Puffy Popovers of the Vegan Kind

Puffy Popovers of the Vegan Kind
Puffy Popovers of the Vegan Kind, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

If you never had a popover before let me try to describe it to you: it is light as a feather and hollow, not actually fried dough but tasting as if the fried dough has decided to leave the deep frier and take a yoga breathing class to fill itself with air and become almost weightless. Popovers are a special breakfast treat to rejoice and enjoy, sprinkled with powdered sugar, with a spoonful of jam, or a handful of sliced fruit. Anyway you cut it they are amazing!

Popovers get their fluffy structure from lots of eggs, milk and butter, and their final elevated shape from a specially designed popover pan. Although popover pan may remind you of a muffin pan, which may lead you to believe that you can just your muffin pan to make popover, it’s best not to go there. I tried it, and it did not end well. So, you will need to get a real popover pan if you want to make the puffiest of popovers and there is not substitution for it!

But, is there a substitution for eggs, milk and butter? Of course there is! At first I was very skeptical that I can make popovers work by replacing basically the three quarters of ingredients that make popovers with vegan alternatives, but I did and it does!!!

My vegan, plant-based version is also very simple, with three main ingredients only: silken tofu, white wheat flour and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. To that you can add things like maple syrup, agave nectar or sugar, a bit more vanilla extract, a sprinkle of lemon, lime or orange zest, or cinnamon, for a sweet version, or stick with plain almond milk, a dash of salt and a sprinkle of dry basil and oregano for a more savory version. The basic batter is flexible and customizable, so feel free to make these popovers your own. Of course, you can always stick with the basic batter and add layers of flavors with condiments like jam, nuts, fruit, cashew sour cream, or macadamia nut queso fresco.

The main trick to making perfect, puffy popovers is to preheat the popover pan by itself before pouring in the batter, and then add the batter when pan is scorching hot and sizzling. Then bake the popovers at high temperature for a short period of time, lower it down and leave them to make for a while. I add an extra step where I decrease the temperature gradually so my popovers spend fifteen minutes at 425 F (220 C), then 20 minutes at 375 F (190 C) and finally another 10 minutes at 350 F (175 C). This helps them puff up and then cook through to their final glorious heights.

Puffy Popovers all in the row
Puffy Popovers all in the Row, Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Puffy Popovers

What you’ll need:

16 oz (454 g) silken tofu

1 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon turmeric (optional; for color only)

Salt, to taste (h/t to Pamela who left a helpful comment re adding a pinch of salt)

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C). Once preheated, place the popover pan in for 15 minutes to get sizzling hot.
  2. Drain excess liquid from tofu but don’t press. Place the tofu, almond milk and vanilla extract into a blender and blend on high until smooth.
  3. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time and blend well. Add turmeric if you like to give your batter a bit of a yellow tint and make it visually more egg-like. Mix everything well. The batter consistency should be similar to American pancakes (a bit denser than crapes).
  4. Wearing good oven mittens, take the popover pan out, spray with cooking spray, and pour the batter in, about 2/3 of the way. Place the popover pan on the baking sheet (to minimize splatter) and put it in the oven.
  5. Bake at 425 F (220 C) for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 F (190 C) for 20 minutes and finish at 350 F (175 C) for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Take out the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. The finished popovers should slide out the pan with ease.
  7. Enjoy warm as is, or with any topping you like!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

34 thoughts on “Puffy Popovers of the Vegan Kind

    1. Supposedly it’s all due to putting the batter that is really quite fluid into a hot pan and the hot oven leading to instant steam formation that rises and lifts the top. The protein in this case from tofu and flour gives the structure.

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      1. I may need to revisit this recipe with different types of milk. In my experience, oat milk is quite heavy so perhaps just using water may have been better. My plan is to try to use aquafaba (chickpea water) next time. Will update everyone in due course!

