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Traditional English Crumpets

Krista S

Crumpets are one of the quintessential British dishes that you should try if you are interested in English cuisine. At first sight, you might wonder why crumpets with their excessively spongy texture and bland flavor have such a prominent place on the British table. But once you have them, you will realize why, especially if they are homemade. Let me tell you this, homemade traditional English crumpets are everything! They are crispy, chewy, and delicately spongy. They also have a wonderful depth of yeasty flavor.

The History and Origin of Crumpets

Crumpets, the iconic British griddle cakes, have deep roots in the nation’s culinary traditions. The name “crumpet” is believed to stem from the Welsh word “crempog,” referring to a type of pancake. However, the modern-day crumpet, with its spongy texture and distinctive holes, evolved significantly from its ancient versions. It was during the Victorian era, with the introduction of commercial yeast, that crumpets acquired their characteristic bubbly surface.

Historically, crumpets were a staple for the working class, especially in the Midlands and Northern England. Cooked over open fires using crumpet irons, these treats became emblematic of British teatime culture by the 19th century. Their porous nature made them ideal for absorbing butter or jam, solidifying their status as a cherished accompaniment to tea.

Today, crumpets are celebrated not only in Britain but globally. Their unique composition, coupled with their rich history, cements them as a timeless delicacy in the world of baked goods.

Is it your first time to hear about crumpets? Wondering what they are? These are English griddle cakes made from milk, water, flour, yeast, and some other ingredients. They are usually eaten for breakfast or even with afternoon tea. They are soft and they come with a spongy texture. They also have dozens of tiny holes, which are considered their most distinct feature. Whatever you spread them with or soak them in will certainly go through those tiny holes, making each bite more savory.

Most of the time, many people get confused with English muffins and crumpets. Although these two are both cooked on a griddle, they are still different. English muffins are more like bread and they are heavier. Crumpets, on the other hand, are lighter, not to mention their spongy texture.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making Crumpets

Crafting the perfect crumpet can be a delightful culinary experience, but it’s not without its challenges. Here are some common pitfalls to watch out for when making crumpets:

  1. Using Expired Yeast: The yeast is responsible for the fermentation process that gives crumpets their signature holes. Using old or expired yeast can result in a flat batter that doesn’t bubble up, leading to dense crumpets without holes.
  2. Overmixing the Batter: While it’s essential to mix the ingredients well, overmixing can deflate the batter. This can prevent the formation of characteristic holes on the crumpet’s surface.
  3. Incorrect Batter Consistency: The batter should be of a pourable consistency, similar to a thick cream. If it’s too thick, the crumpets won’t have their spongy texture. If too thin, they might spread out too much on the griddle.
  4. Not Resting the Batter: Allowing the batter to rest and ferment is crucial. If you’re in a hurry and skip this step, the crumpets won’t rise properly, and the holes won’t form.
  5. Cooking on High Heat: Crumpets need to be cooked on medium to low heat to ensure they cook through without burning. Cooking on high heat can result in a dark exterior while the inside remains uncooked.
  6. Not Using the Right Equipment: While it’s possible to make crumpets without crumpet rings, using them ensures uniformity in size and shape. If you don’t have crumpet rings, ensure that your makeshift rings are clean and have a smooth interior to prevent sticking.
  7. Not Greasing the Rings or Griddle: Crumpets can stick to both the griddle and the rings if they aren’t adequately greased. This can make flipping them a challenge and can lead to uneven cooking.

By being mindful of these common mistakes and ensuring you follow the recipe steps accurately, you’ll be well on your way to crafting delicious, hole-filled crumpets that are perfect for any occasion.

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Traditional English Crumpets

  • Author: Myles
  • Total Time: 2 hours 19 minutes
  • Yield: 20 to 24 crumpets 1x


Crumpets are the quintessential breakfast or afternoon tea treat. Serve them with lots of butter, and you’d definitely have an excellent breakfast meal or snack. With their delicate texture and holes on top, you can soak them up with jam or butter, making each bite an unforgettable one!


