Bacon, sausages, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, and beans all on one plate: is a Full English breakfast the most ultimate breakfast ever?
Confession: I’ve never had a real full English. At least not in England or anywhere in world in fact, except right here, at home. But a couple of weeks ago, Mike and I were chatting with a dude that moved here from England and the thing he said he missed the most was breakfast, specifically a Full English breakfast. He waxed poetic about the deliciousness for a good five minutes, but I wasn’t sold. Mike was nodding along, agreeing with him because he’s eaten many a full English in London, but me? Nope.
I really wasn’t interested until Mike showed me a photo a couple days later. It was a giant plate and it looked AMAZING. I mean, it might have been because I was very hungry, but at the time, nothing looked better to my eyes. Thus started the Full English Obsession. Mike and I took a casual look around town to see what ingredients we could find and here’s what we came up with!
What is a full English breakfast?
Sometimes called a fry up, a full English is a hearty, hefty breakfast plate served in the UK and Ireland. Full English breakfasts are so popular that they’re pretty much offered throughout the day as all-day breakfast. Full English breakfasts contain: sausages, back bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread, and beans.
According to the internet, full English breakfasts need:
- Sausages – I think everyone just goes with whatever sausages they like, but sometimes there are 2-3 kinds on a plate. We went with regular breakfast sausages and we also got a bit of black pudding, which seems like most people insist on having as well.
- Back Bacon – This isn’t your regular bacon, which is made from pork belly, nope, back bacon is bacon that includes a little bit of the loin, kinda like a super thin pork chop but smoked. From what I can see, this kind of bacon isn’t really crispy.
- Eggs – Pretty straight forward, all the full English plates I’ve seen have sunny side up eggs.
- Tomatoes – These guys are cut in half along the equator and then seared in the pan and seasoned with salt and pepper. They aren’t really cooked, just given a little bit of color.
- Mushrooms – Seems like a take or leave it item, but we’re going all out here so of course mushrooms are needed. They’re cooked in the usual way, nicely browned and caramelized.
- Toast – Don’t call it toast because I’ve seen some internet fights break out about the bread. You can’t just use a toaster and call it a day. The bread has to be FRIED, either with butter or oil.
- Beans – You have to have beans! I mean, I’ve never really had beans at breakfast, but it’s classic. We went for Heinz because that’s what they do in England and because their teal cans are too cute.
How to make a full English Breakfast
It takes a bit of juggling and two pans, because making a full English is mostly about multitasking. You can do it!
- Warm the beans. Open the can of beans and warm in a small pot over low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Cook the sausages and bacon. While the beans are warming, cook the sausages over medium to medium low, until browned and cooked through, turning as needed. Push the sausages to one side and add the bacon and fry, flipping as needed.
- If you’re having black pudding, add it to the pan and fry, flipping once. Keep everything warm in the pan over a low flame.
- Cook the mushrooms and tomatoes. In another pan, sear the mushrooms until brown and caramelized. Move to one side. Add the tomatoes, cut side down and sear.
- Fry the bread and cook the eggs. Move the meats from the pan and fry the bread in the drippings until golden and crisp. Cook the eggs in the pan that the mushrooms and tomatoes were in.
- Plate and enjoy! Scoop the beans in the middle of the plate then add the bacon at 1-2 o’clock, add the sausages at 3 o’clock, then the eggs at 6. If you have blood pudding, pop that on at 8 o’clock and then fill the rest of the plate with the tomatoes at 11 o’clock and the mushrooms at 12. Fried bread can get tucked in wherever or placed on a side plate. Enjoy!
- Sausages. Chose good sausages, preferably ones that are from your local butcher instead of supermarket sausages. Go for a fresh coarse ground pork sausage that’s seasoned simply. In the UK the sausages of choice are usually coarse ground Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausages.
- Black pudding. Not an absolute necessity but black pudding is super common and for black pudding lovers it’s a hill they will die on. You can get this when you’re buying sausages at your butcher. If they don’t have black pudding, ask for blood sausage.
- English Bacon. The bacon in the UK is not the bacon we know in North America. Back bacon is made from pork loin with a bit of belly. It’s the same cut pork chops, but thinner and smoked. Again, you can usually get this a good butcher.
- Eggs. All the eggs I’ve ever seen in a full English are sunny side up but you can go wild and cook them how you like. I don’t think the English breakfast police will come after you 😉
- Tomatoes. Classic field tomatoes, not romas, not cherry, not anything super fancy.
- Mushrooms. Simple brown (or cremini) mushrooms, halved.
- Fried bread. Thick cut bread fried in a pan with oil or drippings and never toasted. I think a standard supermarket white loaf is what’s needed, not a sourdough or country loaf. Definitely not brown!
- Beans. They’ve got to be Heinz!
Any sort of potato is frowned upon on a full English. They’re seen as filler. If you even think of putting fries on, someone might get stabbed. You could do bubble and squeak (potatoes and cabbage mixed together and fried) but even then, some people are going to come after you.
What to serve with a full English breakfast
Coffee or tea! Tea is traditionally English but coffee is perfectly acceptable too. Add milk, sugar, and/or cream based on personal preference.
We made this on a snowy morning and it was perfect! Lots of hot tea, big fluffy flakes falling down outside, and ALL the fried bread. But, to be honest, I’m not sure if I’m a huge fan. Call me a savage, but I think I love regular breakfast more. Mike on the other hand, LOVED it! He said it was as good as the full English breakfasts he had while he was in London. Me on the other hand? I didn’t eat for the rest of the day and went into a food coma – I was definitely full!