Paper cupcake liners are made from circles of paper, then the outer parts are are crimped to create the (mostly) vertical sides. The shape of the liners should match the indentations in the muffin tin.

In my stash I found a few batches of liners that mysteriously got "flattened" a bit. Now when I place them on the tin, they don't sink to the bottom, but sit on top. If I simply push them down, on one or two places the pleats will fold towards the middle, getting enclosed by dough on both sides. Which isn't just aesthetically "meh", but also tears the cake when unwrapping.

Is there a reasonably easy way to get the liners back in shape?

  • I don't want to throw them away because they are really pretty.
  • But I don't want to spend hours to gently reshape them pleat by pleat either.
  • Sometimes filling the cups very slowly by piping the batter with a pastry bag while gently pushing the liners down and distributing the pleats helps a bit. But a fitting liner makes the work faster and easier.
  • 1
    If you can't rescue them enough to bake in them -- bake items in a smaller greased muffin pan, remove them, and place them in the muffin liners for presentation. (I did this once for a wedding where I made 150 cupcakes ... I thought wedding guests wouldn't want to be struggling w/ unwrapping cupcakes).
    – Joe
    Jul 7, 2016 at 16:29

2 Answers 2


Maybe try reshaping a whole stack at once.

You might slowly bend them back into shape by hand, holding the stack and in place with your thumbs and wrapping your fingers around to bend the edges of the circle back towards the proper shape. Only the top one or two liners might fold in towards the middle, because the liners would layer together, and make the stack as a whole less flexible so there isn't room for the middle layers to fold in - and you can gently reshape them and distribute the pleats on the top few as you're bending, because even if you wouldn't want to do so for every liner, shaping the whole stack at once is a lot less time and a lot more done at once.

Alternatively, you might set a stack (or partial stack) on top of the muffin tin, and weigh them down. If you have a second tin, or individual silicone muffin cups, or a stack of liners that are still the right shape and well wrapped, you can set that on top, with extra weight if needed, and let them get pushed down into the muffin tin. The less weight and more time it takes will probably give a better result (since the reshaping is gentler) but it's up to you how neatly you want t done. You might still get smaller pleats out of place, but overall the shape should match the muffin tin fairly well. This can also be done with nestling round cookie cutters - the point is to brace the inside with something rigid so it doesn't have room to just fold in.

Or something in between, brace the inside of the liner stack with something of the right diameter, flip it upside down, and smooth your hands down the stack to slowly narrow the diameter back down. you can leave them in between sessions, or use a rubber band (once they're shaped enough), and let them settle back into shape by themselves.

  • 1
    Small, narrow glasses might make a good weight, too, if you're trying to shape them in a muffin tin.
    – Joe
    Apr 15, 2017 at 13:31

Don't bother trying to fold them back. Just put them in the cupcake tin, pop them into a warm oven for a couple of minutes and they will reshape themselves.

  • I assume by 'warm' oven, you mean the lowest setting? (about 200°F here in the US).
    – Joe
    Apr 15, 2017 at 13:36
  • @Joe Oven light only would be even less warm.
    – Robert
    Apr 16, 2017 at 14:54
  • @Robert : Some older recipes talk about 'cook in a warm oven', which typically gets translated to somewhere around 200-250°F. I probably need to add that to the 'gas mark' table : cooking.stackexchange.com/a/27517/67
    – Joe
    Apr 16, 2017 at 15:31
  • Just the same temperature as you would bake cupcakes, about 350
    – Sibel
    Apr 28, 2017 at 14:15

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