If I served my dinner guests these Easy Popovers, flavored with lemon zest, fresh thyme and Pecorino cheese, I could probably forget about cooking anything to go with them. The guests would devour one popover, then inevitably ask for a second popover....and in many cases, a third. They would have no room left for more than a bite or two of anything else.
And you know what? I'd be O.K. with that.
Why are Popovers so Pop-ular?
The first time I tried a popover, it was served alongside a steak as a variation on Yorkshire Pudding, and these billowing and buttery hollow pastry poufs had me at hello. Named for the way that they "pop" out of the pan in which they are baked, popovers have a tendency to steal the spotlight with their crisp outside and custardy interior.
The beauty of popovers lies in not only how simple they are to prepare, but also in their versatility. In my version, the Easy Popover batter is whipped up in a blender and then transferred directly to the baking tin (translation: fewer messes, faster clean up!)
While not required to bake popovers, the specialty popover tin features cups with deep wells that allow the batter to rise up lofty and golden brown. As the batter cooks, it creates steam, which causes the popovers to grow and form their signature hollow centers. The result is a pastry that's crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Popovers are a versatile treat that can be enjoyed at any time of day, whether you serve them as a breakfast pastry, a side dish, a snack, or even dessert. You can tailor their flavor profile to make them sweet (by adding sugar, chocolate or fruit) or savory, as I've done in this recipe, with fresh herbs, tangy cheese, lemon zest and black pepper.
I mean...just look at these sky-high, golden brown beauties:
These are the ingredients and the special equipment that you will need to make Easy Popovers with Lemon and Thyme
Ingredients (please check the recipe card for quantities!)
- Large Eggs: Make sure the eggs are at room temperature before adding to the batter. To do this quickly, submerge them in warm water for a few minutes.
- Milk: It is best to use whole milk for this recipe, as the fat content helps to keep the popovers nice and moist, but you can use 2% or skim if you are trying to cut fat or if that is what you have on hand!
- All-Purpose Flour: For a gluten-free option, substitute equal amounts of your favorite GF flour blend, such as this one.
- Butter: Preferably unsalted, but if you only have salted, reduce the kosher salt in this recipe by 1/4 tsp.
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Thyme: Substitute 2 tsp dried thyme for the fresh thyme. You could also try fresh rosemary.
- Pecorino Romano cheese: Often overlooked for Parmesan, I love this cheese for its tangy, salty flavor. That said, you can certainly substitute another cheese. Grated or shredded Parmesan, Gruyere or Cheddar would all work nicely.
- Lemon Zest: From one large lemon. Adds a subtle fresh lemony flavor to the baked pastries. See Equipment List below for information on the zester.
- Black Pepper: Either freshly ground or pre-ground will work well to add a kick of heat to the popovers!
- Blender: I've made many popover in my lifetime, and using a blender is by far my favorite method of preparation. Not only is it the fastest, it is also the easiest (thus the name "Easy Popovers") and the cleanest. This batter yields a tall, fluffy popover due to well aerated eggs. But if a blender is not an option, popover batters can be mixed via hand with a whisk or by using a stand mixer. Just make sure that you are whisking or mixing the batter until it is frothy.
- Popover Pan: Popover tins have special deep cups, usually six to a tin, so that the popovers have plenty of room to grow nice and tall. But there is no need to run out and purchase this special piece of equipment in order to make perfect popovers. A standard muffin tin makes an excellent substitution.
- Microplane Zester: For zesting lemons and other citrus, or for grating cheese, ginger, or chocolate, there is simply no substitute for a Microplane grater in the kitchen. I highly recommend investing in one--mine has made my life much easier and is definitely one of my favorite kitchen tools!
- Nonstick spray: Butter can be used instead to grease the tins, but I've had more luck with nonstick spray as far as getting the popovers to "pop" out of their pans.
How to make Easy Popover with Lemon and Thyme
Step by Step Photos and Instructions
Step 1: Blend Your Batter
Preheat the oven to 450F and spray your popover pan (or muffin tins) with nonstick spray. Be sure to get the tops of the muffin pans, too, so that the popovers don't stick upon removal!
