The 20 Most Popular British Foods To Try in the UK

Wondering what are the most popular traditional British foods that you should try here in the UK?

Most people will describe British foods as bland and stodgy. Alright, I’m not selling it to you, right! Over the past few years living here in the UK, I’ve managed to adapt and acquired the taste of actually liking traditional British food.

There were some occasions that I crave for good ‘ole British pub food. Who can resist the tasty and comforting gravy!  The lovely roast potatoes! Just by writing these makes me hungry.

The Most Popular British Food To Try in Britain
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Read More: Best UK Travel Itinerary for 2 Weeks

Warning: This list will make you hungry!

So let’s see if after reading this blog post will make you love English food too! I’ve listed down some of the most favourite British food according to my taste buds and friends.

Read More: Best Alcoholic British Pub Drinks To Try in The UK

These are the most popular British foods on our list:

1. Cream Tea

Afternoon tea is a very British traditional mealtime between 2 pm – 4 pm. Typically served with different sandwiches, mini cakes, savouries and a proper afternoon tea won’t be complete without the Cream Tea.

Most Popular British Food | British Cream Tea
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Photo by Sam Edwards on Unsplash

Cream tea is a collective name for Scone, Strawberry jam and clotted cream and best served with a cup of English tea or coffee.

British people typically say that is so regal to eat cream tea because of its historical royal origins back in the 17th century. The Royals love to serve cream tea at the palaces court while waiting for dinner time and entertain their guests.

This is my personal favourite afternoon snack with my English tea. Every bite is absolutely gorgeous!

Here in the UK, there is a big debate within the British public on what is the proper way to eat the cream tea. Whether to do it the Cornish way, where the jam first before the cream or the Devonshire way of cream first before the jam.  I personally do the Cornish way!

Let me know in the comment, what would you prefer.  The choice is yours!

2. Fish and Chips

Popular British Foods in the UK: Fish and chips
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Photo credit: besopha | CC BY 2.0

Fish and Chips is probably the most popular British food known across the globe. Fish (cod) and chips (deep-fried) is one of the typical English meals that is typically served wrapped in a paper with salt and malt vinegar. A quick call to any local chippy will be a quick fix for your fish and chips craving.

The origin of the Fish and Chips culture in the UK was brought to the British isles by the Jewish immigrants from Holland wherein they serve it every Friday for religious reasons. The British culture eventually embraces and love the fish and fried chips.

In 1860 in Oldham, Greater Manchester area began the first fish and chips shop in the country and the introduction to the “fast food” culture in every British high streets. Fish and Chips is definitely one of the British foods that you should try when you visit the UK.

3. Roast Dinner

The Most Popular British Food | British Roast Dinner
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A Sunday won’t be complete without this best British meal – the Sunday Roast dinner.

Roast dinner is traditionally served on a Sunday, but you can have it any time of the week. Popularly known as one of the best British pub food and typically served in a carvery.

The Sunday roast is typically comprising of different roasted meats like chicken breast, turkey, pork and beef. Served with various seasonal vegetables, roasts potatoes and gravy. The Sunday roast is absolutely filling, so make sure to leave extra space when you are planning to have one when you visit the UK.

I absolutely love having a roast dinner in a carvery!  You can typically have the meat of your choice and unlimited servings of the vegetables and gravy.

Roast dinner are also served on special events like the Christmas and New Year. They are considered as the highlight of every British household during the holidays. 

4. English Breakfast

English Breakfast
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Photo by Ewan Munro | CC BY-SA 2.0

Start your day right here in the UK with an English breakfast! Typically served with bacon, sausages, egg, baked beans, black pudding, fried toast, hash browns, mushrooms and egg. Perfect with a cup of teacoffee or a fresh fruit juice!

One of the most loved British foods to try is the English Breakfast English fry up or cooked breakfast! Every pubs and restaurant serve English breakfast so they are pretty hard to miss when you visit the UK.  They are pretty heavy meal to start your day but you will surely need it when you have a busy UK itinerary.

5. Faggots

Faggots food
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Photo by Su-Lin | CC BY-ND 2.0

This classic English food might have another meaning however, this one of my favourite British foods, made up of pork bits that shaped into a meatball. It’s best served with mash potatoes, peas and lots of gravy.

Since the Faggots are made up of various meat trimmings it is a hit and miss with people most especially with the fussy eaters. You can typically order Faggots and mash in any British pubs in the UK.

6. Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie
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Photo by Yann | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Cottage pie is one of the traditional British food favourites. However, it is not exactly your classic pastry pie. It is basically made up of minced beef with vegetables and gravy topped with mashed potatoes. It is a typical stodgy winter food to fill you up quickly.  

