Sourdough Popovers: high, wide, and handsome

Popovers.

Their name is almost onomatopoetic, isn’t it? (Can’t believe I spelled THAT one right on the first try!)

I mean, when you put popovers into the oven, they look like calm, cream-colored lakes, serene as a summer sunrise.

But 15 or 20 minutes later – POP! Up they go, the steam created by the very-liquid batter hitting the just-formed flour/egg crust and carrying the whole shebang up, up, and away.

This recipe accomplishes two goals – and very successfully, too.

One, it’s a great use for that sourdough starter you’d otherwise discard during the feeding process. You know, that 1 cup you need to get rid of by stirring it into a batch of waffles, or a chocolate cake, or giving it to a neighbor, or – heaven forfend – actually discarding it.

I know how much you dislike throwing away perfectly good starter. Thus, this is a great recipe to whip up when you’re feeding your starter for another use, and need to discard some; use 1/2 cup of the discard starter right here.

Second, if you’re looking for a quick and easy hot bread to go with breakfast eggs, lunchtime soup, or [fill in your favorite dinner entrée] – you’ve found it.

Sourdough Popovers – rise and shine!

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our photos.

First, measure out 1/2 cup of your sourdough starter.

The nice thing is, it doesn’t need to be fed; it’s being used strictly for flavor in this recipe, not to help the popovers rise, so no need for it to be active.

Whisk the 1/2 cup starter with the following:

1 cup milk (full-fat, reduced-fat, or skim), warmed to lukewarm
3 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt

Add 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, whisking to combine.

Don’t over-mix; a few small lumps are OK. The batter should be thinner than a pancake batter, about the consistency of heavy cream.

By the way, can you double this recipe to make a dozen popovers?

Sure, go right ahead; simply double all the ingredients.

Oh, and can you make these with whole wheat flour?

Sure. The result will be a very moist and eggy whole wheat muffin, though, not a popover.

Heat a standard muffin pan or standard popover pan in the oven while it’s preheating to 450°F.

Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven, and spray it thoroughly with non-stick pan spray, or brush it generously with oil or melted butter.

Quickly pour the batter into the cups, filling them almost to the top. If you’re using a muffin tin, fill cups all the way to the top. Space the popovers around the muffin tin so there are empty cups among the full ones; this leaves more room for expansion.

Bake the popovers for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until popovers have fully “popped,” and are golden brown.

Remove the popovers from the oven and serve immediately.

Now THAT is one towering popover!

These popovers aren’t overly sour; but you can definitely taste the tang. They’re very nice served plain, with soup or stew; or buttered, and served with breakfast bacon and eggs.

Can you make these ahead? Sure. They may deflate a bit, but will still taste fine. Warm them in a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes, to freshen them up.

Can you freeze the batter? Yes. Keep frozen no longer than a month; defrost overnight in the fridge, and warm to room temperature before using.

Can you freeze baked popovers? Mm-hmm. Cool thoroughly, wrap tightly, and freeze no longer than 3 weeks or so. Once thawed, “freshen” in a 350°F oven before serving.

Can I make these without sourdough starter? Sure – our quick and easy Popovers are perfect for any non-sourdough bakers out there.

OK, did I answer all your questions? Hope so! If not, give our baker’s hotline a jingle, 802-649-3717; we can help.

Oh, wait, let me answer one more question I know will bubble up around this recipe:

Can I make these gluten-free? Well, you can make regular (non-sourdough) Gluten-Free Popovers.

And if you’ve created some gluten-free sourdough starter, try substituting 1/2 cup of it for 1/4 cup of the milk and 1/4 cup of the gluten-free flour blend in the recipe cited above. We haven’t tried it, so no guarantees; but it seems as though it should work.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Sourdough Popovers.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Brenda

    I just made these. I love them. They made 12 not six. There is no way I could have gotten all this in six well. I have a true popover pan, not a muffin pan. I like these because when I make them the traditional way, there is a huge hole in the middle and not much dough to spread fillings on. These were filled out and had a great taste. They were perfectly behaved in the oven. Bravo! And thank-you for a great recipe.

    Reply
  2. Mary

    My popovers are just out of the oven. They popped beautifully! They seem a bit undercooked, how can I tell when they are done!
    Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Mary, it can be challenging sometimes to tell when the inside of your popovers are fully baked, as the exteriors tend to brown quickly. There’s no silver bullet for identifying when your popovers are perfectly done. Instead, you might want to use your past baking experiences to inform your timing going forward. If you noticed that the inside of your popovers was still a bit gummy after this last bake, try baking them for five minutes longer next time. This should bring them to popover perfection. We hope this helps, and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  3. Suzanne

    Help please! I just bought my mom a mini pop over pan with 12 smaller wells. The recipe she has been using for YEARS strongly states that popovers will fall if you open the oven AT ALL during baking. This led to very dark mini popovers on her 1st try. (Not sourdough)

    I just finally replaced my sourdough starter so I am beyond thrilled to find this recipe.
    .

    1) Do you have to adjust bake time or oven temp to use this recipe in mini wells?
    .

    2) Is it true that they fall with a quick peek in the oven? I can’t find that on any recipe but my mom’s.
    .
    3) Would pizza dough improver and pizza seasoning added to the batter still pop? I’d like to try them as a side with all things Italian, and I LOVE both those KAF products.
    .
    Thanks very much for your help. It is much appreciated. You all are awesome.
    Suzanne

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Suzanne, mini popovers will bake faster than full-sized ones. They take about 10 minutes less than full-sized ones, so you can cut 5 minutes off both baking intervals (at 400°F and then at 375°F). Having high, consistent heat is key to making successfully popped popovers, so opening up the oven door can sometimes make them fall. This isn’t a golden rule that we strictly adhere to, but we do try to limit opening and closing the door for best results. We think you might be asking about the Pizza Dough Flavor, which you’re welcome to add a small amount of to the batter. Same goes with the Pizza Seasoning. Sprinkle a pinch on top of each popover or mix a few teaspoons right into the batter. Adjust to taste, and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  4. Cathy

    I have made popovers for years, but never with a starter. My recipe is close to yours just minus the starter and add 2 tablespoons melted butter. I make a dozen with that amount. I only fill the muffin tin half way and they still popular up nicely. You may not need to double your recipe to get a dozen.

    Reply

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