Published on September 3, 2017

If there’s one tool in the kitchen that isn’t reaching its maximum potential, it’s the muffin pan. This versatile bakeware is usually dusted off only when you make desserts—but why not expand its use to savory appetizers as well?

From mini pot pies to even mac and cheese, the built-in cups make the cooking (and cleaning) a breeze. Read on for some genius muffin pan appetizer ideas for your next fete.

Crab Cake Appetizer

These classy crab cakes by Joe’s Healthy Meals are just as easy to make as they are appetizing. The panko crumbs add a nice, crumbly texture, while the cream cheese and parmesan give these bites a soft, cheesy flavor. Top them with chives and place them on a wooden cutting board for rustic presentation.

Roasted Corn And Basil Stuffed Tomatoes

Seasonal tomatoes make an excellent vessel for these vegetarian-friendly apps. This recipe by Pinch of Yum recommends choosing medium to small tomatoes—so they fit inside the cups—and packing them with brown rice, garlic, and plenty of cheese. Yum.

Feta Terrines

For a gorgeous display with no baking required, try this appetizer by Fox Loves Lemons. By using feta and cream cheese as the base, you can experiment with herbs or colorful vegetables in a food processor to create a layered effect. Just line the muffin pan with plastic wrap, fill it with your different cheese creations, and pop it in the refrigerator to set.

Crunchy Taco Cups

Perfect for the big game or a fiesta-themed party, these mini taco cups are a wonderful way to keep guests satisfied before the main entrée. They’re much easier to eat than actual tacos, but still have all the Mexican flavors inside.

Mini Chicken Pot Pie

Take it from the author at The Food Charlatan: These make the perfect finger foods for any party. And although they look advanced, don’t let the image fool you—if you use pre-made crescent rolls for the crust, all you need to really prep is the chicken and veggie filling.

Spinach And Ricotta Puffs

Spinach dip is always a great starter, but why not give your guests their own handheld bites instead? Recipe Tin Eats uses frozen spinach, ricotta, and cheddar cheese, and they all melt together in the oven for a 15-serving appetizer that only takes 25 minutes to prep.

Italian Red Pepper Frittata Muffins

If you’re hosting a big brunch, have these mini frittatas ready. With a tortilla base and flavors of sun-dried tomatoes and olives within, these little cups are a surefire crowd pleaser. The best part? They can be made ahead of time, so you can focus on greeting guests instead of slaving over the phone.

Mini Mac And Cheese Bites

For a starter that pleases adults and kiddos alike, try these mac and cheese bites by Old House to New Home. It’s the same flavors you love, but with a cracker crust that makes popping them out of the cups a cinch. Serve warm, and watch how fast they get devoured.

Muffin Tin Potato And Bacon Cups

With the muffin pan, the presentation is done for you. These tiny potato cups by Cooking LSL use mashed potatoes mixed with Dijon mustard, sour cream, chives, and bacon for a full-flavored appetizer that also makes an excellent side dish.

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