Lofty Popovers (Yorkshire Pudding)
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There is nothing more magical than pulling a pan of lofty popovers from the oven just as everyone is sitting down for dinner, and making them couldn’t be simpler. The 5-ingredient batter comes together in seconds, and 30 minutes later, they’re done! Read on to learn the tips for making foolproof popovers every time.
These past few weeks, while planning for the holidays ahead, I’ve found myself thinking about my mother’s popovers, something she made often for big family gatherings.
She always timed them just right: as we all sat down to eat, our plates full, she’d set two bowls, each lined with a tea towel, brimming with just-baked popovers at each end of the table.
In swooped the hands, around went the butter. They were heaven: piping hot, light as air, custardy.
On a whim recently, I made my mother’s popovers for a family dinner. Her recipe, I’ve since learned, is similar to many of the popover recipes on the web, but her method follows that of Yorkshire pudding: she preheats her muffin tin with a generous amount of butter in each well before pouring in her popover batter. Traditional Yorkshire pudding calls for heating the muffin tin with meat drippings.
As you can imagine, the children, faces pressed against the oven glass door, were instantly transfixed seeing the batter “pop” to such dramatic heights. And upon tasting them, they were smitten. As they tore into them, releasing steam, smearing them with butter, they kept wondering aloud: What did these magical, poofy buns remind them of? Finally one of them exclaimed: Waffles! And they all concurred.
I don’t entirely agree with this assessment, but they did nail the batter: flour, eggs, milk, salt, butter. With a little sugar in the mix and syrup for serving, they might be on to something.
Having made many batches of popovers over the past few weeks, I’ve learned how to achieve lofty popovers every time. I’ve made a few small changes to my mother’s recipe, namely I don’t let the batter rest for 30 minutes, and I don’t preheat the pan with butter. These steps, I’ve found, are not actually critical for making the popover batter “pop.” Here’s what is:
4 Tips for Lofty Popovers Every Time
Because popovers rely on steam to rise — as opposed to baking powder, baking soda, or yeast — you want your batter warm when entering the oven. This King Arthur Flour article says it best: “The warmer your batter going into the oven, the more quickly it’ll produce steam: simple as that.”
- Use room-temperature eggs. If you forget to bring your eggs to room temperature, you can plunge them into a bowl of hot tap water for 10 minutes. Truly: I don’t think I’ve ever used room-temperature eggs when a recipe has called for it, and I’ve never noticed a difference. With popovers, I have.
- Use room-temperature milk. If you forget to bring your milk to room temperature, you can heat it briefly in the microwave or stovetop — just till it’s warm to the touch, 75ºF or so.
- Hot oven. You’ll want to start with your oven at 425ºF at a minimum. Some recipes call for 450ºF, but I find in my oven, that temperature browns the popovers a little too much for my liking. Every oven is different, however, so you may find 450ºF works better for you.
- Bread or all-purpose flour: For especially lofty popovers, bread flour is your gal! I achieve great loft with all-purpose flour as well, but I achieve the greatest heights when I use bread flour. That said: it’s not all about height. All-purpose flour might be my favorite for flavor and texture reasons, though I’ve never done a side-by-side taste test, so I can’t say for sure. I suggest: use what you have on hand, and take notes. You can’t go wrong with either. As most of you know, I am partial to King Arthur Flour.
The Difference Between Popovers and Yorkshire Pudding
As noted above: it’s the baking method. The batter of popovers and traditional British Yorkshire pudding is nearly identical. Yorkshire pudding calls for preheating the pan with meat drippings before pouring the batter over the top.
How to Make Lofty Popovers, Step by Step
Gather your ingredients: eggs, milk, melted butter, flour, and salt. You want your eggs and milk at room temperature — see the recipe box for tips if you forget to leave them out before getting started.
Combine the eggs (room temperature), milk (room temperature or slightly warmed), salt, and flour in a blender. Blend for 30 seconds until combined. Alternatively, whisk the ingredients together by hand. I find using the blender ensures a smooth batter, which is what you want here.
Add the melted butter and blend again for 15 to 20 seconds.
The batter should be smooth:
Transfer the batter to a buttered muffin tin, then place in the oven and bake at 425ºF for 20 minutes and 350ºF for 10 minutes:
Ta-da! How fun are they?
Remove from the oven and admire your work…
… briefly! I’m not even sure why I turned these out onto a cooling rack because…
… the one rule of popovers is: Eat Immediately! Transfer them to a bowl and pass around the table.
Serve with butter on the side.
Most popover recipes are basically the same — if you compare the many recipes online, you’ll find they differ slightly in the number of eggs and quantities of milk and flour, but you’ll also see that the basic ratio of flour to milk to eggs is roughly the same.
This is essentially 1.5 times my mother’s recipe, with influence from both King Arthur Flour and America’s Test Kitchen, both of which emphasized using room temperature or slightly warmed ingredients. In sum, the keys to success here are:
- using a scale to measure — it’s the only way to measure accurately
- using room temperature eggs (see recipe for how to quickly bring your eggs to room temperature)
- room temperature milk (see recipe for how to quickly bring your milk to room temperature)
- hot oven
- bread or all-purpose flour: for especially loft popovers, bread flour is your gal! I have achieved great loft with all-purpose flour as well, but I did achieve the greatest heights when I used bread flour. That said: it’s not all about height. All-purpose flour might have been my favorite flavor- and texture-wise, though I didn’t do a side-by-side taste test, so I can’t say for sure. I suggest: use what you have, and take notes. You can’t go wrong with either. As most of you know, I am partial to King Arthur Flour.
A note on salt: If you are using Morton kosher salt or fine sea salt use 1/2 teaspoon.
The pan: I love this USA muffin pan. You can use a traditional 6-well popover pan, too, but I prefer the results when the batter is spread among 12 wells. My batter stuck in my popover pan, too, which made for mangled popovers upon removing them. I highly recommend simply using a metal muffin pan for best results here.
- softened butter, for greasing, plus more for serving
- 3 large eggs, room temperature (see recipe if you forget to take your eggs out ahead of time)
- 1 1/2 cups (375 grams) room-temperature milk — I’ve been using 2% (see recipe if you forget to leave your milk out ahead of time)
- 1 1/2 cups (192 grams) bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt, I use Diamond Crystal brand, see notes above
- 3 tablespoons (43 grams) melted butter — I use salted, but unsalted is fine
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF with a rack in the center. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with the softened butter.
- If your eggs are not at room temperature, place them in a bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let stand for 10 minutes, then remove.
- Place your milk in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove. It should be roughly 75ºF, but slightly warmer is fine, too. I have also used milk that I’ve left at room temperature for several hours, and that has worked great, but I think you’ll find you’ll get even more loft if you warm the milk slightly. You can do this on the stovetop, too — just heat it until it is warm to the touch.
- Place the eggs, milk, flour, and salt in a blender and blend to combine, roughly 30 seconds. I use my Vitamix, and I blend at speed 5. You want a smooth batter here, and using a blender ensures your batter will be smooth.
- Add the melted butter and blend for another 15 to 20 seconds. (Alternatively, whisk by hand: whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt first; add the flour and whisk until combined and smooth; add the butter and whisk again until smooth.)
- Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, aiming to fill each well halfway with the batter. Once you’ve filled each well, divide any remaining batter as evenly as possible among the wells.
- Transfer to the oven immediately and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 350ºF and bake for 10 minutes more.
- Remove, transfer to a serving bowl, and eat immediately! Serve with softened butter on the side.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Bread
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Amerian
Keywords: bread flour, eggs, milk, salt, butter