This classic popover recipe gives you the best popovers that are light, buttery, and fabulous. Similar to Yorkshire Pudding, they rise up high with a crispy exterior and hollow interior. An easy roll to serve for breakfast, dinner, or as a side, there’s nothing else like them!
Like so many of my mother’s family-favorite recipes when I was growing up, these popovers only made an appearance at special holidays. I thought maybe they were just too complicated, but years later while in college I took matters into my own hands, bought a popover pan and started making them myself. And guess what? They are not difficult at all! Now, I make them whenever I want. My kids practically beg for them every week.
What is a Popover?
A popover is a light roll made from an egg batter (no yeast!), baked in a special pan that shares its name, which has deep wells with straight-walled sides. Their origin is English-inspired. Settlers from Maine who founded Portland, Oregon Americanized the pudding from Yorkshire.
What is the difference between Yorkshire pudding and popovers? They’re practically the same thing, using the same batter. The only difference is popovers are traditionally baked in a popover pan that’s coated with butter, whereas Yorkshire pudding is baked in beef drippings.
How to Make Popovers
You only need 5 pantry items to make these rolls. Eggs, whole milk, all-purpose flour, butter, and salt. (No yeast, no baking soda, and no baking powder.) They’re so simple!
Here’s a brief rundown (scroll to the bottom for the detailed printable.)
- Blend the eggs, milk, and salt in a blender. Add in flour, followed by the melted butter.
- Let batter rest while the oven preheats.
- Warm up the popover pan in the hot oven, then coat with nonstick spray.
- Fill the slots with the batter.
- Bake at 450°F for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake another 10 minutes. (They should be tall with a domed top, and deep, golden brown.)
- Remove from the oven and pierce the top with a pairing knife to release steam.
- Slip them out of the pan and serve immediately with butter!
Easy! However, their success is all in the details, below.
Popover Recipe Tips for Optimal Results
- Spoon and level the flour. Don’t scoop! This ensures you measure the proper amount.
- Have the eggs at room temperature (before cracking) and the milk warm before mixing. This forms an emulsion which traps air. While baking in the oven, that trapped air expands and produces a fluffy baked good.
- Allow the batter to rest at room temperature while the oven preheats. Resting the batter really does result in better-risen popovers with an airier texture (as opposed to chewy). At least 15 minutes allows the starch molecules to expand and the gluten to relax.
- Spray the tin generously with nonstick spray, including the inside of the wells and also the rim, so those gorgeous rolls pop right out.
- Position an oven rack on a lower third shelf. If the fully risen popovers are too close to the top of the oven, they could burn.
- Don’t open the oven door while they’re baking. This could cause them to deflate. IF they are browning too much, you can open the door toward the last 5 minutes and quickly place a cookie sheet on a top oven rack to shield the popover’s tops from the heat.
- Let the steam escape once they’re done baking. Popovers lose their crispiness if they linger in the pan, so turn them out on a wire rack immediately and make a small slit in the side of each with a paring knife to let the steam out.
Do You Need A Popover Pan To Make Popovers?
If you ask me, yes. But technically, no. Let’s put it this way: for best results, I highly recommend one.
Popover pans are different from regular muffin tins in a couple ways. They have deep, steep-sided wells, which forces the batter upward while baking, resulting in a puffy top and crispy sides. You’ll also notice that most popover pans have the cups welded to the wire rack. This isn’t for aesthetics, but rather promotes even circulation of air and heat around the tins.
Can you make popovers in a muffin tin? It’s not my preferred way, but yes, you definitely can. This particular recipe makes enough batter to fill a standard 12-slot muffin tin. The popovers will be smaller and possibly more dense, but certainly still good. (Reduce your cooking time by 5 minutes at the higher temperature and also 5 minutes at the lower temperature.)
Popover Recipe Variations
- Stir 1 1/2 teaspoons of your favorite dried herbs into the batter for added flavor.
- Sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar! Brush the tops of baked popovers with melted butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Yum!
- Mix in a cup of shredded cheese with the flour mixture.
- Place a little dab of butter in each well as the pan warms up in the preheating oven.
How to Store and Reheat Popovers
Popovers are ideally enjoyed right after baking, so if at all possible, bake and serve them fresh from the oven. The longer they sit, they tend to lose their height and crispness. That being said, you can make them ahead of time and they’ll still be good.
- Can you reheat popovers? Yes. Just warm them in a 350°F oven until warm and crispy again, about 5 minutes.
- Can you freeze popovers? Yes. Freeze baked and cooled popovers in an airtight, freezer-safe bag for up to 2 months. To reheat, place the popovers directly from the freezer into a 350° oven and bake until warm and crispy, about 8 minutes.
- Can you make popover batter ahead of time? There’s some debate over this, but in my humble opinion, the batter should rest for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour at room temperature, but no more than that. Give it a stir before filling the popover pan.
What To Serve with Popovers
With a crispy exterior, hollow interior, and light, buttery taste, the classic popover is my absolute favorite roll. As my son would say, “they are 89,000 good.”
Watch Them Being Made
Light & Buttery Classic Popovers
- 4 large eggs , room temperature before cracking
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk , lukewarm (about 125 degrees F)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 3 tablespoons melted butter , cooled slightly
- Using a blender, blend eggs, milk, and salt; add flour, blending until smooth; then add the melted butter at the end, blending until frothy. Let batter rest for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and place rack in the bottom third position (to make room for tall popovers and to ensure the tops don’t burn!) and another rack in the top position.
- Place a 6-slot popover pan on a baking sheet; put on the lower rack of oven for 2 minutes while oven is preheating.
- Spray the hot pan all over (including inside the wells and the outside rim) with nonstick cooking spray.
- Pour the rested batter evenly into the muffin slots, almost to the top.
- Bake the popovers for 20 minutes without opening the oven door. Reduce the heat to 350°F (again without opening the door), and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until they're tall, have "popped" over the tops of the pan, and are a deep, golden brown.
- (Without opening the oven door, check them with the oven light during the last few minutes to make sure they’re not over-browning. If so, quickly open the door and put a cookie sheet on that upper rack to shield the popovers' tops from direct heat.)
- Remove them from the oven, and pierce the top or bottom of each with the tip of a pairing knife, to release steam and help prevent sogginess.
- Slip them out of the pan, split open and serve with butter!