Make Your Own Tulip Muffin Papers


In a recent post I gave away all my secrets when I taught you how to make muffins that are so great, you’re friends will call you a genius. Reader feedback has been off the chart. In fact, that’s exactly what I was thinking about last Saturday morning as I was making muffins for brunch.

I was all ready to fill the muffin cups with batter when I remembered that I’d used every last one of my cupcake paper liners. I was in no mood to go to the store. Muffin batter is not kind to those who do not move it quickly to the oven once the wet ingredients have been stirred in.

I wanted to kick myself because I’d planned to splurge and order these very nice Tulip Muffin Papers online …


…but at the last minute felt myself beginning to choke at the price of $12.95 for 24 including shipping, or $.54 cents each.

How dumb would that be to spend twice the cost of the muffin just to bake it in a very cool looking throw away “paper?” Don’t answer. And don’t hate me when I tell you how much I wished that I’d ordered them anyway because at that moment I really needed them.

Back to my dilemma.

I really do not like to bake muffins in a muffin pan without paper liners. The batter tends to flow onto the pan as the muffins rise, making them ugly and difficult to remove. And then once removed to cool, their poor little bodies are all exposed, which makes them get all dried out and crusty well before their time.

Right about then, I got to thinking: What if …

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My photography skills leave much to be desired, but trust me on this: It worked so well, no more cupcake paper liners for muffins in my little bakery. My DIY tulip papers are way superior because they keep all of the muffin in the cup; not even the muffin top spills out. And besides, they look like they came from a quaint little French bakery.

Here’s how I did it:

I used parchment paper cut into 6-inch squares for these regular-size muffins, forming them over a small can of tomato paste (a small juice glass would work as well) then sliding my hand down the side of the can to “pleat” the paper to conform to the size of the can. Because parchment paper is sturdy, it will hold this shape very well.

Filling these muffin papers without making a mess all over the sides of the paper is a little tricky, just go slow and easy. Or pour your batter into  disposable cake decorating bag or a gallon-size zip lock bag to fill the muffin cups. I tried the zip bag idea a few days after these pics were taken, cutting off one of the bottom corners just large large enough to allow my blueberries to pass through easily. I filled the cups as if I were decorating a cake. Fabulous results.

Baked in these tulip papers, muffins are a cinch to lift out of the muffin pan to cool, because as I said, everything in contained. Just pick them up by two “ears.”

To open right at the moment of consumption, pull on two opposite “ears” and Viola! There it is, a beautiful, moist, luscious piece of heaven.

For jumbo-size muffins, 7-inch squares of parchment work perfectly when formed over a regular size can, soup size.

I also have a mini-muffin pan. Yes, I made tiny tulip papers for it: 3 1/2-inch squares of parchment formed over a an upside-down prescription bottle. So adorable.

The parchment paper cost $.10 per sheet. I got 6 regular-size tulip muffin papers out of one sheet for a cost of about 1 1/2 cents each.

Question: What have you done lately that made you feel like a genius?


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  • Michele

    Thanks for this one! I have coveted tulip muffin papers for an embarrassing amount of time and I’m always put off by the cost because they’re such a temporary thing. This is a keeper!

    • Mary Hunt

      I wonder where we can find brown parchment paper. Any ideas? If you figure that out be sure to let me know. I’ll keep looking …

      • jan jones has a roll of unbleached brown parchment paper, 71 sq ft for $6.60

        • KETSY

          Thanks. 🙂

  • Maryann

    I just bought a new keyboard for my work computer and didn’t know what to do with the old one, so I decided to remove all the little screws on the back and take it apart. I didn’t know what to expect to find inside so that was kind of interesting. The soft jellylike liner that provides cushioning for the keys wasn’t anything I could think of to use yet, but the keys–now those were another story. I googled “making earrings out of computer keyboard keys” and viola! many, many hits, including one with an instructional video. With the help of a drill and jewelry findings available at my local craft store, I’m well on my way to designing some really cool-looking earrings to add to my collection. What a great way to “dispose” of a seemingly useless item!

    • David M Pelly

      Maryann, I love your brains. Will you marry me?

  • Beck

    I had a plumbing leak that was small but enough to make the wall wet. The plumber couldn’t get her for another day so I chewed a piece of gum and then took it when it was pliable and put it around the pipe that was leaking worked like a charm and saved my drywall from getting too wet and damaged. I would have used caulk or something better but had nothing else to use… I told the plumber before he removed it I chewed it and put it there he said that was pretty smart I offered to remove it for him before he started to work on the pipe but he said you have no idea what I remove with my hands each day he didn’t care … I felt like McGiver.

    • sunnydaze

      Often I have felt like McGiver … but he hasn’t been available 🙂

  • Mary Wilson

    I made cupcakes for a special occasion a couple of months ago and was lucky enough to get pretty tulip cupcake liners on clearance but my son said “mom you should make your own”. I had no idea where to begin. Thank you, Mary. I can’t wait to try this myself.

