Think muffin tins are just for muffins and cupcakes? Think again. Muffin tins are an easy and convenient way to cook many fun dishes. Perfectly pre-portioned, foods made in muffin tins cook faster because each one is surrounded by heat. Kids love food made in muffin tins (cute, little, and resembling a cupcake, how can they resist?), so it’s a great way to get them to try something new. Many muffin tin dishes freeze easily right in the tin or you can freeze in the tins first and then pop them into a plastic bag for storage. Here are some great ideas for unexpected things you can make in a muffin tin.
Add veggies, cheese, and meats and distribute the mixture among the greased tins. Try making them with a slice of ham placed in the tin first. They bake quickly in about 10 minutes and can be made ahead and reheated for a quick breakfast on the go. Press canned biscuit dough into the bottom of a jumbo muffin tin and top with eggs for breakfast sandwiches.
Whether you’re using beef, turkey, or chicken, mini-meatloaves are quick to cook and can be personalized. Add mushrooms or spinach to yours and hide a chunk of mozzarella inside your kids’. Top them with cheese, ketchup, or a dollop of mashed potatoes before baking for a faux cupcake.
Refrigerated crescent dough in a tube is perfect for making sandwich pockets in a muffin tin. Center a triangle in the tin, pressing into the sides, and add your sandwich makings, then fold the edges of the triangle over the top and bake. These are cute and portable.
Leftover mashed potatoes mixed with veggies, cheese, diced meat, and some beaten egg to stabilize will cook up puffy and perfect for a meal made from leftovers that no one will complain about. Shredded hash browns combined with your favorite ingredients (like crumbled sausage or chopped corned beef) and an egg make a great meal.
Go traditional with spaghetti and meatballs or use any pasta, sauce, proteins, and flavors to make pasta cups. Mix the pasta with egg so it bakes to the shape of the tin. The edges turn brown, crunchy and delicious.
Use canned biscuit dough or separate a ball of fresh pizza dough into pieces (28 ounces of dough will fill 24 muffin cups) and it press into the cups and up the sides, then fill with toppings of your choice and let the oven work its magic.
Any coffee cake or quick bread recipe can be divided into muffin tins for faster cooking and easy portion control. Cinnamon coffee cake, pumpkin bread, or poppy seed bread are wonderful little handfuls of warmth and sweetness. Keep them in the freezer and defrost and warm as needed.
Little pies are a creative dessert option, perfect for a buffet so nobody has to cut pieces. Cut 4-inch circles of crust and press into the tins and add your favorite pie fillings and then bake until crust and filling are cooked through. Pop them out once cool by running a knife around the edge.
Layer wafer cookies with ice cream and toppings like caramel or hot fudge then freeze till solid. Sprinkles and nuts top things off perfectly. You won’t have to struggle to slice anything when you serve and running hot water against the back of the tin will loosen them.
This is more fun than you think. Use jumbo muffin tins to make ice for a punch bowl, with edible flowers or herb leaves frozen inside. Use mini muffin tins to freeze coffee or tea so you don’t water down your iced beverages.
Brette Sember is the author of The Original Muffin Tin Cookbook, available on Amazon as a Kindle.
Photo by Meal Makeover Moms CC BY-ND