Dave's Delicious Delights

Full English breakfast

The full English breakfast – a belly-busting blow-out treat that is perfect for a lazy weekend day! This recipe really is the full works.

The full English breakfast, also known as a fry-up or a full Monty. This quintessentially British meal has become popular all around the world. The origins of this hearty breakfast go back to the early 19th century. Working-class people in the UK needed a substantial meal to fuel them for a long day of physical labour. Over time, the dish became a staple of the British diet. While it may be falling out of fashion, it’s still a beloved breakfast option for many people. Including me.

What are the traditional ingredients?

The traditional English breakfast consists of several components. These can include sausages, bacon, eggs, black pudding, tomatoes, fried potatoes, mushrooms, and baked beans. There are many other possible ingredients, too. Some people like fried bread, but I find it too greasy. Many include hash browns. However, in 2023 the English Breakfast Society (yes, really!) decreed that bubble and squeak should be used instead. Bubble and squeak is traditionally made by frying cooked leftovers, especially potatoes and cabbage. Its name derives from the noise it makes as it cooks. Take it from me, bubble and squeak is delicious when cooked well.

Each of these ingredients is cooked separately and then served together on a plate. The sausages are usually pork, and the bacon is typically back bacon, which comes from the loin of the pig. You can cook the eggs in a variety of ways, but fried or scrambled eggs are the most common. If you like a slightly healthier option, try using poached eggs.

Black pudding is a type of sausage made from pig’s blood, mixed with oatmeal and spices. It has a rich, meaty flavour and a soft texture. Tomatoes are often included in the full English breakfast to add some acidity and sweetness to the dish. I like to roast my tomatoes, but you can also grill or fry them. Fried potatoes provide a crispy and savoury element, while mushrooms offer a rich, earthy flavour.

Baked beans – a common accompaniment to the modern full English breakfast – are actually a relatively recent addition to the dish. In the 1920s, Heinz started to sell canned baked beans in the UK. They soon became a popular addition to breakfast plates.

What about other traditional breakfasts from the British Isles?

While the full English breakfast is perhaps the most famous version of this dish, there are also plenty of variations. In Scotland, for example, a full Scottish breakfast might include haggis, black pudding, and tattie scones, which are made from mashed potatoes and flour. A Welsh breakfast might feature laverbread, a type of seaweed paste, along with cockles, bacon, and eggs. In Ireland, a full Irish breakfast might include black and white pudding, as well as soda bread. Soda bread is a type of quick bread made with baking soda.

Isn’t a full English one of the easiest dishes going?

Well yes, it can be… but the secret to a truly memorable full English breakfast is the combination of ingredients and the herbs and flavours used to enhance each part of the dish. Anyone can throw a bit of bacon and a sausage or two under the grill, and fry a few mushrooms. Getting the flavours of each component just-right takes time and practice, though. Or, you can just follow along with this recipe to get the perfect full English breakfast every time!

Components of my full English breakfast

  • good-quality bacon, smoked or un-smoked, it’s up to you
  • good-quality sausages. I used Cumberland, but any good bangers will do
  • black pudding (not to everyone’s taste but I love it)
  • scrambled eggs with fresh chives
  • fried chestnut mushrooms, flavoured with garlic and parsley
  • fried new potatoes, flavoured with garlic and fresh thyme and finished with a sprinkle of fresh parsley
  • roasted, on-vine cherry tomatoes
  • ‘special’ baked beans (see the recipe for details – I promise you’ll never think baked beans are boring again)

Often the hardest part of a dish like this is the timings. Cooking everything so it’s ready at the same time can be challenging. Fortunately, it’s not necessary if you have enough time to spare! The oven is your friend; most things can be cooked-off and kept warm until ready to serve. The easiest thing – unless you’re a master of coordinating timings (I’m not!) is to cook everything off before serving. Except the eggs, which you should serve as soon as they’re ready.

Full English breakfast: bacon, egg, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, beans, and fried potatoes

Full English breakfast

The full works – a belly-busting breakfast treat that sets you up for the whole day!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine British
Keyword Bacon, Baked beans, Black pudding, Eggs, Fried potatoes, Mushrooms, Sausage, Tomatoes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 800kcal


  • 4 rashers bacon
  • 2 sausage
  • 2 slices black pudding
  • 100 g cherry tomatoes on vine
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

The fried chestnut mushrooms

  • 150 g chestnut mushrooms quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic lightly crushed
  • 15 g butter unsalted
  • fresh parsley chopped

The fried new potatoes

  • 200 g new potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic lightly crushed
  • 15 g butter unsalted
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves only
  • fresh parsley chopped, to finish

The special baked beans

  • 1 tin baked beans
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 1 splash Worcester sauce a good splash – about 5 ml

The scrambled eggs

  • 4 free range eggs
  • 1 splash milk
  • 2 g fresh chives finely chopped
  • 15 g butter unsalted


The roasted tomatoes

  • heat your oven and a baking tray to 180C (gas mark 4)
  • lightly drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes, on the baking tray, and season with salt and pepper
  • place the tomatoes on the top shelf of your oven and cook for around 10 – 15 minutes, until the skin begins to shrivel and brown in places
  • once ready, reduce the oven temperature to 150C (gas mark 2) and place the tomatoes on the bottom shelf to keep warm. Your oven is now at the right temperature to keep everything else warm too
  • while the tomatoes are cooking, you can start on the prep for the beans, potatoes and mushrooms, and get your grill heated ready to cook-off the sausages and bacon

The special baked beans

  • add the tin of baked beans, red wine and Worcester sauce to a saucepan and heat over a medium-low heat. You need to cook them down for around 20 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and the beans are beginning to break up. The final consistency should be like a thick paste. Turn the heat right down if the beans start to boil

The fried potatoes

  • parboil the new potatoes, skin-on, for around 10 minutes until they are beginning to go tender
  • drain in a colander and rinse them well with cold water, until they are cool enough to handle
  • cut them into quarters
  • heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Once it’s foaming, add the lightly crushed garlic cloves and fry for about a minute
  • add the potatoes and fresh thyme, then season with salt and pepper. Fry for 5 – 10 minutes until the potatoes are brown and crispy
  • add the fresh parsley, stir and then transfer to the oven to keep warm. Discard the garlic cloves before serving (you could eat them but it’s not recommended!)

The fried chestnut mushrooms

  • heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Once it’s foaming, add the lightly crushed garlic cloves and fry for about a minute
  • add the mushrooms and season well with salt and pepper. Fry for around 5 – 10 minutes
  • add the fresh parsley, stir and then transfer to the oven to keep warm. Discard the garlic cloves before serving

The sausages, bacon and black pudding

  • grill the sausages for around 15 – 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked evenly and fully. Transfer to the oven to keep warm
  • grill the bacon for around 5 – 10 minutes, until it’s cooked the way you like it. Transfer to the oven to keep warm
  • heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the vegetable oil
  • add the black pudding and cook for around 10 – 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Transfer to the oven to keep warm

The scrambled eggs

  • break the eggs into a bowl and add the milk and fresh chives. Season well with salt and pepper and beat well with a fork or whisk
  • heat a saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter
  • once the butter is foaming, add the eggs and leave it, without stirring, for 1 minute
  • turn the heat right down and stir the eggs, cooking and stirring until ready. Some people like their eggs well-set, I prefer them slightly sloppy – cook them to your taste

Bringing it all together

  • serve all the components together on warmed plates. Serve with a glass of fruit juice, toast and (of course) a good strong mug of English breakfast tea

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