Make a Bomb Benedict with the 7 Best English Muffins

What makes an English muffin different from other bun-like bread items? The nooks and crannies, naturally. Tried-and-true muffin maker Thomas’ began pounding that into our skulls in the ‘70s and ‘80s, creating the expectation that anything calling itself an English muffin should look kind of like the surface of the moon inside, with divots to catch butter and peaks to get extra toasty. Plus, the phrase “nooks and crannies” just sounds so delightfully British—even though English muffins were invented in the U.S. and are apparently marketed as “American muffins” in the UK. Sorry to harsh your muffin mellow. 

For this tasting we toasted up more than a dozen brands and varieties of English muffins to find the absolute best, and I think the results might surprise you. Who knew sourdough muffins were so good? Now we do. Pip, pip. Cheerio. But in American, I guess.

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thomas sourdough english muffins

Best of the Best

Thomas’ Sourdough English Muffins

Besides the aforementioned nooks and crannies, a yeasty bite really makes an English muffin just a little bit tastier and more representative of what an English muffin should be. These sourdough English muffins from Thomas’ won’t kick you in the teeth with yeast, but the sourness of the sourdough definitely gives these an edge over a lot of regular English muffins in the flavor department. Plus, these were nice and moist compared to some of the others we tried. “I think sometimes English muffins are a little dry for my taste,” Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick said. “This isn’t dry at all. It doesn’t have a strong sourdough flavor, but I don’t care.” We ate all of these muffins sans butter to accurately assess their flavor, but you really can’t help but picture butter pooling in the impressive nooks in a Thomas’.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

kroger sourdough muffins

Best Flavor

Kroger Sourdough English Muffins

Sometimes store brands just nail it—and they’re usually a few bucks cheaper than name brands to boot. If you have a Kroger (or Baker’s or Ralphs or Fred Meyer or …) in your neck of the woods, give these generic muffins a shot. Like Thomas’ sourdough, they have just a touch more flavor than your standard English muffin and are pleasantly moist too, even without butter. I personally loved their almost spongy texture, and Jordan praised their “reasonable amount of nooks.”

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

trader joe's english muffins

Best for Butter

Trader Joe’s Classic English Muffins

The nooks in these Trader Joe’s muffins are just begging to become little pools of butter. Staff writer Danny Palumbo liked how rustic they seemed, despite clearly being mass produced by a major grocery store chain (TJ’s is good like that sometimes). “This is really nice,” he said after taking a bite. “Nice crispy edges and a nice chewy interior. Butter me up.” These aren’t sourdough, but they do have that touch of tang we like in an English muffin. “These are tangier than your usual Thomas’,” Sporked editor-in-chief Justine Sterling said, adding that they’re “super soft on the outside, and crunchy where they need to be.” Nice work, Joe.

Credit: Merc / Trader Joe’s

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

thomas' english muffins

Best Classic

Thomas’ Original English Muffins

In terms of flavor, Thomas’ Original English Muffins sort of pale in comparison to the sourdough variety, but classics are classic for a reason, I suppose. You can rest assured the nooks in these bad boys are going to sop up a lot of egg yolk if you make an eggs-over-easy breakfast sandwich or a Benedict topped with a poached egg. And since they have a very blank-slate sort of flavor, that smooth yolk is really going to shine. Original Thomas’ muffins are definitely a little dryer than their sourdough brethren too, but that just means they toast up even better. (Ours might have cooked for a minute too long, but I like these well-done.)

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

bays english muffins

Best as a Bun

Bays Original English Muffins

When I worked at a cool magazine in the very cool city of Chicago, a couple of my cool colleagues regularly ate Bays muffins. Suffice it to say, I consider these cool guy English muffins—and they’re definitely nonconformist, which is cool. The nooks are less pronounced here, but that makes these muffins great to slather with peanut butter or to use as a hamburger bun. If you aren’t married to crannies, you’ll love their chewy texture and crumpet-like taste.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

365 english muffins

Best Texture

365 Classic English Muffins

Okay, this might be off-putting, but Danny liked the way these muffins from Whole Foods house brand 365 “tore apart like meat.” If you can get past that vivid imagery, you’ll definitely like the texture of these. “This one is chewy in a good way,” Sporked editorial assistant Naajia Shukri said. “I feel like I like this because it’s kind of squishy like bread.” Squish is good.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

trader joe's gluten free english muffins

Best Gluten Free

Trader Joe’s Gluten Free English Muffins

Gluten-free baked goods can go so, so wrong so, so easily. It was a pleasant surprise that these gluten-free muffins from Trader Joe’s were among our favorites of the day. “These are gluten free?” Danny asked after taking a bite. “This is a big win for science.” Indeed. These muffins have nice chew, and are exactly as soft and as fluffy as you’d want them to be. You could make a really good breakfast sandwich with these, minus the belly bloat.

Credit: Merc / Trader Joe’s

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

The rest of what we tasted: L’Oven Fresh Original English Muffins, Oroweat Extra Crisp English Muffins, Great Value Original English Muffins, Bays Sourdough English Muffins, Dave’s Killer Bread Killer Classic English Muffins, Food for Life English Muffins, First Street English Muffins.

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About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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  • Bays English muffins are #1 in my book!

    Reply
  • I like the corn muffin 🌽 flavor with Butter the most.

    Reply
  • I buy Bay’s, but not because they taste better than any Thomas’ variety. They’re just easier to work with. They’re cut properly so you don’t have to go on a crumb-filled, fork-splitting adventure every time you want one. I usually have mine with butter and a 15-second melted American cheese for a ghetto grilled cheese sandwich, butter and cream cheese, or with crunchy peanut butter.

    Reply
  • I like both Thomas & Kroger sourdough muffins, but my go to is still Oroweat whole wheat muffins. The bit of honey just hits the spot.

    Reply