I really like the second silicone muffin pan I bought! Here's what I learned about buying one, along with my recommendation.

Muffin Pans

I use muffin pans for a lot more than just muffins.  They’re perfect for baking individual portions of almost anything, and can significantly cut baking times.  And my favorite muffin “tins” are actually silicone.

The first silicone pan I ever bought was a muffin tin, and I learned a bunch of lessons about buying silicone pans from that experience — both good and bad:

  • Cheap “silicone” usually isn’t 100% silicone and has plastic mixed in.  It’s much harder to clean, food won’t pop out as easily, it’s not as heat resistant, and it’s probably not good for your health.
  • Paying a little more for thicker silicone pans is TOTALLY worthwhile, as they won’t have such a tendency to collapse when you fill them.  Even if you put a metal pan under them, the thin ones can do all sorts of wobbly stuff.
  • Even with 100% silicone pans, they’re not as non-stick as the marketing would like you to believe.  I still usually use some nonstick spray.
  • Bottoms and sides don’t brown as nicely with silicone as with metal pans.
  • Silicone pans are much quieter to store than metal pans.
  • If you buy a 12-cup muffin pan in silicone, you can use sturdy scissors and cut it into 3 “pans” — one with 6 cups, one with 4 and one with just 2.  Use any combination as you need it.  I particularly like this as I can often bake two things at once this way, even in a small boat oven!
  • Cutting 12-cup pan into 3 smaller pans also makes them easier to store — the 4-cup and 2-cup pans can stack on top of the 6-cup pan.

Most big-box stores carry silicone pans, but don’t just grab the first ones you see.  I made that mistake and while they were inexpensive, they were also were flimsy and I hated them.  Actually, my experience with them made me think that silicone pans were a novelty item and not a real cooking tool until I saw better ones that a friend had.  Yes, hers had cost about double what mine had but hers lived up to their promise.  So I ended up not spending the “double” amount that I would have if I’d bought good ones to begin with, but “triple” as I bought first a cheap pan, then a good one.  (Yes, I’ve finally learned to research before I buy.)

Lacking any better housewares stores near me, I end up buying online.  And once again, my favorites are on Amazon:

For use on a boat, I prefer to stick to the standard-size muffin tin.  Unless you’ve got far more storage space than most galleys, it’s the most versatile size and what I’ll choose if I can have just one pan.  Mini muffin pans, “tops-only” pans and extra-large pans might be nice in some cases, but none of them is really all-purpose.  The regular-size pans, on the other hand, can be used for anything.

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  • stacy
    Posted at 26 October 2012 Reply

    I love the silicone muffin ideas in the boat galley article. I also like that some people use them while underway to protect items in cabinets(glassware), but a friend recently told me that she didn’t like them because she detected a taste she didn’t care for with the silicone. Have you noticed a “funny” taste in your items cooked?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 26 October 2012 Reply

      My experience is that the ones that are 100% silicone (no plastic filler) don’t have a taste. But ones with any plastic can have some funny taste.

  • Sue Klumb on Facebook
    Posted at 26 October 2012 Reply

    Great 🙂 I have two six cup silicone muffin pans and they work great on our boat…I like the idea of cutting them into smaller sections…one row of three cups would fit nicely to one side of the oven next to a casserole dish! Thanks for the tip Carolyn 🙂

  • Helen
    Posted at 25 July 2013 Reply

    I have started making muffin tops….hubby’s idea…I use a flat pan and spoon on the muffin mix…you can control the size and they r like muffin tops!! And we all love that part the best 😉

  • Sheryl Shard
    Posted at 02 August 2013 Reply

    Thanks once again for more great ideas for the galley! I never thought of cutting the large silicone muffin pans down into smaller sections which will make things so much more manageable. Nice idea to use muffin pans for baking individual portions of other things too to reduce cooking time. I’m getting out the scissors now…

  • Amy S
    Posted at 05 December 2013 Reply

    Thanks for the article! I have just bought a table top halogen oven, and I would like to use my silicone muffin pan in there but it doesn’t quite fit. I was wondering about your idea of cutting them, I have heard this can be dangerous as there can be chemicals in the plastic that can make their way into your food?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 06 December 2013 Reply

      My info says that if they’re 100% silicone, it’s okay. The ones with fillers in the silicone (generally cheap ones — they also have more problems with sticking) are the ones to be careful with.

  • Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious)
    Posted at 26 July 2016 Reply

    I’ve tried silicone bakeware and have one heck of a time getting it clean without using a disturbing amount of water. Any ideas?

  • D and Don
    Posted at 26 July 2016 Reply

    Thanks once again Carolyn for another great idea – cutting the pans into smaller pieces.

  • Brenda
    Posted at 26 July 2016 Reply

    I, too, have had mixed experiences with silicone bakeware. However one of the best investments I made while living aboard was in individual silicone muffin cups. You can use anywhere from one to twelve (or more!) at a time, and don’t need to cut a larger pan apart. They store in the size of a muffin, and wash up nicely. I don’t use nonstick spray and they release the baked goods well. I bought mine years ago in a specialty cookware store, but checking today see that Amazon does sell them. Mine have been used at least weekly for the last thirteen years or so, and are still doing great.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 29 July 2016 Reply

      We use those too, and I’ve written about them. Another great use is an easily portable water dish for a small dog — easily fits in a pocket!

  • Stuart Dutton
    Posted at 12 October 2017 Reply

    It’s like she is reading our mind Meredith Wright!

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