English Muffins

I eat English muffins every day, but it wasn’t until this past weekend that I finally tried making them from scratch.   Now, thanks to Alton Brown, I know how to make big, tall, English muffins that remind me of the fancy mail order type my parents liked, Wolferman’s.

Homemade English Muffin

Of course things didn’t go as smoothly as planned….

The recipe is actually really simple, but Alton makes them on a griddle preheated to 300 degrees F. I don’t have a griddle and had to figure out what 300 was on the stove-top.

I didn’t quite nail that the first time.

burnt muffins


Despite nearly setting off the smoke alarm, I was happy to see that the muffins rose like champs and even though the outside was charred, the inside looked like an actual English muffin.  Woo hoo!

So I reduced the heat and switched from my heavy metal Viking pan to a non-stick pan with a bottom that wouldn’t get quite hot as the metal.

English Muffins

As for the rings, Alton calls for 3 inch rings and offers up tuna fish cans with the lids and bottoms cut off as an option. My idea was to make rings out of non-stick foil, and it worked!    In fact, the rings were so durable I used them for all the muffins and couple probably use them again.

Foil Baking Rings

And finally, Alton’s recipe calls for powdered milk – an ingredient I hardly ever have. I took one reviewer’s advice and used 2% milk in place of the 1 cup of water. It worked out well.

Alton called for 2 cups of sifted flour but didn’t include a weight.  I weighed out 9 oz of flour and that seemed to work.  I also incorporated a little white whole wheat into the dough, which was like thick, gloppy, oatmeal, and  it worked just fine.

This recipe worked well, but now I’m excited about trying different flavors (walnut, cinnamon raisins, bran) and experimenting with different doughs.  Compared to recipes I saw on Allrecipes.com, this dough was a lot wetter, so it will be interesting comparing different recipes.

So here’s a link to Alton Brown’s English Muffin Recipe, and here’s my version with the actual milk, foil rings, and skillet.

English Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
English Muffins with nooks and crannies
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10
  • 1 cup reduced fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (divided use)
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups of flour (9 oz)
  1. Heat milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup just until it boils. Add sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve. Stir in shortening and let cool to about 120 degrees F.
  2. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the yeast and 1/3 cup of warm (115 degree) water. Let rest until yeast bubbles.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast mixture and milk mixture. Beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in for 30 minutes in a warm place.
  4. Preheat a lidded sauté pan or skillet to 300 degrees (on my stove, it was low). A pan with non-stick surface won’t cook the bottom quite so much, but if all you have is a regular metal bottom pan, you can use that. I didn't grease either pan.
  5. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to flour and beat thoroughly. Place metal (or homemade foil) rings onto the skillet.
  6. Using a heaping 1/3 cup or a little less than ½ cup measure, spoon dough into rings, cover skillet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and turn rings using spatula or tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack. Remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.

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  1. says

    I’m going to try these….Alton comes up with some great basic recipes! It’s all trial and error in the kitchen, isn’t it?

  2. Yet another Anna says

    Perfect timing, I’ve been meaning to make another batch of English muffins, but keep making sweet rolls instead. 🙂

    I’ve made Alton’s recipe, on a griddle, w/ powdered milk, and I agree, it’s just fine, very tasty.

    I’m going to try some other recipe this next time, though, mostly because I’ve had the recipes in my file for so long.

    I’ve done the ‘cut out tuna cans’ thing, and found that the muffins just get stuck in them because the edges aren’t smooth enough. I bought some of the rings from cooking.com, and have gotten a lot of use out of them. (they work well to help a fried egg hold a round shape while cooking, as a cookie cutter, etc.)

  3. Gretchen says

    Alton has made English muffins on two episodes of “Good Eats”. The one you made was from the first episode he did, but more recently he devoted a show to Eggs Benedict and revamped his English muffin recipe. This time he makes them in the oven instead of on a griddle. Here’s the recipe link on the Food Network website:
    I haven’t tried it yet, but Alton’s recipes are normally pretty good.

  4. says

    These look good! When I’ve made English Muffins I used the recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday. They were excellent, although maybe not quite as tall as yours.

  5. says

    what are those lil hard crumbs that go on the english muffins before baking? cornmeal right? i love those.
    never made these. i would love to someday, maybe a savory version.

  6. says

    Dawn, it’s cornmeal. This recipe didn’t call for any, though.

    Sue, these were tall and lighter than the muffins I buy. I’m going to have to find Peter Reinhart’s book.

    Gretchen, thanks for the link! Making them in the oven would be more convenient.

    Anna and Rufus, I am so glad I didn’t go to the trouble of buying tuna just to use it and have the cans. The Release foil rings really did work perfectly. I’m sure sturdy metal rings come in hand for other desserts, but in this case the foil did the trick.

    Gloria, I should have included a picture of a toasted muffins with a pat of butter. Maybe I’ll add one ;).

    Barbara, I appreciate Alton Brown for his great recipes and for the fact he encourages resourcefullness. He lets you know what’s important and where you can improvis without causing problems. His biscuit recipe is also really good even though it doesn’t have the usual amount of butter.

  7. says

    The timing of this couldn’t be better :). I was preparing an english muffin on Saturday morning and as I was spreading jam on it I thought to myself “hmmm, I should try and make some of these”. Kismet I tell you 🙂 Thanks! 🙂

  8. Louise says

    I want to make sourdough muffins soon, but I’m making bagels later this week. So little time, so much baking. 🙂 Normally when you use milk, instead of nonfat dry milk, in bread recipes the milk is scalded because of some yeast inhibiting property of milk which weakens the gluten structure, etc. (can’t remember the details), but maybe that’s not an issue for muffins.

  9. says

    I love making English muffins, but I’ve never tried this recipe before. Time to add it to my list! I always use a wide glass to cut my muffins in a circle–it works for me!

  10. Louise says

    @Melissa – There are two types of English Muffin recipes. One yields a soft scoopable batter, like this one. The other type, like the one you use, is either patted out or rolled and cut.

  11. says

    Glad to see you have had success with this recipe. This is on my ‘to make’ list but I haven’t gotten around to it (intimidation, maybe??) So excited to give these a try now!

  12. says

    This is wonderful to see Anna! I’ve been wanting to try my hand at English Muffins for some time, but like you, I don’t keep powdered milk around and I don’t have rings either. The thought of using tuna cans is terribly unappealing to me.

    I do have a griddle though, so now I’m going to have to give these a whirl. Thanks for making and posting!

  13. Louise says

    Anna – How was your Viking pan after scorching the muffins? The metallurgist in this house would have been having a fit.

  14. says

    Louise, I am glad you asked. I have a fix for that. Have you ever heard of Dawn Power Dissolve? It’s a more powerful version of Dawn soap that comes in a spray bottle. It cuts through grease like a knife! I bought it to help clean spatters off the oven door, but it’s great on metal cookware.

    My pan was a wreck after the burnt muffins, but Power Dissolve saved the day. I love that stuff.

  15. Louise says

    I’ll have to look at the Dawn Power Dissolve. The metallurgist uses Bar Keepers Friend when he needs a fine abrasive to clean the pots. Things like beans always leave stains in the stainless pans, even though they aren’t burned.

  16. Louise says

    Water chestnut cans and pineapple cans are slightly bigger than tuna cans, actually just about the right size.

  17. Molly says

    I eat english muffins everyday but have never tried to make them from scratch. I’m scared I would set off the smoke alarm too!

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