The traditional British food classics are just a must-try, especially if you’re visiting the UK.
But what are these classic British dishes?
Well, below are the pick of the bunch…
Traditional British Food Classics – Main courses
The Full Breakfast
Where better to start than the most important meal of the day!
This is one of the most famous British dishes and is more commonly known as the Full English Breakfast (or ‘Full Scottish,’ ‘Full Welsh’ or ‘Full Irish’).
If you’re wondering what’s in this classic breakfast dish, check out my answer to the question what is a Full English breakfast?
Also known as the ‘Fry Up’ or ‘Full Monty,’ this beauty is actually available throughout the day in many places. Hence, another name variation… the ‘All Day Breakfast’.
Fish and Chips
Fish and chips is one of the most popular traditional British food dishes and it’s not difficult to understand why. It’s just awesome!
The dish consists of battered and deep fried fish (usually cod), served with chips (chunky french fries). I love french fries, but I’d argue that our ‘fish and chip chips’ are on another level.
Best served with a wedge of lemon and ketchup or tartare sauce, plus plenty of salt and vinegar.
Other optional additions include mushy peas, pickled gherkins, pickled onions and even curry sauce.
Most restaurants and British pub menus have fish and chips available daily. There are also thousands of fish and chip ‘shops’ across the UK.
Get yourself to a seaside town for the best fish and chips experience.
Roast ‘Dinner’ (with Yorkshire Pudding)
If you’re coming to Britain, I’d suggest you don’t return home until you’ve demolished a Roast Dinner!
Widely known as a ‘Sunday Roast,’ but don’t fret if you’re not here on a Sunday, we love our roast dinners any day of the week (you were fretting, admit it!)
It’s just that Sunday is the most traditional and common day to eat one.
The term ‘Roast Dinner’ is used most, but it’s also not an issue if you have a ‘Roast’ for dinner or lunch.
Whether you choose beef, chicken, lamb or any other meat (or non-meat) option, you’ll be sure to enjoy a Roast!
A traditional ‘Roast’ generally comes with roasted potatoes, stuffing, a selection of vegetables and gravy.
The famous Yorkshire pudding is the traditional pairing for roast beef, although they’re so good, most Brits will add them to their Roast regardless of meat choice.
A turkey Roast is traditionally eaten at Christmas in Britain, which comes with ‘all the trimmings.’
Sausages (“Bangers”) and Mash
Creamy mashed potatoes topped with thick pork ‘bangers’ and gravy really is one of the traditional British food marvels!
Sausage and mash is a really popular dinner in the UK and it’s the perfect comfort food.
Bangers and mash is great served with vegetables such as peas, carrots or cabbage, as well as fried onions.
Toad in the hole
This is another comforting sausage dish, but no mention of bangers?!
Nope, instead, the sausages in this dish are ‘toads!’
Putting our weird British food names aside, toad-in-the-hole is immense!
The sausages are cooked amongst Yorkshire pudding batter and served with vegetables and gravy. A taste sensation!
Another of the traditional British food dishes is Shepherd’s Pie.
You might‘ve guessed from the name, but if not, this is a lamb based dish.
Minced lamb is cooked in gravy along with onions, celery, carrots and peas to make this bad boy! Mashed potatoes are added to the meat base (plus grated cheddar cheese if you’re feeling ultra mischievous), before the topping is made golden and crisp.
Cottage Pie is another popular British meal that is similar to Shepherds Pie, but made with beef.
Pie and Mash
A different type of pie this one, with pastry being used to encase the filling, rather than mashed potatoes. Mash is usually served with the pie instead.
Diced meat is combined with chunky vegetables and cooked in a gravy or sauce.
Steak and kidney pie is probably the most traditional filling. Similar variations are the steak and ale pie and the steak and mushroom pie. Chicken and mushroom pie is also a favourite!
There are many pie and mash ‘shops’ (cafes) in Britain serving this dish with ‘liquor’ (a parsley sauce) and jellied eels (one of the famous British delicacies).
The Ploughman’s Lunch (or simply “the Ploughman’s”) was created by our farmers back in the day! It’s a cold lunch initially made up from bread, cooked meats, cheese and an apple.
Over the years, more items have been added to the dish, so a Ploughman’s really is one of the best British lunches.
A plateful of thick cut honey roasted ham, a good block of cheddar cheese, crusty bloomer bread along with a pork pie, scotch egg, pickled onions, a wedge of juicy apple and some Branston pickle… insanely good!
Traditionally eaten alongside a nice beer.
Now, you may think a soup isn’t particularly exciting. But, a Welsh Cawl is so much more than just a soup (despite being a soup!)
Chunks of lamb or beef are cooked in a broth along with vegetables such as leek, potato, swede and carrot.
A Welsh Cawl is widely considered to be the national dish of Wales. So, if you’re visiting Wales in particular, it’s time to get excited by soup!
Haggis is another of the British national dishes and it’s just incredible.
If you’re coming to see us over here in Blighty, particularly Scotland, you’re going to want to try Haggis.
Haggis is a savoury dish made from sheep’s heart, liver and lungs. If this sounds entirely unappealing to you, I assure you, Haggis is amazing.
The heart, liver and lungs are minced and mixed with stock, onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt, then traditionally cooked within the sheep’s stomach. A proper British delicacy!
Another national dish, the Irish Stew is a must-try whether you’re visiting Ireland or not.
Traditionally, it’s made with mutton, but lamb is more popular these days. Either way, it’s one of the most comforting meals you can eat.
Traditional British Food Classics – Desserts
This is one of many traditional British desserts, being stewed apples with a crisp, crumbly topping made from butter, flour and sugar. Adding cinnamon takes it to another level.
There are several varieties of crumble dessert, apple just being the most common.
You could swap out the apple for peaches, rhubarb or plums for example, or have a combination. Apple and blackberry crumble is my go-to!
Best served with custard, but cream or ice cream are also good choices.
A mixture of strawberries, broken meringue, and whipped double cream gives you this classic British dessert.
Eton is perceived as being an upper-class area of England, from where this pudding originates.
The ‘mess’ refers to the dish being put together without any real structure, other than mixing the various ingredients.
Despite the ‘messiness,’ this dessert is totally mouth watering to look at and there’s definitely nothing messy about the taste!
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Sticky toffee pudding is another insanely good British dessert. It’s a sponge cake, but so much more than just a sponge cake!
It’s moist and oozing with toffee sauce, which is, erm, sticky in consistency!
Beyond that, it’s one of those that doesn’t need much further explanation, it just deserves to be tried!
Trifle, is a layered dessert, particularly popular at Christmas.
The lower layers combine fruit (most commonly strawberries) and sponge fingers set in jelly.
Above that sit layers of custard and whipped cream. Chocolate shavings and more fruit can be used to decorate the top cream layer. A thing of real beauty!
So there you have it, the most traditional British food classics!
If you’re visiting the UK, let me show you the best places to eat the traditional British dishes!