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My introduction to a Full English breakfast was on my family's yacht Gypsy during one of her annual 10-day trips. I was dished up a plate of fried eggs, bacon, beans, tomato, sausage and black pudding, and I remember I didn't need to eat until dinner. It did however soothe the mad hangover I had from too much rum the night before.

As popular as ever, you'll find the Full English (aka The Full Monty or fry up) in eateries across the UK and indeed the world - a lot of cafes even in Hobart have it on their menu.

The tradition of the Full English breakfast dates back centuries, but came into what we know now during the latter half of the 19th century during the Victorian-era. By the end of the second world war it was a working class breakfast staple

As England's favourite way to start the day, there's no getting around the fact that this is high in calories. You can make it healthier by minimising the amount of oil that you cook with and choosing healthy sausages and lean bacon; on the up-side this will keep you going all day.

What is a Full English breakfast?

Also known as a fry up or The Full Monty, a Full English breakfast is a cooked breakfast consisting of several core items:

  • Bacon
  • Sausages
  • Eggs
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Black pudding
  • Baked beans
  • Toast or fried bread

Full English ingredients

  • Eggs - use large, free-range eggs wherever you can. Allow for two eggs per person.
  • Bacon - traditionally back bacon (known in Australia as "short cut") is used. Allow for 2 rashers per person.
  • Tomato - make sure the tomato you use are ripe. I like to use cherry tomatoes, particularly when tomato is out of season. Allow for 6-8 cherry tomatoes per person, or 1/2 to 1 full tomato per person.
  • Sausages - use an English style sausage if you can find it. Try to avoid using cheap supermarket sausages that are full of fat and binders; seek out a quality butchers sausage for the best result.
  • Bread - no artistic sourdough here - plain supermarket white bread is what you're after for a Full English.
  • Black pudding - made from cereals and pigs blood, it's much nicer than what it sounds. Try and find a quality sausage from a specialist butcher.
  • Mushrooms - no need to go fancy artisan mushrooms, the button mushrooms work well.
  • Baked beans - Heinz baked beans is traditional, and you can probably find it in a supermarket if you're in the west.

What you need to make a Full English breakfast

There are a number of items to cook for a Full English. If you've only got one pan you can make it work, you'll just need to put things into the oven (described under 'How to make a Full English breakfast') to keep them warm.

  • A large skillet for cooking the sausages, bacon, black pudding, tomato and eggs.
  • A small skillet for cooking the mushrooms.
  • A pot for heating the beans.

How to make a Full English breakfast

Preheat oven to 75C and place a couple of plates or a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper in the oven. We'll use the oven to hold cooked ingredients as we go. Depending on the size of your pan, you may only need to put the sausages in the oven; use your judgement as you work through the recipe.

  1. Prep - slice the mushrooms thinly, and the black pudding into 2.5cm (1") slices. Place the baked beans into a pot or microwave safe container.

  2. Sausages - the sausages are going to take the longest to cook, so start with them. Add a little oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat (6/10). Cook the sausages, turning regularly, until they're cooked through. The time will vary depending on the thickness of your sausage, watch that they don't burn.

  3. Mushrooms - place a small skillet over medium heat (6/10) and add the butter to it, and a sprig of thyme if you feel like it (1). When the butter has melted add the mushrooms, along with a pinch of salt. Continue cooking the other items but stir the mushrooms every minute or so. When the mushrooms are cooked (2), add some garlic if you'd like and cook for a further 30 seconds while stirring. Reduce the mushroom heat to low so they're kept warm but won't cook further.

  4. Tomatoes - when your sausages are cooked, place the sausages from the skillet into the oven. Add the tomatoes to the pan, and give them a minute or so in the pan before adding the black pudding.

  5. Black pudding - black pudding should already cooked but it needs to be caramelised and warmed through. Add it to the pan, it will burn easily so keep an eye on it. Add the bacon & eggs after about 30 seconds.

  6. Eggs and bacon - add the eggs and bacon and cook to your liking. Make sure other items in the pan don't start to burn. When the eggs and bacon are almost cooked to your liking, turn the pan heat off - residual heat will finish it off.

  7. Baked beans - place the pot with the bake beans over a medium-high heat. Stir every 20 seconds or so until just starting to bubble, then reduce heat to low to keep it warm and stir every minute or so.

  8. Toast or fried bread - start plating your breakfast and remove items from the skillet. Then, put your bread in the toaster, or return the skillet to medium-high heat and add enough oil to shallow fry the bread, and then cook the bread in the oil. While the toast/bread is cooking, finish the mushrooms. If toasting the bread, butter it once it's cooked.

  9. Plate up - place all ingredients on a large plate and enjoy, or assemble onto a platter! Enjoy with brown sauce and tea or coffee.

Tips

  • Always make sure there is a little fat - oil, butter, fat from sausage, etc - in the bottom of the pan. Not only does it help prevent sticking, fat helps to brown the food and transfer heat from the pan into the food.
  • This is a substantial meal - eat it for brunch and you should be good until dinner time!
  • If you're cooking for a number of people and can't fit everything in 1 or 2 skillets, keep what you've cooked warm in the oven. Heat your oven to 75C and place the cooked food onto plates or baking trays.

