If you only pull out your muffin tins for sweet treats like banana muffins or chocolate cupcakes, here is a switch to try: have your muffin tin pull double-duty by making savory recipes in them too. You can take almost any dish you love and prepare it in a muffin tin to make a mini-version of it. There are a lot of reasons to get into muffin tin cookery.
Muffin tin creations are perfect for party food, appetizers, lunch boxes and travel. These creations are also a creative way to serve everyone their own individual portion of a dish and a fun way to cook with kids. Trying to watch what you eat? Making muffin tin versions of your favorite decadent meals lets you indulge while also providing instant portion control. Got picky eaters? Try making individual muffin tin portions, since each one can be personalized to each person’s specific likes. If one person doesn’t like onions, you can’t leave them out of a big casserole dish, but it’s easy to leave them out from one or two muffin tin cups. If you’re making pizza, everyone can have their favorite toppings cooked into each muffin.
Muffin tins are also convenient. Each muffin can also be put into freezer bags and frozen. Then you can just pop out as many as you need for a meal or a snack without having to thaw and reheat a whole dish. Now that you know why you should try muffin tin cooking, try some of my favorite savory muffin tin recipes.
1. Spinach and Artichoke Tofu Mini-Frittatas
It’s impressive to make a frittata that is egg-free and it’s even more impressive to make it in little mini-sizes. You can add any ingredients you like but my favorite combo is a spin on spinach and artichoke dip. In a large mixing bowl, crumble one block of extra-firm tofu into very small pebbles. Add ¼ cup nutritional yeast, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. black salt, ½ tsp. black pepper and ½ tsp. ground turmeric. Mix well. Chop 2 cups of artichoke hearts and add them, along with 4 cups of chopped spinach to the mixing bowl. Add ½ cup vegan mozzarella shreds and mix everything with a spatula. Grease a muffin tin and transfer the tofu mixture to the cups of the muffin tin. Pack it in tightly, pressing it down with the spatula. Bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until the frittatas feel firm and the tops are browned. Remove from the oven and let sit in the muffin tins for 10 minutes to cool before removing them from the tin. For a similar recipe, try my Spinach, Tomato and Cheddar Mini-Quiches with Lemon Cashew Cream.
2. Potato and Onion Kugel Muffins
One of my favorite holiday foods is potato kugel, but I like it extra-crispy which isn’t always possible when made as a large pie. In muffin-form, however, I can have the potatoes as crispy as I want. In a mug, combine 2 Tbs. ground flaxseed with 1/3 cup warm water and let sit for 5 minutes to thicken. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil and saute 1 large diced onion for 5 minutes until they become softened and translucent. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cool. Peel and grate three large russet potatoes into a large bowl. Don’t squeeze the water out of them. To the bowl, add the onions, ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley and the flax. Add ½ tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried thyme and ½ tsp. black pepper. Mix well to combine everything. Add up to 1 cup chickpea flour, ¼ cup at a time. You want the mixture to feel like it will hold together but still moist. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tin. Fill each one ¾ of the way. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until the top is golden brown and crispy. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve with apple sauce or vegan sour cream.
3. Onion, Celery, and Mushroom Stuffing Muffins
This is a simple stuffing that is perfect for the holidays or any day. Everyone gets one or two muffins to top with gravy. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil and 4 Tbs. vegan butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add in 1 large diced onion and 3 sliced celery ribs and cook 4 minutes or until the veggies soften, but don’t let them brown. Add 10 oz. chopped mushrooms and cook for 7 minutes until they are browned. Mix in two minced cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. dried sage, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. kosher salt, ½ tsp. dried rosemary, ½ tsp. dried oregano, ½ tsp. black pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and one fresh bay leaf. Add ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley and 8 cups of bread cubes to the skillet. Moisten the cubes with up to 5 cups vegetable broth until they are soft but not wet. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the bay leaf and let the mixture cool a bit. Transfer the mixture to greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until the stuffing is set and crisp on top. Let cool before removing the muffins from the pan. Try this with any of these 9 Brilliant Thanksgiving Stuffing Ideas.
4. Mini-Tostada Bowls
These Mexican delights make great appetizers or party food. First make the tostada shells. Spray a muffin tin with cooking oil. Gently insert small flour tortillas into each cup. Make sure they sit flat on the bottom and along the sides. Bake at 400 degrees for just 6-10 minutes. The tortillas will get golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool before carefully removing them from the molds. In a skillet, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium-high heat and saute ¼ medium diced onion and 1 minced jalapeno pepper for 3 minutes. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook another minute until fragrant. Mix in 2 cups cooked black beans or kidney beans and ½ cup corn. Add 2 Tbs. diced roasted red peppers, six sliced green olives, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. ground coriander, 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. kosher salt and ½ tsp. black pepper. Stir and cook for 6 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool. Fill each tostada shell with shredded romaine lettuce and a few spoons of the bean mixture. Add some diced plum tomatoes and sliced black olives. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice. Offer optional toppings of vegan pepper jack cheese, vegan sour cream, and guacamole.
