I know we can’t all be Martha Stewart with our fancy kitchen, famous cooking show, and felony rap sheets, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself to a nice meal for breakfast or some homemade biscuits with dinner.
I know I certainly struggle to make time for breakfast, what with walking up, getting ready, getting the kids fed and ready, then running out the door breakfast is hardly even a thought. More like a passing notion when my stomach starts growling and I realize how much I am looking forward to lunch.
That is until I started making homemade breakfast muffins. It really is a life saver. The kids love them even though I sneak a little zucchini in there every time, and I can just grab some on my way out and tame that hangery (hungry + angry) monster who usually starts growling by 10.
If you’re new to the world of baking in the United States, you may not know what a muffin pan is. Muffins are practically the “boring” version of cupcakes, and there are pans that can create dozens of them at once! Instead of baking one by one, a muffin pan saves you time, money, and energy.
The only difference between muffin pans is typically how many it can make at once and the materials used. Materials include the following:
- Aluminized Steel
- Cast aluminum
- Carbon steel
- And many more.
More specifically, dark pans and light pans are the umbrella terms you should keep in mind. Dark pans get hotter and quicker, which can affect the condition of your muffins when you take them out, regardless if you followed the directions or not.
Buying a new muffin tin isn’t quite the investment of buying a car. The big difference is, even if you are unhappy with your car you will still use it to go to work every day. Baking products are not the same because if people don’t like them or think they are too much of a hassle to clean than they will simply stop using them. Then gone are all those hopes of eating better, eating healthier, or actually using that baking book your aunt gave you when you got your first apartment all those years ago.
It’s true that baking equipment isn’t as serious an investment as other products, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing about it you could learn before purchase. And the more you know what you are looking for the more likely you will be to stay happy with using the product. Below I have highlighted the important things to consider when buying a muffin tin.
Material – This is a big one and something you’ve seen outlined numerous times for each product. The aforementioned isn’t only a big one because of how durable you want something to be, but also because the material will dictate how easily the tin can be cleaned. Is it dishwasher safe? How badly will the muffins stick to the inside? If cleanup is not your thing then you are definitely going to want to make sure the material the tin is fashioned with is one that can easily be run through the dishwasher with little to no effort.
The most common material used is probably aluminum. This is largely due to the low expense on the manufacturer’s part, its durability, and the efficiency with which aluminum can conduct heat for even cooking. It is a time-tested material and can come with non-stick options, though you will have to check for this feature as not all aluminum muffin pans come with it. Aluminum is also a lightweight material, so you can easily move it from counter to oven to counter again without throwing out your back.
Lastly, the final benefit an aluminum muffin tin has to offer is its resistance to corrosion and other forms of moisture related ware. There are several types of aluminum to choose from, each an upgrade from your basic pan. They will offer greater corrosion resistance, durability, superior heat conductivity, and more. The more advanced aluminum pans are often a higher grade of aluminum (virgin and not recycled) and cast with steel.
Baking muffins without a muffin pan is practically impossible, and you’d basically be making a cake. Having one single muffin as a serving is much easier to distribute rather than trying to pile together pieces of cake and calling it a disheveled muffin. Having a muffin pan allows you to safely and easily bake a muffin (or cupcake if you can figure out how to use it for that purpose) and bake more than one at once. Those that are able to bake a dozen or a baker’s dozen will allow you to make for more people and save time. Without, you’ll be going crazy and may end up just buying a box of muffins at your local supermarket.
Handle: There are two must have features when it comes to selecting a muffin tin, and handles are definitely one of them. Without them not only are you likely to make a mess but you can easily burn yourself if you aren’t careful. When looking for a good handle keep your eyes peeled for large lips rather than tabs. The lips allow you to get more leverage for easy lifting, whereas tabs you are only using the tips of your fingers.
Non-Stick: The second crucial feature when looking to purchase is whether or not the pan is non-stick. Let’s face it, if the tin isn’t easy to clean or doesn’t let you get your freshly baked muffins out of it without them crumbling into a mess, then you probably aren’t going to use it very often. And if you do, you won’t be as happy with the results. Trust me, just make sure it’s non-stick and you won’t have to worry about it.
Are They Safe?
Generally, muffin pans are safe. Despite you feeling as if you can’t put silicone or certain metals within an oven – you can. For approved products that are sold in a legit manner, they must be approved for use within temperatures – especially dealing with food. You don’t have to worry about the silicone melting, as they’re built to withstand extreme temperatures (although there is a maximum they can withstand), and you won’t have to worry about any crazy chemicals melting in your food.
