What Is a Crumpet?

The first thing we need to clear up is that there is a big difference between crumpets and strumpets. I always used to use those words interchangeably—but it turns out crumpets are breakfast or tea bread and a strumpet is an old, disparaging word for sex worker. Very big difference there. Crumpets are closer to English muffins than they are to any sort of human. Wait, are crumpets English muffins? What are crumpets, exactly? How do you serve crumpets? Let’s find an answer to the question: What is a crumpet? 

What is a crumpet?

So, you’re walking down the bread aisle at your local grocery store, looking for something to eat at breakfast time that makes you feel like a fancy British lad. You look at the English muffins. But no, you want to be a super fancy British lad, so you go for the crumpets! What are crumpets besides fancy British lad food? A crumpet is a small, thin, round, griddled bread with a bit of a spongy texture. They’re a popular British breakfast food and also a pretty good afternoon tea accompaniment. Outside of the U.K., crumpets are also popular in Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. While they aren’t the most popular breakfast bread in the U.S, they are usually pretty easy to find. 

Are crumpets English muffins?

So, we know that crumpets and English muffins are both breakfast breads. Are they the same thing? While they certainly have a lot in common—they’re both griddle cakes, they’re both known for their crater-ish texture—there are noticeable differences. 

The key difference between English muffins and crumpets is that crumpets are made with batter and English muffins are made with dough. We all know what pancake batter looks like. It’s thin, a little runny, and you have to stir it in a bowl. Dough, on the other hand, is thicker and can be thrown on the countertop and kneaded by hand. 

Also, most crumpet recipes include milk (English muffins are made without milk). Crumpets are made with baking soda, while English muffins are made with yeast or a sourdough starter. And crumpets are only griddled on one side. English muffins are griddles on both sides and usually split to be eaten. By griddling only one side, crumpets get those awesome little craters that can turn into tiny lakes of melted butter—no splitting required. 

How to serve crumpets?

There’s a ton of different ways to enjoy your crumpet. But I’m going to tell you my favorite, which coincidentally is the absolute best way. Get your crumpet. Put it in the toaster. Once it pops up and is all nice and toasted, slather some butter on it. Now add some more butter. Finally, top that off with a little more butter. Now eat it. You’ve just made a butter delivery system! Of course crumpets can also be served with jelly, jam, syrup, lemon curd, preserves, or clotted cream. You can also go the savory route and enjoy a crumpet in a little open-faced sandwich or make eggs Benedict with crumpets. 

I sometimes get two crumpets and add a whole stick of butter between them to make a crumpet butter sandwich. That’s kind of an indulgence though, so I never have more than six of those in a week.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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