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7 Common British Breakfast Foods To Start the Day

Start your day right with these English breakfast dishes.

Picture this: you wake up on a cold and drizzly morning in the English countryside. It’s only with your first sip of tea and bite of a crumpet you become fully awake. 

Traditional Full English Breakfast With Fried Eggs Sausages

Whether you’re visiting England or you want to re-create a favorite English breakfast dish in your country of residence, these are several popular English breakfast foods that you’re sure to love.

Baked goods, fry ups, and smoked fish are just a few of the elements you have to look forward to with English breakfast food. 

Many of the dishes on this list have been around for centuries. Some elements evolved, while others remain the same. Breakfast food, especially the English versions, is comforting, warming, and gentle. The dishes range in complexity, from simple tea and toast to a full English breakfast.  

Popular English Breakfast Food

Read on to discover some of the most popular English breakfast foods.

Full English Breakfast

Perhaps the most well-known breakfast dish from England, the full English breakfast contains several components.

The exact list of items that make up this dish can vary slightly, but it usually includes:

  • Bacon
  • Black pudding
  • White pudding
  • Sausage
  • Fried mushrooms
  • Fried tomatoes
  • Fried eggs
  • Beans
  • Toast

To eat this dish like a local, make sure to wash it down with one or five cups of tea! I love pairing it with a milky Earl Grey tea.

Traditionally, this dish is given to visitors. In England, you can easily find this dish at several restaurants, or you can recreate it at home.

Versions of this dish are also popular in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. 


Porridge

Even though porridge is a simple dish, it’s hearty, comforting, and nutritious.

This dish can be made of a few different grains, including oats, corn, millet, rice, wheat, and sorghum. 

The grain cooks with liquid, such as water or milk. You can top the porridge with sweet or savory components, such as brown sugar, fruit, cheese, or vegetables. 

Porridge has been a staple in the diet of people throughout the world. While this dish doesn’t have the extravagant complexity of the full English breakfast, it’s a simple way to start your day.

You can buy instant porridge or easily make it from scratch.

I love topping my porridge with cream, brown sugar, and bananas for the perfect start to the day.


Scones

This iconic baked good is a popular English breakfast food for good reason.

It’s delicious and very versatile. While scones are a popular breakfast food, they are also found in traditional English afternoon tea. Scones are most often eaten with:

  • Butter
  • Jam
  • Clotted cream

Scones get baked in the oven using wheat or oat flour. They can be sweet or savory, and they contain several different flavor components.

Additions to the scones may include berries, cheese, sultanas, lemon, pumpkin, chocolate chips, and spinach. You may also enjoy a plain scone. 

You can make this dish at home, but all the bakeries near me serve fresh scones, so they shouldn’t be hard to find.


Kippers

Kippers are small herring fish prepared in a specific way.

The preparation of kippers includes butterflying, salting, pickling, and smoking. The result is a slightly oily fish with a deep, complex flavor. 

If you’re looking for kippers in a grocery store, you will likely find them in cans on a shelf or in refrigerated jars.

You can eat the kippers straight from the jar, or you can grill, fry, or poach them to add some flavor. 

I love eating kippers alongside eggs and toast. If you want to get more adventurous with your kippers, you can make them into a pate or a sandwich. 


Eggy Bread

Eggy Bread is similar to French Toast. The main difference is that Eggy Bread is more savory than French Toast. If you’ve always wanted savory toppings on French toast, Eggy bread is for you!

This dish involves dipping bread into a mixture of eggs and milk before frying it. I think this dish is delicious with eggs and breakfast meats.

If you have a sweet tooth, you can also enjoy it with fresh fruit, a compote, or honey. 

For me, the best bread to use for Eggy Bread is dense white bread.

Today there are versions of Eggy Bread around the world, including the German Pofesen, French pain perdu, Georgian kikliko, Hong Kong-style French Toast, Indian Bombay Toast, and Spanish Torrija. 


Tea and Toast

Simple and comforting, Tea and Toast is a centuries-long English tradition.

This classic combination is a great choice when you need a fast and tasty breakfast. The ingredients are in the name since this dish consists solely of toasted bread and strong, hot tea. 

Traditionally, the English eat their toast with butter and cheese. The toast pairs alongside black teas, such as English breakfast tea and Earl Grey.

However, other teas, such as green and herbal teas are becoming more popular with the English. This dish is the simplest to make at home and can be ready in minutes.


Crumpet

Another quintessential breakfast food, the crumpet, is known for its delightful texture and versatility.

To make a crumpet, you need a batter that includes: 

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Baking soda

To get a perfectly round crumpet shape, it’s a good idea to fry the crumpets in rings. For the best results, I let the batter sit for at least an hour before I cook it.  

This food item originated in the United Kingdom. However, similar foods exist in different cultures.

Crumpets are commonly eaten with butter, jams, syrups, honey, and fruit. They are simple to make at home, and you can sometimes find pre-made crumpets at the store or a bakery. 


Popular English Breakfast Food

  1. Full English breakfast
  2. Porridge
  3. Scones
  4. Kippers
  5. Eggy Bread
  6. Tea and Toast
  7. Crumpet

Final Thoughts 

England may not be known for its food culture, but it has some delicious dishes worth a try. Learning about English breakfasts is a great place to start. From tea to baked goods to a good old fry-up, English food is steeped in history and tradition. 

The next time you fancy some popular English breakfast foods, you now have several delicious options. Whether you crave the simplicity of porridge or a full English breakfast, there are plenty of dishes that can help you experience an authentic English breakfast. 

Breakfasts around the world are often similar, but there are lots of interesting dishes to try! Check out Turkish breakfast foods or Greek breakfast ideas to expand your horizons.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.