You can easily get a cottage pie in most of the English pub restaurants. It is one of the classic pub British foods in the UK.

The other popular variation of this kind of pie is Sheppard’s pie which is made of minced lamb and Fish pie which is made of cod, white fish and salmon.

7. Cornish Pasty

Cornish Pasty
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Photo by Alan Parkinson | CC BY-NC 2.0

All-time favourite snack in Cornwall, England. Cornish pasties are made of minced beef and vegetable filling wrapped in a pastry baked until golden. Cornish pasty would somehow resemble the Empanada of the Philippines.

Cornish pasties are considered as the favourite snacks in Britain.  Other pastry snacks that are worth trying when you visit the UK are pork pie, sausage rolls, cheese and bacon wrap and corned beef pasty. It is easy to grab food on a busy day.  You can typically grab them in a local snack bar or in any Greggs in any British high streets. 

8. Trifle

trifle pudding
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Photo by Debbie Elzing | CC BY-NC 2.0

Trifle is commonly strawberry flavour but you can have it as well in mixed fruit flavours. This classic British dessert is typically made up of cake rolls, custard, jelly, cream and the fruit toppings. Trifle pudding as we know it today came from another classic 16th-century British dessert called Fool, that is made of custard and pureed fruit.

Trifle is one of my favourite puddings (British term for desserts). A spot on pudding for any sweet lover.  The trifle will give you a definite sugar rush!

Read More: List of Famous Types of British Cakes to Eat in the UK

9. Spotted Dick

spotted dick
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Photo by kittivanilli | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It might sound a little bit dodgy, but Spotted dick is awesome. Don’t freak out; it’s not what you think it is, it’s a sponge cake with sultanas that best served with custard. The term was first used in the 19th-century novel, The Modern Housewife. The Spotted Dick believed to be the shortened form of “puddick” a colloquial term for pudding. 

You got to love a good English food and humour!

10. Bread and Butter Pudding

bread and butter pudding
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A fantastic pudding made of old bread with butter, sultanas mixed with milk and eggs. This classic British food began around the 18th century as a frugal pudding wherein you will use a day old bread and butter plus dried fruit you can use in your pantry.  Alternatively, they also used rice wherein the rice pudding were created.  

Perfectly served with custard!  One of the British puddings I highly recommend.

11. Strawberries and Cream

strawberries and creams
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Photo by Maria Eklind | CC BY-SA 2.0

A British summer favourite! This is a perfect and traditionally accompaniment while watching the Wimbledon tennis match and a glass of Pimms.

Every summer is a strawberry season in Britain.  This seasonal dessert is one of the refreshing British pudding. Since strawberry can be found everywhere in this time of the year, one of the classic summer British tradition is going to a strawberry farm and pick your own punnet of strawberries.

12. Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Tart
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Photo by Su-Lin | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bakewell Tart is one of the classic British pudding. It has a crusty shortcrust pastry with almond on top and best served with whipped cream. Originally from the small town of Bakewell in Derbyshire and has been one of the favourite classic British foods for more than 100 years since the 1870s.  

So when you visit, Derbyshire in the United Kingdom do not forget to try this special treat. Bakewell tart alternative variations are also known as Cherry Bakewell and Gloucester tart.

13. Toad in the hole

Toad in the hole
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Photo by Jane Charlesworth | CC BY 2.0

No actual toads are involved in this popular British food. This is basically sausages in a massive Yorkshire pudding and it is typically served with gravy. It was known to be first noted in the 18th century as a traditional British food for poor households to extend the ration of meat in their meal. 

It’s still unknown where the “Toad” came from as this British food was originally made from the leftover stew meat and repurpose as “Meat boiled in the crust”.

14. Haggis

haggis of scotland
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Photo by Tess Watson | CC BY 2.0

A Scottish favourite! Haggis is Scotland’s national dish. It is made from sheep’s pluck mixed with onion, oatmeal, turnips, suet, spices and seasoning, typically served with mash potatoes. Haggis is typically served on Burns night and the Hogmanay (Scotland’s New Year celebration).

When I tried Haggis in Scotland, it reminds me of a Filipino dish called Bopis.

15. Balti

Balti from Birmingham
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Photo by Devina Divecha |  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The love affair of the British people with curry is infinite and it is considered as one of the most loved British foods in the country. Since Victorian times, the UK has the exclusive access of all the spice trade routes to India. As the British empire grew the multicultural society of Britain has influenced the food culture of the country too.  

