Never underestimate the creativity of a college student with limited kitchen supplies. When push comes to shove, almost any cooking item worth keeping in your dorm room or tiny apartment kitchen can pull double (or triple, or quadruple) duty. Though at first glance a muffin pan might seem like a fairly specialized piece of kitchen equipment, it’s good for so much more than just cupcakes and muffins. Find out how a muffin pan can be a perfect substitute for other pots and pans.
1. Perfect Cookie Pan
Want to make cookies, but you don’t have a baking sheet? No problem. Make cookies in a muffin tin instead. We’ve tested this successfully with two different cookie recipes, and the baking time and temperature from the original recipe remained the same. Added bonus: cookies baked in a muffin pan will come out perfectly circular.
2. Freeze and Store Your Smoothie Ingredients
Divide up sliced fruit and juice into each cup and keep the whole thing in the freezer, turning your muffin pan into a smoothie ingredient tray. Just pop one or two out at a time and toss them in the blender with some yogurt for an easy breakfast or snack.
3. Egg-spress Breakfast
For poached eggs, put 2 tablespoons of boiling water into each cup, then crack eggs into the cups. Bake at 400°F for 7 to 9 minutes. Freeze them, then reheat one at a time, and add them to a toasted English muffin with cheese for those mornings when you’re running short on time. Alternatively, put the eggs straight in the muffin pan with shells on and bake them in the oven at 350°F for a half hour. The eggs will come out perfectly hard-boiled. Refrigerate in the shells to save for later or peel for immediate use.
4. Pie for One
For single serving pies, cut store-bought pie crusts into 4-inch diameter circles and line each cup with dough. Add in the filling and bake. Make sure to reduce the baking time if you’re baking from a regular-size pie recipe to be sure the crust doesn’t burn.
5. Miniature Puff Pancakes
This recipe works just as well split into 12 muffin tin cups as it does in two 9-inch pie plates. Follow the recipe but reduce the cooking time to 12 minutes (like the miniature pies, miniature pancakes will cook faster than regular-sized ones). The little puff pancakes are the perfect size and shape to fill with fruit, jam, Nutella or peanut butter. Have a few, and experiment with toppings such as whipped cream, maple syrup or powdered sugar.