You might know it as Yorkshire pudding, you might have had it as a popover — whatever you choose to call it, the impressive cloud-like creation that emerges from the oven is always as delicious as it smells and looks. The crispy shell gives way to a tender, eggy interior, and the best way to eat one is to just tear it apart with your fingers. Whether you choose to make one big one or individual ones, here’s how to do it using everyday pans that you already have.
What’s the Difference Between Yorkshire Puddings and Popovers?
A side dish hailing from England, Yorkshire pudding came about as a useful way to use up the drippings from a beef roast. As the beef roast rested, the drippings in the pan were heated up until sizzling, then an easy batter of water or milk, flour, and eggs was poured in. The combination of the hot pan and eggs helped create Yorkshire pudding’s puffy, airy texture, and it was cut up and served with the beef roast to soak up all the juices on each person’s plate. While traditionally made in the roasting pan, Yorkshire pudding can also come in smaller individual forms.
Popovers are essentially the same things as Yorkshire puddings, but are made individually in a popover pan, which is similar to a muffin tin but with taller, straighter sides. The name comes from the fact that they “pop” over the top of the pan impressively. Instead of beef drippings, butter is usually used to grease the pan.
What Ingredients Do I Need For Yorkshire Pudding?
There are only four ingredients that go into the easy batter: whole milk, flour, eggs, and salt. Whisk everything together until smooth and let the batter rest while the oven heats up.
The final ingredient is also the most important: the fat. For the fat, you have some options depending on what you have on hand or the flavor you want:
- Beef drippings: This is the original fat in Yorkshire puddings. If you want to try it with beef drippings, save the grease next time you’re making a prime rib or beef roast.
- Oil: Neutral vegetable oil is easy and pantry-friendly, but it yields the least flavor. Use one with a high smoking point rather than olive oil, which can burn easily.
- Bacon fat: Save some of the grease from your morning bacon for smoky, salty Yorkshire puddings.
- Butter: While butter undoubtedly makes scrumptious popovers, it also burns easily, so we recommend using a combination of melted unsalted butter and oil instead.
Choosing the Right Pan for Yorkshire Pudding
The beauty of Yorkshire Pudding is that you can use a variety of pans. For a single large pudding, grab a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, which retains heat beautifully and results in a big, impressive puff. You can also use a regular oven-safe skillet — just make sure it’s straight-sided so that the batter has somewhere to cling to and climb. The handles on skillets make maneuvering them in and out of the oven much, much easier. Other baking dishes like pie pans don’t have high enough sides.
How to Make Yorkshire Puddings and Popovers
The key to a good rise and puff lies in everything being as hot as possible. This starts with preheating the pan with the fat in it, as well as the baking sheet if you’re using a muffin or popover pan. When the batter is poured in, you should hear a satisfying sizzle, which means you’ve jumpstarted the rising process. And while you may be tempted to peek to see how things are progressing once it’s in the oven, don’t open the door and let the precious heat out, just turn on the oven light and peek through the glass instead.
A fresh Yorkshire pudding or popover waits for no one! Be ready to eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven, but don’t be disappointed if it deflates (the big ones tend to deflate quickly). It’ll still be every bit as delicious, especially if slathered in whipped strawberry butter, if you want to mimic the famed popovers they serve at Neiman Marcus. A simple smearing of salted butter and jam is another tasty combination.