What is a Full English Breakfast?

I guess all of you living outside Britain have heard of the term ‘Full English Breakfast’, dear friends; but maybe you don’t know exactly what it means. Well, first of all it means a really BIG breakfast, full of protein, and not suitable for vegetarians and vegans – it includes at least two sorts of processed meat, bacon and sausage.

It’s popular all over the British Isles – well, of course not under the same name: in Ireland it’s called Full Irish, in Wales Full Welsh, and in Scotland (where it can be bigger than anywhere else, including anything up to kidneys, kippers and fried haggis) it’s called Full Scottish.

Since many Brits don’t eat anything, or very little, in between breakfast and dinner, they want something to keep them going all day – proteins, carbs, and possibly some vitamins as well. So, the basic version of a Full English is rather protein heavy: a fried egg, a slice of bacon, a pork sausage, baked beans, and a slice of bread or toast. It’s quite easy to do at home – just fry the sausage, the bacon and the egg, and heat up some baked beans from a tin! My darling husband loves it, and I love spoiling him with it…


Then there are lots of other ingredients you can add; the most popular ones are fried tomato slices or halves, sliced mushrooms, and black pudding – which isn’t a sweet dessert but a sausage made from pork blood. In recent years, Brits have also got to love the American hash browns, and some even like chips (French fries, not potato crisps) as a part of their breakfast! Another popular feature is bubble and squeak, a paste made of vegetables, usually potatoes and cabbage.

You can get a Full English in every decent coffee shop on the British Isles, and you can usually choose between different sizes: a ‘small’ or ‘basic’ one, a ‘small plus one’ with one extra ingredient, and of course the complete thing as shown in the picture! (Clockwise: Bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, egg, baked beans, black pudding, and in the centre sausage and hash browns.)

Full English Restaurant

And what drink goes with it? Well, the obvious answer is tea (with milk!), but more and more Brits are switching to coffee. Still, in my opinion a nice ‘cuppa’ (which means tea) is the best! So, if you want a bit of British feeling at home, just try it out, dear friends…

6 thoughts on “What is a Full English Breakfast?”

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