For The Most Flavorful Muffins, Simply Ditch The Liners

What if we said that liners are actually what's standing in the way of a better-baked muffin? Despite that they can make for easier removal and clean up, there are a few major drawbacks to the much-praised liner. Incompatible with sugary or low-fat batters, liners can cling to baked goods and destroy an otherwise aesthetic muffin. However, the biggest fault with them is that they actually prevent you from achieving a tastier treat.

Essentially, the main function of a liner is to act as a barrier between the baking tin and the batter. While this can prevent muffins from sticking to the tin, it also inhibits batter from evenly browning and even fully caramelizing. As a result, going liner-free is the only way to guarantee that muffin bottoms develop the same sweet and almost nutty quality as muffin tops, as the sugars in the batter can more directly react with heat. However, if the promise of extra flavor seems attractive, but you're not exactly sure how to prevent muffins from getting stuck to the tin, there's a straightforward solution.

Baking liner-free is foolproof with enough grease

Making flavor the focus, without compromising the crumb, is a matter of keeping things glossy and well-greased. Whether you decide to work a pat of butter into the rounds or prefer to use a cooking spray is totally up to you. You can even add a dusting of flour or better yet, a sprinkle of coarse sugar to deepen those toasted flavors, after greasing. Just remember that while you shouldn't be shy about creating this baking barrier, there's also no need to go overboard as excessive amounts of fat, flour, or sugar can impact the overall flavor and texture of your sweet treats.

Once pulled from the oven, the only additional thing to remember is that the morsels should cool slightly as the escaping steam will help the perfectly-caramelized muffins release easier. At this point, it's best to use a knife to gently loosen the still-warm muffins from their molds. Then, and only then, can the entire tray be flipped over, allowing the baked goods to effortlessly tumble out. Although the prospect of a stubbornly stuck muffin might make you consider crawling back to liners, resist the urge. Perfect your muffin-making skills and try, try, again — your taste buds will thank you.