What else can I include with a Full English?

The core ingredients of a Full English breakfast are well established, there are a number of items you can consider adding which are commonly eaten:

  • Bubble and Squeak - a dish made from leftover vegetables which are mashed and fried together.
  • Hash browns - fried or baked. Whilst common, it's often frowned upon because it's seen as a cheap filler.

What sort of baked beans should I use?

English style! They're cooked in a seasoned tomato sauce; Heinz is the gold standard for English style beans.

Don't use American style beans as you'll likely end up with canned southern-style beans which is not what you want to have with a Full English!

Black pudding sounds gross - what can I use instead?

I get it, the way black pudding is described doesn't sound fantastic. It is, however, something that's nice to eat and pairs very well with the egg and bacon, and indeed everything else on the plate.

If you still can't get around it, try getting white pudding. White pudding is similar to black pudding but does not contain the blood and tastes similar because the same grains and spices tend to be used.

What to serve with a Full English?

  • Tea or coffee - absolutely a staple for any English breakfast.
  • HP Sauce (or another brown sauce) is the go-to condiment. Use tomato sauce if you prefer, and some good relish or chutney works as well.

Full English breakfast

5 from 1 votes
Prep Cook Total
5 mins 20 mins 25 mins
Serves 4
The Full English breakfast is a great way to start the day. Crispy bacon, sausages, fried eggs, black pudding, grilled tomatoes, baked beans and mushrooms. Served with buttered toast or fried bread, it's a satisfying and classic British breakfast.
  • 4 quality sausages preferably English style, see note 1
  • 8 rashers of bacon English style back bacon, see note 2
  • Around 24 cherry tomatoes or 2-4 regular tomatoes, halved, see note 3
  • 300-400g black pudding or substitute white pudding, see note 4
  • 300g button mushrooms, sliced
  • A couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves picked optional, for the mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic optional, for the mushrooms
  • Baked beans around 600g and English style, see note 5
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 slices of toast
To serve
  • HP sauce or your favourite brown sauce
  • Tea or coffee
Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 75C and place a couple of plates or a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper in the oven. We'll use the oven to hold cooked ingredients as we go. Depending on the size of your pan, you may only need to put the sausages in the oven; use your judgement as you work through the recipe.

  2. Sausages - the sausages are going to take the longest to cook, so start with them. Add a little oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat (6/10). Cook the sausages, turning regularly, until they're cooked through. The time will vary depending on the thickness of your sausage, watch that they don't burn.

  3. Mushrooms - place a small skillet over medium heat (6/10) and add the butter to it. When the butter has melted add the mushrooms, along with a pinch of salt. Continue cooking the other items but stir the mushrooms every minute or so. When the mushrooms are cooked, if you're using the garlic and thyme leaves add them to the pan and cook for a further 30 seconds while stirring. Reduce the mushroom heat to low so they're kept warm but won't cook further.

  4. Tomatoes - when your sausages are cooked, place the sausages from the skillet into the oven. Add the tomatoes to the pan, and give them a minute or so in the pan before adding the black pudding.

  5. Black pudding - black pudding should already cooked but it needs to be caramelized and warmed through. Add it to the pan, it will burn easily so keep an eye on it. Add the bacon & eggs after about 30 seconds.

  6. Eggs and bacon - add the eggs and bacon and cook to your liking. Make sure other items in the pan don't start to burn. When the eggs and bacon are almost cooked to your liking, turn the pan heat off - residual heat will finish it off.

  7. Baked beans - place the pot with the bake beans over a medium-high heat. Stir every 20 seconds or so until just starting to bubble, then reduce heat to low to keep it warm and stir every minute or so.

  8. Toast or fried bread - start plating your breakfast and remove items from the skillet. Then, put your bread in the toaster, or return the skillet to medium-high heat and add enough oil to shallow fry the bread, and then cook the bread in the oil. While the toast/bread is cooking, finish the mushrooms. If toasting the bread, butter it once it's cooked.

  9. Plate up - place all ingredients on a large plate and enjoy, or assemble onto a platter! Enjoy with brown sauce and tea or coffee.

Notes
  1. Sausages - use English style sausages, such as a traditional pork. If you can't find English style sausages, use whichever quality butchers sausage you prefer. You don't want to use a fatty supermarket-style cheap sausage.
  2. Bacon - use English style bacon, which is cut from the loin. Don't use American-style streaky bacon, and don't use a sweetened bacon.
  3. Tomatoes - allow for 5-6 cherry tomatoes per person if using cherry tomatoes, otherwise 1/2 - 1 tomato per person if using whole.
  4. Black pudding - can be contentious but it's delicious. If you can't get your head around its ingredients, substitute for white pudding.
  5. Baked beans - use English style beans in tomato sauce. Heinz is the gold standard here, they do a 555g can which is perfect for 4 people.

Hey, I'm Sam! Welcome to The Aproneer.

I created The Aproneer to share the recipes that my family and friends love to eat.

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