Don't own a muffin tin because it takes up too much room or you don't make cupcakes often enough? Or, have you ever filled up your single muffin pan with batter but have just a little left over — enough for one or two muffins?
Lucky for you, there's an easy solution to fix all that: use Mason jar bands as molds instead! Here's how to do it.
The metal bands that screw the lids onto canning jars are heatproof and the perfect size to hold cupcake liners in place as you fill them with batter and bake. They're inexpensive, take up very little space, and you probably already have a few kicking around from your last canning project.
The best part is, you can make as few or as many cupcakes or muffins as you want, as long as you have the right number of bands. You can squeeze more than 12 onto a standard-sized baking sheet, or you can just have one or two to use up the extra batter that didn't fit in your regular muffin pan.
How to Bake Cupcakes or Muffins in Canning Jar Bands
First off, you need regular, not wide-mouth bands. Regular bands are the right size, but the wide-mouth ones are just too big to hold anything snugly. Place the bands right-side up on a baking sheet, and you can put as many as you want on the baking sheet as long as there's some room between them.
Next, place your cupcake liners into the bands, gently pushing them in so that they stay in place. Carefully fill the liners with batter and bake as you normally would!
Things to Keep in Mind
When using canning bands as baking molds, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is that foil or thick paper liners work better than thin ones. As you can see from the photo above, since the bands don't come fully up the sides of the liner like a regular muffin pan would, thin paper sags under the weight of the batter and you definitely don't want to disturb the liners once they're filled.
Muffins or cupcakes baked in the thinner liners tend to mushroom out a bit at the top, and while they're still delicious, they're not going to be the classic shape you're used to.
Finally, because the bands don't gently slope outward toward the top like a muffin pan does, your baked goods will rise straight up instead of sideways and up. Like the muffin in the foil liner on the right, you'll see a band of ridges come up over the top of the liner.
Despite all these little quirks, I thought this was a brilliant way to reuse the canning bands I only use once a year anyway. While the baked muffins and cupcakes aren't perfectly shaped, it's a great solution when I want to bake just a few in a toaster oven or if I need to improvise quickly because my muffin pans are already in use.
(Image credits: Christine Gallary)