Popovers, the feather-light rolls with soft, eggy almost hollow centers inside and crispy golden cloaks, are the American answer to Yorkshire pudding.
Both are made with a thin egg batter, but popovers were traditionally baked in special cast-iron pans with deep, straight cups that are hard to come by today, while Yorkshire pudding is made by pouring the batter into a roasting pan with the drippings of the roast.
You Can Make Popovers Without a Popover Pan
A popover pan is deeper than a muffin tin and has straight sides, but you don’t need one to make popovers. You can make these just as easily in muffin tins. They won’t be as tall as those made in a special pan—in fact, their baked shapes are unpredictably lopsided (in a charming way).
Regardless of the shape, you will want to eat them right out of the oven, while they are still hot inside, just waiting to be slathered with butter.
Tips for Making Perfect Popovers
Making popover batter is EASY! If you’re not into using kitchen appliances, you can simply whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Personally, I find using a blender does the job quickly and efficiently, so that’s the route I took for this recipe. Either method will work just fine.
- Thin for the win! The batter is thinner than you might expect for something baked in a muffin tin. If you’ve ever made crepes, it’s like that.
- Skip the preheat: Many popover recipes require you to heat the pan in the oven before filling the cups with batter—I did not find this necessary. (I tested both ways with similar results.)
- No peeking! Once the popovers are in the oven, resist the urge to open the oven door and peek in on their progress. The closed door encourages steam, which creates the famous popover puff. If you open the door you’ll lose the steam and the puff.
Ways to Flavor Popovers
You can leave popovers plain or dress them up with fresh herbs or cheeses for a savory version to serve with soup or roast chicken. If you’re craving something on the sweet side, you can add citrus zest, more sugar, or extracts.
To make savory popovers:
To make sweet popovers add an additional tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla along with any of the ingredients below:
- Orange zest
- Lemon zest
- Brush baked popovers with melted butter and roll them in cinnamon and sugar.
- Dust with powdered sugar.
What to Serve With Popovers
They’re also fantastic as a breakfast treat, sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar and served with butter and jam. Afternoon pick-me-up with coffee or tea, anybody?
In any case, serve these hot right out of the oven or reheat them at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes.
How to Store and Reheat Popovers
You can make the batter ahead of time and bake the popovers the next day or prepare a batch start to finish and freeze them for later or keep a few on your counter. Check out the tips below to keep your popovers fresh.
- To make ahead: You can make the batter and refrigerate it for up to one day before baking. Just let the batter come to room temperature and whisk it well or whirl it in the blender for a few seconds before pouring it into the muffin tins.
- To store: Store baked and cooled popovers in a ziptop bag for up to a day. They are still edible after a day, but they don’t taste as fresh. Reheat them on a baking sheet at 350°F for five to 10 minutes.
- To freeze: Store fully baked and cooled popovers in a ziptop bag. They will last for up to three months in the freezer.
Need Some Carbs in Your Life? Look No Further
- Butter, to grease the muffin tins
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (skim, 2% or whole)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425°F:
Adjust an oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Generously grease the bottom, sides, and area between the cups of a standard muffin tin with butter.
Bring the ingredients to warm room temperature:
Place the eggs in a bowl of hot water to cover for 10 minutes. In a microwave-safe cup, heat cold milk for 30 seconds, or until it feels warm to the touch. (Alternatively, warm the milk in a saucepan on top of the stove.)
Mix the batter:
Break the eggs into the blender. Add the milk, salt, sugar, and flour and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth and frothy. Add the melted butter and blend to combine. Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Bake the popovers:
Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling each muffin cup slightly more than half-full. Bake on the lower shelf of the oven without opening the door for 20 minutes. It’s important not to peek into the oven during the baking process. You need the steam in the oven for the popovers to rise.
Turn the oven down to 350°F and bake for 8 minutes longer.
Now you can peek! Open the oven and check to see if the popovers are brown enough. If they aren’t, bake for another 5 minutes, or until they are puffed and deep golden brown.
Popovers are best served warm from the oven. Serve them with dinner as you would a roll or enjoy them for breakfast with butter and jam.