How to Prevent Cupcake Liners from Sticking - Handle the Heat

How to Prevent Cupcake Liners from Sticking

July 13th, 2016

How to Prevent Cupcake Liners from Sticking and ruining your otherwise beautiful cupcakes! Learn my different techniques to prevent sticking, and what to do if your cupcakes are already stuck.

I was so sick of sticky cupcake liners ruining my cupcakes, I figured out how to prevent it AND what to do if it's already happened!

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There’s nothing worse than spending all this time making and decorating the perfect cupcakes, only to have them stick to the liners and turn into a big disappointing mess. Talk about frustrating!

How to Prevent Cupcake Liners from Sticking

I’m going to show you a few simple tricks to show you exactly How to Prevent Cupcake Liners from Sticking. The video covers everything you need to know, and I’ve also summarized my tips for you below.

How to Prevent Cupcake Liners from Sticking:

1. Use high-quality liners. Look up reviews online to see if anyone has a problem with sticking.

2. Use a high-quality baking pan, it doesn’t have to be expensive but make sure it gets solid reviews.

3. Spray them with nonstick cooking spray or brush with a little melted butter (spray over the dishwasher to avoid a mess).

4. Slide a deeper baking pan filled with water into the bottom rack of your oven. The added moisture prevents sticking.

5. Allow the cupcakes to cool for a few minutes in the pan then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling. The residual heat can cause the liner to stick.

6. Let the cupcakes cool completely before removing the wrappers. Pop the cupcakes in the fridge for an hour to ensure they’re cool and will release.

If they’re already stuck:

Put the cupcakes upside-down in the microwave under a wet paper towel for 15 seconds. Easy!

More Science of Baking Articles You’ll Love:

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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  1. #
    Teresa — February 2, 2023 at 7:53 am

    I love your ideas for cupcakes not sticking to liner. Thank you. Would that be the same for muffins?? My muffins seem to stick to my paper lining.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — February 3, 2023 at 10:17 am

      Hi Teresa! Yes, these tips should work the same way for muffins! I would also recommend using the type of cupcake/muffin liners Tessa loves (available on Amazon here) for best results. Happy baking 🙂

  2. #
    Estelle Goldstein — May 20, 2021 at 9:51 am

    great video. . . . .thanks much. I’d love a video that talks about baking double recipes. . . . . .can you actual double the recipe in one bowl or should have two bowls side by side each holding ingredients for one recipe. When you double a recipe, can you or do you double all ingredients or does that badly affect the chemistry of some ingredients. . . . chocolate is an example ???

    • #
      Tessa — May 21, 2021 at 11:56 am

      That’s a great idea for a future post! It completely depends on the ingredients as some are more sensitive to scaling than others.

  3. #
    Marie Cannell — May 1, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    will these tricks work with muffins?

    • #
      Tessa — May 4, 2021 at 9:23 am

      I don’t see why it’d be any different-I normally use cupcake liners for cupcakes and muffins 🙂

  4. #
    Rebecca Aswad — September 20, 2020 at 8:42 am

    Thank you so much.
    And thank you for getting to the point with out nonsense.
    I will definitely follow you. ✔️

  5. #
    Marilyn — March 2, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Can I freeze cupcakes with liners on?

  6. #
    Tamar — January 3, 2019 at 9:49 am

    I sprayed the liners and used a pan of water on the bottom rack, worked like a charm!

  7. #
    Mike — October 12, 2018 at 7:37 am

    What about using the silicone cupcake liners? Any problems with sticking?

  8. #
    Claire — September 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Tessa thanks for the great tips. I have been baking forever without issues. I think my problem is the pans, they are super thick so more heat plus I did leave the cupcakes in the pan too long. Thanks also for the cupcakes that are already stuck, the wet paper towel on top of the bottom of the cupcake in the microwave for 15 seconds works great.

  9. #
    Tresa — February 3, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    You saved my life. I baked 3 dozen cupcakes for my grand daughters school and all were sticking to the liners.
    You are great. Thanks

    • #
      Tessa — February 4, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      Yay! So glad this was helpful.

  10. #
    Beth — November 30, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Alexandra, I bought the silicon cupcake wrappers and the cake stuck to them just as badly. I actually lost a lot more of the cake with them, because you can’t peel them off the way you can with paper.

  11. #
    Alexandra — September 4, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I just tried the microwave trick and it didn’t work for me….All my cupcakes are stuck and it’s really annoying. Think I’ll just buy silicone cupcake wrappers instead to avoid the paper.

  12. #
    Rabbit1 — August 5, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Great tips

  13. #
    Rabbit1 — August 5, 2017 at 8:42 pm
  14. #
    Betty Symank — July 24, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Hey Tessa, regarding the whole YouTube and thumbs up thing, 😉 what if you just write a little mini statement with a copy of the URL that takes you right to your YouTube video (just UNDER the embedded video), encouraging people to click there and save it to their favorite folder of cooking tips (what I did), add a thumbs up, or share it with their friends, if they like. 😉
    Like this:

  15. #
    Heidi — July 24, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Julie, I also have had this problem with some types of cupcakes. I have to experiment a bit to determine the cause. I’ve seen a suggestion that it’s because of moisture that builds up in the pan if you don’t remove the cupcakes quickly enough. It may also have to do with the amount of fat in the recipe…
    Tessa, I actually have never had the liners stick to the pan or the cupcake to the point where it ruins the cupcake. When I saw this post on Pinterest I had to read it to see what you meant. That’s the strange case to me. Anyway, it brought me to your blog, which seems great. I’m off to explore it!

  16. #
    Julie — July 17, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Actually, the last time that I made cupcakes my problem was that the liners released on their own, before anyone had a chance to pick them up. But I’m glad for the tips anyway.

    • #
      Tessa — July 19, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      How strange!!

  17. #
    Lisa — July 17, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Thanks for the tips. I never thought about spraying the inside of the liners. that’s cool. I have used the water in the pan when baking and I find that it works. Great job!

    • #
      Tessa — July 19, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      Awesome, Lisa! Glad that one works for you 🙂

  18. #
    Teresa Jones — July 17, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Great tips. I was spraying the cupcake pans and liners, so they would not stick.

  19. #
    Betty Symank — July 17, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Wow, so nice to watch a video that has such helpful information.

    • #
      Tessa — July 19, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      Hi, Betty! Thanks for your comment! Nonstick pans really do require special care to make them last. I used to work at a kitchenware store and tried to emphasize that point to everyone who bought nonstick bakeware or cookware, but hardly anyone listened! Lol. Thanks for your suggestion. Unfortunately YouTube simply doesn’t offer a way to thumbs up an embedded video, and their mobile capabilities are definitely lacking 🙁 I do appreciate you taking the time to click over to give it a thumbs up!!

  20. #
    Donna McKenzie — July 17, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Love your non churn Ice cream I have made it a lot for people, especially the peanut butter, I thank you for the tips on baking, I bake Once a week for hospice, patients that are terminally I’ll, want to make the best cupcakes I can for them.
    Thank you for you help.
    Donna McKenzie

  21. #
    Dani H — July 13, 2016 at 8:40 am

    It never occurred to me to spray the inside of the liners with a nonstick cooking spray and I had not heard that placing a pan of water in the oven would also help. Great tips! Thank you.

  22. #
    Sandra Garth — July 13, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Much needed information, thank you!

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