Before and After: A Muffin Tin Goes from Crusty to Shiny, Thanks to This One-Ingredient Trick

published Oct 25, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

There are times when I take shortcuts in the kitchen — and not in a good way. One of the things I do and later regret is not lining my muffin tin. In my defense, I do think that some recipes — like making sky-high Yorkshire puddings — actually work better if you don’t line the muffin tin. (That’s because they rely on cold batter instantly reacting with super-hot metal in order to push the pudds to great heights.) On the other hand, when you don’t line your muffin tin, the end result is a muffin tin with crusty bits baked into the crevices.

Credit: Michelle Tchea

If you should find yourself in this dilemma and are tempted to try to scrape the crusty, grimy bits out of the muffin tin with a knife, I encourage you to put the knife down. There is a simpler way to do it, and it involves basically just one ingredient: baking soda.

A Quick & Easy Way to Clean Crusty Muffin Tins

The key to this hack is using baking soda and water in combination with heat — ideally the residual heat from the oven after baking your muffins. The idea is to “bake” the solution for about 20 minutes before switching off the oven and letting the pan cool down. At this point, the cake-y bits should come off quite easily with a bit of scrubbing.

Credit: Michelle Tchea

A Few Notes on This Method

  1. If you’ve let your pan and your oven cool, you can still use this technique. Just preheat your oven to 350°F, add baking soda and hot water to each muffin cup, and bake for 20 minutes.
  2. If you have burnt-on oily residue (like I did), it may take a bit more persistence with your sponge and some dish soap.
  3. I also advise not using an old sponge, as you’ll still need some abrasion to get your muffin tin looking shiny and new.