British Breakfast – How we Brits (typically) start our days…

British Breakfast

A typical British breakfast – what is that exactly?

Do Brits really eat a ‘Full English’ every day?

Well, I’m going to tell you…

The Full British Breakfast

The Full Breakfast, most commonly known as the Full English Breakfast (or just ‘Full English’), really is a beautiful thing. 

I should point out that the Full Breakfast can also be referred to as a Full Scottish Breakfast, Full Welsh Breakfast or Full Irish Breakfast.

If you’re not from the UK, you may have a stereotypical image in your head of us Brits sitting down every morning to a ‘Full Breakfast’ (also known as the ‘Fry Up’ or ‘Full Monty’).

Don’t get me wrong, we do love our Full Breakfast, but even as a meat loving Brit myself, just the thought of doing this every day starts to clog my arteries!

I think this demonstrates my point…

Full English Breakfast

So, there’s plenty of other dishes we find to munch on to kick-start our days, as you’re about to find out.

Want to know more about the Full Monty? Check out my post on What is a Full English Breakfast?

British Breakfast Sandwiches

Fancy something warm and filling, but not quite got the appetite for a Fry Up?  

Taking certain elements from the Full Breakfast and cushioning them between two slices of chunky buttered bread is the perfect alternative!

Popular variations include a bacon ‘butty’ (butty being another term for sandwich in Britain) and a sausage ‘sarnie’ (another term for sandwich!)

Or, to crank it up another notch, add a fried egg to give a bacon and egg sandwich, or sausage and egg sandwich…

Sausage Egg Sandwich

British Breakfast Cereals

Porridge is one of the healthiest breakfast cereals eaten in Britain, with Scottish porridge being most common, as oats are Scotland’s main crop.

Porridge with berries

Oatmeal, granola and muesli are other popular options for the health conscious Brit.

Amongst the most popular breakfast cereals in the UK are those from famous brands like Kellogg’s, Nestle and Weetabix.

Weetabix Breakfast Cereal

The Continental Breakfast

This is mainly found in hotels and restaurants in the UK and typically consists of baked goods like breads, pastries and muffins, served with jams and marmalades.

Fruit and yoghurt will also normally be found in a Continental Breakfast.

It’s a lighter alternative to a Full Breakfast, accompanied by fruit juices and tea or coffee of course.

continental-breakfast

Egg Dishes

Quite possibly, the most enjoyed UK breakfast egg dish is ‘dippy’ (boiled) eggs and soldiers…

british-soldiers

Wait, wrong photo… my bad!

Soldiers are slices of bread or toast (usually buttered) used to dip into a runny soft boiled egg yolk…

dippy-eggs-soldiers

Omelettes

It doesn’t get much simpler than a classic omelette, but it can often be a great option for a filling and healthy British breakfast.

The world is your oyster when it comes to fillings. You can go with just the addition of cheese, maybe ham and cheese, ham and mushrooms, or any number of other choices.

breakfast omelette

Eggs Benedict

Rumour has it that Eggs Benedict belongs to the American food dudes! I’m more than happy to give our friends in the US the credit, although the dish does include eggs sitting on English muffins (just saying!)

Either way, I know the dish goes down a storm here in Britain, with bacon or ham sitting on a nice soft muffin and hollandaise sauce topping it off.

Eggs Benedict

‘Eggy’ Bread

Sliced bread coated with whisked eggs then fried in butter. Need I say more? Adding bacon (or any Full Breakfast ingredients for that matter), will get you off to a flyer for the day!

Eggy Bread
Courtesy of BBC Food

Not necessarily a traditional British breakfast, but I know the excitement this creates in my house when served with either bacon and maple syrup or fresh berries and cream (admittedly very similar to French Toast!)

Things on Toast!

As well as the dishes mentioned above, eggs are also commonly enjoyed simply on, or with, toast.

My fave is scrambled eggs on toast, but other options are boiled, poached or fried eggs on toast.

Scrambled eggs on toast

Beans on toast is also a UK favourite, or a combination of eggs and beans on toast can go down a treat too!

Baked beans on toast

Very popular in recent times is avocado on toast, again, combined with eggs, is a great option. As is mushrooms on toast…

Mushrooms on toast

Quicker toast options involve simply adding butter and a nice spread, such as jam, marmalade, the famous (or infamous) Marmite, or peanut butter.

Jam on toast

Crumpets

Crumpets are essentially an alternative to toast, enjoyed warm with some type of spread on top.

Unlike toast, it’s not necessarily common to have crumpets with eggs or baked beans, although it has been known!

Arguably the best way to eat crumpets is simply with butter and enough of it so it seeps through the fluffy cloud of joy that is the crumpet!

English crumpets and butter

British Seafood Breakfasts

Perhaps not eaten every day, but some traditional British breakfast dishes involving seafood include…

Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast

Smoked salmon is a very traditional British breakfast food which has remained popular over time.

It is often served with English muffins or with a bagel, accompanied by cream cheese more often than not.

Smoked salmon is also great with scrambled eggs on toast, or as a substitute for ham in Eggs Benedict.

Kedgeree

Kedgeree is actually a dish of Indian origin which the Scots are said to have brought back to the UK in the Victorian era.

It traditionally involves smoked flakey haddock being cooked with curry powder and mixed with rice, boiled eggs, parsley and butter or cream…

Kedgeree

Kippers

Kippers for breakfast were really popular in Britain until the 1970s (or so I hear – I wasn’t around then!)

Kippers are smoked herring, which apparently went out of fashion at the same time the likes of Tony the Tiger came along (the face of Frosties cereal…)

Tony the Tiger - Frosties Breakfast cereal

But, not to worry, Kippers seem to be a returning trend recently, most commonly enjoyed with eggs…

Kippers and eggs

Who knows, this might mean the end for poor old Tony!

Laverbread

Laverbread is a traditional British food, more specifically Welsh food, made from seaweed…

Laverbread

It’s made by mixing the seaweed with oatmeal and frying before commonly being served with eggs, bacon and cockles (another seafood)…

Breakfasts From Abroad

As patriotic as we are, us Brits do love other foods from around the world, even first thing in the morning.

I can’t speak for all my compatriots, but among my personal favourites would be our American friends’ pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, and Mexico’s Huevos Rancheros!

(The Full Monty is still the boss though!)

So now you know what a typical British breakfast is! 

Want to also know what we eat for lunch in Britain

Or, how about dinner?

Maybe you just want to know where to eat in Britain.

British Food Dude