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The Best Homemade English Muffin Recipe (Plus Sandwich Ideas)

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

Learn how to make homemade English muffins with plenty of nooks and crannies!

Learn how to make homemade English muffins with plenty of nooks and crannies!

Homemade English Muffins With Nooks and Crannies

English muffins are one of my favorite breakfast breads. When I was a child, I'd tiptoe into the kitchen before sunrise, split open an English muffin and toast it. Then I'd slather on butter and watch it melt, filling the muffin's nooks and crannies with golden pools.

The difference between crumpets and English muffins has long been an issue of debate. Although each has distinct characteristics, it all boils down to one difference: crumpets belong to Britain and English muffins to America. In the UK, crumpets are eaten with butter at breakfast or for tea. English muffins, America's answer to crumpets, are usually split and toasted, fashioned into a sandwich, or served open-face as Eggs Benedict.

I'm very finicky about my English muffins. They must be chewy and full of nooks and crannies. When I began making English muffins, I went to Alton Brown. I love Alton Brown's recipes and his English muffins are no exception. But there was one problem: the texture. More bready than chewy, the muffins resembled a breakfast roll rather than an English muffin. And the nooks and crannies were non-existent.

So I went back to square one. I tried recipes that call for a thicker dough, cut out like a biscuit. This method only makes breadier muffins. At a friend's suggestion, I added baking soda at the end of the final rise. Still, no nooks and crannies and the texture also fell short.

Then I realized that the problem was not so much the ingredients as the method. I was sure over-proofing the yeast with an overnight rise would be the answer to my problem. I went back to Alton Brown's recipe, tweaked it slightly and left the batter-like dough to rise overnight in the fridge. In the morning, I scooped the dough into muffin rings and cooked them on the griddle. Voila! Authentic English muffins, with a chewy texture and enough nooks and crannies to please even the Queen of England.

Another nice feature of this recipe: Not only is prep a cinch, but an overnight rise makes things come together quickly in the morning. And homemade English muffins are infinitely better than anything sold in a grocery store. I've also included a recipe for blueberry English muffins, similar to Wolferman's famous muffins. Slightly sweet and full of fruit, they make a gorgeous addition to the breakfast table.

Perfect Homemade English Muffins

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

25 min

40 min

12 muffins

Inspired by Alton Brown's English Muffin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dry (powdered) milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (brown or white)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees Fahrenheit or 43-46 Celsius)
  • 1 Tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • Proofed yeast (see step 1, below)
  • Extra butter, softened, for greasing rings
  • Cornmeal, for sprinkling

Step 1: Proof the Yeast

Yeast is a living organism and must be activated to make the bread rise.

  1. Heat 1/4 cup water to about 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 to 45 degrees Celsius. It should feel warm to the touch, not hot. Water that is too hot will kill the yeast, but if it's too cold, the yeast won't be activated.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons active dry yeast and stir. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of sugar and flour.
  3. Let the yeast rest for about five minutes. It should begin to foam and smell like baking bread.
  4. From this point, you can proceed to the next step, below.

Step 2: Mix and Bake

  1. Combine the dry ingredients (powdered milk, sugar, salt and flour) in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Add the wet ingredients (melted butter, water and yogurt) and proofed yeast to dry ingredients.
  3. Use a hand or stand mixer, processor or bread maker to knead the dough. Consult the manufacturer's instructions. This takes approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Pour dough into a medium mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. By morning the dough should have "overproofed," which means it will have fully risen and begun to collapse. Remove mixing bowl from the refrigerator and set on countertop while preparing the muffin rings.
  6. Grease and flour muffin rings as seen in photo. Grease griddle and dust with cornmeal.
  7. Set rings on griddle and turn heat on low.
  8. Grease a 1/4 cup measure. Scoop 1/4 cup of dough into each ring.
  9. Place a baking sheet on top of the rings and allow to cook on the first side for 6-10 minutes, depending on the temperature of your griddle.
  10. Flip rings over and cook on the second side for about 6 minutes, being careful not to burn them.
  11. Transfer English muffins to a 350 Fahrenheit oven for 5 minutes to finish them.
  12. Enjoy them warm or, better yet, let them cool before splitting and toasting. Serve English muffins full of nooks and crannies with plenty of real butter!

