Kitchn Love Letters

The Magical Passover Popovers I Look Forward to Every Single Year

updated Nov 21, 2019
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(Image credit: Grace Elkus)

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. And we decided to start sharing some of our absolute favorites with you. Here’s a peek into what we’re cooking and eating in our own kitchens.

Passover popovers sound like an oxymoron. During Seder and the week that follows, when chametz — or leavened foods made from wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt — is off limits, my meals are typically very (physically) flat: matzo replaces light-as-air challah, dense potatoes stand in for fluffy rice, and my go-to dessert is sunken flourless chocolate cake.

So when I say these popovers from King Arthur Flour stand above the rest, it’s true in regards to both stature and taste. They’re the best Passover-friendly dinner rolls I’ve ever tasted — far better than the dense and heavy matzo meal rolls that typically grace the table.

(Image credit: Grace Elkus)

How Do Passover Popovers “Pop?”

Traditional popovers are a mix of milk, eggs, butter, flour, and salt. Notice there’s no leavener (baking powder or baking soda) in that list — that’s because steam is what causes popovers to rise (making these a natural fit for the leavener-free holiday). The gluten in the flour and the protein in the eggs keeps the steam from escaping.

For Passover popovers, matzo meal and cake meal take the place of flour. If you can’t find cake meal at your grocery store (I often can’t), you can make it yourself by finely grinding matzo meal in a coffee grinder, spice grinder, or food processor.

In addition to popovers, this recipe borrows technique from cream puffs. Just like making a pâte à choux, you’ll bring water and fat (often butter, but in this case vegetable oil) to a boil, then stir in the matzo meals. This makes for a very thick batter — a big contrast to the thin batter typically used for popovers. After the mixture cools, you’ll beat in a full dozen eggs. I always scoop my batter into a standard (well-greased) muffin tin, but if you have a popover pan, by all means use it; it will make these even jauntier.

Just as you would with any popover, you’ll start them in a hot oven so the steam can form quickly, then reduce the temperature so they can bake evenly throughout. Before I put them in the oven, I like to sprinkle the tops with a little flaky salt, pepper, and za’atar or Italian seasoning, but that’s optional.

Do these boast the same crisp outer crust and light-as-air center as traditional popovers? No. They don’t puff quite as high, they have an eggier taste, and have a slightly moister center. But they’re absolutely delicious all the same. And as they sink, they create the most delicious little pockets — perfect for puddles of butter.

(Image credit: Grace Elkus)

The 5-Star Reviews Speak for Themselves

If I haven’t sold you, head over to the recipe on King Arthur Flour’s site and read the multitude of glowing reviews. You’ll also learn about the successful tweaks and substitutions that readers have made, as well as helpful tips for how to make these in advance and re-warm them. It’s also worth reading the backstory of the popovers, which is a King Arthur Flour editor’s grandmother’s recipe.

Split them and serve warm for Seder, then re-warm leftovers and enjoy with butter and jam for breakfast. They’d also be great for egg sandwiches, or fried in butter and drenched in maple syrup for French toast.

Get the Recipe: Passover Popovers