Crumpets vs. English Muffins: What's the Difference?

While strikingly similar in appearance, crumpets and English muffins are different. Learn all about the two kinds of griddled bread here.

So you're in the bread aisle thinking about switching up your breakfast game by choosing something other than bagels or your usual loaf for toast. You find English muffins and crumpets and now have to figure out which to buy. Or maybe you regularly enjoy a toasty English muffin slathered with butter and jam but have never tried a crumpet. So what is a crumpet exactly? They're small, round, have spongy-looking holes, and definitely look the same as English muffins—but upon closer investigation, you'll find they really are different. Here, we'll cover the differences between crumpets and English muffins so you'll know exactly what you're grabbing on the next grocery run or ordering from a brunch restaurant menu.

toasted crumpets overhead with jam
Crumpets have a thinner batter made without yeast and have a softer texture than English muffins. al8er/Getty Images

What Is a Crumpet?

Crumpets are small, round griddled breads that are thin with a spongy texture. Crumpets are authentic British bread commonly enjoyed for breakfast (or with afternoon tea). They are also regularly enjoyed throughout the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. You can find crumpets in many grocery stores here in the U.S. now, but they are not as common in the bread aisle as English muffins. Try making your own with this crumpet recipe from our sister site Food & Wine.

sliced and lightly toasted english muffin with butter
Made with yeast, English muffins have a stronger bread texture. Brent Hofacker/Adobe Stock

What Is an English Muffin?

English muffins are small, round, yeast-leavened bread cooked on the stovetop. In the 1800s, English muffins were created in New York after Samuel Bath Thomas moved to America from England. So while you might have considered English muffins a "British" bread, it's actually more common here in the United States (and therefore why you see them in stores more often than crumpets). In fact, you'll likely find them referred to as just muffins or American Muffins in the United Kingdom.

Crumpets vs. English Muffins

After the two descriptions above, you might have noticed the main similarities between crumpets and English muffins. Both are cooked on a griddle or stove top, they're about the same size, and have craters or holes. The differences are that crumpets are always made with milk (you won't find any milk in English muffin recipes) and are only griddled on one side, leaving one side toasted and the other soft—think sort of like a pancake's texture, only a little more spongy. Crumpet recipes don't require yeast and they have a looser batter. They're also served whole, while English muffins are split. As for English muffins, they have a breadier texture and are toasted on both sides.

Now that you know the differences between crumpets and English muffins, feel free to try both to see which you like best. They're both great as a morning breakfast by enjoying toasted with butter and your favorite jam or spreads. You can also go savory by turning English muffins into mini pizzas or a classic eggs benedict.

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