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Difference between a cupcake pan & a muffin pan

Updated April 17, 2017

Bake cupcakes or muffins in the same pan, typically called a muffin pan. The only difference between baking muffins and cupcakes is whether or not you line the wells of the pan with paper. Typically, you line the wells with paper cupcake liners when baking cupcakes but do not line the wells when baking muffins.

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Standard Muffin/Cupcake Pan

The traditional 12 cup muffin or cupcake pan is suitable for standard-size cupcakes or muffins. These pans produce 3-inch diameter muffins or cupcakes, and they have 1-inch deep wells. You can spray the pan with cooking spray for baking muffins and they should come out of the pan smoothly or you can fill the wells with cupcake liners before baking cupcakes. Many types of standard muffin or cupcake pans are dishwasher safe for convenience.

Mini Muffin/Cupcake Pan

Another available option for baking muffins or cupcakes is a mini muffin pan. These pans typically contain 24 wells, each producing a bite-size treat. Mini muffins and cupcakes are served for brunch, appetizers or snacks when entertaining guests. You can purchase mini-size cupcake liners from a kitchen store or a craft store if desired for baking cupcakes that won't stick to the pan. Mini muffin/cupcake pans are often dishwasher safe and some brands come with a free recipe when you purchase the pan.

Large Cupcake Pan

Create huge cupcakes for a party or event by using a giant cupcake pan, available from retailers, such as Target and Williams-Sonoma. Giant cupcake pans produce cupcakes 6-inches tall and 7-inches in diameter, which provide plenty of space for frosting and decorating. These cupcake pans have a separate well for the top and bottom of the cupcake, allowing you to mix and match the type of batter used. Hand-wash the giant cupcake pan; it is not recommended for the dishwasher.

Big Muffin/Cupcake Pan

Make extra large muffins or cupcakes with a king-size muffin pan. King-size muffin pans have six wells that produce taller-than-normal muffins or cupcakes. This pan is typically made from a non-stick material, so it is easy to remove the muffins and cupcakes. You will not need to line the cups with paper liners, but you can grease the cups or spray them with cooking spray to ensure the muffins or cupcakes will not stick to the pan.

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About the Author

Jeris Swanhorst is a writer and English and literature instructor at the college level, and owner of SwanJay, a knitting and crochet business. She earned a master's degree in English from Minnesota State University in 2007.

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