Seeded Popovers Recipe

Popovers are the most delightful thing my oven produces - sky-high and billowy. Here's my go-to recipe, a few tips, and the overall technique I use.

Seeded Popovers

The most delightful thing my oven produces is the popover. Gougères are a close second, but the popover wins for sheer drama. They're golden-crusted bready crescendos made from the simplest ingredients. Their crunchy exterior belies a billowy eggy interior that absolutely begs for a slather of butter or honey. Popovers are worth learning to make well. Which, I'll be honest, takes a bit of practice. I've chipped away at this recipe over the years, and I suspect I'll continue, but I thought I'd put it out there today and encourage you to give them a go. I suspect some of you popover specialists out there have a thing or two to teach me as well.

Popover RecipePopover Recipe

I'm going to talk a bit about technique down below, but before you dive down the rabbit hole related to then endless number of popover techniques that are out there, you really want to make sure your oven is on point. You need to make sure you have even constant heat, and good control over temperature. You need a blast of heat in the beginning to get that upward push going, then a more gentle heat to cook the popovers through and to allow a beautiful crust to develop. Just know, while a bad run of popovers might not be pretty, they'll likely be tasty regardless.

Popover RecipePopover Recipe

Before we get to the recipe, I'll mention that just about every variable related to making popovers is up for discussion - both related to the recipe and the technique. There is debate on what type of flour to use, baking powder vs. none, batter resting time, oven temperature, food processor vs. blender vs. mixer, preheating the baking tins or not......people are passionate. I'll tell you that I haven't had luck using bread flour or whole grain flours, too dense and heavy. I'm all ears though, if you've had luck. Some famous popover recipes use a much higher ratio of flour than I do here - I just never had any success with that. I fill my tins a hint over 1/2 full with batter, and get great pop. I've gone higher, but sometimes get spillover, particularly with an eggier batter. I've written a few tips into this recipe, from things I've learned the hard way - for example, it really is worth dirtying a pitcher and using that to quickly fill your pans. Bonne chance my friends - let me know how it goes.

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Seeded Popovers

I use individual timbales here, but you can use a special popover pan, or muffin tin. Deep and narrow tins get great results, but muffin tins deliver the delight as well.

2 cups / 475 ml whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups / 9 ounces / 255 g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup / 1.5 oz / 45 g raw, uncooked millet seeds*
2 tablespoons / .5 oz / 15 g toasted sesame seeds*
2 tablespoons / .5 oz / 15 g toasted sunflower seeds*
5 large eggs, room temperature(!)

Start by preheating your oven to 425F / 220C, with a rack in the low-center. If you're using popover or muffin pans, grease them, I like to use clarified butter. If you're using individual timbales (like I did), do the same. Place the tins on a baking sheet, preferably rimmed.

Place the milk and butter in a medium saucepan and gently heat until it is warm to the touch, not more than 115F/45C - you don't want to scramble the eggs down the line. Remove from heat.

Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the millet, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. Set aside.

Now you're going to whisk the eggs. It's important to start with room-temperature eggs here, using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment at medium-high speed. It'll take a couple of minutes, but you want the eggs to get nice and voluminous, light, and take on the color of yellow taffy (see photo up above). Dial back the mixer speed, and add the milk in a slow, steady stream. Gradually add the flour mixture a bit at a time, and whisk for another 60 seconds. Transfer to a pitcher.

Preheat the empty popover pans in the oven for five minutes. Quickly, but carefully, remove them (you don't want to let all the heat from the oven), and fill each tin 1/2 full with batter, maybe a tad more. If you're using muffin pans, fill every other hole, to give room for the popover. Transfer to the hot oven carefully (but quickly!), and dial back the heat to 400F. Bake for 30-45 minutes. I hate to give exact times here, I really go by sight. Without opening the oven look for deep golden coloring on all sides, and lots of airy lift. Bake as long as you can without letting the tops get too dark, if you let them bake on the long side, you'll end up with more structure, which helps keep your popovers puffed when they come out of the oven. When golden, remove, turn out onto a cooling rack, and enjoy as soon as possible.

Makes 6-8 large popovers, or more smaller ones..

*If you opt out of the seeds, you're back to the basic popover recipe. Feel free to swap in chopped dried or fresh herbs, grated cheese, spices, zests, etc.

Prep time: 65 minutes - Cook time: 50 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

These look so fun! I happen to have a beautiful popover pan scored for a couple of bucks from a thrift shop. Maybe I'll have to actually try it out! Thanks for the recipe.

