The food of the British people, otherwise known as British cuisine, is a fascinating and complex subject. At least, we Brits think it is.
British food is such a sophisticated topic because, while there’s plenty of food traditions in the UK, what British people actually eat will still vary from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; region to region; home to home.
Anyway, you were asking, what do British people eat?
Traditionally, British people are well known for eating the UK’s classic dishes, such as the Full English Breakfast, Bangers and Mash, Shepherd’s Pie and the Roast Dinner. But in the modern day, what Brits eat on a daily basis is much more varied and unpredictable, largely due to the influence of other worldwide cuisines.
If that just makes you even more intrigued, then read on, because the British Grub Hub is clearly the place to be if you want to know what British people actually eat.
What British People Eat
The true modern day answer is that British people eat a whole array of cuisines and dishes from around the world, as well as traditional British food. It’s therefore almost impossible to explain what the typical Brit eats nowadays.
But we’ll give it a good old bloody go.
If the question you’re asking is actually “what are the traditional foods that British people eat?” then we’ll answer that shortly.
But if you want to know what we eat on a typical day, then the reality is, British people eat such a range of different things, which depend on loads of different factors, which we’ll also cover in just a mo.
Sorry to disappoint if you were looking for an answer along the lines of “all British people just eat classic UK dishes like Bangers and Mash, Shepherd’s Pie and the Full English Breakfast everyday!”
Don’t get us wrong, many Brits do love traditional British food, but we also enjoy plenty of other cuisines day to day.
Different lifestyles, religions, dietary needs and flavour preferences determine what we Brits eat, just like in many other countries.
For those reasons, asking what British people eat is like asking “what do chefs cook?” You get the point. There’s loads of possible answers.
Traditional Foods That British People Eat
The most typical and traditional British dishes that we Brits enjoy include these beauties:
- The Full English Breakfast
- The Ploughman’s Lunch
- The Roast Dinner
- Fish and Chips
- Pie and Mash
- Welsh Cawl
- Bangers and Mash
- Irish Stew
- Toad in the Hole
- Haggis, Neeps and Tatties
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Afternoon Tea
Then there’s the classic British desserts, such as:
- Apple Crumble
- Sticky Toffee Pudding
- Eton Mess
- Bread and Butter Pudding
- Spotted Dick
…and loads more! Seriously, there’s just LOADS of great traditional British puddings (another word we use for our desserts).
As you might’ve noticed, there’s some pretty weird British food names, but don’t let that put you off – our grub actually tastes great!
The British National Dishes
Included in the list above are most of the UK’s national dishes (Haggis, Cawl and Irish Stew) although England’s national dish might not guess.
Loads of our traditional dishes are not only enjoyed in UK homes, but they’re also found in our best restaurants and on British pub food menus (Britain is proudly famous for its ‘pub grub’).
Then there’s all the traditional British delicacies like pork pies, scotch eggs and the bacon butty that British people eat. You’ll definitely want to check those out if you’re visiting the UK.
Famous UK Produce / Ingredients
If we’re talking about particular ingredients that British people typically eat, again this varies hugely based on loads of factors, but traditionally, the following foods especially, are a significant part of British cuisine:
Meats – such as beef, pork and lamb.
Poultry – especially turkey and chicken.
Game – including venison, pheasant and grouse among others.
Seafood – Scottish salmon is very famous, as is Scottish lobster, but UK seafood generally is just great. Jellied Eels is a famous delicacy in addition to the classic Fish & Chips.
Cheeses- especially Cheddar and Stilton. Also well known are Wensleydale, Red Leicester, Double Gloucester and the Welsh Caerphilly.
Sausages – Cumberland sausage and Lincolnshire sausage are particularly special.
Vegetables – Where do we start? There’s just incredible UK vegetables all year round.
Fruit – Bramley apples and English strawberries are just a couple of popular fruits that Brits commonly eat.
So, that’s traditional British food. Before we move on to what British people eat day-to-day, we should mention that we’ve written a separate post on modern British food (we know, we’re obsessed!)
What Do British People Eat Day-To-Day?
Ok, so this is where things get a bit more varied. In fact, it’s basically impossible to tell you what the average British person eats on an average day (sorry!)
