If you don't think of your muffin pan as one of the most versatile tools in the kitchen, chances are you're using it wrong. A quality muffin pan is a workhorse that can be used to make everything from delicate cupcakes to hearty meatballs. We love them for meal prepping big batches of mini quiches just as much as we love them for cooking up light and airy popovers for Sunday brunch. Having a durable, sturdy muffin tin is a kitchen essential, so we tested muffin pans from 11 different brands to find the best ones.
There are a ton of muffin pans to choose from, so we decided to put a few of the leading models to the test—from silicone to cast iron and everything in between. In our hunt for the best muffin pan, we baked muffins and mini meatloaves and assessed everything from functionality to versatility and durability. Overall, the Oxo Good Grips Nonstick Pro Muffin Pan won us over because it's a heavy-duty pan that produced perfect results. Read on for more of our top picks.
Pros: Ample space to grip makes taking it in and out of the oven super easy.
Cons: This pan is slightly larger than some others we tested, so you can only fit one on an oven rack at a time, which is important to note if you're making multiple batches of a recipe.
This heavy-duty muffin pan passed our tests by producing consistently cooked and delicately domed muffins and meatloaves every time. The extra-wide sides make it easy to grab from the oven, and despite how sturdy it is, it's still surprisingly lightweight. We loved that the nonstick coating allows you to cook even the stickiest batters without any form of cooking spray or pan liner, and each muffin came out without leaving much residue behind. Heat distributes evenly, ensuring that the batter in the center cooks as thoroughly as the batter on the sides. Although it isn't dishwasher-safe, we love how easy it is to clean by hand.
Pros: This non-toxic ceramic pan is completely nonstick.
Cons: It isn't dishwasher-safe, so be sure to wash it by hand.
This chic ceramic pan had one of the slickest nonstick coatings, and we love that it's made free of toxins like PFOA, PFAS, and lead. Muffins and meatloaves came out easily, leaving minimal residue behind. The pan is lightweight yet durable and felt completely sturdy no matter how heavy our batter was. Keep in mind that it's not dishwasher-safe, but we had no trouble cleaning it by hand.
Related: We Cooked 68 Omelets to Test the Best Nonstick Pans
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Pros: The flexible, silicone molds make it easy to pop out muffins when they're finished baking.
Cons: It's one of the priciest pans on the list.
The Silpat muffin mold transfers heat evenly, is completely nonstick and is dishwasher-safe. Out of all the silicone molds we tried, this produced the most evenly cooked results and was the easiest to clean. Each muffin well is widely spaced out, so this pan is particularly handy if you're making a recipe that will rise or expand. Though lightweight, the mold is large and easy to handle, with ample space to grip the sides. However, keep in mind that this pan isn't as sturdy as the metal options, so be sure to place it on a sheet tray before transferring it to the oven.
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Pros: Nonslip grips make it one of the easiest to maneuver out of all the pans we tested.
Cons: This is one of the priciest pans on our list.
We love how perfectly slick the coating on this nonstick pan is. It passed all of our tests without leaving any residue in the pan and was super easy to clean by hand. All of the muffins came out of the oven with delicate domes and golden brown crust. The nonslip grips and ample space to grab made this pan extra easy to maneuver. We liked the Anolon pan's functionality, versatility, and durability, but it's slightly pricier than some of the others.
Pros: This is a super slick nonstick pan at the best price point we've seen.
Cons: There isn't extra space to grip the sides, so be careful not to stick your oven mitt in the batter.
This pan performed exceptionally well in all the tests we put it through. No food stuck to the pan, and each muffin came out evenly cooked and consistently puffed. This Wilton pan is one of the most affordable options on our list, making it an excellent option for anyone looking to tackle various cooking and baking projects.
The Oxo Good Grips Nonstick Pro Muffin Pan is a sturdy cooking essential that would make an excellent addition to any home kitchen. Wide handles make it easy to grip and maneuver, and a nonstick coating means even the stickiest batters slide out freely. We love how evenly this pan conducts heat and were most impressed by the consistent muffins it produced.
In our search for the best muffin pan, we ran each pan through a series of culinary tests that aimed to assess versatility, functionality, durability, and brand promises. We took each pan's ability to evenly conduct and distribute heat into consideration to produce muffins that were the same color, texture, and size from well to well. To assess versatility, we cooked one sweet recipe: blueberry banana muffins, and one savory recipe: mini meatloaves. We evaluated each pan's ability to produce consistent results while also assessing how easy each pan was to use and clean. We baked each recipe twice without muffin liners and followed the brands' recommendations for cleaning and care. If a muffin pan was labeled nonstick, we did not use any cooking spray or muffin liners and selected recipes that were chunky, juicy, and sticky.
A great muffin pan should allow its contents to rise slightly, producing a nicely domed top on cupcakes and muffins. We tested each pan's ability to conduct heat evenly by looking at each muffin's size, shape, and color to make sure that the batter in the middle of the pan reacted the same way as the batter in the outer wells of the pan and the color and shape were consistent throughout.
One of the most important considerations to have when choosing a muffin pan is whether you can grab it by the sides without the edge of our oven mitts dipping into the batter. That's why it's important to take weight, size, and grip space into account before purchasing a pan. During our tests, we assessed how heavy the pan was and how much strain it put on your wrists. If taking the pan out of the oven with one hand, did it feel balanced? Or was it too heavy, causing the pan to dip and batter to spill over the edge of the wells?
Ease of care and cleaning is a huge factor to consider before purchasing a pan because ease-of-use is directly correlated to functionality. It's important to consider the manufacturer's instructions before purchasing a pan, to see if their cleaning recommendations align with your cooking style. In our testing, if a pan was dishwasher-safe, we ran it through a cycle to see how it affected functionality. If a pan was nonstick, we cooked each product without any added oil, butter, or muffin liners to test how slick the surface was.
This pan was the sturdiest of the silicone muffin pans we tested but our blueberry banana muffins stuck to the pan and did not release easily. Also, it's important to note that this pan is only oven-safe up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
This mini muffin pan is super lightweight and easy to use. The darker color creates even browning and left us with consistently golden muffins. The coating was completely nonstick, making this mini muffin pan a solid option for a variety of uses; no cooking spray required.
This compact pan is lightweight and easy to maneuver. We love that the slightly smaller size makes it easy to fit in the oven with other bakeware, and we found that the PFOA-free coating was completely nonstick. Hand-washing is recommended, and though there was residue left behind after baking, we found that it came out easily with hot water and soap.
This standard muffin tin produced even results and was easy to maneuver. Made of aluminum, this is one of the only pans we tested that was not nonstick, and we didn't notice any difference in the shape or color of the muffins made in this pan versus the Nordic Ware nonstick pan. It's durable and easy to clean, but be sure to use cooking spray or muffin liners.
Though cast iron probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about cupcake pans, this heavy-duty pan is the perfect vessel for making golden, crusty baked goods. Keep in mind that this pan is considerably smaller than others, and the narrow sides make it difficult to pick up. For best results, place it on a sheet tray before transferring it to the oven.
The Keliwa silicone pan was completely nonstick, and we noticed that any residue left in the wells came off in the dishwasher. Although we were impressed with the even heat distribution, we noted that muffins made in this pan came out flat rather than dome-shaped.
Laura Denby is a food writer and former professional chef who focuses on finding the most efficient and functional kitchen equipment for home cooks. She uses her years of experience cooking in professional kitchens along with her degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education to guide her expert product reviews. For this piece, Laura performed competitive research to develop a comprehensive product set, then personally tested each muffin pan with multiple recipes. You can find more of Laura's work in Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, FoodNetwork.com, and more.