I have so many muffin tins at home that there's an entire shelf in my kitchen devoted to them. (Find 20 delicious muffin recipes here.)

I love muffin tins because they offer built-in portion control. Take mini meatloaf, for example: using a muffin tin instead of a loaf pan saves me from having to eyeball the appropriate size to cut (plus it reduces baking time and the little loaves make an easily packable lunch).

Now that you know the method behind my madness, I bet you'll break out your muffin tin more often too. Here are 12 sweet and savory recipes to inspire you to form a whole new relationship with your muffin tin.

Mini Meals

Mini Meatloaves: These cook in half the time of a full-size meatloaf and you can have leftovers for a sandwich the next day.

Parmesan Spinach Cakes: If you like spinach-cheese pie, try these simple but elegant-looking little spinach cakes.

Muffin-Tin Crab Cakes: You can take the frying-and fuss-out of crab cakes by shaping and baking them in muffin tins. Make it a meal and add some tangy tartar sauce and coleslaw


Pineapple Coconut Bites: This cookie was one of the runners-up in our annual EatingWell Holiday Cookie Contest last year.

Double Nut & Date Tassies: This was one of our top 10 semifinalists in our 5th annual EatingWell Holiday Cookie Contest this year.

Cupcakes & Cake

Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting: The staff at EatingWell found these cupcakes irresistible! Shredded apple replaces some of the oil and keeps the cake moist in these cinnamon-spiked cupcakes. There is a generous amount of fluffy marshmallow frosting to mound or pipe on top for a festive look.

Carrot Cupcakes: Pureed fruit stands in for some of the fat in these individual carrot cakes topped with cream-cheese frosting.

Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes with Mocha Sauce: Some molten-cake recipes call for simply underbaking the batter so the middles stay lava-like, but mini cakes get done so quickly it's best to give them a filling that won't set up. These rich, mocha-flavored morsels are guaranteed to stay moist and gooey, owing to a simple mocha ganache in the middle. Serve the cakes with a scoop of low-fat coffee ice cream and garnish with a chocolate-covered espresso bean, if desired.


Mini Mushroom-&-Sausage Quiches: These crustless mini quiches are like portable omelets. Small and satisfying, they're also a good finger food for your next cocktail party.

Canadian Bacon & Scallion Mini Quiches: Serve these over salad for an elegant lunch or a quick, healthy dinner. You can also make them in advance, store them in the refrigerator, and let the kids have one or two for a healthy after-school snack.

Muffins (of course!)

Blueberry-Coconut-Macadamia Muffin: The one-two punch of coconut and macadamia nuts in this luxurious muffin will make you think you're having your morning coffee in Hawaii.

Jam-Filled Almond Muffins: A crunchy topping of sugared toasted almonds and a surprise filling of almond-scented berry jam makes these whole-wheat muffins reminiscent of Danish pastries.