicone liners can just sit on a baking sheet: You don't even need a muffin pan and can go right to the oven, freezer, or microwave." She also said that she prefers to use a silicone muffin tin without liners when she bakes at home because "there's no waste and they're easy to wash." With these silicone baking cups, their easy wash factor is one of the most attractive elements. You can rinse with soap and water or pop them into the dishwasher and you're good to go.

I tested these baking cups alone, on a baking sheet, in muffin tins, and with a variety of ingredients. I also made variations of mug cakes in them using the microwave with perfect results. Like most OXO products, they are well designed and easy to use. I loved that the cups came in a variety of colors, so I could create different fillings or flavors that were easy to distinguish from one another. Compared to other silicone baking products, they were heavier and didn't give me any issues of batter bulge or leaks.

The Details: Silicone; measures 3.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches; dishwasher safe

Best Ceramic: GreenLife 12-Cup Muffin Pan

GreenLife 12 Cup Muffin Pan, Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Bakeware 2.85" Diameter Cups

Also available at Amazon.

Why It's Great

  • Sand-derived ceramic nonstick coating
  • Beautiful color combination and design
  • Reinforced rims for even heat distribution

Grain of Salt

  • Better for muffins than cupcakes

With many bakers still searching for alternatives to Teflon, a ceramic seal is believed to protect baked goods from metal and byproducts that can leach into muffins. That said, this ceramic muffin pan produces quality muffins.

One attractive feature of this particular muffin tin is the contrast in the end result of the baked goods. The muffins were delightfully crisp on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. They were consistently golden brown and evenly domed. I tried using cooking spray at one point, and it led to a darker and slicker muffin bottom. Overall, this is a lovely muffin tin that produces really great muffins.

The Details: Steel with ceramic nonstick coating; measures 13.85 x 10.54 x 1.07 inches; hand wash only

How to Pick the Right Muffin Pan

In theory, choosing a muffin pan is a no-brainer; for the most part, they all produce identical results. When testing them out, though, you should pay attention to a few things that will impact each batch of muffins you bake.


Muffin tins are typically made of stainless steel, aluminum, silicone, and carbon steel. Nonstick options usually feature a silicone or ceramic coating over a steel base. To choose the right one for your needs, you'll want to consider whether you'll be baking in a countertop oven or a traditional one because heating times and temperatures might vary. Another important factor to look out for is the pan's weight. For even heat flow and distribution, you'll want a muffin tin with solid heft.


Muffin pans have anywhere from four to 24 cups. For jumbo-size muffins, reach for a tin with four or six cavities. Twelve-cup muffin pans are ideal for standard-size baked goods, and 24-cup tins are suitable for mini desserts. You'll want to take into account how many servings you need and how large you want each muffin to be. For small appetites and large crowds, 12- or 12-cup muffin pans are your best option.

Ease of Cleaning

There's a fairly even mix of dishwasher-safe and hand wash only muffin pans on the market. If you want a quick and easy cleanup, look for a dishwasher-safe model. For those who prefer to hand wash their bakeware, there are plenty of quality options for you.

About My Tests

Using my professional baking expertise, I examined muffin pans from a variety of popular brands and evaluated their performance when baking mug cakes, muffins, and cupcakes. I also used the same brand of chocolate chips to see if they would melt or burn, as well as the same type of cup liners. I filled the cavities 3/4 of the way to determine each pan's rising and browning capabilities. For maximum airflow, I placed the muffin pan on the middle rack of the oven and removed the top rack.

Each muffin tin was rated on the following criteria:

  • Overall Feel: Does it feel sturdy? What type of cook would this pan be suitable for?
  • Versatility: Can you use it for a variety of recipes?
  • Performance: How quickly and evenly does the muffin pan heat and cook food? Did the muffins rise consistently? Do they have a golden brown top?
  • Cleanup: Is it dishwasher safe? What kind of cleaning products can be used?

Common Questions

What's the difference between muffins and cupcakes, and do you need different pans for them?

Owner of Crumble Bakery in Vancouver Ellen Costin Guttman says, "Muffins are generally easier and more adaptable for say, fillings or mix-ins." She notes that you don't want cupcakes to dome too much, as they need to be flatter for icing. However, you can certainly bake both cupcakes and muffins in muffin pans.

Can you make muffins without a muffin pan?

According to cookbook author Brette Sember, yes you can. Simply use silicone muffin cups on a regular baking sheet. "They are flat on the bottom and have sturdy sides," Sember explains. "A lot of the recipes people make in mugs in the microwave can be made in jumbo silicone muffin liners in the oven or toaster oven."

Do you need to grease a silicone muffin pan?

While you don't have to grease silicone baking pans, using cooking spray can prevent sticking.

Can you make brownies or cookies in a muffin pan?

Absolutely! You can make a variety of desserts, breakfast foods, and appetizers in muffin pans. They are perfectly portioned for one, so you don't have to cut your food into individual servings. Bonus: If you use liners, the mini desserts will be extra convenient for passing around at outdoor picnics and parties—no plates required. Just note that the edges might get a little more "done", so if you prefer the gooey middle pieces, you might want to opt for a regular 9 x 13 baking pan.

Why Take Our Word For It?

Allrecipes is a trusted food brand among millions of home cooks around the world. Former bakery owner Rachel Weingarten determined the best muffin pans based on her hands-on experience with a variety of models and her expert knowledge of bakeware. She selected her favorites by evaluating their overall feel, size, performance, versatility, and ease of cleaning.

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