Crispy, chewy and delicately spongy in texture with a delicious depth of yeasty flavor, for the best and most authentic homemade crumpets look no further!
Serve these crumpets with homemade Black Currant Jam, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Gooseberry Jam, Golden Syrup, honey, or just slather on the butter and you’re all set for an irresistibly delicious treat of one of Great Britain’s most iconic foods! Truly, once you’ve tried these homemade crumpets you’ll fall in love forever!
When I moved to England where I lived for 7 years, there were a number of quintessential British dishes I was eager to try. Crumpets was one of them. We had no sooner settled into our hotel room than we went grocery shopping at the local Tesco and I picked up a package of them for the following morning. We popped the them in the toaster, slathered them with butter and jam and took our first bite of English crumpets.
The verdict: The butter and jam were good.
Excessively spongy in texture and bland in flavor, I wondered why, of all things, crumpets had earned such a prominent place on the British table.
I swiftly wrote crumpets off as “tried them once and once was enough.” That is, until I ate some homemade crumpets at a friend’s house. My opinion of the famous crumpet made a 180 degree turn!
Simultaneously crispy, chewy and delicately spongy in texture with a wonderful depth of yeasty flavor, I can promise you – homemade crumpets are everything they’re chalked up to be! Continue below to our crumpet recipe learn how to make the BEST homemade crumpets EVER!
What Are Crumpets?
Crumpets are English griddle cakes made from flour, milk/water and yeast and are traditionally eaten for breakfast or with afternoon tea. They’re soft and somewhat spongy in texture and their crowning feature are the dozens of tiny holes that dot the surface, allowing whatever you spread on them to soak down into them, making each and every bite an unforgettable one.
Crumpet vs English Muffin: What is the Difference?
Crumpets and English muffins are sometimes confused and while it’s true that they’re both cooked on a griddle, they are distinctly different. English muffins are more like bread rolls; they’re doughy, heavier and bread-like. English muffins are also cut in a half for serving.
Crumpets are lighter and spongier in texture both as a result of different ingredients/ratios as well as technique and the dual rising method that gives them a different texture, consistency and appearance (specifically the dozens of tiny holes that dot the top surface).
Unlike English muffins, crumpets are not split in half for serving. Instead the butter, honey, jam, etc and spread right on top of the toasted crumpet.
Where Did Crumpets Originate?
Crumpets originated in United Kingdom and one of the earliest mentions of “crumpet” came from the English Bible translator, John Wycliffe, who referred to them as “the crompid cake.” The name is thought to have Celtic origins referring to a “thin, flat cake” (i.e., Breton: krampouezhl; Cornish: krampoeth; or Welsh: crempog or crempot, a type of pancake).
The crumpet has evolved over time. Centuries ago they were made without yeast and were flatter and harder, more like pancakes (what is also a Welsh variation, bara piglydd, known as pikelets, likewise enjoyed throughout Australia and New Zealand). During the Victorian era the yeast was introduced and crumpets have never been the same since – for the better.
Before we get started there are a few important questions I get asked a lot that I want to address…
How Long Should Crumpet Batter Rest?
Different recipes recommend different times. The batter is ready after sitting for 30 minutes (crumpets in above pics were made after 30 min) but I have found that letting it rest a bit longer will give you an even higher rise and a lighter texture. In the pic below I let the batter sit for an additional 20 minutes. See the side-by-side pic for a comparison of height.
Try both and see which you prefer. Both are excellent but I slightly prefer the higher rise.
Do I Need Crumpet Rings to Make Crumpets?
Yes. Crumpet batter is very loose and runny and the crumpets rings are what will shape and hold the batter while the crumpets are cooking.
I use Norpro’s English Muffin/Crumpet Rings. They do the job perfectly.
Can Crumpets Be Frozen?
Yes, crumpets freeze well. Let them cool completely and freeze them in a ziplock bag or airtight container for up to two months. To eat them let them thaw and then toast them.
Traditional Crumpets Recipe
Let’s get started!
Stir the sugar and yeast into the warm milk and let it rest for 10 minutes until frothy.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour and salt.
Add the liquid to the flour mixture and stir/knead until a thick dough forms. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and beat the mixture for about 3 minutes until a thick dough forms.
Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise for at least an hour or up to two (it should nearly double in size). This stage is important for the formation of the bubbles that will later form the classic holes in the crumpets.
Dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and add it to the dough. In addition to the previous proving phase, the baking soda is also what helps aerate the crumpets to give them their classic pores. Those pores allow the butter later on to soak beautifully into the crumpet and gives them their famous sponge-like texture.
If using a stand mixer, beat the batter for a minute or two. Or use an electric mixer to beat the batter. If some small lumps remain that’s okay. Any remaining lumps will dissolve during the next resting stage.
Cover the batter and let it rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes (see note below comparing the rise of the crumpets depending on how long the batter sits).
After 30 minutes the batter should be nice and bubbly. When you stir it, it will bubble and froth nicely.
Time to prepare the crumpet rings.
Oil the inside rims of the crumpet rings. Lightly oil the frying pan. You can use a regular skillet or a cast iron pan (my preference). I’m using my Lodge 12″ Cast Iron Pan.
Heat the pan and rings over medium-high heat.
Once the rings are hot, pour the batter into each ring until it’s slightly more than half full.
Cooking time will vary depending on your stovetop and frying pan but these will cook for approx 8-10 minutes (the time will vary according to the kind of cooktop and cookware you’re using. Just be sure to keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t burn on the bottom. Lower the temp as needed to finish off the cooking).
The batter will begin to rise and bubble on top.
After several minutes when the tops are cooked and the classic pores/holes are present with the bottoms lightly browned, your crumpets are done and you can remove the rings.
Traditionally crumpets are only cooked on one side only, not flipped over, and then toasted later. However, if you’re going to eat the crumpets immediately, I prefer to remove the rings and flip the crumpets over to cook an extra minute or two on the top side for a nice golden color and added layer of crispiness. If you flip them be careful not to move them so you don’t smear any uncooked batter and thereby cover over the pores.
If you’re keeping them for later or plan on freezing them, you have the option to flip or not flip – either way you’ll want to toast them to reheat them.
Your gorgeous, delicious homemade crumpets are ready to eat!
Do Crumpets Need to be Toasted?
Store-bought crumpets are always toasted before eating them because they’ve become soft from sitting in the packaging. However homemade crumpets straight out of the frying pan will be wonderfully crispy on the outside so there is no need to toast them. If you’re not serving them immediately toast them just before serving.
Serve the crumpets warm slathered with butter, jam, golden syrup, honey or topping of your choice.
Crumpets can also be frozen, thawed and toasted.
Note: Crumpets are eaten whole/open-faced and are not cut in half horizontally.
For a whole grain version try our Whole Wheat Crumpets!
For more delicious British favorites be sure to try our:
- Yorkshire Pudding
- Sticky Toffee Pudding
- Treacle Tart
- Eccles Cakes
- Spotted Dick
- Christmas Pudding
- Toad in the Hole
- Fish and Chips
- Mushy Peas
- Bangers and Mash
Authentic English Crumpets
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (can substitute half bread flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon cane sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Stir the sugar and yeast into the warm milk and let it rest for 10 minutes until frothy. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour and salt.
- Add the liquid to the flour mixture and stir/knead until a thick dough forms. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and beat the mixture for about 3 minutes until a thick dough forms. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for at least an hour or up to two to let the dough rise (it should nearly double in size). This stage is important for the formation of the bubbles that will later form the classic holes in the crumpets.
- Dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and add it to the dough. If using a stand mixer, beat the batter for a minute or two. Or use an electric mixer to beat the batter. If some small lumps remain that's okay. Any remaining lumps will dissolve during the next resting stage.Cover the batter and let it rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes (see note below). After 30 minutes the batter should be nice and bubbly.
- Prepare the crumpet rings by greasing the inside of each rim. (I use and like Norpro's English Muffin/Crumpet Rings.) Lightly oil the frying pan. You can use a regular skillet or a cast iron pan (my preference). I use my Lodge 12" Cast Iron Pan.Place the rings in the frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Once the rings are hot, pour the batter into each ring until it's slightly more than half full. Cooking time will vary depending on your stovetop and frying pan but these will cook for approx. 10 minutes (**the time will vary according to the kind of cooktop and cookware you're using and may take longer. Just be sure to keep an eye on them to ensure they don't burn on the bottom. Lower the temp as needed to finish off the cooking). Turn the heat down as needed to prevent burning. The batter will begin to rise and bubble on top. After several minutes when the tops are cooked and the classic pores/holes are present with the bottoms lightly browned, your crumpets are done. Note: You can either remove the rings and flip the crumpets over to cook the other side for another minute or two until golden or remove them from the rings and toast the crumpets. (See blog post for more info on this.)
