Sourdough Crumpets with Natural Starter Recipe

I have been wanting to make my own crumpets for about eight years. I can tell you this because that’s when I remember placing, in my bulging clipping file, a mauve scrap of paper on which I’d copied a crumpet recipe from one of the ladies’ magazines my grandmother used to subscribe to.

But the recipe involved yeast, and back then I hadn’t yet conquered my fear of it, so the recipe hibernated in the “miscellaneous” section for years, until it eventually got the ax during a perhaps overzealous pruning campaign.

The project resurfaced in my mind a few months ago, when I learned from the King Arthur Flour website that you could make sourdough crumpets with natural starter.

Now I can count on fantastic crumpets every time: nicely bubbly at the top, to catch the drippings of whatever you spread them with, crisp around the edges, and lightly doughy on the inside, with a subtle tang to the palate.

A thrifty recipe for sourdough crumpets

Better yet, the recipe is the kind that every natural starter enthusiast dreams of: one that offers to use up the excess starter that the natural feeding cycle leaves you with*. All you need to do is store that extra starter in a container in the fridge — I’ve recycled an empty tub of yogurt for that purpose — until it amounts to roughly a cup (270 grams), which, in my case, takes about three feedings. You mix that with a bit of sugar, salt, and baking soda, and cook the foamy batter like pancakes in a skillet.

It took me a couple of tries to get them right — I had to figure out how hot the skillet needed to be, how much of the batter I should use for each crumpet, and that the crumpet rings needed to be well greased and well preheated to prevent sticking — but now I can count on fantastic sourdough crumpets every time: nicely bubbly at the top, to catch the drippings of whatever you spread them with, crisp around the edges, and lightly doughy on the inside, with a subtle tang to the palate.

I decided to equip myself with proper crumpet rings, which produce straight sides and a neat, stackable shape, but you can do without, or use, as I’ve seen suggested here and there, empty cans of tuna from which you’ll remove the top and bottom with a can opener (make sure you get cans that can be opened on both sides; it’s not always the case).

Crumpets are a teatime staple in the UK, served warm and spread with butter, but we also enjoy our sourdough crumpets at breakfast, with almond butter and a sliced pear. And because they are, in fact, neither sweet nor savory, I’ve eaten them with a chunk of fruity comté cheese and a bowl of soup to particularly satisfying results.

In all cases, toasting the crumpet is a must. And because they freeze so well, you can cook a big batch and stash them away for an impromptu crumpet fest.

Mini Cookbook of Vegan Staples

[Note: Crumpets can also be made without a starter, as instructed in the following recipes (untested by me but seemingly reliable). This one is also from the King Arthur Flour website, with step-by-step pictures also, and this one appeared recently in The Guardian.]

* A sourdough starter needs to be fed its own weight in flour and its own weight in water at every feeding — daily or twice daily if it’s kept at room temperature, weekly if it lives in the fridge. If you were to keep all of the “old” starter, it would triple at every feeding and build up to an exponentially large quantity: you would gradually need more and more flour to keep it happy, which would be costly and impractical. The solution then is to remove a portion of the starter before each feeding, keeping just a couple of tablespoons. Some people throw out that extra starter, but many prefer to keep it in the fridge and work it into crêpe, cake, or clafoutis batters, in pizza doughs, in this crumpet recipe, etc. This extra starter can also be given away to another baker. Read more about natural starter bread.

Have you tried this? Share your pics on Instagram!

Please tag your pictures with #cnzrecipes. I'll share my favorites!

