It’s time to dust off your muffin pan, because it’s about to get a lot more use. We’ve gathered up a bunch of genius ways to serve up lunch or dinner—no bento box needed. Load your muffin tin up with finger foods, dips and veggies and your little grazers will be delighted. Keep reading to get your fill of recipes and ideas from some seriously creative parents.
A Lunch They’ll Love
Keep things simple but delicious with this well-rounded meal from Be Brave, Keep Going. A peanut butter sandwich gets a little more exciting with the addition of banana, and there’s even a cup full of vanilla yogurt (with sprinkles on top, of course!). Get the details by clicking here.
Now here’s a muffin tin meal we’d be happy to eat alongside our little one. Get inspired by Holli Conger to whip it up yourself. With cheese and crackers, some fresh fruits and veggies and a fluffy roll, you’ll have a satisfying meal ready in no time. Click here to get the scoop.
Eat the Rainbow
Your kiddos will get a little bit of everything with this easy dinner idea from Sycamore Stirrings. From mini ravioli to peanut butter toast to kiwi, grazers will rejoice at all the tasty bites. To get the deets, click here.
A Stroke of Genius
You don’t just have to stick to finger foods for muffin tin meals, like in this one from Mommysavers. One compartment is used for ranch dressing, while another holds a tasty drinkable yogurt. Get all the details by clicking here.
Party Time Tins
We love this genius idea from Sycamore Stirrings that’s perfect for an impromptu party. Whip up some soft pretzels (you can find them in the freezer section if you’re short on time) and fill your muffin tin up with dips, like mustard, marinara sauce and even frosting. Click here to find out more.
Whatever the Weather
A Spooky Lunch
We’re definitely going to make this Halloween-inspired meal from Another Lunch this October. With banana ghosts, hot dog mummies and a cauldron of candies, it’s almost too cute to eat. Click here to get the scoop.
Food Groups? Check!
Bright colors, fun accessories and a bevy of yummy options: this meal from Eats Amazing is a muffin tin meal trifecta. Cute silicone cups create a lunchtime adventure with minimal effort. Using all 12 openings will ensure you cover the basic four—food groups, that is. Added bonus: Don't miss the baby version of this meal, too!
A Dino-riffic Dinner
You had us at dinosaur-shaped pizza. Quite frankly, kids would gobble this up without a muffin tin, but the fun details—like calling the bed of corn a dino “nest” or the grapes dinosaur “eggs”—turns fruits and veggies into the supporting cast of a prehistoric adventure. Get the details at Eclectic Lamb.
A Learning Lunch
Getting your little one excited about eating can be as easy as 1-2-3. This gluten-free lunch from Chaos and Confections is perfectly filling for a kiddo-sized appetite. Yogurt in a removable silicone muffin cup makes cleanup that much easier, and who could refuse sprinkles? A+ for mom.
Star Wars Snack
A mango Millennium Falcon and a peanut butter Princess Leia? Let the creative force be with you. Keep cookie cutters or shaped containers on hand to stamp out themed shapes in a jiffy. Borrow these ideas from Becoming a Bentoholic for a special occasion for your Star Wars fan—even if it’s celebrating the fact that he’s open to cucumbers.
Tins with a Twist
Here’s a twist on tins: What's for Lunch at Our House uses a group of stand-alone silicone cups in fun shapes instead of one single tin. No utensils required, chances are they’ll polish off the whole meal, and the cups fit into the smallest of crevices of the dishwasher. Win-win.
Fancy Finger Food
Finally, that Pinterest page loaded with muffin tin recipes will come in handy. If you want to serve something other than crudités and fruit, take a cue from Mama Belly and drop in a muffin-sized portion of mac and cheese—or quiche, or meatloaf—that you’ve already cooked and have on hand.
What’s better than reading Goodnight Moon for the tenth time? Eating a moon-themed dinner ... while reading Goodnight Moon for the eleventh time, of course. Use your kid’s current obsession to an advantage and to their nutritional benefit—be it Olaf noses, Applejack slices or Minecraft trees. See all the fun details at Angelic Scalliwags.
Who needs brunch buffets when you’ve got ice trays? This humble household staple becomes a delightful smorgasbord, the compact size makes everything appealing so there’s really no need to fun-foodify anything. Take a cue from Jennifer Bishop and stock up on trays to serve healthy snacks at a birthday party or playdate.
Mini Muffin Tins
Ice cube trays are like mini muffin tins; see how Family Fresh Meals uses a silicone heart-shaped one just right for snacks. Find some in cool shapes and colors; little fingers will love foraging for favorites, especially when portions are small enough for them to count.
Very Hungry Helper
A very hungry Eric Carle fan will want to eat through everything here. The mama blogger at Sugary Flower cleverly used this idea as a read-along; her child munched on the goodies at the same time as the caterpillar. Use a straw to make holes and maybe even get greens-adverse kids to munch on one nice green leaf. Allow for a treat on the day the caterpillar feasts but do yourself a favor and skip over part that mentions ice cream and cake!
A Tin for Two
When a blogger is dubbed the Muffin Tin Mom, you've got to stay and scroll a while. This spread works as a filling lunch for one or a snack for two. And if they eat everything else, treats are definitely in order.
If you think this whole concept is just for those with picky palates, think again. This meal from Another Lunch is practically adult-sized, with tempting options like a chicken drumstick, rice and beans, and quesadilla.
What kind of meals do you like in your muffin tins? Share with us in the comments!
— Selena Kohng & Susie Foresman