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How to Use Cupcake Liners (And the Different Types and Their Uses)

How to Use Cupcake Liners (And the Different Types and Their Uses)

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We all have cupcake liners in our pantry, ready to use anytime we bake cupcakes or muffins, but are they necessary?

You may be wondering why we use these baking cups and when we should be using them. Should you use them every time you bake?

I’ve included everything here in this article that you need to know about cupcake liners, from the types and sizes available to why we use them in the first place.

How To Use Cupcake Liners (And The Different Types And Their Uses)

Decorating with Cupcake Liners

Cupcake liners are the perfect tool to add an extra fun element to your baked goods. You can choose between a plethora of design options to suit your party or event’s theme.

If you’re wondering where you can find these unique and creative designs, I highly recommend visiting a baking or kitchen specialty store. Alternatively, you can shop online and find an even wider selection.

Just check for reviews before buying to see if any other bakers have had problems with those specific cupcake liners. The last thing you want is your cupcakes sticking inside.

If you’re not looking for anything fancy, grocery stores usually carry standard white cupcake liners.

Types of Cupcake Liners

As you browse for cupcake liners at a specialty store or grocery shop, you’ll likely come across two options. Liners for cupcakes and muffins.

Now, while both are marketed for different baked goods, they can be used interchangeably. To help you understand better, here are some of the different types of liners in the market.

Standard White Liners

White Cupcake Liners

Standard white liners offer you a neat and clean look for your cupcakes. They have fluted edges, making them easier to peel. I use these as my everyday liners when making a quick batch of cupcakes or breakfast muffins for my family.

They typically cost less than other liners, and you’ll be able to find them in any store, including the dollar store when you’re in a pinch. You can also order in bulk online, so you never run out!

Decorative and Fun Cupcake Liners

Decorative Cupcake Liners

Decorative cupcake liners come in an endless variety of colors and patterns. You can find dotted, striped, splotched, criss-crossed, geometric, and multiple other designs with all the colors you can think of.

These liners work perfectly for occasions like Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and more. In terms of size and material, they resemble the standard white cupcake liners.

When I’m baking cupcakes for birthdays, I usually let the birthday VIP choose a theme and then find cupcake liners that complement their choice.

Foil Cupcake Liners

Foil Cupcake Liners

Foil cupcake liners give off a more sophisticated and elegant appeal compared to standard options. They can come in colored or silver foil.

The shiny cupcake liners are also a bit stronger than the standard white liners, so expect to pay a little more for these.

Another plus with these liners is that they hold their shape exceptionally well, so much so that you can fill them with your cupcake batter and place them separately on a baking sheet without using a cupcake baking tin.

I like to use a gold, shiny foil liner when I want to add a bit of bling to my presentation or when making a cupcake with a denser filling.

Flower Petal Shaped Liners

Flower petal-shaped liners, such as tulip and lotus ones, will give your cupcakes a delicate look, ideal for memorable and special occasions.

These liners would work perfectly well as wedding, baby showers, or Easter centerpieces. Plus, you can choose between an extensive variety of colors and patterns available on the market.

One of the most common options you’ll see in bakeries and coffee shops is the lotus-shaped brown-colored liner. These are usually used for muffins, but you can also use them to pipe in your cupcake filling.

Glassine Cupcake Liners

Unlike standard cupcake liners made of paper, you can opt for glassine baking cups. These liners have a glossy finish and are water and grease-resistant.

The single-use cupcake liners can come in various designs, like the paper version. One thing to consider is that they’re relatively pricier than standard liners. Nonetheless, they make your mission easier; you won’t need to grease them before piping your filling.

Silicone Cupcake Liners

Silicone cupcake liners’ prime appeal is their reusability. You can easily clean them after each use. Overall, they’re the best option if you’re trying to save money. I typically use them for my kids’ lunch when packing a muffin.

They usually tolerate high heat, but make sure to check the label for the intended baking temperature. Plus, you’ll want to avoid using silicone liners over an open flame, or you’ll risk melting them.