Sourdough Crumpets with Natural Starter Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields eight 9-cm (3 1/2-inch) crumpets (see note)

Sourdough Crumpets with Natural Starter Recipe


  • 270 grams (1 cup) "100%" natural starter (see note) -- it doesn't need to be particularly ripe, and may have been kept in the fridge for a few weeks
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • vegetable oil for greasing


  1. Place the starter in a large bowl, about 1 liter (1 quart) in capacity. Add the sugar and salt, and whisk to combine.
  2. Place a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat, or preheat a griddle to 180°C (360°F). Grease crumpet rings well, if using, and place on the skillet to preheat.
  3. When the skillet and rings are hot, add the baking soda to the batter and whisk it in. As the baking soda reacts to the acid in the starter, the batter will quickly start to foam and rise.
  4. Using a measuring cup, a small ladle, or an ice cream scoop, pour about 60 ml (1/4 cup) of the batter into each crumpet ring, or directly onto the skillet if you're not using rings.
  5. Sourdough Crumpets
  6. Cook for a few minutes, until the top is set; exact timing will depend on your stove, your skillet, and the thickness of your crumpets. (If your stove has hot spots -- and I don't mean the wifi type -- you may have to rotate the skillet every once in a while, and rotate each crumpet after a few minutes so they brown evenly.) As they cook, the crumpets will gradually shrink back from the rings.
  7. Sourdough Crumpets
  8. Using tongs, lift the crumpet rings off the crumpets (wriggle them loose and/or use a knife to help loosen the crumpets if they stick a bit), and optionally (this is not traditional but I prefer them that way), flip the crumpets to brown lightly on the other side.
  9. Sourdough Crumpets
  10. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Wipe down the crumpet rings if necessary, re-grease, and place them on the skillet to preheat again before repeating with the remaining batter. (When you're done with the crumpet rings, handwash and dry them thoroughly so they won't rust.)
  11. Crumpets should be toasted before eating.
  12. The crumpets can also be frozen once cooled: freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet before putting them in a freezer bag so they won't clump. You can pop them in the toaster straight from the freezer.


  • A "100%" starter is fed an equal weight of flour and water at every feeding. To learn more about starters, please refer to my post on natural starter bread.
  • If you have more starter to use up, mix the batter in 1-cup batches anyway, as written. The batter cooks best just after the addition of the baking soda, so a larger amount won't yield as good a result.
  • Adapted from instructions found on the King Arthur Flour website.
  • I’ve never made a crumpet! These look so delicious. I’d love to try – they are on my list!

  • Pia

    Crumpets have been on my “To make” list for years also. I think it’s time to take the dust of that recipe and follow your example.;)

  • Oh, awesome! I love crumpets (especially how the butter runs out the other side!) and I am taking a class making sourdough starter (and Kombucha!) tomorrow night. Perfect, thanks!

  • I’ve always wondered how to make a crumpet. Even the name sounds delicious. I didn’t even know what one looked like before today. Thanks for sharing!


  • Have you read Elizabeth David’s chapter on crumpets and muffins in “English Bread and Yeast Cookery”? I can guarantee you will find it interesting, if slightly confusing.
    Also, about the “leftover” sourdough starter: That is what I always use for bread and it works just fine. The only difference is that you cannot count on a specific length of time to raise your bread, you’ve got to just wait and see how powerful the leftover, chilled yeasts are and how long they take to work.

  • I love crumpets, but I haven’t had them in years. I used to get my mom to buy them for me so I could have proper tea when I got home from school. I think I’ll have to make these.

  • Lucy

    We LOVE crumpets! It takes a bit of fiddling to get the frying pan the right temperature so that they are cooked through but not burnt underneath, but once you figure that out it’s eeeeeeeeasy. I didn’t realise they could be frozen so ate them all when they were fresh – oops.

    PS crumpets are good with hummus and a little paprika

  • we missed crumpets last time we were in london, but yours will be making up for that. they look so light and airy, delightful.

  • So good! Now I’m gonna need to get a sourdough starter going, just make these properly. Good job!

  • Torie

    Yummy! I haven’t had crumpets in ages, this looks like a good little project for this weekend.

    And if you’re ever looking for a home for some extra starter, I’d be happy to take it off your hands…. :)

  • These are the perfect vehicle for some homemade jam.

  • When I tried making crumpets some years ago, I didn’t have dedicated rings, but improvised successfully by using the rings for wide-mouth canning jars, with top side up. Haven’t made them for a long time, but thanks to you, I now have a hankering, especially on a cold snowy wintry day — thanks for the reminder!

  • megami

    Thanks for the push – have had a crumpets recipe (thanks to the Observer) in the recipe folder for months, must make it now!

