How to Make Muffin Tops

Everyone loves muffin tops!  They’re the crunchy, best parts of the muffins.  They’re not crusty or sweaty like the bottoms sometimes are.  Once you start making muffin tops, you’ll never go back to standard muffins. 

It takes a muffin top pan to make muffin tops.  A muffin top pan comes with six over-sized cavities—about four inches in diameter.  But the cavities are only 3/8-inch deep.  If you load these cavities with a stiff batter, you will make high-topped, jumbo muffin tops.  Six tops will equal twelve regular-sized muffins or six jumbo muffins.

Product Testing in Our Test Kitchen

We have a test kitchen at our facility in Rigby, Idaho, where we test products and develop mixes and recipes.  We tested the nonstick muffin top pan from Norpro using both recipes and mixes, experimenting to learn what works and what doesn’t.  Here are our findings along with a recipe that we enjoyed.

  • Everyone wants high-domed muffins.  You can make high domes in a muffin top pan as well as in a standard pan.  The techniques are the same.  Many muffin recipes call for high heat at the beginning of the baking period to create the rise necessary for attractive domes.  You can do the same with a muffin top pan but because the batter is above the pan, it is not as necessary.  With stiff batter mounded high in the pan, you will bake high-domed muffin tops.
  • Because the batter is not as deep, it takes less time to bake muffin tops.  Reduce the baking time by about a third.  For most recipes and mixes, baking at 375 degrees for 15 to 16 minutes was about right.
  • With a thin batter, less can be put in a muffin top pan.  The domes will not be as high and you’ll have more muffin tops.
  • If you are making high-domed muffin tops they will be larger than muffins.  A 12-muffin mix or recipe yields six large, high-domed tops.  A flatter muffin top is equal to a standard muffin.
  • Because you have shallow indentations on the pan, the muffins remove very easily.  If they stick at all, let them sit for a couple minutes.

Banana Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffin Tops

Everyone likes chocolate muffins.  We modified our Banana Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe to make these muffin tops.  They are very good.

This is sweet enough; it’s almost like a cake. In fact, you can serve it with whipped cream or ice cream and little fudge topping for a special treat.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 brown sugar
2/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about two smaller bananas)
1 teaspoon banana flavor
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  2. In another bowl, mash the bananas. Whisk two large eggs and add those to the bananas. Add the oil, milk, flavor, brown sugar, and sour cream. Blend well. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.
  3. With a spatula, mix the dry ingredients into the liquid mixture. Stir until just combined. Spoon the batter into greased muffin top tins.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Let the muffins sit in the tins for a few minutes and then remove them to wire racks to cool. Makes 8 to 10 muffin tops.