Crumpet Recipe

This crumpet recipe makes beautiful crumpets which are perfect for a cold winter's afternoon tea by the fire.

There's something very satisfying about making your own crumpets. You do need crumpet rings to do it, and you do need to allow enough time for the batter to rise, which can take up to 4 hours.

However, they freeze beautifully. We like to make them every now and then when we have some time to spend in the kitchen, and then we keep them in the freezer for those days when we need them. We usually take them out of the freezer in the morning, ready for the afternoon.

However, pikelets, which are basically thin crumpets, can be toasted straight from the freezer.

I absolutely adore pikelets. I prefer their crispiness and I think they look so much more pretty than crumpets. They are delicious either freshly cooked, or toasted later.

I have to be honest, when we make this crumpet recipe, or pikelets for that matter, they very rarely make it to the freezer, despite our best intentions.

However, it is worth noting that both crumpets and pikelets really do taste much better the same day. If you don't plan on eating them the same day, it is definitely worth freezing them.

This crumpet recipe is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's. The crumpets are lovely, but we don't follow his advice with regard to the pikelets. 

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recommends adding extra flour for the pikelet recipe. We found that this was really unnecessary, and in fact, it made the batter too thick.

If you're unsure which recipe to try, I recommend the pikelets. They're much easier to make, and you don't need the crumpet rings.

Crumpet Recipe

Level: intermediate if you make crumpets, easy for pikelets
Time: Once the batter is ready (1-4 hours), allow about an hour for cooking pikelets, or half hour for crumpets.
Makes: 12 crumpets, or about 40 pikelets

450g (2 2/3 cups) plain white flour
350ml (1 1/2) warm milk
350ml (1 1/2) warm water (approximately)
1 teaspoon powdered dried yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
A little sunflower or vegetable oil

  • Whisk the flour, milk, water and yeast together in a large bowl to make a runny batter, about the consistency of single cream. Cover with cling-film and leave for an hour until really bubbly. It will have roughly doubled in size.

  • This may take considerably longer if it is not in a reasonably warm kitchen. Maybe even as long as 3-4 hours.

  • Once the batter is bubbly, heat a heavy-based frying pan or flat griddle over a medium-high heat. It is important that the pan is flat if you are making crumpets or the batter may leak out from the crumpet ring.
  • We used number 5 out of 9 on our electric cooker. If you are making pikelets, I would recommend using two pans, or it will take ages to cook them all.

  • Whisk the salt and baking powder into the batter using a balloon whisk.

Now you are ready to make crumpets or pikelets....

For Crumpet Recipe

  • Thoroughly grease the crumpet rings and lightly grease the pan.

  • Put one ring in the pan, fill to just below the top – the batter should stay in the ring and lots of holes should appear on the surface after a minute or two.

    If it dribbles out underneath, it is too thin, so whisk a little more flour into your batter mix.

    If lots of holes don't form, it's too thick, so whisk in some water. 

  • Assuming your test crumpet is OK, after five minutes or so, when the surface is just set, flip it over, including the ring.

    If the cooked base seems too dark, turn down the heat. 

  • Cook for two to three minutes, until golden on the other side.

  • Repeat with the remaining batter in batches.

  • Butter and eat straight away, or cool on a wire rack for toasting later.

For the Pikelet Recipe

  • You may need 3 or 4 tablespoons of extra milk to make the batter runny enough. It should be gloopy, and just form ribbons when you lift out the whisk. 

  • There's no need to oil the pan for pikelets. 

    When the pan is hot, take it off the heat add three or four tablespoons of the batter to the pan, spaced as far apart as possible, then tip and shake the pan so the batter spreads out to be quite thin and in rough circles about 3.5 inches diameter, put back on the heat and cook for about 1 minute 20 seconds.  

    Don't worry if they are really more oval than circular. This is just the way they are, and I think they look really pretty. It is quite hard to make perfect circles, so I don’t try too hard. They tend to be more oval, about 3 inches x 4 inches.

    Try not to let them run into each other, but if they do a bit just snip them free with scissors afterward.
  • You will see bubbles form on the surface and burst as the batter dries out.  Do not turn them over until the batter has dried out on top (if you do, then the wet batter will seal the holes up and then they look more like drop scones).

    Turn them over and cook for another 1 minute 20 seconds.

  • You may find that the batter needs a slight adjustment, so add more milk or flour if needed, but not much.

    The batter tends to thicken with time. If you do find it is thickening, making it difficult to form the pikelets, just whisk in a little more milk.

  • Remove to a cooling rack and cook the next batch.

Crumpet Recipe and Pikelets

Hot buttered pikelets are piled high on a plate.

You can eat them as soon as they are cool enough, spread with butter, jam, honey etc.  Or once cooled they can be frozen, interleafed with greaseproof paper and in a plastic bag as you would with pancakes. 

If you are not going to freeze them, they should be eaten the same day.  Just pop them in a toaster oven or under the grill until nicely heated through.  

Don’t try to heat pikelets in a toaster, as they are too floppy and will most likely burn.

Crumpets and pikelets both look great piled up in a basket lined with a napkin. I usually butter them while they are still warm and keep them in a warm place until they are all ready to serve.

Serve with

Crumpets and pikelets are lovely with any black tea or some Rooibos or Mint, if you prefer. Or even some delicious homemade hot chocolate.

For a simple afternoon tea, they are perfect on their own. But if you wish to have a more full spread, this crumpet recipe goes very well with a light fruit cake, like Dundee cake, and a plate of ham sandwiches with some Lapsang Souchong.

Or they make a real winter treat with hot chocolate and chocolate scones with cream.

Oh I love winter!

If you Come over all Cuddly after this Crumpet Recipe, you might feel all Huggy about Homemade Hot Chocolate.