  • For Christmas I received a King Arthur Flour sourdough starter. Maybe I’ll try these. Sounds great! Here’s my link to my first experience using the starter.

  • I LOVE crumpets, but I’ve never made them before, much less from sourdough! Perfect with some honey and a wee bit of butter. :)

  • I lept at this post because I have been afraid to try making sourdough starter. I want to do it very much… because I long to make my own sourdough bread. And now there is something else to add to the list of desire! I like that you make it sound like taking care of a pet. This might make it stick to memory. Perhaps if I name it, then I will remember to ‘feed’ it. But what should I call it Sourdough Charlie?
    I am going to do it. You have convinced me and so far you have not led me astray… :)

  • I’ve never had crumpets before. Happy with the discovery! They look like Moroccan pancakes “baghrir” a little. I would love to try them.


  • I’ve been missing crumpets. The pimply face with the chewy texture reminds me of days in Britain :)

  • I”m glad to hear I’m not the only one who had a fear of yeast. I”m glad to say that I’m also over my fear. Can’t wait to try these.

  • I’ve been following your bread baking, glad you are not afraid of starters anymore :-)

    I’ve got two going now – alternate my own and King Arthur’s when I make bread.

    Taking part of the BBA CHallenge has been the most rewarding experience, as far as bread baking goes, with many failures, but a lot of fun anyway.

    once the challenge is over, and my bread baking life goes back to “normal”, I have crumpets on the top of my list to try. I love them, but never made them at home

    thanks for the recipe!

  • I am sooo making these this weekend!

  • How do crumpets differ from English Muffins?

    The recipes I’ve used for English muffins called for a very wet dough poured into English muffin molds (exactly like your crumpet molds) and fried on both sides.

    Two examples.

    But I see that your recipe for English Muffins has a stiffer dough where the muffins are shaped and risen before frying . . . hmmm.

    Anyway, thanks for another sourdough recipe

  • Hilary – Thanks for the reading recommendation, I’ll look it up.

    Lucy – Hummus and paprika! I wouldn’t have thought of that, I’ll have to try it.

    Megami – Let us know how yours turn out!

    Michaela – I promise you won’t regret embarking on the starter adventure, and yes, naming yours is a must!

    Libolibri – To me, English muffins are a lot more breadlike than crumpets, which are more like a thick pancake, with no crust to speak of. English muffins are thicker, too, so they can be split in half to make two rounds (or a breakfast sandwich!). It’s true that the dough for my sourdough English muffins is stiffer than what they seem to use in the recipes you link to — mine is a lot more like a bread dough than a scoopable batter. I’ll have to try one of those and compare the results to what I’d made.

  • I have never prepared or eaten crumpets before. The dish looks very delicious and mouth watering. I will prepare this recipe for this week end

  • I must try this. I do like making sour dough bread with a starter. I am wondering if I can use the same starter? I use potatoes instead of flour, though. It may not work. What do you think?

  • Great. I recently bought cannoli tubes and have yet to use them. Now I really, really need crumpet rings. Thanks. A perfect use for my excess sourdough starter however, so a more likely to be used item.

  • I have been wanting to try crumpets for awhile. May just have to try this recipe. Thanks!

  • You know, I tried the exact same recipe a few months back, with disastrous results. I’m not sure if the fault was with me (though I’m not exactly a bread slouch), or with the very old starter I was using, but I actually threw out the “crumpets” I made with this one. Kudos to you for making such pretty things with the same recipe!

  • It’s about time that I make my own crumpets. I never made them in my life. I do enjoy them with a slight topping of butter.

  • Jessica

    Thanks for addressing the differences between crumpets and English muffins. For whatever reason I’d always though of crumpets as something more like small drop biscuit, but of course I live in the Midwestern US where we know nothing about these little cuties! But anyway, that was my first question, and I was excited to see that it was already answered!

  • Well done! Hot-buttered crumpets are the best Sunday afternoon treat in front of the fire with a pot of tea. I made them ages ago, but you’ve inspired me to make them again!

