Recipes: 9 New Ways to Use Your Cupcake Pan

Move over muffins and cool your heels cupcakes, you aren’t the only uses for the bakeware bearing your name. It’s hard to deny the deliciousness of a cupcake or muffin, but if you’re only using the pans for that purpose, you are missing out on a whole world of sweet and savory dishes. Whether you want a bite-sized dessert, a single serving of pasta, or finger-food for a party, here are nine recipes that show the versatility of the muffin pan.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Cheeseburger Cups

Looking for something kid-friendly and easy? Try cheeseburger cupsTaste of Home‘s version seasons the ground meat with ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, but feel free to use whichever seasonings you normally put on hamburgers. The cheese can also be of your choosing — the original calls for cubed Velveeta, but other shredded cheeses will melt just as well.


  • 1 pound ground turkey or beef
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • ½ cup cubed cheese, or 1 cup shredded cheese

Directions: In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Remove from the heat; set aside.

Press each biscuit onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased muffin cup. Spoon beef mixture into cups; top with cheese cubes. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden brown.


Source: Thinkstock

2. Mini chicken and broccoli pot pies

Giada De Laurentiis keeps the savory vibe going with mini pot pies. You can switch out broccoli for another vegetable if you’d prefer, like carrots. You’ll need a 12-cup mini muffin pan, which is slightly smaller than a standard 12-cup pan.


Pot pie filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 small store-bought rotisserie chicken breast, chopped into ¼-inch pieces (about ¾ cup meat)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cut into ¼ to ½-inch pieces, steamed (about 2 ounces)

Pot pie crust:

  • all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • two 10-inch round unfold-and-bake frozen pie crusts, thawed
  • 1 large egg

Directions: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 12-count mini-muffin pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

For the pot pie filling: Melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, Parmesan, chicken, and broccoli.

To assemble: On a lightly-floured work surface, roll out the dough ⅛-inch thick. Using the 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 pieces of dough. Using the 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out another 12 pieces of dough. Press the large rounds of dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon the sauce into the pastry.

Combine the egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl, using a fork. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg mixture and place the remaining pieces of dough on top. Lightly press the edges of the dough together to seal. Press around the edges of the pies using the tines of a fork. Brush the tops of each pie with the beaten egg. Cut a ½-inch-long slit into the top of the pies using a paring knife. Bake until the tops are golden and the filling is bubbling, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.


Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Bacon, egg, and toast cups

The Two Bite Club took on the challenge of making breakfast a little more interesting, and impressive by creating a classic breakfast — bacon, eggs, and toast — packaged in a new format. If you don’t want 12 cups, halve the recipe and leave empty spaces between the cups in the tray.


  • 12 eggs
  • 12 slices bacon
  • 12 pieces bread
  • butter, for greasing
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease your muffin tin with the butter. Use a rolling pin to flatten your slices of bread, then cut them into large rounds. Put one slice of bread into each muffin cup and press it around the edges of the tin so it makes a little cup.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until almost crispy, but still pliable.  Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  When cool enough to handle, place one slice of bacon into each cup. Gently crack an egg into each cup and season with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or just until the eggs whites are set. Use a plastic knife to loosen the cups from the pan and serve immediately.


Source: iStock

Source: iStock

4. Banana almond baked oatmeal cups

But now that you’ve had several breakfasts of bacon, eggs, and toast, you probably want a little variety. Baked oatmeal cups can start your morning off on the healthy foot, and Coffee and Quinoa‘s do not use any refined sugar, and are vegan too.


  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 1½ cups mashed bananas (4-5 bananas) and 1 extra banana, sliced
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1½ cups plain unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds and extra for topping

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and position a rack in the center. Grease a muffin tin with baking spray. Be sure to get the spray all the way up the sides of the muffin tins because we’re filling them all the way up! If almond butter is not runny, microwave it for about 30 seconds to loosen it up.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Spoon into muffin cups. Top with a few sliced almonds and a slice of banana. Place on rack in the center of the oven and bake until oatmeal cups are firm to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Optionally, set oven to low broil for an additional 1 to 2 minutes to toast the almonds and caramelize the banana on top. Be careful, though because the almonds burn easily. If your broiler is uneven or you’ve never used it before, you may want to skip this step.

Wait several minutes for oatmeal cups to cool before running a knife around the edges and removing them from the tin. Serve hot or let cool and refrigerate individually wrapped for breakfasts on the go. Enjoy!


Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Mini lasagna

The solution to having too many leftovers from a huge pan of lasagna are mini lasagna cups. The recipe below by Jersey Girl Cooks can be meatless (provided you use marinara sauce), but you can add meat through another adaptation, which uses less sauce and adds in ground meat. You could also use a meat-based sauce if you prefer.