5. Macaroni and Pumpkin Cheese Muffins
If you love mac and cheese but worry about eating the whole pot, these are the muffins for you. Kids love getting their own mac and cheese muffin too! In this recipe, pumpkin is added for a rich autumn flavor. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook 16 ounces of small pasta such as elbows a few minutes short of al dente. Drain and return to the pot. In a food processor, combine 1 cup raw, pre-soaked cashews and 1 cup hot water. Pulse a few times to get it started and then process until completely smooth. Add ¼ cup nutritional yeast, the juice of one lemon, 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp. each paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried mustard, and kosher salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Process until everything is completely combined and smooth. Transfer the cashew mix to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Melt in 2 Tbs. vegan butter and then add 1 cup pumpkin puree and 2 cups non-dairy milk. Stir until everything is combined and the sauce is smooth and silky. Remove from the heat. Pour the sauce onto the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Transfer the mac and cheese to a greased muffin tin. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup bread crumbs, 1 Tbs. olive oil and 2 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley. Top the mac and cheese with the bread crumb mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until the muffins set and the bread crumbs have browned. Let cool before removing from the tin. Read How to Make the Most Decadent Mac and Cheese and then try making muffins with any of these 7 Epic Mac and Cheese Recipes Made Vegan.
6. Meat Loaf and Mashed Potato Muffins
This is a cute way to have your entrée and side dish in one muffin. Cook 2 cups dry lentils in 4 ½ cups boiling water with a pinch of salt for 15-18 minutes until the lentils are tender. Drain and mash the lentils. In a mug or small bowl, combine 2 Tbs. ground flaxseed and 1/3 cup warm water. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes until it becomes a gel. In a skillet over medium high heat, heat 2 Tbs. of oil. Add ½ diced onion, ½ cup chopped mushrooms, 1 finely diced bell pepper and 3 minced cloves of garlic and saute until the veggies are tender and the mushrooms are browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. In a bowl, combine the lentils with the sauteed veggies. Add the flax gel, ½ cup ketchup, 1 Tbs. vegan Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley, 1 tsp. each dried oregano, dried thyme and kosher salt, ½ tsp paprika and ½ tsp. black pepper. Mix until everything is well combined. Add up to ¾ cup of bread crumbs or quinoa flakes until the mixture feels like it will hold together. Transfer the mixture into a greased muffin tin and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes until firm and browned. Let cool before removing from the tin. Using a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the tip cut off, squeeze mashed potatoes on top of the meat loaf muffin in a spiral-pattern to make “frosting” for the meat loaf muffin. Serve with gravy and a biscuit.
7. Philly Cheesesteak Muffins
I love Philly Cheesesteaks; they are my favorite sandwich. Here I take my recipe and turn them into muffins. Heat a deep skillet with 2 tsp. olive oil. Add 8 chopped Portobello mushrooms and let brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add four cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp. dried thyme, and ½ tsp. black pepper and mix well. When the mushrooms are browned and shrunken, add ½ large diced onion and kosher salt to the skillet. Cook about 5 minutes until the onion is caramelized and softened. Add 1 Tbs. vegan Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Continue to let cook about another 3-4 minutes. Mix in ½ cup bread crumbs and 1 cup vegan cheddar or mozzarella cheese shreds. Transfer the mixture to an oiled muffin tin. Top each muffin with a little extra cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the muffins have set and the cheese has melted. Let cool before removing from the tin. Besides mushrooms, you can make this with jackfruit. Just follow the recipe for my Jackfruit Philly Cheesesteak.
8. Lasagna Muffins
Boil lasagna noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside. Prepare the tofu ricotta, marinara sauce and Béchamel sauce. Spray a muffin tin with cooking oil. Cut each lasagna noodle so that you can place 2 pieces cross-wise into each muffin cup so they form a shell with the ends sticking up out of the tin. You could also use won ton wrappers. Layer the ingredients in the cups. First put a spoon of tofu ricotta followed by a few shreds of vegan mozzarella, a spoon of Béchamel sauce, and top with marinara sauce and more vegan mozzarella. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown and the cheese has melted. Let cool before removing from the tins. Serve with vegan grated parmesean and extra marinara sauce.
9. Blueberry Buckwheat Pancake Muffins
In a mug, combine 1 Tbs. ground flax seed and 3 Tbs. warm water. Stir and let sit to thicken. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup buckwheat flour, 1 tsp. baking powder and ¼ tsp. salt. Mix in the flax mixture, 1 cup non-dairy milk and ½ cup water. Whisk until the batter is smooth. Let it rest for 15 minutes at room temperature. Spray a muffin pan with cooking oil and fill the cups 2/3 of the way. Drop a few blueberries into each cup. Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until golden on top. Let cool for 2 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve with vegan butter and maple syrup or any of your favorite pancake toppings. Try making this with your favorite pancake batter. Check out 15 Vegan Pancakes to Flip Out Over for inspiration.
10. Pizza Muffins
Take pizza dough and spread it out into a rectangle. Spread a layer of marinara sauce (or your favorite pizza sauce) on top, leaving a border of one inch. Add whatever toppings you like such as: sauteed mushrooms, onions, olives, artichoke hearts, and vegan cheese. Cut the dough in half so you have 2 squares. Roll up each half from the cut side to the end until you have a rolled tube. Cut each tube into six slices and placed each slice into an oiled muffin tin cup. The open side where you see the toppings should be facing up. Top with more cheese if desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until they are golden brown and the cheese has melted. Let cool before removing from the pan. Serve with extra sauce. Get inspiration from these 27 Pizza Recipes that Will Blow Your Mind.
Now that you know how fun and easy it is to cook savory dishes in muffin tins, what will you make? Tell us in the comments section. Have fun indulging in muffin mania!