Cupcakes are a delicious treat, there’s no debating that. They have become a popular choice for birthday parties, celebrations, and weddings. However, it’s so easy to forget to buy cupcake liners, especially when you don’t make them very often.
While cupcake liners are undeniably a “nice-to-have” pantry item, you can bake cupcakes without liners. You might even find that you prefer to use one of the cupcake liner substitutes below for making your cupcakes.
Keep reading to discover the best cupcake liner hacks, how to make cupcakes without liners, and all the answers to some commonly asked questions.
But first, let’s take a look at why we use cupcake liners in the first place!
Why Do You Need Cupcake Liners For Cupcakes?
If you don’t make cupcakes that often, you might wonder: Are cupcake liners worth it? Do you need them at all, or can you make cupcakes without cupcake liners?
The answer is that you do need something to line the cupcake pans, but it doesn’t need to be cupcake liners.
Here are the reasons why we line our cupcake trays:
For Easy Removal
Cupcakes (which are delicate, and easily broken) can stick to the pans if you don’t use cupcake liners, or line them in general.
Using a cupcake liner makes it much easier to remove your cupcakes from the cupcake tin, meaning you’ll have delicious, perfectly-intact baked goods to enjoy. A cupcake liner is similar to greasing a cake tin, but with less mess.
Cupcake liners make your baking look prettier as they help the cupcakes retain their shape.
You can also purchase a range of super cute cupcake liners to use in your baking, with dozens of different patterns.
If you wanted to design your cupcakes with ingredients like icing and sprinkles, you could even match the cupcake liner to your decorations!
Cupcake liners mean that you do not need to touch the cupcakes with your hands, which is great for hygiene reasons in this day and age and to make the cupcakes easier to handle or lift out from the cupcake tin.
This means that removing and decorating the cupcakes is easier to accomplish, especially if they’re going to be a gift, or for a party.
What To Do If You Don’t Have Cupcake Liners
The good news is that you don’t have to use cupcake liners when baking! There are several options available to you if you don’t have cupcake liners on hand.
What’s more, these cupcake liner hacks all use common pantry items that you’re bound to have lying around.
How to Make Cupcakes Without Liners: 4 Cupcake Liner Substitutes
There are actually four different ways that you can make cupcakes without liners that we’re going to explore in this article.
Choose the one that best suits you and what you currently have in the pantry. Generally, at least one of the methods will appeal to you over the others:
Parchment paper is a great substitute for cupcake liners because it’s something that you’re very likely to have in your pantry.
To use the parchment method, here’s what you do:
- Cut the parchment paper into 5-inch squares (or larger squares if you have oversized cupcake tins).
- Put each square into the center of each cupcake mold. Press it down to make sure it is firm and will hold the shape of the cupcake filling.
- Add the filling, and bake!
Alternatively, find a glass that fits perfectly inside the cupcake tins. Use the bottom of the glass to make the cupcake liner out of parchment paper. Take a look at how to do this below!
Now, you may be wondering: Can I use aluminum foil instead of cupcake liners? Most definitely, yes! This is another variation you can try if you want to make DIY cupcake liners without parchment paper.
Aluminum foil is another pantry staple that you’re likely to have on hand if you enjoy slow-roasting meals or baking fish. I would definitely recommend using good quality aluminum foil as a lower quality can easily stick to your cupcake and can tear it apart when you try to remove the foil.
How to make cupcake liners with foil:
- Cut the foil into squares of 5-inches (or larger squares if you want to make bigger muffins).
- Put each square into the center of each cupcake pan. Press it down to make sure it is firm and will hold the shape of the cupcake filling.
- Add the filling, and bake!
Grease the Pan
The alternative to using a physical barrier is to use an edible one. You can use butter, oil, or oil spray to stop your cupcakes from sticking to the pans.
The advantage of this method is that it actually adds a rich buttery taste to the flavor of the cupcakes. There is a downside though, as butter is slightly more difficult to work with than the other methods. The butter should either be ice cold or otherwise heated and melted. If you heat the butter, then you will need a small pastry brush to apply it to the pans.
Choose a mild-flavored oil if you don’t want it to overpower your chosen cupcake flavor. Simply brush it on with a small pastry brush or a paper towel.
This method is easy. Spray the cupcake pans lightly with oil spray. If you can, it’s better to use a baking spray because it has a milder flavor.
Use Silicone Cupcake Liners
Silicone liners are great because they’re reusable, and after the first couple of times you use them you no longer need to grease them!
- Heat Stable: Silicone can be used up to very high temperatures (400ºF), and can handle going from very hot to very cold.
- Flexible: You won’t have to worry about dropping your cupcake tray and having it clang loudly, or dropping a glass mixing bowl and smashing it to pieces.
Silicone is flexible, making it very kid friendly! You won’t have to think about replacing it if there’s an accident.
- Durable: Silicone is a very sturdy material, so it’s unlikely to wear, tear, or break-through use. It’s a great way to save money in the long run.
- Unknown Long-Term Safety: There are few studies on the long-term safety of silicone, given the fact it’s a relatively new product. We don’t know what the potential long-term effects it may have on our health are.
- Chemical Fillers: Your silicone may contain chemical fillers, depending on where you’ve purchased it, and the quality of the material.
- Migration of Chemicals Into Food and Air: The studies that have been done on silicone products have found that its chemicals migrate into our food and into our air.
Cupcake liners are useful and convenient. They make your life easier when you’re in a hurry and what’s more, they add to the visual appeal of your cupcakes. However, they are not the be all and end all. You can still get excellent results by using parchment paper, aluminum foil, greasing the cupcake pans, or using reusable silicone liners instead. Each method has something going for it, and the bonus is that these methods require items that are commonly found in your pantry.