Because we all have different taste preferences, daily routines, health awareness and religions, there’s no single answer to this question!
That said, you can read about a typical breakfast, lunch and dinner in the UK if you like (but you could say these are largely based on old stereotypes).
It’s probably fair to say most Brits enjoy all kinds of international foods on a day-to-day basis (as well as the classic UK dishes).
In modern times, international food hugely influences what many Brits eat each day. For instance, we’ve especially loved Italian, Chinese and Indian foods for decades, especially in ‘takeaway’ form (think pizza, pasta, curries and stir-fry).
But even more recently than that, cuisines and dishes from all over the world have become easily accessible in Britain too.
What British People Eat At Christmas (And Other Holidays)
At Christmas time in Britain, you could say we Brits typically stick to what we know when it comes to what we eat.
Of course some Brits may sometimes choose to go overseas on holiday for Christmas, to experience something different.
For the most part though, it’s fair to say that most Brits enjoy a traditional British Christmas Dinner at home. This most commonly involves roast turkey, accompanied by ‘all the trimmings’ which usually includes the following:
- Yorkshire pudding (traditionally Roast beef’s partner, but an exception is often made at Christmas time)
- Pigs in blankets
- Roast potatoes
- Brussels sprouts
- A selection of other vegetables
- Cranberry sauce
Then there’s all the other traditional British Christmas delicacies, like mince pies, Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cake.
The other main holiday in Britain with classic food traditions, is Easter. The most commonly associated food related to Easter are chocolate ‘Easter Eggs’, which are given as gifts. We also typically enjoy a lamb based roast dinner at Easter, with hot-cross buns also being a famous delicacy.
When Do The British Eat Their Meals?
Typically speaking, British people eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Although, on occasion, there’s a few other times of day that Brits sometimes choose to eat too:
Breakfast in the UK is most usually eaten between 7am and around 10am in the UK, although it could be before this for very early risers, or later for people who work late-night shifts, for example. Using the term ‘breakfast’ is generally accepted until around 11am.
When it gets to 10/11am, we also have the popular term ‘brunch,’ which reflects that you’re eating in between the traditional breakfast and lunch times.
The traditional time for lunch in Britain is typically between 12pm (midday) and 2pm. Sorry to confuse things, but some British people actually refer to lunch as ‘dinner.’ The famous Sunday Lunch in particular, is often referred to as a ‘Roast Dinner’ (regardless of what time it’s eaten).
Some people have lunch as their ‘main’ (largest) meal of the day, but others choose to have a larger dinner. Then again, some people might have all three (or more) meals of an equal size.
Before we move on to dinner (the evening meal), we need to mention the Great British tradition that is Afternoon Tea, which is usually eaten any time between midday and early evening. But, to save you even more confusion here, you can check out our separate post answering the question “what is Afternoon Tea?”
Speaking of eating in-between meals, we also enjoy snacks in the UK.
Finally, a typical British dinner is eaten some time between the hours of 6pm and 9pm. That said, some people may eat slightly earlier, or later. In these cases, the terms ‘early dinner’ or ‘late dinner’ might be heard.
Some people refer to dinner as ‘supper’ and some call it ‘tea’ (different to the drink)… plus, just to confuse you a bit more, ‘supper’ is also a term used by some British people to describe an additional light meal eaten late-evening, either after or instead of an earlier dinner.
So, there are the typical UK meal times, but really it all depends on peoples’ lifestyles, preferences and appetites as to how much and what times they eat.
Many of us British folk still consume the classic UK meals, even if not everyday.
More modern versions of the traditional dishes are also enjoyed, particularly in our fine dining restaurants. These plates of food involve new interpretations of the classics, often with international influences.
We also love different cuisines from all over the world. Especially popular are Indian, Chinese and Italian foods, but by no means is that all.
Naturally, all Brits have their own individual tastes and dietary needs, with lifestyles and cultures also playing a part in what is eaten day to day.
Brits typically eat three meals a day, but this can also vary depending on appetite and lifestyle.
Hopefully that sort of covers what British people eat (and when).
British Grub Hub
The home of great British food