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  1. I have tried at least six other vegan popover recipes and yours is heads and shoulders above the rest! Thank you so much – your directions were perfect. The only change I would make would be to add a bit of salt next time. These will definitely be my go to popover recipe from now on – really can’t thank you enough!!!

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  2. Will this work if the batter is made the day before and refrigerated? If so, does it need to come to room temperature before putting in oven?

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  3. When I tried these (I used a cast iron small muffin tin and kept it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 425 before putting the tofu mixture in) Nevertheless, the inside hadn’t cooked at all although the outside was lovely. I am going to try leaving it at a higher temperature for longer. Maybe I shouldn’t use cast iron? I thought it would be a good conductor, but . . .

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    1. These are a bit tricky and I am not sure whether cast iron is a good idea or not. The popover pan I have is small volume individual cups with really steep sides to help things rise so it’s not a muffin tin – it’s shaped differently. (this is the model:). Anyway, before trying to get a new popover pan you may want to play around a bit with the ratio of flour and tofu/liquids. And don’t fill the cup to high – plus adding a bit more oil into each tin might work. And I wonder if aqua faba (chick pea water) might work instead of tofu – I may try that next now that I’m thinking about it!

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      1. I tried one thing – just aquafaba and flour (no silken tofu) and that worked ok in terms of crispness and flavor but not in terms of lift. So, if anyone wants to make German pancakes or something like that, aquafaba beaten into stiff peaks and then folding the flour gently in may work. I do plan to everything the same as the original recipe but with aquafaba once I get my hands on some silken tofu – grocery shopping remains a bit unpredictable. I finally got some plain flour so I am happy about that.

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      1. So, I did an experiment that worked well. I’m not ready to invest in popover pans and I considered using brioche molds but I only had six and I wasn’t sure they would brown well in silicone muffin cups. So, I used a non-stick muffin pan whose cups are wider than the ones in my cast iron pan. I suspect that overfilled when I used cast iron, so I filled these halfway. My family prefers a more savory popover, so we skipped the vanilla, used soy milk, and added garlic, salt and pepper. Instead of preheating the muffin tin, I put the whole thing in the oven while it was preheating and set the cook time to 25 min at 425. It worked beautifully. They weren’t as high as the first batch, but they were light and the outside/inside contrasted perfectly. They disappeared in a flash. Next time, I think I will add chives and maybe some corn kernels.

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    1. I am not sure! Gluten is a protein that gives things structure so if you are using a flour mix with a lot of starch (rice based flours for example), I am not sure it will work. Gluten-free mixes with xanthan gum or other types of gums will probably not work either – too gummy! Perhaps chickpea flour may work since I think it has more protein, but again gluten kinda helps give these the structure (well, at least this is what I think)! Hope this helps!

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  4. Yikes, this recipe didn’t work for me at all. The photos looked so promising. I tried the recipe twice and baked four batches. None turned out well, each batch baked inconsistently. They didn’t have much flavor. They didn’t rise well. Though I followed the time-consuming baking instructions, they never baked through. My husband asked me what I filled them with because they were raw and gooey in the middle. Hopefully, I can find another vegan popover recipe ’cause now I have the pan.

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    1. Sorry to hear it! I am going through re-evaluating this recipe myself at the moment. One reason why they may not rise is if you are using a muffin pan and not a popover pan? You really need a popover pan for these.

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      1. I did best with a very shallow muffin pan. When I used a popover pan, the centers didn’t cook.

        On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 5:11 AM Eat the Vegan Rainbow wrote:

        > Eat The Vegan Rainbow commented: “Sorry to hear it! I am going through > re-evaluating this recipe myself at the moment. One reason why they may not > rise is if you are using a muffin pan and not a popover pan? You really > need a popover pan for these. ” >

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I tried to get the silken tofu in the store but this virus business has limited the selection. So, I will do my best to revisit the recipe as soon as I get some of the ingredients. I did try making them with aquafaba and they did not rise as much but they were delicious!

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