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Crumpets on a plate with knife and butter

Crumpets

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
  • More effort

Make your own fluffy crumpets for breakfast or brunch. They're well worth the effort and go down a treat with a slathering of butter

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian
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Ingredients

  • 2½ tsp dried yeast
  • 240ml warm milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2tsp sea salt
  • 2tsp caster sugar
  • 470g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder dissolved in 60ml warm water
  • vegetable oil, to grease
  • butter or cheese, to serve

Method

  • STEP 1

    Stir together the yeast and 240ml warm water in a bowl and leave to stand for 5-10 mins. Add the warm milk, butter, salt and sugar, then tip in the flour and stir until smooth. Leave to stand for 30 mins.

  • STEP 2

    Dissolve the baking powder in a little water, then leave to rise for 20-30 mins.

  • STEP 3

    Oil a heavy-based frying pan with a little vegetable oil and heat over medium-low heat. Lightly oil four 9cm crumpet rings. Spoon batter into the rings so it comes halfway up the sides. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, or an upturned deep frying pan to give the crumpets space to rise. Cook until the tops look dry, about 10-12 mins.

  • STEP 4

    Flip them over and cook for 5 mins until golden and firm. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve toasted with butter or topped with cheese, melted under the grill.

How do I ensure I get the characteristic holes in the top?

The holes in the surface of crumpets are caused by carbon dioxide from the yeast and raising agent. The structure of the batter needs to be strong enough to hold its shape during cooking and allow the holes to set. This structure comes from working the protein in the batter when you first combine the yeast, flour, sugar and fats.

When the bubbles appear on the surface of the crumpet, you can gently pop them with a skewer before flipping the crumpets over to finish cooking. This will encourage them to look more like the crumpets we all know and love.

What can I use instead of a crumpet ring?

You might not want to invest in a set of crumpet rings, but you can improvise with any metal cutter, as long as it is heatproof and at least 7-8cm in diameter and 3cm deep.

Remember to oil the inside of your cutter with a flavourless oil (such as sunflower) using a pastry brush, or baker’s spray. This will stop the batter becoming stuck to the cutter. Unfortunately, crumpets won’t always graciously release once cooked, so running a sharp knife around the inside might be necessary. Make sure to firmly hold the warm ring with a tea towel while doing so.

How thick should the batter be?

The batter needs to be dropping consistency. This means that it will fall off a spoon in slow motion and not run off or stay stubbornly glued to it.

Temperature of the pan

Cook your crumpets slowly to ensure they cook through. They should be at least 3cm thick. Each crumpet may take as long as 6-8 minutes to cook through on the first side, leaving a golden base and bubbly surface. At this point, it’s ready to flip over. This is best done quickly and confidently using a fish slice or spatula.

It’s always a good idea to try one test crumpet to make sure you get the temperature of the pan right before you start cooking in batches.

How to eat crumpets

Crumpets are at their most delectable when served warm straight from the pan. If you are eating some that have been cooked earlier, lightly toast and serve with butter, jam or honey.

The cheesy mixture in our rarebit crumpets is the ultimate topping, as the molten cheese oozes into all the holes. Crumpets can also provide the base for a fishy starter and are delicious in our crab & cucumber crumpets. For a brunch dish, instead of making American-style pancakes or French toast, try topping crumpets with ricotta & berries.

Can I freeze crumpets?

The golden rule to prevent freezer burn when freezing any bread is to wrap it well. Crumpets will tend to stick together, so wrap them individually and then pop into a freezer bag. If freezing them has created ice crystals, defrost on a tea towel to absorb the melted ice or they’ll go soggy.

You should be able to toast them straight from frozen if your toaster has a button for doing so, or you might find that on a regular setting the inside stays frosty while only the outside becomes toasty and warm. A surer method is to microwave them on defrost for 20 seconds, then pop in the toaster to crisp up.

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A star rating of 3.3 out of 5.50 ratings
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