  • Lucy

    Ok my take on the difference between english muffins and crumpets. Crumpets are a super-thick yeasted pancake – muffins are more like a yeasted bread roll that you can cook in a frying pan rather than the oven. Muffins are always split, crumpets never split.

  • Aileen

    Just to throw another name into the mix … where I grew up (English midlands, many years ago) these were called pikelets. Our home-made ones were slightly wider and flatter. If we asked for crumpets in a baker’s shop we would be given what I think are now called English muffins. My favourite topping is marmite. I must make some soon – thank you for the recipe.

  • Clotilde, your crumpets look fabulous!

    Sadly my own yeast fear remains utterly unconquered. One day, one day. :)

  • One of my favorite local breakfast treats on the island of São Miguel in the Azores Islands is the sweeter Portuguese equivalent of the crumpet, called “Bolo Lêvedo.” There are a number of recipes in English online, although I’ve yet to try making them at home (but imagine they’d turn out reasonably well). E.g.: this one or this one.

    Boa sorte!

  • I made these this morning for breakfast Clotilde, and they were perfect! I’ve had my sourdough starter for about 6 months. I make bread regularly with it, and we make plenty of pancakes with the starter too. I love this recipe though – so quick and simple. They took less than 10 minutes to make, toast and serve. I don’t have rings, so just did them free-form and they worked beautifully. We spread ours with raw honey I brought home with me from New Zealand, and, of course, a cup of tea. Perfection! I’ll definitely be making these again and again.
    Thanks for the recipe Clotilde – another wonderful addition to my repertoire courtesy of you!

  • mmmmm….these crumpets look so tasty!

  • It’s super to find this blog through the bloggies award nominations! Crumpets and tea for me.
    I will be back to see what’s new,

  • I’m English and I’ve never liked crumpets. I’ve never tried the sourdough variety though, so maybe it would be a nice surprise!


  • My husband and children love crumpets. This is a great recipe to make them and I’d rather make my own than purchase them frozen……so I guess, I just have to get myself to start my own natural starter

  • Oh. . .I must start a starter; that’s a rather funny phrase, now isn’t it? Some day soon, I will get my own kitchen pet! Please keep the inspiration coming.

  • Oh, thank you for the reminder that there are good uses for my leftover starter. :) Crumpets coming soon . . .

  • Wow! My boyfriend’s going to love this recipe. He calls me his crumpet and might just make these for me if I send him the recipe… Hmm…

  • creative idea love to try this recioe

  • I like crumpets too, Clotilde. Never even considered making them myself. I am intrigued. I’ll take a look back at your starter post and do it right.
    Haven’t used a starter in years, I am ashamed to say. My family used to love buckwheat pancakes and my grandfather always had starter on hand.

  • Like so many others, I love crumpets and have never even thought of attempting to make my own from scratch.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    H :)

  • Oh, crumpets! I love them so. But like many other commenters, I’ve never made them, either. This might be just the excuse I need to start a “natural starter.”

  • Yum!!! Looks so good!

    Love your blog – I’ve just started my own foodie blog :)

  • wow, look at that, I’m already drooling, great color, looks delicious

  • deane

    I’m excited to try crumpets! You also mentioned using the extra starter for clafoutis batter. Will you be sharing that recipe as well? Given the so-so results of my first sourdough loaf, I am hoping for better luck with these quickbreads.

  • The Teacher Cooks – I am not familiar with potato-based starters, so I can’t say for sure, but if it works for bread, I don’t see why you couldn’t give it a try here. Will you let us know?

    Beth – It took me a couple of tries to get them right, so perhaps it’s worth another attempt?

    Kathie – I’d never heard of the bolo lêvedo, thanks for the introduction!

    Sarah – So pleased you had good success with the recipe, and what a great-sounding breakfast! Thanks so much for reporting back.

    Deane – So far the clafoutis I’ve made with my starter have been last-minute, a-bit-of-this-and-a-bit-of-that affairs so I don’t really have a recipe, but I’ll try to take notes next time and share!

