The real difference between crumpets and English muffins

English muffins and crumpets are part of the wonderful world of breakfast foods and high tea. Whether you purchase them from the grocery store or make them yourself, these doughy breads are a staple of both American and British kitchens alike. While some people may use their names interchangeably, they are definitely different foods, but just how they are different seems to be up for debate. And when you take into account all of their similarities, it's easy to understand why. 

Their common ground begins with the fact both English muffins and crumpets are considered griddle cakes (via The Kitchn), meaning both were originally made on the stove using a cast iron frying pan. They are both about the size of a biscuit. English muffins and crumpets are not considered a dinner food, although if you disagree, no judgment here. Additionally, they both have all those wonderful nooks and crannies to catch the salty goodness of that golden melted butter and sweet jam. But it's at this point when all the subtleties come into play that distinguish the crumpet from the English muffin. What are they? 

The difference between crumpets and English muffins really boils down to a few distinct ingredients, how they are cooked, and the primary meal they've become linked to.

The specifics of crumpets

While strongly associated with England, crumpets are believed to have come from Wales (via British Corner Shop). Crumpets are made with milk, which isn't used to make English muffins, and baking soda, which is only sometimes used for English muffins. These ingredients create a loose batter that results in a spongier texture than English muffins. Because the batter is loose, crumpets must also be made using crumpet cooking rings. Crumpets are also only cooked on one side. This gives the crumpet its flat bottom and exaggerated holes on top. 

But the differences don't end there. Henry James wrote in his novel The Portrait of a Lady, "There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." And we couldn't agree more. If ever there was an excuse to enjoy a piping hot crumpet dripping with clotted cream, melted butter, lemon curd, or raspberry preserves, it's afternoon tea, the meal crumpets seem to be most commonly associated with.

The specfics of English muffins

It might surprise you to learn English muffins are an American invention, albeit by a British expat who is believed to have based his version on an English recipe of a bread that was sold door to door during England's Victorian era (via British Corner Shop). The dough for the English muffin is much firmer than that of the crumpet and uses yeast or sourdough to help achieve its texture. Toasted on both sides, the tops and bottoms of an English muffin are generally dusted with flour or cornmeal, and then the muffin is split down the middle. 

Crumpets can be split in the middle, but it is more likely you would pile your savory and sweet spreads right on top. English muffins can certainly be enjoyed any time of the day, but they have become most closely associated with breakfast or brunch and topped with ham, cheese, and scrambled or poached eggs. Regardless of how or when you choose to enjoy your crumpets and English muffins, we can all agree the world is a better place because of these two culinary wonders.