What Size Should You Pick for Cupcake Liners?

When buying liners, you’ll need to choose those that fit the pan’s dimensions. A standard cupcake liner measures 2″ x 1 ¼” – this is the most common size, which is ideal for traditional cupcakes and muffins.

You can also purchase liners that are 3 ½” in diameter to make jumbo cupcakes, but you’ll want to make sure you’re baking with the right-sized pan.

Lastly, there’s the mini cupcake liner with a 1″ diameter for mini cupcakes. I often use these when making mini cupcakes; they’re perfect for small hands!

Uses for Cupcake Liners

You might be wondering, “Why do I need cupcake liners when I can pipe my cupcake filling straight into a greased cupcake tin?” Well, here are some reasons worth considering:

Provides Easy Cleanup

One of my top reasons for using cupcake liners is the easy cleanup. All you have to do is place the liners in the tin holes, grease the liners, pour the batter, and bake.

After they’re done, just let them cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing and placing them on a wire rack to cool completely.

The pan only needs a quick wash with mild soap, and it’ll be good to go for its next use. You don’t have to fuss over scrubbing cupcake residue.

Cupcakes Cooling On Rack

Traps the Moisture

Keeping the cupcakes in the liner allows them to stay fresher and moist for longer periods.

If you love baking bran muffins like I do, you can store them in a container with the liners intact. You’ll be surprised how they stay fresh for days without going stale thanks to those liners. (see more of my ideas to keep your muffins fresh).

Helps Cupcakes Keep Their Shape

Cupcake liners help you uniform all your cupcakes into the same shape. As the cupcake bakes, the liner helps it keep its size.

As a result, the plate of frosted cupcakes you’re taking to a potluck or a special event will look aesthetically pleasing since every cupcake will be the same size and shape!

Prevents Burning

Another reason to use cupcake liners is to prevent cupcakes and muffins from burning. The paper cups keep the sides of the cake from directly touching the pan, protecting the cake from the direct heat of metal.

Keeps Your Non-Stick Pans Looking New

New And Clean Cupcake Pan

If you routinely bake a lot of cupcakes and muffins like I do, it won’t take long for your shiny non-stick pans to start looking dull.

Using cupcake liners reduces the wear and tear and keeps your non-stick pans looking as good as new.

To Grease Cupcake Liners or Not

While it’s not necessary to grease cupcake liners, I prefer to do it in some cases. For instance, when I’m making cupcakes that have beaten egg whites folded into the batter, I make sure to grease the liners.

Otherwise, the cupcakes will be tough to remove because their texture will be too delicate. Lightly spraying the cupcake liners with baking spray should do the trick.

Tip: make sure you aren’t spraying a non-stick pan because the spray can ruin the non-stick coating!

Final Thoughts

After knowing the types, sizes, and uses of a liner, making cupcakes and muffins will be a piece of cake (pun intended!).

From keeping your cupcakes moist to making them all the same size, this baking tool is a lifesaver in the kitchen.

Plus, you can take your pick from the unending variety of colors, shapes, and patterns to suit your needs, whether for a mystery-themed gathering or an under-the-sea-themed birthday party.

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Monday 7th of August 2023

What is your take on the fact that cooking spray ruins non stick finishes? Their instructions specifically say not to use it.

Sarah Bridenstine

Friday 11th of August 2023

Hi Lori!

You make a good point! I'll make sure I note in that section that I don't recommend it on non-stick finishes. It is a useful tool otherwise though!


Friday 4th of August 2023

There are so many adorable cupcake liners available but they all lose their colors after baking. How do you preserve the design while baking?

Sarah Bridenstine

Friday 11th of August 2023

Hi Christie!

If I'm trying to make the cupcakes pretty (which they're for my kids who don't care most of the time haha), I'll either buy liners that say "grease-proof", since those should keep their color, or I will bake them in plain wrappers and then throw a pretty color wrapper over top or in place of. I hope that helps!