Units Scale

1 1/2 c. milk

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 1/2 c. lukewarm water

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. baking powder

Cooking spray (for the pan)

Butter and jam (for serving)


  1. Warm the milk in a saucepan, but make sure that it doesn’t boil. Skim any milk off of the top.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the warmed milk, sugar, yeast, and flour. Combine and then add half of the water. Beat into the batter.
  3. Continue adding water until the batter reaches the consistency of thick cream.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size and foaming. This can take 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Whisk the salt and baking powder into the batter.
  6. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Make sure it is hot but not smoking.
  7. Carefully grease the base of the pan and crumpet rings with cooking spray.
  8. Place a ring on the heated pan. Pour in enough batter, about 1/4 cup.
  9. Cook for about 5 minutes. You will see tiny holes on the surface and the crumpet should set around the edges.
  10. Flip the crumpet over, in the ring, and cook for about 3 minutes more or until it is light brown or cooked through.
  11. Repeat with the remaining batter. Be sure the grease the pan in between each batch. Adjust the temperature as needed.
  12. Let the crumpets cool on a wire rack.
  13. Serve with lots of butter and jam.


  • You can use crumpet rings measuring approximately 3 inches wide, 1/2 inch tall.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 64 minutes

If you want to reheat your crumpets, simply place them in a toaster. Or, you can also put them directly on the center rack of the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat for about 5 minutes before serving.

You can also serve crumpets with fresh berries to make your breakfast meal more delicious and healthier.

Serving Suggestions and Pairing Options for Crumpets

Crumpets, with their soft, spongy texture and myriad of tiny holes, are a canvas for culinary creativity. Their neutral taste makes them versatile, allowing for both sweet and savory toppings that can transform them from a simple breakfast item to an elegant snack or appetizer.

Sweet Pairings:

  1. Classic Butter and Jam: A generous spread of butter that melts into the crumpet’s holes, topped with strawberry or raspberry jam, is a timeless favorite.
  2. Honey and Fresh Fruit: Drizzle crumpets with golden honey and top with slices of banana, strawberries, or blueberries for a fresh twist.
  3. Nutella and Nuts: Spread a layer of Nutella and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts or almonds for a rich, nutty treat.
  4. Lemon Curd and Whipped Cream: The tanginess of lemon curd paired with light whipped cream offers a delightful contrast in flavors.

Savory Pairings

  1. Avocado and Poached Egg: Mash ripe avocado onto the crumpet, top with a poached egg, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili flakes for a hearty breakfast option.
  2. Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese: Layer thinly sliced smoked salmon over a spread of cream cheese, garnishing with capers and dill.
  3. Cheese and Chutney: Melt mature cheddar or brie on the crumpet and serve with a dollop of onion or tomato chutney for a comforting snack.
  4. Ham and Mustard: Place slices of ham on the crumpet, adding a smear of wholegrain mustard and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

To elevate the crumpet experience, consider pairing them with beverages that complement their toppings. A sweet-topped crumpet goes wonderfully with a cup of Earl Grey or Darjeeling tea, while savory versions can be paired with a light white wine or a sparkling beverage. Whether enjoyed during a morning breakfast, afternoon tea, or as an evening snack, these serving suggestions ensure that crumpets remain a versatile and delightful treat.

Frequently Asked Questions about Crumpets

What’s the difference between English muffins and crumpets?

While both are griddle cakes, English muffins and crumpets have distinct differences. English muffins are more bread-like, heavier, and are split open to reveal a rough texture. Crumpets, on the other hand, are lighter with a spongy texture and are recognized by their surface filled with tiny holes.

Can crumpets be frozen for later use?

Yes, crumpets freeze well. Once cooled, place them in a freezer bag, ensuring they’re separated by parchment paper to prevent sticking. They can be toasted directly from frozen when you’re ready to eat them.

Are there gluten-free crumpet options?

Absolutely! Many stores now offer gluten-free crumpets, and there are numerous gluten-free crumpet recipes available online that use alternative flours like almond or rice flour.

How do I know when my crumpets are cooked perfectly?

A perfectly cooked crumpet will have a golden-brown bottom and will be filled with holes on the top surface. The edges should be slightly crispy, while the inside remains soft and spongy.

Why didn’t my homemade crumpets develop holes on the surface?

The formation of holes in crumpets is due to the fermentation process. If your crumpets didn’t develop holes, it could be due to factors like expired yeast, batter that’s too thick, or cooking them at too high a temperature.

Can I make crumpets without crumpet rings?

While crumpet rings help in giving the crumpets their traditional shape, you can still make them without the rings. They might spread out a bit more and be thinner, but they’ll still taste delicious. Alternatively, you can use cleaned tuna cans with both ends removed as makeshift crumpet rings.

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