As the first meal of the day, breakfast is singularly important. It is how we start off the day and the meal we choose influences everything that comes next. A good breakfast can help you to feel energized and satisfied, without giving you an energy crash shortly after. Of course, how you define a good breakfast will depend on where you grew up. That’s why this post is focusing on traditional English breakfast foods.
For our American readers, some of these breakfast foods will sound familiar and delicious, while others may sound strange, to say the least. Personally, I’m fond of many English breakfast foods, as the choices are often savory and full of protein.
Protein rich foods help to keep you full. They mean that you’re not going to start craving snacks half an hour later. When you have plenty of protein for breakfast, you’re getting a slow release of energy that will keep you going until lunch without any problems.
This effect can be important for your concentration and even for weight loss too. So, let’s dig into the list.
Table of Contents
Traditional English Breakfast Foods
- Full English Breakfast
- Drop Scones
- Marmite On Toast
- Baked Beans On Toast
- Bubble And Squeak
- Egg Soldiers
- Tea And Biscuits
- Tea And Toast
- Bacon Sandwich
- Sausage Sandwich
- Sausage Roll
- Deviled Kidneys
- Bacon And Eggs
Full English Breakfast
This dish might be called the full English breakfast (or sometimes just the English breakfast), but it is far from the only breakfast eaten in England. Still, the dish is the perfect place to begin our list, as it is so famous.
The meal is basically a selection of fried foods (which is why it also goes by the name fry up). Sausages and bacon are almost always featured. Pork sausages are the most common choice here, but other types of sausages might be used instead.
Other common additions include baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and toast. These days, this type of breakfast is common in many cafes in English-speaking countries across the world. It is sometimes served throughout the day, as an all-day breakfast, rather than just in the morning.
Drop scones go by a few different names, including Scotch pancakes and pikelets. They were, not surprisingly, invented in Scotland, although they are now popular in many parts of England as well.
The scones are created by cooking batter in a hot frying pan, much like you would prepare a regular pancake. The ingredients used are similar to pancakes too, including eggs, milk, and flour.
These factors mean that drop scones and pancakes do taste very similar. However, drop scones tend to be heavier, thicker, and have a denser texture. They’re certainly not as fluffy as pancakes.
You can use similar toppings for drop scones as for pancakes, although fresh fruit or cream are more common than drenching the breakfast food in syrup. Some of the time the scones can even be purchased pre-prepared and heated in a toaster.
Crumpets are common English food for all times of the day. A crumpet is best considered a type of bread or cake, although the texture and flavor are different than most other bread-based products.
Crumpets are generally toasted and then eaten warm, often with butter. The holes in crumpets mean that the butter is quickly absorbed.
Crumpets don’t have a strong flavor of their own, so they can easily be prepared with sweet or savory toppings. Simply spreading butter over a crumpet and eating it is an easy breakfast approach. For something more protein-packed, you could try a poached egg or two as well.
Other popular toppings include jam or marmite.
Fish for breakfast might sound unusual. Despite this, kippers are a common British breakfast food. A kipper is a herring that has been gutted. seasoned, and cold smoked.
The multiple steps mean that the process to create kippers is a lengthy one. This doesn’t stop them from being popular, especially as most breakfasters aren’t preparing the kippers themselves. Instead, kippers can easily be purchased. Turning these into a delicious warm breakfast doesn’t take much work at all.
Marmite On Toast
As you may have already noticed, England has many more savory breakfast options than you’ll find in America. Marmite on toast is one of these.
While the idea of a spread on toast doesn’t require much explaining, it’s worth talking about marmite for a little, as this spread really is unusual. It is made from a yeast extract, which provides it with a distinct salty flavor.
Marmite’s flavor is strong. There’s no denying that. It is also divisive. Some people love the spread, while others cannot stand it at all. Americans often struggle Marmite, especially when they first try it, as there are few similar flavors in American food. Still, Marmite is sometimes called an acquired taste, which means that you may come to enjoy it in time.
Baked Beans On Toast
Here is another savory breakfast choice, one that doesn’t need much explanation at all. You’re simply heating the beans, then serving them on buttered toast.
Doing so gives you a hearty breakfast that is very easy to enjoy. It will keep you full for much longer than a sweet spread on toast and won’t give you a blood sugar spike either.
Kedgeree is an interesting dish that relies on Indian flavors, yet still has a long history of popularity in Britain. The dish involves a variety of curry spices, along with smoky fish, hard boiled eggs, and rice. Smoked haddock is one of the most popular types of fish used in kedgeree, although other types of fish may be used as well.
Despite the Indian flavors, the dish also has British elements. For one thing, the original version of the dish didn’t include fish at all. If fish was used in an Indian version of the recipe, then it would have been fresh rather than smoked.