Combine the eggs, milk, flour, butter and salt in the blender. Then, blend at medium speed for about one minute, until smooth and very foamy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the blender as necessary.
Step 2: Add Your Flavorings
Add the Pecorino Romano cheese, thyme, black pepper and lemon zest to the blender, and then blend again until foamy and smooth.
Step 3: Pour Batter Into Pans
Pour the batter into your prepare popover or muffin tins, filling about 2/3 full to give them plenty of room to "pop." If you're not pouring directly from your blender cup, I find it easiest to use a bowl or a container with a spout for a cleaner pour and fewer drips.
Step 4: Bake (and watch them pop!)
Bake at 450F for 20 minutes. WITHOUT OPENING THE OVEN, lower the temperature to 350F and bake for 8-12 minutes more, until the tops are deep golden brown and very puffy.
Step 5: Cool Slightly and Devour!
Remove the pans from the oven and pierce the tops of the popovers with a thin knife. This will allow steam to escape and help the popovers retain their shapes. Turn the popovers out onto a clean surface or run a knife around the sides of the cups if they are sticking a bit. Serve warm with a slather of good butter!!
Prefer to see these popovers in action?? Here is a quick video tutorial:
Here are some frequently asked questions about these quick and easy popovers:
Popovers are best eaten soon after baking, while still warm. If you plan to prepare them in advance, let cool completely before storing in a zip-top bag at room temperature. Reheat them on a baking sheet at 350F for 5-7 minutes. You can freeze popovers in a zip-top bag for up to three months. Reheat by placing the popovers directly from the freezer onto a baking sheet and bake at 350F until warmed through, about 8 minutes.
If you do not have a popover pan, never fear! Popovers can also be baked in standard muffin tins that have been buttered or sprayed with nonstick spray. Fill the individual cups about 2/3 full with the batter. Muffin cups tend to be more shallow than popover cups, so this recipe will yield closer to 18 popovers, depending on your specific tin.
Eggs at room temperature tend to aerate better when they are blended or whisked, which is important when preparing popovers. In order to bring eggs to room temperature quickly, simply submerge them in warm (not hot--you don't want to cook them!) water for a few minutes prior to adding them to the batter.
As in this recipe, I've found that the loftiest, fluffiest popovers are the result of a batter prepared in the blender. This significantly helps to aerate the eggs and combine the ingredients into a smooth batter. If a blender is not an option, popover batters can be mixed via hand with a whisk or by using a stand mixer. Just make sure that you are whisking or mixing the batter until it is frothy.
Love bread as much as I do? Then check out these recipes:
Easy Popovers with Lemon and Thyme
- 1-2 popover pans
- 1-2 regular muffin tins (can be used in place of popover pans)
- 1 blender
- 1 microplane or zester
- 5 large eggs room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves chopped
- 1 large lemon zested
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Spray a popover pan (or muffin tins, if using) with nonstick baking spray, making sure to coat them thoroughly, including the tops.
- Combine the eggs, milk, salt, flour and butter in a blender.
- Blend the mixture on medium speed until smooth and foamy, 1-2 minutes, stopping to scrap down the sides as necessary.
- Add the Pecorino, thyme, lemon zest and pepper to the blender. Blend again until smooth and thoroughly combined.
- Divide the batter among the prepared popover tins or muffin pans, filling about 2/3 full. Note that if you are using only one pan, you will have to bake this recipe in two batches, as standard popover pans have only 6 cups.
- Bake the popovers for 20 minutes at 450F. Reduce the heat to 350F (don't open the oven!) and bake for 8-12 minutes more, until deep golden brown and puffed.
- Remove the pans from the oven and pierce the top of each popover with a thin knife to allow some of the steam to escape so that the popovers don't collapse.
- Remove the popovers from the pan either by turning them out onto a clean surface or (if they are sticking a bit), running a knife or an offset spatula around the edges to coax them out. Serve warm with some good salty butter!!
recipe for lasagna
those are the best muffins ive ever tried.
Popovers rock. I've never strayed from the standard recipe, so I'll have to give yours a try!
What a great blog!! Can't wait to try your recipes; everything looks so delicious!
Best Lasagna Recipe
This recipe will rock if serving with some wine.