Does This TikTok Hack Really Make Your Muffins and Cupcakes Lighter And Fluffier?

You probably already have everything you need in your pantry to pull this off, but is it worth it?

Empty muffin tin with dry rice scattered in the bottom of each muffin cup. Some liners sitting next to the muffin tin to go in on top of the rice.
Photo: Lindsey Hayes/Allrecipes

A baking hack promising to give you lighter, fluffier baked goods by filling the wells of a muffin tin with dry rice (before dropping in the liners) has been making the rounds on TikTok and Instagram Reels. @kalejunkie says: "There are so many times — when baking with butter and oils, that the butter/oils sink [to] the bottom of your baked good. To get a more evenly baked muffin/cupcake (NO GREASY BOTTOM), try this."⁣

Light and fluffy baked goods are the product of precise measures, accurate temperatures, and careful mixing. Fat is essential in baking: it makes muffins and cupcakes flavorful, tender and moist, and, science-wise, plays an important role in leavening. Wicking away the fat to "absorb the excess moisture without burning," as @kalejunkie says, seemed counterintuitive. So, I tested it out.

How to Use Rice In Muffin Tins

First, I tested the rice method with paper liners compared to using paper liners without rice. I filled 6 muffin wells with uncooked Basmati rice (that's what I had on hand). I then dropped paper liners into all 12 wells and added cupcake batter and baked according to the recipe. I found no discernible difference in crumb or browning, but the rice kept the muffin liners from developing greasy streaks, which is helpful if you're using decorative liners.

Does Adding Rice to Muffin Tins Work?

Next, I made 12 more cupcakes using the same recipe. This time, I wanted to compare the results of using the rice method to using foil liners (which are also supposed to prevent greasy bottoms).

I lined 6 wells with paper and foil liners, 3 with uncooked rice and paper liners, and 3 with paper liners only. Again, the rice prevented some greasiness — it's not perfect! — but there was no noticeable difference in taste or texture. However, the foil liners also prevented the dreaded greasy bottom, as did cooling the cupcakes on a rack. Cooling cupcakes and muffins in the tin traps any steam, causing condensation and soggy bottoms.

The verdict: Adding uncooked rice to the bottom of your muffin tins before baking can prevent paper liners from taking on greasy streaks, but it didn't create lighter and fluffier bakes. My advice? Unless you're using decorative paper liners, save the rice for biryani.

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