  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 2 to 3 cups meat or marinara sauce, heated
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Mix ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese and ½ teaspoon seasoning in a small bowl and set aside. Reserve the rest of the seasoning.

Place 1 wonton wrapper in each tin, pressing firmly against each muffin cup. Spoon some sauce into each cup using half of the sauce. Spread the ricotta mixture into each cup using it all up. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella. Dip the remaining wonton wrappers in water individually before placing each one of top of the cheese. Top with the remaining sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with remaining seasoning.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is melted and tops are golden. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before carefully removing from the pan. Makes 12 individual lasagnas.


Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. Pumpkin cake doughnuts

What makes a doughnut a doughnut? King Arthur Flour thinks baking a pumpkin doughnut in a muffin tin instead of a doughnut pan means it cannot be considered a “doughnut.” It may not be shaped like a traditional doughnut, but it will still share the taste of a pumpkin cake doughnut, and at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters?


  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups pumpkin purée (canned pumpkin)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1¾ cups and 2 tablespoons Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.

Fill each well about ¾ full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches or use two pans.

Bake the doughnuts for for 23 to 25 minutes. Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool.

While the doughnuts are still warm, but no longer fragile, sprinkle tops heavily with cinnamon-sugar. Cool completely, and store (not wrapped tight) at room temperature for several days.


Source: Thinkstock

7. Nutella lava cookie cups

You’ve had lava cake, you’ve had chocolate chip cookies, and you’ve had Nutella, but have you ever thought of combining the concept of all three into a dessert? Table for Two did, and the result is a gooey, lava cookie cup. Substitute Nutella for a chocolate hazelnut spread of your choosing, if desired. You can also serve the dessert with ice cream.


  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Nutella, melted/softened

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a standard size muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, add flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Then add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat for 2 more minutes. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until all combined and well-incorporated. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.

Place Nutella in a microwave-safe bowl and warm up the Nutella in 30 second intervals in the microwave until you achieve a smooth and runny consistency that is easy to spoon out. Using a medium cookie dough scoop, scoop out 1.5 – 2 tablespoons of cookie dough, flatten it to the bottom of the muffin tin. Repeat with the dough until all 10 of the muffin tin bottoms are lined with cookie dough.

Take a tablespoon of the warmed up Nutella and place in the middle of the dough that’s in the muffin tin. Then, take the remaining cookie dough and cover the Nutella layer. You don’t have to push it down hard, it’ll make the Nutella ooze. Just a gentle tap will do. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are brown. Immediately run a paring knife around the cookie cups when they come out of the oven so you can loosen them for easy removal later. Cool completely before removing them and eating.


Source: iStock

Source: iStock

8. Mini monkey bread

You may know this treat as cinnamon pull-apart bread or sticky bread. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious as dessert, breakfast, or a super sweet snack. Instead of using the traditional bundt cake pan method, try making it in a muffin pan, like The Cookin’ Chicks did.


  • 2 cans refrigerated biscuits
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DirectionsPreheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Melt the butter and add in the brown sugar, stirring until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of butter mixture to the bottom of each muffin cup.

Cut each biscuit into 5 to 6 pieces. In a gallon-sized bag, add the sugar and cinnamon together. Drop the biscuits into the bag and shake to coat each piece thoroughly. Add about 8 to 10 biscuit pieces into each muffin cup. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 2 minutes. Flip muffin tray upside down onto a cookie sheet.


Source: iStock

Source: iStock

9. Italian love nests

No, really, that is the name of this dish. Sometimes called Spaghetti Love Nests, pasta is twirled into the wells of a muffin pan after it has been cooked on the stove. The result are little baked “nests” filled with the cheeses and meats of your choosing. Center Cut Cook made them with Italian sausage, but you can omit this portion.


  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked according to directions.
  • 8 ounces of any meat of your choice — e.g. mild Italian sausage
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sauce of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce like Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (optional)

DirectionsPreheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and lightly grease 12 muffin cups. In a large skillet on medium high heat, cook and crumble Italian Sausage then drain excess fat. Add in 2 cups of sauce and heat for a few minutes, then remove meat/sauce mixture from the heat.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, Tabasco sauce, crushed red pepper flake and pasta. Stir to combine. Pour egg and pasta mixture over meat and sauce mixture. Use tongs to incorporate.

Using tongs, place enough noodles in a muffin cup to fill it. Twirl the pasta as you are placing it in the cup to form nests. Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the sides and tops are starting to brown.

Allow the Italian Love Nests to rest for 5 minutes; then use a knife to run around the edges of each muffin cup. Use a spoon to get the nests out of the pan. Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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