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How do you keep muffins sticking to paper cups?

Muffins sticking to paper cups is a common baking frustration. The muffin batter adheres to the cup liners, causing the muffins to stick when you try to remove them. While there are some tricks to help prevent sticking, it’s difficult to completely eliminate the issue. Here are some tips to minimize muffins sticking to paper cups:

Use high quality cupcake liners

Cheap paper cupcake liners are more likely to stick. Invest in parchment paper or silicone liners, which provide the best non-stick surface for baking. Parchment paper liners are compostable and silicone can be reused. Both materials allow the batter to pull away cleanly after baking.

Grease the liners

Lightly grease your cupcake liners with butter, non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil before adding the batter. This creates a barrier to keep the muffins from fusing to the liner material. Be sure to avoid over-greasing which can cause muffins to sink or become misshapen.

Fill liners 2/3 full

Overfilling cupcake liners is a common cause of sticking. Fill your liners no more than 2/3 full to allow room for the muffins to rise properly. This prevents spill over that can fuse the muffins to the liners.

Use cupcake trays

Bake your muffins in a 12-cup muffin tin rather than a 24-cup mini muffin pan. The additional space around each muffin allows for better air circulation for even baking and a clean release.

Let muffins cool completely before removing

It’s tempting to dive right in, but patience prevents sticking! Allow your muffins to cool completely before attempting to peel them out of the liners. The cooling time allows the muffins to properly set up and pull away from the liners naturally.

Run a knife gently around the muffin

After cooling, gently run a small knife around the inside edge of each muffin cup to help release any sticking points. Twist the liner slightly to loosen the muffin before pulling it out.

Tips for great muffin batter

While properly preparing your liners and pans is key, starting with the right batter consistency also prevents sticking. Here are tips for mix and bake flawless muffin batters:

Don’t overmix

Vigorous mixing overdevelops gluten in the batter, leading to muffins that dome and stick. Mix wet and dry ingredients gently just until incorporated. A few lumps are ok!

Use room temperature ingredients

Cold liquids and eggs prevent the leavening agents from working properly. Allow all ingredients to come to room temp before mixing.

Rest the batter for 5 minutes

After mixing, let the batter sit for 5 minutes before portioning into the liners. This allows the flour to fully hydrate for proper binding and rise.

Check for doneness early

Muffins overbaked until deep golden brown are more likely to stick. Test at the minimum baking time, then continue checking frequently until set but still pale colored.

Avoid ingredients that stick

Ingredients like nuts, dried fruits and oats can make muffins adhere to liners. If including, dust them in a bit of flour to prevent sticking.

Use liners just for baking

For mess-free snacking and transporting, cool baked muffins directly on a wire rack. Once cooled completely, carefully peel off the liners. The muffin exterior will now be crisp enough to stay neat when stored in a container or bag without liners. Enjoy your fresh muffins liner-free!

Additional tips

Here are a few more tricks to release muffins perfectly every time:

Sprinkle liners with flour

A light dusting of flour or cornmeal can help muffins pull away easily from liners. Tap out any excess before filling.

Use double liners

Lining your cups with two paper liners provides extra insurance against sticking. Simply peel off both liners after baking.

Freeze just baked muffins

Freezing locks in moisture and prevents sticking. Freeze muffins in the liners right after baking, then remove from freezer and liners once solid.

Use foil liners

Sturdy foil cupcake liners naturally release baked goods easily. Grease the insides lightly for best results.

Don’t place muffin tins directly on oven rack

Setting tins on a baking sheet allows for better heat circulation and an even release.


While no method is foolproof for completely non-stick muffins, properly preparing your liners, baking vessels and batter provides the best chance for success. Invest in quality liners, give batters time to rest, and use a light touch when mixing and baking. Allow muffins to cool completely before attempting to remove liners. With a few easy tweaks to your technique, you can minimize muffins sticking and enjoy perfect baked treats every time.