Watching your figure? Use muffin tins to keep portions in check. Having a party? Throw together some bite-sized appetizers for your guests. Whether you’re the type to plan meals ahead of time or you’re constantly scrambling for a last-minute gift, here are some ways to make muffin pans your new favorite kitchen tool.
The Healthy Eater
Ever find that homemade granola bars often turn out to be a crumbly mess? Instead of using a square or rectangular pan and attempting to cut bars cleanly with a knife, press your favorite recipe into a muffin pan to make mini or standard sized circular “bars.”
Good Tip: Use a glass to pack down the mixture to ensure that it sticks together!
Muffin Tin Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are great to have on hand to add protein to a meal or eat as a snack. Using a muffin pan allows you to skip the big pot of boiling water and make a batch that will last you all week. Place an egg into each cup of a standard muffin pan and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and use tongs to transfer the eggs to an ice bath to cool.
The Busy Bee
Meatloaf, Mac and Cheese, and Casseroles: How to Make Freezable Portions in Your Muffin Tin
Utilizing your freezer can help make weeknight meals a breeze, but defrosting an entire dish takes a long time. Instead, portion the uncooked mixture of meatloaf(Opens in a new window), mac and cheese(Opens in a new window), or casserole(Opens in a new window) into a muffin pan and bake as directed (you may need to reduce the cooking time slightly). Once cooled, the mixture will pop out easily if you’re using a non-stick muffin pan—if not, make sure to use some cooking spray before loading up your muffin pan. Freeze the portions in zip-top bags, and when you’re ready to eat, thaw and reheat in a 350 degree oven.
Soups, Stews, and Chili
The same technique works for soups, broths, stews and chili. Portion the finished meal into a muffin pan and freeze. Pop out and store in zip-top bags. Thaw and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Muffin Tin Party Appetizers
Transform entrées into perfectly bite-sized appetizers. Not only does using a mini muffin pan ensure uniform portions, it also allows you to make large batches at a time and helps turn otherwise messy dishes into easy-to-eat finger foods. Mac and cheese, crab cakes and frittatas work great, just to name a few. We also love Pioneer Woman’s Corn Dog Muffins(Opens in a new window), which turns a crowd favorite into the perfect party food. These muffins are not only a healthier alternative to traditional corn dogs, but also bypass the hot, messy frying process and can be made ahead of time.
Good Tip: Having a breakfast party? Swap out the cornbread mix for pancake mix and the hot dogs for breakfast sausages.
Mini-Muffin Tin Candy
End your party on a good note by sending guests home with homemade candy. We use mini muffin pans to make Brown Eyed Baker’s Homemade Peanut Butter Cups(Opens in a new window). You can also use a standard muffin pan (we promise we won’t tell). Once cooled and set, place treats in cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon. I’ve never seen anyone say no to a party favor.
Making Cookies in Your Muffin Pan
For a quick and easy treat, shape your favorite pre-made cookie dough into 1-inch balls and place in the cups of a mini muffin pan. Bake 6 to 8 minutes at 350 degrees. As soon as you pull the cookies out of the oven, press a piece of miniature chocolate candy into each one. The muffin pan prevents the dough from spreading out, yielding a gooier center, and helps contain the candy in the middle. Personalize the cookies by using your guest’s favorite candy. Still hungry? Get more fun party dessert ideas.
Zoe Mikhailovich is a guest contributor on the blog, and part of OXO’s Tools and Gadgets team.