Authentic English Crumpets

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!

crumpets recipe homemade traditional crumpet authentic British English yeast

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!

crumpets recipe homemade traditional crumpet authentic British English yeast

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.

crumpets recipe best homemade authentic traditional British English yeast

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.

crumpet recipe authentic British homemade yeast muffin breakfast authentic easy

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.

crumpet rings

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.

preparing yeast and flour

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.

letting dough rise

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.

mixing water in dough

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.

letting batter rise

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.

pouring batter into rings

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.

how to make crumpets recipe

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.

how to make crumpets recipe

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.

how to make crumpets recipe

Your gorgeous, delicious homemade crumpets are ready to eat!

how to make crumpets recipe

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.

homemade crumpets recipe

Enjoy!

crumpet recipe homemade traditional crumpets authentic British English yeast

For a whole grain version try our Whole Wheat Crumpets!

For more delicious British favorites be sure to try our:

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet October 17, 2019

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