- Serve the crumpets immediately slathered with butter, jam, golden syrup or honey. To reheat later toast them in the toaster. Can also be frozen, thaw first before toasting. (Crumpets are eaten whole/open-faced and are not sliced in half horizontally.)
- NOTE: Regarding how long to let the batter sit before using: It's ready after 30 minutes but letting it rest a bit longer will give you an even higher rise and a lighter texture (see blog post for side-by-side comparison pics). And more bubbles means more of those classic holes in your crumpets. Try both and see which you prefer. Both are excellent.
Originally published on The Daring Gourmet October 17, 2019
Just wanted to share how much I enjoyed this recipe, along w/ a recommendation to make the dough the night before & just pop it in a lightly-oiled (w/ veggie oil or cooking spray) gallon ziploc bag to sit in the refrigerator overnight. Follow the recipe right up to the 1st rise part; using only All-Purpose flour (gluten and moisture content w/ bread or other flours will change both texture and amount of moisture needed) and being sure your milk is no hotter than 120F degrees or you’ll accidentally kill the yeast. Once the dough is combined and kneaded (I did mine in a stand mixer w/ a dough hook attachment), put it in the oiled bag and just let it rise in your fridge overnight – this will cut down significantly on your work in the morning.
The next AM, take your dough out of the fridge but leave it in the bag on the counter to warm about 45-60 minutes to take the chill out of it. Then proceed with the recipe as instructed; combining the warm (again, no warmer than 120F) water and baking soda into the dough, mixing it well, and letting it rise a second time (covered) in a warm place. Depending on how warm your dough is, it may do better with a slightly longer 2nd rise (greater than the suggested 30 minutes). But since 90% of this is inactive prep, you will have ample free time (from the time the dough leaves the refrigerator to when you finally cook it) to make whatever you’re serving these beauties with – it’s not a fussy recipe at all and the results are excellent. I used a NON-stick skillet *WITH a tight-fitting glass lid*, and I took a star off the recipe rating because the med-high cooking recommendation is just far too hot, IMO, and yields drier and more uneven results. A low temp (3) worked just fine and gave a perfectly golden color. I dip my crumpet rings in veggie oil – gently shaking off any excess – and place a tiny dot of oil in the middle of each ring, then pour the batter into each ring and lid the pan; this both helps the crumpet cook quicker on the inside, and keeps them very moist. They will be ready to flip when the tops are set and no longer have that glossy wet sheen to them (much like cooking a pancake). And depending on the size/height of your crumpet ring, they can cook fairly quickly; less than 10 minutes per batch. I got 11 crumpets from this recipe using a 3 1/2 inch ring.
If you’re having trouble getting the holes to form in the tops, it is likely that your batter is a bit too thick/heavy. This is a very wet sponge of a dough, and for the bubbles to form properly the air needs less resistance to make it up to the surface (which results from a thinner, higher moisture content dough). Even without the characteristic holes, though, the texture will be sublime if you follow the steps above; no worries! Thanks for sharing this recipe, and happy eating to anyone who gives this method a try. The crumpets are fantastic buttered as a companion to eggs, or as a snack done up w/ your favorite jam/preserve.
Kimberly Killebrew says
Thank you for this terrific and detailed feedback, Laurie, and I’m positively thrilled that you enjoyed the recipe – thanks again!
Thanks for the recipe. Can I hand whisk instead of using an electric mixer for the part where the baking soda is added to the mixture?
Kimberly Killebrew says
Yes you can, Helen. Happy cooking!
Vonne Tarnavsky says
I didn’t have crumpet rings, so I used mason jar rings. In order to make them work, dip them in oil and shake off the excess. I tried to brush them with oil and they stuck. It worked like a charm.
Do you think I could use a plant based milk instead of the regular milk? I’m sensitive to dairy.
Kimberly Killebrew says
Hi Becky, yes you can!
Can these be frozen?
Kimberly Killebrew says
Yes they can, Shaun. Let them thaw and then pop them in the toaster.
Lisa M. says
The metric version of this recipe calls for 1 tbsp. active dry yeast while the U.S. version calls for 2 tsp. Is this a typo? All the other measurements are the same.
Kimberly Killebrew says
Hi Lisa, 2 teaspoons is correct. The metric version should have shown those measurements in grams; that has now been fixed. Happy cooking!