Best Muffin Top Pans

Updated October 2021
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Buying guide for Best muffin top pans

Who doesn't love a good muffin top? For many, the slightly crispy and perfectly caramelized bit at the top of a muffin is the only part worth eating. If you're a fan of muffin tops but don't know what to do with all those "stumps", a muffin top pan is bound to be a game changer.

Unlike their more traditional counterparts, muffin top pans have shallow cavities that allow you to bake the best part of a muffin without wasting so much as a crumb. They're also great for making perfectly round eggs, deliciously crispy cheese crackers, burger buns, and a lot more.

Muffin top pans come in a variety of sizes, construction materials, and colors. As with all types of bakeware, the devil is in the details, and any or all of these factors could affect your baking results.

Are you ready to boost your baking game but don't know where to start? Then read on. We created this detailed shopping guide to help make your job of choosing the best muffin top pan that much easier.

If you're using a dark-colored pan but don't want your baked goods to brown too much, try reducing your oven's temperature by 25°F, and begin testing for signs of doneness 10 minutes early.

Key considerations

Construction materials

Muffin top pans come in many of the same materials that regular muffin pans do, including aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel, and silicone.

Aluminum: An exceedingly popular choice among bakers, aluminum heats quickly and evenly for uniform browning. Aluminum muffin top pans tend to be affordable, lightweight, and easy to care for. However, it's worth noting that aluminum can warp when subjected to sudden temperature changes, and thinner pans may develop holes over time.

Stainless steel: If you're looking for something that will last a lifetime, stainless steel is a great choice. These pans tend to be easy to clean and naturally resist rust and scratches. They do, however, have one major drawback. Although stainless steel pans are generally strong, durable, and reasonably priced, they don't conduct heat quite as well as aluminum pans and can sometimes produce uneven results. Some high-end stainless steel pans have an aluminum or copper core for improved heat conductivity.

Carbon steel: Compared to stainless steel, carbon steel is a harder and stronger material. It heats relatively quickly and retains heat better for even baking results. There is a downside: maintaining carbon steel pans can be somewhat labor-intensive. Like cast iron bakeware, carbon steel pans need to be seasoned with oil or fat before and after use. They should also be hand washed and dried thoroughly to prevent rust.

Silicone: Naturally nonstick and highly flexible, silicone pans release baked goods quickly and easily. They're also dishwasher and freezer safe, making silicone a convenient option for busy bakers. Just like any other bakeware material, though, silicone has drawbacks. These pans can take a while to heat up, increasing your total baking time. Further, silicone pans can be nearly impossible to handle after filling and often need to be placed on a metal sheet to keep them flat and steady.


While some might prefer the look of a light-colored pan over a dark one (or vice versa), the color of your muffin top pan actually has very little to do with aesthetic appeal (unless, of course, you've decided to use a silicone pan). Far from simply being a cosmetic consideration, pan color can have a major influence on the outcome of baked goods.

Light-colored pans absorb less heat and produce minimal browning, making them more suitable for eggs, cookies, cloud bread, and cakes.

Dark pans, on the other hand, absorb and distribute heat quickly for improved browning and extra crispiness, making them a top choice for mini pies, taco shells, cheese crackers, and cornbread.


Muffin top pans come in a handful of sizes. In this section, we take a look at cup and tray size.

Cup size

When it comes to cup size, you have three basic options to choose from: mini, standard, and large (or jumbo).

  • Mini: Ideal for creating bite-sized morsels, the cups in a mini muffin top pan typically a diameter of 2 inches (or slightly less) and a depth of around 3/8 of an inch. Although mini muffin top pans are a bit less versatile than standard and large varieties, bakers find that they're just the right size for smaller treats like macarons, mini whoopie pies, and cheese crisps.
  • Standard: Most standard muffin top pans come with cups that measure 3 inches wide and 1/2 of an inch deep. Not only does this size deliver the most "authentic" muffin top experience possible, it's also incredibly versatile. Whether you're baking muffin tops, eggs for breakfast sandwiches or bagels, cheese crackers, or whoopie pies, a standard pan should do the trick.
  • Large/Jumbo: Large muffin top pans offer a little bit extra with cups that measure 4 inches across and a 1/2 inch deep. If you like the idea of making muffin tops you can really sink your teeth into, egg patties big enough to fit on a bun, mini frittatas, or keto bread, a large muffin top pan is a solid choice.

Pan size

The average muffin top pan is anywhere from 17.25 inches long and 11.25 inches wide to 11.6 inches long and 6.8 inches wide. While pan size isn't usually a concern, it can become an issue  if you're using a toaster oven. To avoid ending up with a pan that does not fit inside your toaster oven, we recommend measuring the oven interior before buying. Sticking to pans that measure 13 inches or less is generally a safe bet, but it's always a good idea to double-check your oven dimensions.


