At Cook’s Country, there are several features that they they look for in muffin tins and two are non-negotiable. They want muffin tins that have a nonstick coating for easy releases and easy cleanup, and they prefer tins that have handles or extended edges that make them easy to grab with pot holders on. In their most recent issue (Feb/Mar 2011), they rounded up a total of eight muffin pans that met their criteria and put them to the test, with batches of blueberry streusel muffins, corn muffins and vanilla cupcakes to see which pans would work out best.
This test went well because none of the tins performed poorly, but some performed better than others, turning out muffins that were cleaner, more evenly browned and more “professional” looking than others. There were four pans that came out of the test with a “recommended” designation. These included the Wilton Avanti Everglide, Norpro Nonstick Cupcake Pan, Anolon Advanced Muffin Pan, and the Bonjour Commercial Nonstick Muffin Pan.
The Wilton pan is the test kitchen’s preferred pan at the end of the day because it was easiest to grip and was priced right at $13.00. The Norpro pan got dinged for not having quite as easy a grip, but slightly out-performed the Wilton in browning and the shape of the finished baked goods. But whichever you choose, these pans all worked well and will turn out beautiful muffins.