Do you know the ‘Muffin Man? How about your muffin pan?

I am always looking for quick, easy, unique recipe ideas – this time I had a convenient source of inspiration. I just reached into my kitchen cabinet and pulled out a common baking pan – the muffin pan!

The beauty of cooking in a 6- or 12-cup muffin pan is that recipes become individual, pre-portioned servings, that are very portable (grab and go) and can easily be served. Some can even be frozen for reheating/eating at a later date.

You can make appetizers, breakfast, main dishes, side dishes and even desserts.

The muffin pan is a very versatile pan that produces its own unique shape. The pan comes in mini (12 or 24 wells), standard (6 or 12 wells), and jumbo (6 wells).

Of course, I have them all.

The pans are now produced in silicone, as well as the traditional metal pans — which also come with a nonstick finish.

In the past, I primarily used my pans in various sizes mostly for a wide variety of muffins and cupcakes.  However, I did branch out at times to line them with corned beef hash with an egg in the center of each cup and for mini-meatloaves. But, that was about as creative as I got.

Since retirement, I have had more time to participate in family reunions and covered-dish community events, so I have been experimenting a little more.

My old family favorite recipes, such as crustless sausage quiche for breakfast, and baked macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs easily can be converted to muffin pan cooking.

Recipes can be created to use up leftovers and will save cooking time because of the smaller size.

At this time of year when kids are starting back to school, these kid-friendly recipes will come in handy.

Betsy Crisp is a Professor Emeritus, UF/IFAS Extension – Family & Consumer Sciences.


Cheesy Broccoli-Rice Cups
(Use standard 12-cup muffin pan)


  • 2 cups brown rice (or white), cooked
  • 2 cups broccoli (fresh or frozen – thawed and patted dry), chopped
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese (mild or sharp yellow), shredded and divided by 2
  • ½ cup ranch dressing
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Grease a standard 12-cup muffin pan
  • In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients (retain 1 cup of cheese) until well-mixed
  • Divide evenly into the 12 wells and top with the remaining cup of cheese
  • Bake for 25 minutes to 30 minutes or until edges of cheese start to brown
  • Remove from oven and run a knife around the edge of each one to remove easily and cleanly

Yield: Makes 12 muffins. (2 muffins = 1 main dish serving)

Note: Cooked/canned chicken could be added to increase protein.

This is what the Tuna-Tomato Melt looks like after baking. (Betsy Crisp)

Tuna-Tomato Melts

  • Olive oil cooking spray (or butter/margarine to grease wells)
  • 3 light whole grain English muffins, split in half
  • 2 cans (7 ounces each, or three 5 ounce cans) light or Albacore tuna, packed in water and drained
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ small lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 Tablespoons spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 teaspoons, dried)
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded or 6 slices of cheese (sharp cheddar or Italian Blend/mozzarella)


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Spray each well with cooking spray
  • Press half an English muffin into each well
  • In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, mayo, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, onion, parsley, Italian herbs, and pepper. Gently stir to mix.
  • Evenly divide tuna mixture into each well on top of English muffin
  • Top each with a slice of tomato and a slice of cheese
  • Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown

Yield: 6 servings.

Crusty Loaded Mashed Potato Cups
(Use a standard 12-cup, nonstick muffin pan)


  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (or margarine)
  • 4 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • 8 Tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chives (or scallion tops), chopped
  • 3 tablespoons precooked bacon pieces (or approximately 3 strips cooked and crumbled)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups leftover mashed potatoes


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mix parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs together
  • Grease each well with butter/margarine. Divide breadcrumb mixture evenly into each well, and press on bottom and up sides to form a crust.
  • In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sour cream
  • Add cheese, chives, bacon, pepper, mashed potatoes, and mix well
  • Divide evenly into the 12 wells (cups)
  • Bake 30 minutes or until the potatoes begin to pull away from sides of the pan and cheese is golden brown
  • Let the potatoes cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan. Slide knife blade around the edge to help loosen before removing and serving

Yield: 12 servings.

Note: Using this same three-ingredient “crust recipe,” you can substitute your favorite baked macaroni and cheese recipe for the potatoes mixture. Just be sure to make a little more of the crumb mixture to sprinkle on the top!

Published August 29, 2018


  1. Ever since Rachel Ray introduced Stuffin’ Muffins (easy to Google), it has been a big hit at our Thanksgiving table. Everyone gets soft and chewy and crispy in the same muffin, and it helps control portion size. Great story Betsy! Thank you.

    • Betsy Crisp says

      Glad that you enjoyed this article. I just attended a state meeting at a fancy hotel. They served something similar to the potato recipe above – very delicious! Betsy

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