When I'm using muffin liners for baking cupcakes or muffins, I'm always frustrated with how the liners absorb the grease and never come out looking as nice as when they came out of the package, especially if I've spent the money on pretty patterned ones.
Unless I use foil ones that are more grease-proof, greasy liners have always seemed to be an inevitable outcome, at least until I ran across this tip that said that sprinkling a little rice in the bottom of the pan is the solution!
The Original Tip
The idea behind this tip is that if you sprinkle some uncooked rice in the bottom of the muffin wells, the rice will absorb the grease that comes out of the muffins or cupcakes while they're baking. What you're left with are pretty, grease-free liners.
The Testing Method
The tip calls for having a single but even layer of uncooked rice at the bottom of the muffin wells, so I put about a teaspoon of basmati rice into half of the wells in my muffin tin. I left the other half of the wells empty so I could use those for comparison.
Then came the paper liners: I chose to use standard white paper liners since they are both easy to find and any grease would be easy to see. A single layer of liners went into all twelve wells. Finally, I filled the liners with my favorite banana muffin batter and baked the whole tray.
So how did the rice-lined muffins do? They were definitely less greasy than the ones without rice, but the white liner still absorbed a fair amount and wasn't white anymore. I also had to brush off the oily bits of rice that stuck to the bottom of those muffins, which was annoying. The rice-lined muffins did brown a bit better, while the ones without rice seemed a bit splotchy in color at the bottom.
While the bottoms of the muffins looked different, the sides looked about the same. To be honest, who looks at the bottoms of muffins anyway? Both muffins tasted the same and I really didn't think the differences were worth the effort and waste of using rice.
Verdict: This is not a mind-blowing tip!
The part that I didn't like about this whole process was cleaning greasy rice out of the bottom of the wells. The rice stuck to the muffin wells in greasy pools, and I had to scrape each one out individually since I didn't want to rinse them off into my garbage disposal. The extra cleaning wasn't fun, and it was a waste of rice that I could have just normally steamed and eaten instead!