Why Make Crumpets for Brunch This Weekend? Because You Can

Up your brunch game by mastering this British treat.
By Melanie Hansche
February 05, 2021
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You might think that all partnerships of carbs and butter for breakfast are created equal, but there's one marriage to rule them all: butter and crumpets. If you've never had a crumpet, it's easiest to explain what it isn't. It isn't a pancake, a bread, or a cake. It's also not to be confused with its cousin, the English muffin. While both are cooked on a griddle or in a cast-iron pan, English muffins are made with dough, while crumpets are made with a thick yeasted batter.

What makes a crumpet a crumpet are the unique holes throughout the finished product, which form during cooking as a result of the leavening process. It affords a texture that's chewy and a little spongy on the inside, crispy on the bottom. The sponginess is instrumental in soaking up butter, which is the crumpet's inherent purpose.

They're a breakfast staple in Britain, where they can be found premade in supermarkets, as well as in my native Australia (where toasters have crumpet settings!). But, like all good things, they're even better made from scratch. The only special equipment needed are crumpet ring molds, which are inexpensive and easily sourceable online.

Most crumpet recipes require two stages of proofing. But who wants to wait two to three hours to make crumpets for breakfast? I experimented with a holy trinity of buttermilk, instant yeast, and baking soda to achieve the same—if not better—fluffy, spongy, crisp results you want from a crumpet with only 45 minutes' proofing time. Plus, the addition of spelt flour gives it a more satisfying chew and flavor.

Crumpets are glorious vehicles for sweet and savory toppings, but the classic, unadulterated topping combo is butter and honey. From there, you can experiment with a creamy base layer such as whipped ricotta, crème fraîche, goat cheese, or mascarpone. Add sweet toppings like jam, curd, or fruit compotes, or savory ones such as gravlax, pickled shrimp, crabmeat, or poached eggs with ham. Ultimately, there are no rules; the crumpet is your canvas—adorn it as you wish.

1. Make the Batter

How To Make Crumpets
Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer and Paige Grandjean / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Prepare batter as directed; cover and let stand at room temperature until surface of batter is very bubbly, about 45 minutes.

2. Preheat Pan and Rings

How To Make Crumpets
Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer and Paige Grandjean / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over low. Brush skillet with oil; spray ring molds with cooking spray, and place in skillet to preheat.

3. Add Batter to Rings

How To Make Crumpets
Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer and Paige Grandjean / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Fill each ring mold halfway with batter. Cook until surface is covered with small holes and batter is dry around edges, about 8 minutes.

4. Remove Rings

How To Make Crumpets
Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer and Paige Grandjean / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Using tongs, carefully lift and remove each ring mold, leaving crumpets in pan. Set ring molds aside for next batch.

5. Flip Crumpets

How To Make Crumpets
Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer and Paige Grandjean / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Using a small spatula, carefully and quickly flip crumpets.

6. Finish Cooking

How To Make Crumpets
Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer and Paige Grandjean / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Cook crumpets until bottoms are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Top the Your Way

Crumpets are perfect with just a pat of butter, but try these toppings to take them to the next level.

Bagel Vibes: Crème fraîche + gravlax + chives

First Class: Whipped feta + lump crabmeat + pickled red onion + salmon roe

Honey Plus: Whipped ricotta + honey + thyme

Tart Start: Labneh + lemon curd or orange-rosemary marmalade