Can I put a silicone pan in the oven?
Yes, if it’s a muffin pan composed of silicone, you can put it in the oven as intended. These materials having coatings on them so that they can withstand extreme temperatures.
Are they expensive?
No, muffin pans are not expensive, as they are very common and used in an everyday household. They aren’t composed of extremely expensive materials, which make them more readily available for consumers on a budget.
Will chemicals from the silicone seep into my muffins?
Take your tinfoil hat off, Martha; you’ll be fine! Silicone that’s meant to be put into the oven have finishes on them that can withstand the temperatures, as we mentioned a few times above. These temperatures will not activate the seeping of any chemicals within your muffins.
Does silicone last as long as metal?
Because silicone is generally not as durable as metal, over time, you may have to replace it quicker than a metal muffin pan, which is virtually indestructible – (*as long as you use it for its intended purpose, of course!)
Are they dishwasher safe?
Yes, muffin pans are generally dishwasher safe unless otherwise noted. If it’s a crazy material other than silicone or metal, it may not be! Always be sure to look on the package before putting in your dishwasher.
Top Non Stick – Wilton’s 12 Cup
Separate Pieces: This pan comes with all the standard features you would want in a muffin pan. It is non-stick steel and makes a dozen tasty treats per batch. The real question is whether or not you want one that comes as separate pieces as this one does.
Wide lip: You may notice the wide lip by which you can place your entire thumb along the side of. This is a great feature as many muffin pans feature tabs, forcing the user to lift the pan with the tips of their fingers. With this wide lip, you can gain leverage on the pan by using your whole hand (with oven mitts of course).
Though some people prefer this feature, others find cleaning to be more difficult. It really comes down to a personal preference on your part when all is said and done.
Material: Steel is the next step up from aluminum and mixed aluminum castings. Steel is fashioned with iron alloy with low amounts of chromium. This enables the pans made from steel to become more corrosion resistance and will not react to elements within your food. It is sturdier than aluminum compounds and thus more resistant to scratches, dents, and warping.
Unfortunately, using steel for cooking is not a particularly efficient model as it is a poor conductor of heat.
Size: This tin is an average tin size, measuring 13 1/2″ x 8 3/4″ with each cup holding about 8 ounces of batter. With this piece, you can create 12 muffins per batch.
Need to make a dozen muffins or cupcakes? If so, you’ll enjoy the Wilton pan, made perfect for your lifestyle. Check it out now.Check Latest Price
Top Silicone – KP Kitchen’s 12 Cup
Non-stick silicone: As far as silicone pans go this one is at the top of its very flexible game, and is a great addition to any cook’s kitchen great. For those who don’t know LFGB is a specific test conducted on plastic food products and it is designed to ensure a product is food safe. This is extremely important for food products that use silicone or other types of plastic. This guarantee tells you this product is certified and safe.
Silicone is also non-stick and easy to clean, so your kitchen can stay sparkling and beautiful while you make your treats. The only down side is the flexibility of the material can make it difficult to move the pan from the counter to the oven.
On the plus side, it does come with a recipe book to get you using your muffin pan right away and since it is recommended not to lift the pan by itself you needn’t worry about whether it has a lip or a tab. Check them out on Amazon and decide for yourself!
Silicone is another popular choice for your at home baking needs due to its ability to endure extreme temperatures. The number one feature you get with a silicone muffin tin is the way heat disperses once it is taken out of the oven.
Silicone doesn’t retain heat, meaning that your baked goods won’t continue cooking once you take them out of the oven. They are also dishwasher safe and very easy to clean. There is one big disadvantage, however. They are flexible. This means that they can be extremely difficult to move from the counter to the oven without making a mess.
12 muffins per batch: Yep, you read that right! As normal, this makes 12 muffins her patch. Not unusual and nothing to write home about, you can create a full dozen, but a delicious dozen in this silicone pan.
Sizes: Once again, you may be surprised to learn that there is more than one type of muffin tin. One type depends on material and the other depends on size. You can buy tins specifically designed to make mini muffins or cupcakes. Mini pans are great for bake sales, school events, or just a more appropriately portioned treat at home.
