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"Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail," is a quote from Leonardo da Vinci, and this definitely applies to baking cups! Little cakes, muffins, and cupcakes are designed to be detail-driven. We look at them more closely than we might a larger cake or loaf, we admire their precision, and many bakers find ways to decorate these treats designed as treats for the individual person in a number of inspired ways.
The idea of a tiny cake feels like a bit of romance at its best, and at its least, it still feels like a special treat. As a tool used in the creation of small cakes, the decision of which baking cup to use is an important detail. What style is your cupcake or muffin? Farmhouse kitchen, fun and friendly, or chic and stylish? What kind of batter will you use, and will the cakes easily release from the baking cup? What color do you want your little cake to be wrapped in? Do you practice a healthy lifestyle? Silicone baking cups are eco-friendly, as are unbleached natural baking cups—each in their own way. And none of the baking cups on this list are expensive, so it’s easy to invest in trying any that interest you. Here’s to the perfect little cake for all!
Best Overall: Paper Chef Parchment Baking Cups
These high-quality parchment baking cups are made by PaperChef, a company whose mission is “the art of cooking with parchment.” The baking cups have been designed to fit a green lifestyle, as the parchment is made from 100 percent eucalyptus fibers, a genuine vegetable parchment from recycled paperboard. It’s nonstick, oven safe to 425 degrees, and certified biodegradable and compostable. With a nice weight to the paper, these large baking cups are sized to fit a standard muffin tin, with mini and extra-large liners available as well.
Best Silicone: Chicago Metallic Silicone Baking Cups
Made in the U.S. with the same quality assurance as all other Chicago Metallic kitchenware products, these silicone baking cups are designed for great performance. They’re reusable, with 12 silicone cups included for a full set in the colors brown, pink, and orange. You can use these baking cups without a cupcake pan, and even your gluten-free recipes will bake into a firm shape. They are safe in the freezer and microwave, heat resistant up to 500 degrees, and can be cleaned on the top rack of dishwashers.
Best Paper: Sur La Table Standard Bake Cups, Set of 32
Classic paper baking cups are a favorite of many home cooks, and this bakery-quality set of 32 baking cups comes in a variety of beautiful colors you can order: a gorgeous red, a soft light blue, an antique gold, and sweet white ivory. Exclusive to Sur La Table, these baking cups add elegance to the simplest cupcake or muffin! They can be used in muffin tins or lined up on a cookie sheet to bake. The dimensions are 2 x 1.3 inches with the capacity of approximately a third of a cup.
Best Foil: Gifbera Standard Silver Foil Cupcake Liners
It’s safe to say that Gifbera is a cult favorite foil baking cup! Used by professionals and home bakers alike, these foil cupcake liners have a great look and feel, and perform perfectly. The elegant liners come in eight color options and are sturdy enough to hold up when stacked on a pastry stand. Each set includes 200 greaseproof, standard-size paper liners that will easily release from your baked goods.
Best Mini: de Buyer Silicone Mini Muffin Cups
These very chic black silicone mini muffin cups will make the most basic muffin, cupcake or confection look very sophisticated! Made by the well-known French kitchenware company de Buyer, they have the perfect thickness and weight for baking minis. Easy to clean and easy to store, the black minimalist design has such style that you might want to keep them handy in a display container on your kitchen countertop. The set includes 12 mini muffin molds, each measuring 2 inches deep by 1 inch in height.
Best Jumbo: Sur La Table Jumbo Bake Cups, Set of 20
Made exclusively for Sur La Table, these jumbo baking cups are made from bakery-quality, heat-resistant, nonstick greaseproof paper. These are for truly jumbo muffins or cupcakes, with a full 1-cup capacity! The paper is a gorgeous ivory color, easy to peel off, and can be used in both standard and jumbo muffin tins or placed on a cookie sheet. Available in sets of 20, each liner is 2 x 2.5 inches, and safe to be used in a microwave, oven, or freezer.
Best Parchment: Paper Chef Parchment Baking Cups
Culinary parchment is great for all-purpose use, and these PaperChef baking cups are classic! The nonstick surface releases easily from all baked goods, and the unbleached parchment is just the right weight for these standard size baking cups. The PaperChef brand specializes in parchment paper products with a focus on health and sustainability. Their website is filled with inspiration and ideas for using their products.
Best Flower-Shaped: Freshware Silicone Flower Reusable Cupcake and Muffin Baking Cup
If you’re looking for something a little different in a baking cup, these might be just what you’re looking for! Available in either red and black or multicolored pastels, these baking cups have an accentuated fluted edge that creates the look of a flower for your baked goods. The possibilities for decoration are endless with this shape, taking the everyday to the extraordinary!
Made of nonstick silicone that’s BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free, this set of 12 is flexible enough to pop baked goods right out of the mold. The silicone can handle temperatures from minus 40 to 446 degrees meaning it's safe in the microwave, oven, and freezer. While these can be cleaned on the top rack of your dishwasher, handwashing is recommended.
Best Printed Design: Wilton Pinks and More Mini Baking Cups
Brightly colored bold designs of flowers, stars, and cupcakes make these paper mini baking cups from well-known brand Wilton a lot of fun to use! Suitable for birthdays or celebrations of any kind, they bring an air of festivity to any occasion, and kids love them. There are 150 baking cups included in the set with a diameter of 1.25 inches.
Best Unbleached: If You Care Unbleached Large Baking Cups
This three-pack set of 60 baking cups are made from If You Care's premium quality, unbleached, chlorine-free paper. Measuring 2.4 inches in diameter and 2.6 inches in height, the baking cups have a nonstick coating of natural silicone and are nontoxic when incinerated. These standard-size liners are oven safe to 425 degrees.
For an upgrade from run-of-the-mill baking cups, the Sur la Table Standard Baking Cups (view at Sur La Table) bring a touch of beauty to the table in any or all of the three colors offered. Continuing along on this theme of creating an individual look for your cupcakes or muffins, the Freshware Silicone Flower Reusable Baking Cups (view at Wayfair) offer the chance for a whole new level of a cupcake or muffin design without the least bit of extra work, and the de Buyer Silicone Mini Muffin Cups (view at Food52) are simply irresistible, to the point where you might want to serve your minis right in their silicone molds!
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Karen Resta is a writer specializing in food culture and history, cooking, pastries, and restaurants. She's also a former pastry chef and has traveled to Budapest, Kyiv, and Paris during their Fashion Weeks as a photographer and writer, always finding the best authentic pastries along the way. She now spends a lot of her free time baking at home and recommends quality within your given budget. Having the right tools available and knowing how to use them well (it can take practice, like anything else) makes all the difference, and she curated this list with that in mind.