Skip to main content

Six-Cup Muffin Tins

Published April 2021

How we tested

If you bake muffins, cupcakes, or mini versions of baked goods such as pies, cheesecakes, and brownies, you need a muffin tin. We've always used 12-cup muffin tins, and we love our winner; it produces evenly baked, golden-brown food. Six-cup muffin tins, however, make half the number of baked goods. Their compact size means that they fit into smaller ovens, including our favorite countertop toaster oven, and are easier to store, a real plus in kitchens with limited space.

To find the best six-cup muffin tin, we gathered six models, priced from about $11 to about $26. The pans in our lineup were made from either metal or porcelain and ranged in color from white to gold to silver. All but two had nonstick coatings. We used each tin to bake Basic Muffins, Easy Birthday Cupcakes, and Muffin Tin Frittatas. We examined how easily food released, as well as the food’s overall shape and how evenly it browned. We also evaluated how comfortable the tins were to hold while moving them into and out of the oven and how easy they were to clean.

The Sizes and Shapes of the Cups Matter

While we were happy with the foods produced in most of the tins, our results varied. The cups were shaped differently from pan to pan. Some were taller and narrower, while others were shorter and wider. Those differences affected the shapes of the baked goods they produced. Only one pan was a real problem, turning out unacceptably squat baked goods. Because the cups were shaped differently, capacites varied slightly from pan to pan, ranging from about 5 tablespoons to about 6½ tablespoons per cup. (For comparison, the cups of our favorite 12-cup muffin tin each hold roughly 7 tablespoons.) 

The two models that had the smallest cup capacities offered less than ½ inch of space between the cups. As batter rose in each cup, the expanding tops of the cupcakes ran into each other. When we pulled one of these tins from the oven, we had what looked like one giant cupcake instead of six. Our favorite tins had larger cups as well as about 1 inch of space between the cups, giving us baked goods that were separated and distinct.

Pans with Extended Rims Gave Us a Place to Hold

The dimensions of the pans also affected how easy they were to handle. Some of these pans had very little space around their rims. The rims on the smallest tins were just ½ inch wide, so we didn’t have a convenient place to put our hands. With these tins, we had to pay special attention to avoid accidentally dropping them or poking the baked goods with our oven mitt. Pans with rims that were at least 1 inch wide were easier to handle. We liked that we could securely grab them without inadvertently leaving a fingerprint in our food or batter on our mitts, a feature we liked in our favorite 12-cup tin, too. 

The Color of the Pan Is Important 

We also considered the browning on the baked goods. The tops of the foods baked in all the tins looked evenly browned, and the foods were done within the time ranges cited in each recipe. It wasn’t until we removed the foods from their tins that we noticed differences. The materials and colors of the pans determined how darkly (or not) the sides and the bottoms of food browned. The white porcelain and gold-colored metal tins produced golden-brown food, while the darker metal pans produced food with darker browning. One pan didn't brown food well. It was made from shiny stainless steel, which reflects heat from the oven more than it absorbs it, so its baked goods turned out pale and flabby. We preferred the tins that gave us evenly browned baked goods.

We Like Pans That Are Nonstick

Four of the muffin tins had nonstick coatings, so they each released foods easily. These nonstick models were also easy to wash. One stainless-steel tin without a nonstick coating released food cleanly, though not as easily as those with nonstick coatings. The other tin without a nonstick coating, the porcelain model, didn't fare well. Small pieces of the muffins were left behind, stuck to the cups’ walls. The porcelain pan was especially difficult to clean because it was quite heavy—more than 3 pounds—and it became slippery in the sink

The Best Six-Cup Muffin Tin: Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Pro Muffin Pan, 6-Well

Our favorite six-cup muffin tin is the Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Pro Muffin Pan, 6-Well. The cups have large capacities, about 6½ tablespoons, and there’s enough space in between each cup to ensure that the contents don’t run into each other as they bake. The extended rim around the exterior of the tin makes it easy to securely move the tin into and out of the oven. Gold-colored, this tin produced beautiful golden-brown muffins and cupcakes with evenly browned sides and bottoms. Food also released without extra effort and left nothing behind. As a result, we were able to clean this tin quickly and easily. At roughly half the price, the Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick/MD 6 Cup Muffin Pan is also a great choice. Because the rim is less spacious than our winner’s, it was harder to find a secure place to hold the hot tin while wearing oven mitts. However, food released easily, and it produced evenly browned baked goods that didn’t run together. If you have a toaster oven and/or limited storage space, or if you regularly make half batches of muffins or cupcakes, either of these pans will make an excellent addition to your bakeware collection.

Methodology

Rating Criteria

Release: We rated how well each tin released food from its cups (which we sprayed with vegetable oil spray before each test).

Browning: We evaluated the browning of the food baked in each tin.

Food Shape: We evaluated the shapes of the baked goods produced by each tin.

Handling: We considered how comfortable each tin was to hold and to maneuver into and out of the oven.

Cleaning: We evaluated how easy each tin was to wash by hand.

3 Sites. No Paywalls.

Included in your trial membership

  • 25 years of Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and America's Test Kitchen foolproof recipes
  • NEW! Over 1,500 recipes from our award-winning cookbooks
  • In-depth videos of recipes and cooking techniques
  • SAVE all your Favorites for easy access
  • Up-to-Date reviews and product buying guides

Get America's Test Kitchen All Access — become the Smartest Cook you know, guaranteed.

Email is required
How we use your email address

The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*