As you may have guessed they allow for smaller serving sizes and the dimensions are typically 1¾ inches. The standard size is the most common and a basic addition to any well-stocked kitchen. It is typically what is called for in most recipes, meaning if you stick to the standard you won’t have to bother with any pesky conversions to adjust time or temperature.
Just throw it in the oven and it’s good to go. Its typical measurements are 2 ½ inches and they will yield a batch of 12. This particular model comes with both size options.
Recipe Book: Within the contents of this package, you’ll find a recipe book for things you can make within this silicone pan. Many people seem to think that the material of the pan determines what you can create. The aforementioned pan allows you variety and versatility in what you create.
If you’re looking for a muffin tin that will serve both muffins and cupcakes, look no further, as KPKitchen’s silicone muffin pan is a best seller on the market. Check it out today.Check Latest Price
Top Cast Iron – Lodge L7B3
Long-lasting: If you are looking for a long-lasting pan that won’t warp this is the pan for you. Cast iron cookware is great for slow-cooked goods as it will evenly distribute the heat across its surface and adds a great crunchy texture to your food. This pan comes pre-seasoned so you don’t have to smoke up your kitchen seasoning yourself and its non-stick surface will make cleaning a breeze.
Rust Proof: The added benefit of this particular pan is that it is rust proof, which is the primary problem with cast iron products. If you are craving some biscuits with gravy for a country kitchen treat you can order yours from Amazon right now. It’s safe to say that this pan allows slow and even heat distribution thanks to the material and finishes. We’ll discuss this more below.
Material: The last option we have here for muffin pan materials is a cast-iron pan. Apart from the textures and flavor cast-iron pans have to offer; the major benefit is that they will never warp. These things are, well… as strong as iron.
The only downsides are the propensity for them to rust, though there are preventative measures for that and ways to clean the rust out. Also, iron is heavy so if you have joint problems or trouble lifting things this pan might not be the best choice.
Size: Lastly, we have the farthest from the least with the jumbo pan. These big boys pack a punch and are great if you run a bakery or really like to start your morning off right. These are perfect for specialty muffins and are about 3 ½ inches across with a yield of 6 muffins per pan. In this particular case, you get and extra 7th muffin per batch. This product is a great investment for your kitchen and culinary skill while it is also entirely safe to use.
Looking for a rust proof muffin tin? You’ve come to the right place, as the Lodge is the perfect option for you. Check out the Lodge cast-iron pan today.Check Latest Price
Top Mini – USA Pan Bakeware
Size variations: You don’t have to settle for one size with this USA pan. While one pan itself isn’t convertible, there are options you can choose from.
Whether you want to create mini-cupcakes, muffins, fluted cupcakes, large muffins, or crown muffins, there are size variations for each.
Between 6 wells and 24 wells, the brand USA Pan allows for optimal customization when you purchase their products.
Non-stick coating: Also known as their Americoat Through the promotion of quick releasing, the Americoat makes it extremely easy to use this muffin pan with ease.
Easy clean-up: No longer do you have to worry about scrubbing the heck out of a pan in order to get it clean. Whether you use a dishwasher or go old school and use your hands, a little bit of soap and hot water will release cupcake and muffin remnants with ease.
BPA Free: Yep – those who are worried about chemicals seeping into their muffins or cupcakes won’t have to worry about BPA, as this product is certified BPA free for your safety.
Looking for variety and ease of use with a muffin pan? Look no further as the USA bakeware and muffin pan has your back.Check Latest Price
Top Ceramic – GreenLife 12 Cup
Ceramic material: Are you looking for something other than a type of metal to put in your oven? You’re in luck, as this muffin pan utilizes non-stick ceramic in order to provide the best muffin baking experience possible. While there are pros and cons to both ceramic and metal, this pan does exactly what it says it does – and with ease!
Non-stick coating:GreenLife pan is there for you. Those who are into organic meals and treats will find solace in knowing this Green pan exists. Beyond this, the non-stick coating allows for the removal of muffins or cupcakes with no problem at all.
Metal material: While mostly ceramic, there is steel included within this product for a hybrid pan. In having this, the heat is distributed evenly while providing additional benefits for using ceramic. Because of the hybrid materials, you’ll want to hand wash only with this muffin pan. If you’re wondering if it would get too hot in a dishwasher, the answer is no, but this can be used in an oven up to 450 degrees only.
For those who dabble into the more organic side of baking, the GreenLife ceramic and metal hybrid muffin pan allows functional and optimal muffin baking with ease. Check out the pan today!Check Latest Price
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