An English muffin has two basic functions. First and foremost, it has to handle a quick-and-easy breakfast sandwich—whether you prefer that sandwich with eggs and avocado or with jam and cottage cheese. Secondly, English muffins have to provide a solid base for eggs Benny.
Can you take English muffins into pizza or even Danish territory? Sure. But those aren’t part of an English muffin’s daily duties. And that’s why our favorite English muffins are Bays English Muffins. With their slim profile, light chew, and airy crumb, Bays muffins are ideal for on-the-go eggs (and/or jam).
For our methodology and the full list of muffins we tasted, scroll to the bottom of the page. First up, more on the rankings!
Our Favorite English Muffins: Bays
The winning English muffin had a nice punch of salty flavor, which is welcome for sweet or savory applications. It had a very delicate sourness with “a nice balance of moist-flaky-crunchy textures” according to Zoë Sessums. One thing we didn’t love is that these muffins are pre-split, and they are done so rather unevenly. But that wasn’t enough to deter us from their superior flavor and texture. One thing to note: you’ll need to look in your grocer’s refrigerated section to find Bays, as they’re kept there instead of in the bread aisle.
The Best Fancy English Muffins: Stone & Skillet
Call these your special occasion English muffins. We had two of this style of muffin—heartier, denser, “artisanal”—in the taste test, but Stone & Skillet far outshone the competitor. They are much thicker than what you may be used to if you’re a Thomas’s loyalist (we had several in our midst), but they still have that signature English muffin chew and toast up beautifully crunchy when split. The flavor is buttery with a slight tang. Like most English muffins, these are not made to be eaten straight out of the package. Instead, they come just slightly doughy, so that when you toast them, the exposed sides turn brown and crusty while the interior stays moist. Go for this brand for burgers, Bennys, and bougie weekend brunches.
What We Were Looking For
We started our muffin search as we always start our taste tests: at the grocery store. But there weren’t a lot of brands to be found there, so we took to the internet and sourced two additional brands, which are both easily purchased online. We sought out only plain, white English muffins—no cinnamon-raisin, no sourdough, and definitely no whole wheat. (Although, if you’re into bolder flavors, both of our winning brands do make sourdough versions, and we think they’d be just as delicious.)
The best English muffin has to be a study in textures. First things first: no store-bought English muffin should ever been eaten without first toasting it. Once toasted, an English muffin should sport a craggy, crunchy surface that gives way to a tender, chewy, light crumb. It is one of the few foods I would describe as “pleasantly squishy,” as it should spring back if you lightly press it with a finger. The flavor of of a plain English muffin shouldn’t be overwhelming—a light sourness, butteriness, and a hit of salt are welcome factors, but the muffin should really be prepared to act as a backdrop for any-and-all sweet or savory purposes.
How We Tested
A team of Epi staffers gathered round as I toasted English muffins in a top-loading toaster and brought them piping hot and crispy to a conference table. Some of our muffins were pre-split; those that weren’t were pried open by poking the equator of the muffin all around with a fork, until the top half released from the bottom. We tasted the muffins plain, with no butter, jam, or any other accoutrement. All tastings were conducted blind, with no distinction made between organic and non-organic products during testing.
The Other English Muffins We Tasted
In alphabetical order:
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