Mixing and Baking Tips

  • Plain yogurt gives the muffins a pleasant "sourdough" flavor.
  • You can use a hand mixer, bread maker, food processor or stand mixer to knead the dough. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Before kneading, you have to proof the yeast (see step 1, above).
  • Overproofing the dough, recommended here, makes it rise high then begin to collapse, which gives the English muffins their unique texture.
  • You can substitute 1 1/4 cups of milk for the powdered milk and warm water.
  • You can make the muffins free-form, but for perfectly round muffins you'll need to invest in English muffin rings.
  • Don't allow the dough to rise after pouring it into the rings. It will rise on the hot griddle during cooking.
  • Authentic English muffins are cooked on a griddle. You can use either an electric or stovetop model. I finish mine in the oven so as not to over-brown them.
  • We like English muffins best cooled, split, and toasted for a crunchy texture.

Serving Suggestions

Top toasted English muffins with butter, peanut butter, cream cheese, Nutella, jam, or honey.

Split leftover English muffins in half and make mini-pizzas. Slather muffins with pizza sauce, add your favorite toppings, and broil until bubbly and golden brown.

English muffin sandwich with egg, roasted peppers, and spinach

English muffin sandwich with egg, roasted peppers, and spinach

How to Make an English Muffin Sandwich

  1. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. Place muffin ring on melted butter.
  3. Crack 1-2 eggs into muffin ring. Cover ring with a plate or small lid.
  4. Allow egg to cook for 1-2 minutes. When the white has turned opaque and firm, use a spatula to flip the ring.
  5. Fry on other side until egg is cooked through.
  6. Sandwich the egg between two toasted English muffins.
Egg in muffin ring

Egg in muffin ring

Muffin Sandwich Variations

  • Egg McMuffin: Egg, Canadian bacon and American cheese
  • The Classic: Egg, bacon or sausage and cheddar cheese
  • Italian Delight: Egg, roasted red pepper and spinach
Blueberry English muffins with berry cream cheese

Blueberry English muffins with berry cream cheese

How to Make Blueberry English Muffins

In the tradition of Wolferman's, these are sweeter and softer than traditional English muffins and are filled with fruit.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dry (powdered) milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup room temperature milk
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110-115 Fahrenheit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each white sugar and flour
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries, rehydrated and drained*

*Place dried blueberries in a cup of boiling water and soak for at least 1 hour.

Instructions

  1. Combine 1/2 teaspoon sugar and flour with 1/4 cup warm water. Add 2 teaspoons yeast and stir. Allow it to rest while you follow steps 2-4.
  2. Measure dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Pour milk and melted butter into a small bowl.
  4. When yeast begins to bubble and smells like baking bread, add it to the milk and butter.
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  6. Using a hand or stand mixer, food processor or bread maker, knead dough according to manufacturer's instructions, about five minutes.
  7. Place dough in a medium mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise overnight in the refrigerator.
  8. The next morning, start from step 6 of the authentic English muffin recipe above.
  9. Serve with butter, or blueberry cream cheese. Enjoy!

Variations

Instead of blueberries, try dried cranberries with a touch of orange zest, dried cherries, or cinnamon and raisins.

Questions & Answers

Question: This is probably a silly question, but is it okay to use Greek yogurt or do I need to use plain yogurt for this English muffin recipe? I only eat Greek yogurt but I’m not sure if the extra protein or thickness would change anything in this recipe.

Answer: This recipe was tested with plain yogurt, so I can’t give you an honest answer as to how it would turn out with Greek yogurt since I haven’t tested it. I agree that the extra protein and decreased moisture could affect the outcome, but since the recipe only calls for one tablespoon of yogurt and the dough is very moist, I think the muffins should still turn out fine. Please let me know if you go ahead and try it! Thank you for your question.

Question: Is the dough loose or more like a bread dough?

Answer: Yes, this recipe makes a very loose dough, like a thick pancake batter. That’s why you need rings to keep the shape of the muffins. The results are well worth it since you will have plenty of nooks and crannies.

Question: Can you freeze the homemade English muffins?

Answer: Yes, you can freeze English muffins. Wrap them tightly in foil or store in a ziplock freezer bag. They should keep 3 months if properly wrapped.

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