When it comes to finding the “best” muffin pan, it has always seemed like you have to make a choice. You can choose the pan that’s best at producing evenly cooked sweets and treats but is impossible to clean. Or you can go with the best quick-clean pan that cooks decently but carries the risk of transferring some nasty chemicals to your food.
As someone interested in finding the healthiest choice, both for themselves and for the planet, we’re guessing you probably lean toward the former. But, with more and more choices of green alternative products hitting the market every year, having to make the choice between quick-clean and chemical-free may be a thing of the past.
Here are our choices for the best muffin pans that bring it all to the table. And we’ve broken them out by material so you can find the best tin for your peace of mind and your cooking style.
The Best Metal Muffin Pans
Our first two choices are for the traditionalists out there who enjoy the even heat distribution and durability that only metal baking pans can bring. These pans are free of dangerous non-stick additives and are a great choice for perfectly cooked muffins every time.
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Muffin Pan
This sleek and simple muffin tin by Nordic Ware Naturals is perfect for the professional baker or the home baker who takes their muffin and cupcake crafting seriously. This pure aluminum pan will never rust and the reinforced steel rim assures it will never warp.
While the lack of nonstick coating will make clean up more of a challenge, the seamless construction of the cups means there aren’t any nooks or cracks for the batter to get caught in, making it possible to have this pan looking like new after every use with just a little patience and elbow grease. Or, if that’s not your thing, these festive and earth-friendly reusable silicone baking cups will make clean up a snap with any tin.
The pan is available in a standard 12-cup or the mini 24-cup. You can even get it with a raised snap-on lid to keep your baked goods fresher longer.
Ecolution Bakeins 12 Cup Muffin and Cupcake Pan
If you enjoy a quality metal baking tin but your real focus is finding one that is a cinch to clean and doesn’t require a lot of oil for priming, the Ecolution Bakeins pan is a great option. This pan is made of carbon steel which means it is both durable and non-stick.
It includes a reinforced rolled edge and seamed cups for perfectly shaped and evenly cooked muffins and cupcakes every time. And the natural non-stick surface means clean up will be snap even without the use of harmful chemical coatings like BPA, PFOA, and PTFE.
Best of all, this pan is available in four styles: 6-cup, 6-extra-large-cup, 12-cup, and 24-mini-cup.
The Best Silicone Muffin Pans
While silicone-style muffin tins may not provide the same heat conductivity as metal pans, their natural non-stick surfaces and flexible cups make them a superior choice for the hobbyist baker. And, with an endless list of optional features, different colors, and unique shapes, it’s easy to find the right silicone pan to fit your needs.
Silicone Muffin Pan With Steel Frame by Boxiki Kitchen
Our first choice for easy to use and easy to clean silicone muffin pans comes from Boxiki Kitchen. With a durable, warp-free stainless steel body and flexible silicone baking cups, you can easily pop your muffins out after baking and clean up quickly without the hassle of a wobbly, bendy tin that’s hard to handle.
This tin is also elegantly shaped with wide, easy-grab handles but less surface area to clean and store than similar pans.
This model is available in a 12-cup style that comes with bright red accents to keep your baking days festive and light.
Trudeau 09912094 12 Count Structure Muffin Pans in Silicone
This Trudeau pan combines the easy full surface cleaning of a traditional silicone tin with the structural stability of a metal pan. The outer edge of the pan is made of integrated steel topped with a flash of easy to grip pink silicone. The inner portion of the pan, including the top surface and cups, is a single piece of seamless silicone.
Because this pan doesn’t require a cookie sheet under it for support and the metal in the pan itself is just along the outer edge, you can count on more evenly cooked muffins without the hassle. And, since the entire top surface is nonstick silicone, clean up is a breeze.
This pan is available in the 12-cup style in charcoal grey with a dark pink flare around the outer edge.
Gezan Non-Sticky Silicone Muffin Pan
For those bakers out there who are just looking for a simple, affordable baking pan that they can count on to last, this pair of silicone pans from Gezan is a great choice. They are made of 100% silicone making them flexible enough to pop muffins out of without any hassle and easy to clean no matter how messy you get with the batter.
To get your filled silicone pans from the counter to the oven you will need to pop a cookie sheet or baking sheet underneath for stabilization. But what these pans lack in stability, they more than makeup for in ease of use.
This colorful pair includes one bright orange tin and one bright blue tin, both in the 12-cup standard style.
If you like the eco-friendly performance of silicone bakeware, a versatile silicone baking mat is something you’ll definitely want in your kitchen.
The Best Ceramic Muffin Pans
If you’re a frequent baker who needs a non-stick pan that can stand up to the test of time, you should consider a ceramic coated muffin tin. Like metal tins, these pans allow for even heat distribution and are highly durable. But unlike most PFOA and PTFE-free pans, these ceramic coated tins are nonstick and easy to clean. And they don’t contain any harsh chemical additives.
casaWare Ceramic Coated NonStick
When it comes to ceramic tins, it is hard to find a better option than the casaWare Ceramic Coated muffin pan. Not only is this pan free of the chemicals typically found in nonstick bakeware, but the thick double-coated ceramic sits over durable carbon steel for a nonstick surface that will last and last.
This heavy-duty pan is perfect for the baker who requires a lot from their tools and is willing to pay a little extra to get a product that will last. As with any ceramic-coated pan, it’s important to only use soft-tipped spatulas and nonabrasive cleaning tools.
Best of all, this standard 12-cup pan comes in blue, red, brown, or grey, all with a unique granite pattern.
Farberware 46329 purECOok Hybrid Ceramic Nonstick 12-Cup Muffin Tin
If you like the idea of a ceramic coated pan but don’t need something quite as heavy-duty as the casaWare model, then this Farberware purECOok pan is a great choice. It is lighter and less expensive than our first choice but still comes with a lot of great features.
This pan has a steel core coated with a unique hybrid ceramic-silicone wrap for superior nonstick baking without any risky chemicals or the added weight of traditional ceramic pans. This tin also features a novel diamond pattern cup button that helps increase airflow for a more even cook.
Like our first choice, this 12-cup baking pan is available in multiple color options to give your baking some extra flare.
Viking 4040-3524-CGY Ceramic Nonstick Bakeware Muffin Pan
Last but not least, this beautiful and functional 24-cup ceramic-coated muffin pan from Viking is perfect for the mini-muffin enthusiast or anyone else who enjoys the easy clean offered by standard ceramic pans and just wants to add a few more tools to their collection.
This pan features a heavy gauge carbon steel core and a water-based ceramic coating for easy cleaning and prep. Large, non-slip silicone handles at each end of the wide pan make for easy transfer in and out of the oven and give it a sleek and professional look to match the elegant cream finish.
This same pan style is also available in a 6-cup design for standard-sized muffins.
No matter which pan type you choose, with each of the choices listed above, you can feel confident that you are getting a tool that’s easy to bake with, easy to clean, and good for the earth and your family.
Feature photo: ©fotogal/Bigstock