  • I just tried this recipe, and they showed a lot of promise! I botched the batch (entirely my fault) but I’m still eating the ones that turned out vaguely edible!

    I am skeptical of your claim that they should be saved and toasted. I just don’t see these sticking around that long!

  • I have made the other King Arthur Flour Crumpets and blogged about them here.

    I will have to try these next.

  • Jelli

    I tried this recipe with my starter, and it didn’t work out well at all. The crumpets ended up like flat crepes almost with the traditional holes of crumpets. Perhaps it was that my starter wasn’t an equal proportion of flour and water, or the lack of rings. I’ve made successful crumpets without starter though. Oh well. Maybe I’ll try it again.

  • Jelli – This recipe does rely on the fact that your starter is a 100% hydration starter (fed equal weights of flour and water at each feeding), so anything different would not yield the same results. Its texture should be thickish, like a crêpe or pancake batter. I hope you have better results next time!

  • Bonjour Clotilde,
    Je viens de les essayer à l’instant les crumpets et ça a marché comme un charme !
    C’est simple, rapide et c’est bon !
    Merci pour cette recette.

  • w

    hi clothilde,
    i make sourdough pancakes all the time but have never tried crumpets. I guess it’s not that much different.

    Just to clarify, this recipe woud work with the old leftover starter i have in the fridge?? even if it’s a few weeks and smells really sour and has gathered a bit of hooch on top? My leftover starter collection is always a mixture of old and not-so-old – each time i have leftover starter from feedings, i toss it into the jar, so there are ‘layers’ of starters of varying age if you know what i mean ;)))

    when i make pancakes, i refresh it a little with one feeding, but if your recipe works with absolutely unrefreshed starter, all the better !

    Thanks for this ;)

  • W – The original recipe on the King Arthur Flour website says you can use the recipe with months-old starter, but in my experience the crumpets taste best with a starter that’s not more than 2 or 3 weeks old. The recipe still works with an older starter, but the crumpets are quite sour then, so I’d recommend feeding it just a little like you do with your pancakes.

  • Mmmm, thank you for this recipe! I gave them a go this morning, and as I have a slightly wetter starter I need to add just a bit of flour. But this is something where I can tell I’m going to have a lot of fun experimenting, and eating all the results!

  • Fantastic! I was just wondering if I could use my trusty sourdough starter to make crumpets. Thank you!

  • a n m

    I see I’m late to this party, but happy to join in! Just made three batches of crumpets using an overabundance of multigrain starter (equal parts A/P, WW, and rye). Though I’ve followed the 100% hydration ratio, I needed to thin down the starter to generate the expected soda/acid reaction. And unlike the all white flour crumpets, they have considerable intrinsic flavor, much to my taste. I’m delighted that there’s no longer any “extra” starter. Thanks!

    • Wonderful to hear, thanks for reporting back!

  • Rachael Gaedeke

    With the Tartine bread craze going on, I had lots of starter. This was a great recipe to use it up. I added one egg and used 3 coconut milk cans with both sides taken off. With them being taller, it eliminated the need for tongs.

    • Pleased to hear it, Rachael. How have you been faring with the Tartine breads? Do you use recipes from the book?

  • Just found this recipe through the King’s Roost newsletter and immediately started to make a batch of crumpets. I’m always looking for ways to use my starter. Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m so pleased this appealed to you, and I hope you stick around for more recipes!

  • Suchart Boontid

    Maybe I did something wrong. The texture is amazing but my crumpets taste like baking soda; kind of metallic and bitter; yet I remember putting in 1/2 teaspoon of it like the recipe indicates. What did I do wrong or is my starter not sour enough?

    • I’m sorry you didn’t like the result, Suchart. Did you measure the starter by weight or volume? And how “old” is it?

    • Tanis Halladay

      Did you leave out the salt? It counteracts the bitter taste of baking soda.

    • Vicki Carroll

      Is it possible you used baking powder instead of baking soda? That would definitely account for the taste.

Get the newsletter

Receive FREE email updates with all the latest recipes, plus exclusive inspiration and Paris tips. You can also choose to be notified when a new post is published.

View the latest edition of the newsletter.