The number of cups in a muffin top pan ranges from 4 to 24. Most 24-cup pans produce mini muffin tops, while 12-cup pans make standard-size muffin tops, and pans with four to six cups are more likely to have jumbo-size cavities. If you have a big family or want to bake large batches and freeze them, you'll need at least one or two 12-cup pans. Baking for two or perhaps just yourself? If so, a pan with four or six cups should fit the bill.


Nonstick coating

Whether you're baking muffin tops or eggs, pans with a nonstick coating release their contents far more easily than those without. A nonstick coating also allows you to cut back on the amount of butter you use to grease your pan. (In some cases, it may allow you to forgo greasing entirely.) Keep in mind that some nonstick coatings (like PTFE, also known as Teflon) come with special usage and care instructions. To prevent your nonstick coating from breaking down prematurely, always follow manufacturer guidelines.

Grips and grab handles

Some muffin top pans come with side grips or grab handles to make getting your goodies in and out of the oven easier. While these are great for preventing the dreaded "thumb dip", they do add a little extra length to your pans and can make stacking multiple pans for storage somewhat awkward.

Did You Know?
Some silicone pans have metal frames that make them easier to handle. These pans are sturdy enough to be placed in the oven without an additional baking sheet underneath.


Nonstick spray: Baker's Joy NonStick Spray
Using a nonstick baking spray to grease your pans is a quick and easy way to increase the chance of a smooth and successful release.

Oven mitts: HOMWE Extra Long Professional Silicone Oven Mitts
When it comes to handling hot baking pans, oven mitts are a kitchen safety must-have. Silicone oven mitts are flexible, grippy, and capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 450°F.

Stand mixer: DASH 6-Speed Stand Mixer
Whether you're an occasional baker or a serious pastry chef, a stand mixer is a worthwhile addition to any kitchen. Even a simple model can help cut your whisking, whipping, and beating time in half.

Always place your pan in the center of the oven to prevent uneven cooking.


Muffin top pan prices

Inexpensive: Muffin top pans priced under $10 are typically crafted from lightweight aluminum or silicone. These usually have six cups or less. Though it's possible to find some 12-cup models in this price bracket, most are made from thinner metal that can be prone to warping and uneven heat distribution.

Mid-range: For between $10 and $20, you can find some real gems. Many muffin top pans in this price range are made of sturdy steel with a nonstick coating, and some come with handy features like side grabs. You'll also find silicone pans in a variety of sizes at this price point.

Expensive: Whether you're after superior heat distribution or simply want something that will stand the test of time, the $20 to $40 price range usually yields the highest-quality pans. These are generally made of thick carbon or stainless steel that won't warp or develop holes, and many sport a durable nonstick coating as well.

Did You Know?
Eggs can be notoriously sticky, so be sure to grease your pan thoroughly beforehand regardless of whether it has a nonstick coating or not.


  • Use large muffin top pans to have a batch of pancakes ready all at once.
  • Muffin top pans are the perfect vehicle for baking whoopie pies, soft and chewy deep-dish chocolate chip cookies, and even brownies.
  • For extra-crispy muffin tops, sprinkle a little brown sugar on each muffin before placing your tray in the oven.
  • Compared to regular muffins, muffin tops only take around half to three-quarters as much time to bake. This is due to the fact that the batter is spread out in a flatter, thinner layer.
The best way to prevent warping is to invest in heavy-gauge metal pans right from the start. However, if you've already purchased pans and want to keep them in the best shape possible, try to avoid drastic temperature changes, and allow them to cool off before washing.


Q. What's the best way to clean my muffin top pan?

A. The best way to clean any baking pan is by carefully following the manufacturer care instructions. However, there are a few universal guidelines that can help keep your pans in tip-top shape:

  • Never place pans with a nonstick coating in the dishwasher. Rather, wait for your pan to return to room temperature, and hand wash in warm water using a sponge or soft bristle brush. Add a couple drops of mild detergent to cut through stubborn grease. The same applies to aluminum pans.
  • Always hand wash carbon steel pans and dry them thoroughly with a dish towel. Season with fat before storing.
  • If you prefer to use a dishwasher, opt for a pan made of stainless steel or silicone.

Q. How far should I fill the cups of a muffin top pan?

A. If you're using thin batter, we recommend filling the cups to just over three quarters full to prevent sloshing, spills, and overflows. When it comes to thicker batter, feel free to spoon it in until it reaches the top of the cup or, if your batter is very thick, slightly higher for gorgeous high-domed muffin tops.

Q. Do I need to grease a silicone muffin top pan?

A. Despite being naturally nonstick, most silicone pans can benefit from a light greasing. A quick spritz of baking spray can help ensure effortless release every time.

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