Kay

Yes, in the UK these (without the added seeds) are known as yorkshire puddings. Most of the recipes there use a 12-hole bun tin in which you divide the the fat (normally for 12 puddings you would use 1 oz butter, dripping or lard! - in your case it would be oil) and heat it in the tins in a fairly hot oven (200C/400F) until very hot, then pour in the batter on top. I've only made a couple of times but turned out fine.

Lesley

Do you mean regular millet used as a grain? Or is millet seed something different from what I'm used to? If millet works would quinoa work as well? Also, do I have to use white flour or will whole wheat be too heavy for this? Thanks, looking forward to trying different variations.. :)

HS: Hi Sari - I do mean millet as a grain. Uncooked. Quinoa behaves differently - it's not a straight swap. Different beast ;)

Sari

I've never made popovers before, but I've been working on cracking finicky recipes lately (just pulled a great ciabatta out of the oven!), so maybe I'll give these a try after I master crumpets and croissants. :D

Magdalen@FromHeartToTable

Gorgeous, Heidi! I have been meaning to make popovers for far too long; your clear instruction, paired with these stunning photographs, may be just the prompting I need to finally get in the kitchen and give them a go.

Stacy

So seedy! But in a good way of course ;)

Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

Such impressive heights! Do you think soy milk would work instead of whole milk?

HS: Hi Joy, I haven't tried it - I might opt for coconut milk, or almond milk over soy milk - just because like the taste better. Let me know if you give it a try.

Joy

What would you think of substituting poppy and/or flax seeds for one or two of the other seeds? I don't have millet in the house but I have poppy, flax, sunflower, and sesame. And, I must make these popovers right.now.

HS: Hi Blair - yes! give it a try although the flax might be a nice sprinkle for the crust instead if in the batter?

blair

These are so cute. I love all the seeds...and containers. Very nice.

ItalianGirlCooks

Those pictures are spectacular! Love the idea of millet and seeds - they look absolutely scrumptious. I have yet to try popovers, though I've made your gougère recipe countless times, and I never realized how similar the two base batters are. Can't wait to try this recipe out. A friend gave me some smoked damson plum jam from Blue Chair that, I think, would be a happy pairing with these beauties. Oh, and I've been living off of the broccoli gribiche from SNE - yum! Thank you for the endless inspiration, Heidi. :)

HS: Thanks Alanna! Love hearing you like the gribiche :) That is a favorite of mine for sure. xo

Alanna

Love the look of these, especially in those sweet little tins!

Lottie :: Oyster & Pearl

Love the look of these, especially in those sweet little tins!

Lottie :: Oyster & Pearl

Beautiful popovers! I use my grandmother's recipe which she brought from Massachusetts in the early 1900s. They pop everytime and I've never heated the milk. To anyone having trouble with them sticking, I grease the muffin pan with real butter everytime and after baking, I use hot water to clean the pan, never dishsoap. This preserves the seasoning one also gives to cast iron frying pans. I'm going to fix mine with the seeds sometimes; they look scrumptious!

Lauren

These are stunning! I would love to try this recipe. It must be hard not to peer through the oven door and watch them grow. I love how humble you are about your technique. Wonderful!

Lindsey

I love making popovers, and these look amazing! The flecks from the seeds are absolutely gorgeous.

Little Kitchie

Beautiful popovers, Heidi. I am surprised at all the hullabaloo over popovers! I don't remember having any trouble making these even as a novice cook. They went out of favor with me because a) they were an accompaniment to roast beef ... and we stopped eating beef, and b) they were just a white flour concoction with no real redeeming qualities. So it's been a couple of decades since I've made these, but with the addition of the seeds, I'm game to have a go at it again! Thank you.

Primordial Soup

I recently tried popovers for the first time, with great success. My kids fell in LOVE with them!!! The next time I made them, they were a flop, literally. No popping at all, I ended up with small dense pucks. I did everything exactly the same, except I used a different oven as my old one was replaced. Thanks for this recipe and all of the tips, I'm going to give them a try this weekend.

Darcee

These look incredible!Oh my day look like I already have plans for what to bake at the weekend then

nayla

Heidi, I love popovers, and the seeds just make this recipe more alluring. When I read your posts, I see a kindred spirit, in that you are quite the scientist, attending to every detail, experimenting for that splendid outcome. I just bought an addition to my own kitchen. It's a green-embroidered sign that says: Kitchens are made to bring families together. There is nothing like the welcoming smell of breads wafting through the house.

Pamela

thanks for sharing; I love your images and recipes.

Anonymous

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