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How to Make Tulip Muffin Cups

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

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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 very nice Tulip Muffin Cups online, but at the last minute felt myself beginning to choke at the price.

How dumb would that be to spend ten times 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 do not like to bake muffins in a 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. And this causes them to get all dried out and crusty well before their time.

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


A close up of a rug

 A close up of a device

A cup of coffee on a table, with Muffin and Tulip

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A piece of paper

Muffin and Cake

 A plate of food, with Muffin and Bread

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.

First published: 6-13-13; Updated and re-published: 10-16-19

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4.56 from 9 votes

How to Make Tulip Muffin Cups

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.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Baking
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 tulip muffin cups


  • 2 sheets 12" x 18" parchment paper
  • 1 6-oz can (see Note 1)


  • With scissors, cut parchment paper in 12 (6-inch) squares, 6 per sheet parchment
  • Form each 6-inch square piece parchment over a small can, sliding your hand down the sides of the can to "pleat" the paper as it conforms to the size of the can (see Note 2).
  • To use: Place tulip muffin cups in a muffin pan, fill with batter (see Note 3).


Note 1: Like tomato paste, frozen fruit juice, etc. 
Note 2: Because parchment paper is sturdy, it will hold this shape very well.
Note 3: 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 a 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 enough to allow my blueberries to pass through easily. I filled the cups as if I were decorating a cake. Fabulous results.
Note 4: 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.
Note 5: For jumbo-size muffins, 7-inch squares of parchment work perfectly when formed over a regular size can, soup size.
Note 6: I also have a mini-muffin pan. Yes, I made tiny tulip papers for it: 3 1/2-inch squares of parchment formed over an upside-down prescription bottle. So adorable.
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  1. Juliana says:

    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!!

  2. Sparrow525 says:

    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.

  3. cheaper than you says:

    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.

  4. Loraine says:

    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.

  5. Linda Pries says:

    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.

  6. Mary Wilson says:

    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.

  7. Beck says:

    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.

  8. Maryann says:

    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 voila! 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!

  9. Michele says:

    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!

    • Guest says:

      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 …

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