Curry has been one of the favourites take away food that you can find in most UK high streets. One of them is the Balti is a curry dish that originates in Birmingham.  The names come from the method of cooking in a big Balti dish.

16. Pigs in Blanket

Pigs in Blankets
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Photo by brianfagan | CC BY 2.0

Pigs in a blanket is basically a cocktail sausage wrapped in streaky bacon. Typically served on Christmas dinner together with the roast. 

This is one of the most favourite side dishes in any special Sunday roast dinner in the UK. It is also a great snack on its own most especially if the bacon and sausage are baked into a right golden crispy way. Superbly delicious British food! 

17.  Bangers and Mash

bangers and mash
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Photo by @LIQUIDBONEZ | CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the popular British pub food. Bangers pertain to the sausages and typically served with mash potatoes and onion gravy.

18. Toast Medley

Toast is the next best thing you can have for breakfast and it’s very versatile too! The Spaghetti on toast is one of the toast favourites here in the UK.

Let me get this straight, this type of spaghetti is not the Italian spaghetti. This should be the tinned spaghetti like the one in the picture. Other variations of toasts are Cheese-on-toast with Worcestershire Sauce, this is one of my favourites! And of course, the Baked beans on toast.

spaghetti on toast
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Photo by Smallbrainfield | CC BY-NC 2.0

19. Beef Casserole

Stew and Casseroles are perfect for winter days! Typically made with beef or chicken mixed with various vegetables.  Best to cook it using a slow cooker!

Beef Casserole
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Photo by brianfagan | CC BY 2.0

20. Chip Butty

My friends absolutely love chip butty. As what you can see in the photo, it’s chips sandwich!

Chip Butty
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Photo By judyboo | CC BY-NC 2.0

Oh, in case you are wondering what sort of drink that you can partner with these foods. They are typically paired with either anything with alcohol or a lovely cup of tea.

Read more of our collection of world food and drinks posts!

If you have other delicious English food suggestion to add on to this list let me know in the comment box below.


Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio
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Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her on travelling around the globe with a mission to share the best of the world.

The Most Popular British Food To Try in Britain
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24 thoughts on “The 20 Most Popular British Foods To Try in the UK”

  1. Great to see some enthusiasm about British food – so often I read posts where people say how dreadful the food is here. But, you’ve missed oysters, crab, mackerel and a whole host of other seafood – fish and seafood is very important to many parts of the UK. Even Jellied Eels and Pie and Mash. And, although we do love a good roast, just doing a chicken breast isn’t in any way typical, we roast the whole bird or at the very least the crown. There are so many good British dishes that don’t make your list too – Apple Crumble, Sticky Toffee Pudding, braised lamb shanks, welsh rarebit…

  2. I did the Borough Market and Bricklane food tour and they were all really good. I always enjoy going to Food tour, wish I had time for more. I would definitely have done this.

  3. I’ve been in the UK for a while and can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the local cuisine but I do love all sorts of pies! My colleagues know how much I like them and we usually try different places in search for the perfect pie!

    Roasts are pretty good too.

  4. Hah! I lived in the UK for about 7 years and have grown to love some of these food. Scones, fish & chips, roast dinner, cottage pies, spotted dick and bread & butter pudding are among my favourites! Used to have them on weekly basis then but now that I’m away from the UK, it’s sadly just fish & chips and maybe scones every other month.

  5. What a post to read in the middle of the night when I’m hungry LOL I want so many of the things you wrote about! Fish and chips, of course, but the beef casserole and English breakfast also look great. And why does haggis look like that? Our version seems better looking haha

  6. I was born in the UK but probably aren’t the best advocate for the food, you do much better than me! Seeing the list though there are a few I love, Strawberries and cream of course and a good roast especially if there are Yorkshire puds!

  7. I have tried a few of these, but definitely not all! On my last trip to the UK, I only had fish and chips and strawberries and cream, but I have tried a few more on other trips. I do have to work through this entire list. Sooner rather than later.

  8. Oh my gosh, this is perfect! I’m going to the U.K. for six weeks next year and this is perfect!!! I’m dying to try bangers and mash AND I want to have a Sunday Roast for sure! I’ll give the Spotted Dick a go too 😉

  9. I often associate British food with lots of red meat dishes or sausages served with mash and lots of gravy! I think that covers off half of those listed here 😛 But it’s funny fish and chips are so British – here in New Zealand fish and chips on the beach are a summer state and very ‘Kiwi’. Except we don’t put vinegar on it – just good ol’ Watties Tomato Sauce! Also – tried toad in the hole for the first time a few years go – surprisingly tasty!


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