  • lindapries

    I think using “tulip liners” for cupcakes is so waaaaay out of touch with reality. Honestly, I consider it a waste of money just to buy regular paper liners. Spray the stupid pan and pour in the batter, honestly. The fact of the batter flowing over the top is what makes those “muffin tops” that are so wonderfully popular that there are pans made solely to get that effect. And you want to take that away??? My muffins don’t get “crusty before their time” because as soon as they have cooled enough, the leftovers go into an old, empty bread bag where they stay nice and moist until they are gone. You people are so over-the-wall fancy schmancy it’s unbelievable.

    • Elle

      Lindapries, I also am one of those women who would never in a million years worry about tulip liners for cupcakes because things like that just don’t matter to me at all. But…I am happy when people who enjoy all the little ‘pretties’ in life find a way to do so inexpensively. They get to indulge their feminine, fancy schmancy side while saving money. So, Mary, congratulations! I hope you find great joy and pleasure in your tulip liners. 🙂

    • Tina

      You’re just mean 🙁

    • KETSY

      Bah hum bug!

      I just came from a retreat and we got served muffins with liners and I felt like a queen. 🙂
      I am planning on paying it forward to some ladies that didn’t come. Shame on you!
      Anyhow, people spend upwards $7 on cigarettes and booze so some us get a buzz from baking and cupcake liners. 😉

  • Donna R.

    My kitchen ceiling fan with lights conducted an early July 4th explosion rehearsal, complete with fireworks! Turned off the breaker and found a friend to take it apart and diagnose it for me. A simple light kit replacement would have done the trick, but the fan was so old and without documentation for brand/model that finding a light kit to fit was impossible. My friend’s recommendation was to buy a new fan. Money is tight, a new fan would probably not fit the unpainted shape left on my ceiling, and it just seemed a waste. Looked online and finally found a fan shop an hour away willing to take the broken light kit and replace and rewire the whole inside of it for only $36, which was half his usual price. Pity on the poor widow! 🙂 So, I still have the fan I like with features the new ones no longer have, and I feel brilliant. The fix-it guys feel noble, too, for helping me. We’re all winners. 😀

  • Loraine

    I use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin tins. It should be easy to do so with your tulip papers, I plan to give it a try.

  • cheaper than you

    Loved them, but when I made them I had to tweak it a little bit as I found when shaping them over the can/jar they were a little big to fit in my muffin tins. So I laid a paper square over a muffin cup and used my canning funnel to push down the paper, thereby molding at the same time. I left the canning funnel in until I filled it with batter and then did the next one. No drips of batter on the
    paper and it made it very easy to form and fill for me. I just used regular
    parchment paper that I bought at the grocery store. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Sparrow525

    I did this once with wax paper, it worked fine. I like the idea of shaping it with a can & especially with the canning funnel. I’ll try that next time.

  • Warren Murphy

    don’t let anyone discourage you this is a great idea, one the world –(at least me)–has been waiting for.

  • Martha In Spirit

    Linda Pries…why in the world are you on here reading this then? And you took the time to make such a negative comment. Plenty of us want to make “pretty” food that is different. We know our friends and family will feel special. Haven’t you ever heard that half the joy is in the packaging? I guess if you don’t care to make anything “special” for your friends and family you can just Slop some food on the plate BUT don’t deny others the feeling of making it special. THANK YOU SO MUCH MARY. I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.

    • Linda Pries

      Fortunately my daughter and granddaughter are plenty old enough to make their own meals. We dish food onto plates right from the pans and kettles. All we are concerned with is good food in decent quantities and minimum dishes to wash. And no, I DESPISE entertaining, so no “dinner parties” either.

      • ali

        you sound like a real charmer…

      • Phil Lawrence

        Well, now, Linda,.
        You said, “Honestly, I consider it a waste of money just to buy regular paper liners. Spray the stupid pan and pour in the batter, honestly. The fact of the batter flowing over the top is what makes those “muffin tops” that are so wonderfully popular that there are pans made solely to get that effect.”
        Then later, you said, “All we are concerned with is good food in decent quantities and minimum dishes to wash.”
        My question is, how do you allow the batter to flow over the top of the tin and have less washing to do than if you’d used a liner?

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  • Elliot Mackenzie

    Nice idea, but would only use if out of muffin cases. In my opinion they kind of look ratty…again still innovative.

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  • Juliana

    Thanks, Mary! You’ve ended a 3-day agony searching for those expensive and beautiful tulip baking cups. I’m in Brazil, which makes getting them even trickier, for muffins are not very common here. Now I’ll be getting parchment paper and doing it myself! I own a small organic shop and the liners are definitely necessary in order to expose the muffins for sale, so you’ve nailed it!
    Thanks a lot!!