Many versions of kedgeree specifically rely on Finnan haddie, which involves cold-smoking the haddock using peat and green wood. Finnan haddie was originally developed in Scotland, although the haddock did become popular in London and other parts of England as well. For that matter, Finnan haddie is still enjoyed as breakfast in Scotland, where it is generally served poached in milk.
While the flavors of kedgeree might not be what you expect for breakfast, the dish is an appealing one. The inclusion of fish is effective too, as this helps to make the breakfast filling.
Bubble And Squeak
While the name might be odd, bubble and squeak is a hearty and delicious breakfast, one that is ideal if you have a long day ahead of you. There is no single recipe for bubble and squeak because the dish is rarely ever made the same way twice.
Instead, bubble and squeak largely consists of leftovers that have been shallow fried. Potatoes and cabbage are especially common ingredients, while any other leftover vegetables are often added as well.
Bubble and squeak works best if you had a heavy meal the night before. The meal is especially common after a Sunday roast dinner or after Christmas, when there are plenty of leftovers to go around. If you know when you’re going to have bubble and squeak, then you can easily cook a little extra the night before.
This breakfast may sound a little more familiar. The ‘soldiers’ are strips of toast that are then dunked into a runny egg. The toast may be buttered beforehand to create a more enjoyable flavor contrast.
The biggest challenge is getting your egg exactly right. It needs to be cooked enough to be safe, while leaving the yolk runny enough that you can easily dip the soldiers into it.
Tea And Biscuits
This is the classic breakfast for when you don’t have time in the morning or don’t feel like eating. A mug of tea is a classic English choice anyway, while having a few biscuits means that you’re at least getting something in your stomach.
Now, to be clear, we’re not talking about American biscuits here. The English term refers to a type of crisp baked product, like a cracker or a cookie.
Tea And Toast
We’ve already mentioned toast and tea on this list, so the idea of having the two at the same time shouldn’t be surprising. Neither of these entries are especially filling, but they are both fast to prepare and to eat.
Here’s another popular breakfast that is savory and filled with protein. A bacon sandwich is generally just what the name suggests – buttered bread and cooked bacon. HP Sauce is often included too. Some people might include an egg or other ingredients, but those additions are less common.
And, generally speaking, you won’t hear this called a bacon sandwich. Bacon butty is a much more common term.
A sausage sandwich, or sausage butty, is a variation on the previous example. This is a good choice if you want something filling, although the meal can be on the greasy side.
Coffee is a common choice with a bacon butty or a sausage one. For that matter, tea and coffee remain exceptionally popular as breakfast drinks, regardless of what one chooses to have for breakfast.
While sausage rolls are more common as a lunchtime choice, this filling snack also makes a good breakfast food. Plus, sausage rolls are easy to find in stores, aren’t too expensive, and taste good hot or cold.
This combination of features means that sausage rolls are ideal when you need to get out of the door in a hurry.
This dish was a popular breakfast back in Victorian times. While it is more common as a lunch or perhaps an appetizer these days, some people still enjoy it for breakfast.
The dish is generally made from lamb kidneys, which have been fried in a rich sauce. This often ends up being an intensely flavored meal and is served on fried bread or toast.
Deviled kidneys might not sound appealing to everyone, but there’s no denying that the breakfast would keep you satisfied. The reliance kidney is appealing too, as organ meats like kidney tend to contain more nutrients than other cuts of meat.
Bacon And Eggs
Bacon and eggs feature in English breakfasts just as much as they do in the United States. This is hardly surprising, as both foods are hearty, giving you a protein boost right when you need it the most.
Plus, there are many different ways to prepare and eat eggs, giving you the chance to vary your breakfast from one day to the next. One survey suggested that fried eggs is the most popular way to eat eggs, and that these eggs are often served with toast or bacon.
Porridge has become a traditional breakfast in many parts of the world, including England. This is hardly surprising, as porridge ends up being a hearty dish that releases energy slowly.
While there are many versions of porridge out there, oatmeal is the most classic. As the name suggests, this type of porridge uses oats as the cereal grain. Variations of oatmeal include gruel, which is a thinner type of porridge and groats, where the oats are unprocessed.
The use of oats has health implications too, as oats contain beta glucan. For example, oats have been linked to decreasing cholesterol levels and helping to control blood sugar.
Cereal is another common English breakfast that is found in many other parts of the world too. This mightn’t be as traditional as the other entries on this list, but English cuisine does often contain influences from around the globe.
The popularity of cereal can’t be underestimated either. This breakfast remains a go-to for many people. The fact that you don’t need to cook anything might be a key reason that cereal never seems to go out of style.