Full breakfast

Full breakfast
A full English breakfast with scrambled eggs, sausage, black pudding, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans, hash browns, and half a tomato

A full breakfast is a meal that consists of several courses, traditionally a starter (fruit juice, prunes, grapefruit, cereal), a main course, tea with milk, toast and (in England) marmalade or other preserves. Many variations are possible.

"Full breakfast" also refers to the main course,[1][† 1] a traditional cooked dish, typically and originally eaten at breakfast, though now often served at other times during the day. Common alternative names for the dish include bacon and eggs, or the fry-up.[† 1]

The full breakfast traditionally comprises several fried foods, usually including bacon and eggs, and is popular throughout the British Isles and other parts of the English-speaking world. The name "bacon and eggs" was popularised by Edward Bernays in the 1920s. To promote sales of bacon, he conducted a survey of physicians and reported their recommendations that people eat hearty breakfasts. He sent the results of the survey to 5,000 physicians, along with publicity touting bacon and eggs as a hearty breakfast.[2]

There are many variants of the full breakfast, including the full English, full Scottish, full Welsh and full Irish breakfasts and the Ulster fry.



The term "full breakfast" for a substantial meal of several courses including a cooked main course is used to differentiate it from the simpler continental breakfast of tea, milk or coffee and fruit juices with croissants or pastries.

All-day breakfast

To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.

W. Somerset Maugham[3]

Many cafés and pubs serve the meal at all hours as an "all-day breakfast". It can be accompanied by orange juice and tea or coffee or, in a pub, an alcoholic drink.

Common foods and dishes

Sausages from Réunion

The ingredients of a fry-up vary according to region and taste. They are often served with condiments such as brown sauce or ketchup.

Some of the additional ingredients that may be included in a full breakfast are:

Regional variants

Full English breakfast

Full English breakfast with bubble and squeak, sausage, bacon, grilled tomatoes and eggs

The normal ingredients of a traditional full English breakfast are bacon (traditionally back bacon, less commonly streaky bacon), poached or fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or toast with butter and sausages, usually served with a mug of tea. Baked beans and hash browns are also commonly considered an important part of the breakfast. As nearly everything is fried in this meal, the term "fry-up" is quite accurate.

Black pudding is added in some regions, as is fried leftover mashed potatoes (called potato cakes). Originally a way to use up leftover vegetables from the main meal of the day before, bubble and squeak, shallow-fried leftover vegetables with potato, has become a breakfast feature in its own right. Onions, either fried or in rings, occasionally appear. In the North Midlands, fried or grilled oatcakes sometimes replace fried bread. When an English breakfast is ordered to contain everything available it is often referred to as a Full English, or a Full Monty.

Full Irish breakfast

An Irish breakfast consisting of sausages, black and white pudding, bacon and fried eggs.

In Ireland, as elsewhere, the exact constituents of a full breakfast vary, depending on geographical area, personal taste and cultural affiliation. Traditionally, the most common ingredients are bacon rashers, sausages, fried eggs, white pudding, black pudding, toast and sliced tomato.[4] Sauteed mushrooms and fried tomato are also sometimes included,[5] as well as baked beans, liver (although popularity has declined in recent years), and brown soda bread.[citation needed] A full Irish breakfast may be accompanied by a strong Irish breakfast tea such as Barry's Tea, Lyons Tea, or Bewley's breakfast blend served with milk. Fried potato bread potato farl, boxty or toast is often served as an alternative to brown soda bread.

Ulster Fry

A full Ulster Fry served in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

An Ulster Fry is a dish similar to the Irish breakfast and is popular throughout Ulster.

A traditional Ulster Fry consists of bacon rashers, eggs, sausages (either pork or beef), vegetable roll, white pudding, black pudding or lamb's kidney, fried tomato, the farl form of soda bread (the farl is split in half crossways to expose the inner bread and then fried with the exposed side down), boxty or potato bread[6] and wheaten farl. Other common components include mushrooms or pancake. All this is traditionally fried; however, in recent decades, people have taken to grilling the ingredients instead.

The Ulster Fry is often served for breakfast, lunch and dinner in households and cafés around the province. Emigrants have also popularised the serving of an Ulster Fry outside Ulster.

The usual accompaniment is strong tea, typically a blend with a high proportion of Assam leaves, i.e. Nambarrie, Lyon's, Barry's served with milk.

Between 2001 and 2007 the television channel BBC Two Northern Ireland used a station ID during local opt-outs from national UK programming which featured the BBC Two logo eating an Ulster Fry.

Full Scottish breakfast

A similar Scottish alternative

In Scotland the full breakfast; as with others contains eggs, back bacon, link sausage, buttered toast, baked beans and tea or coffee. The breakfast is made Scottish by the addition of Scottish style black pudding, sliced sausage and tattie scones. It commonly also includes fried or grilled tomato and/or mushrooms and occasionally haggis, white pudding, fruit pudding or oatcakes. As with other breakfasts it has become more common, especially within the home, to grill the meats, puddings and tomatoes and to only fry the eggs and tattie scones. Another more historical Scottish breakfast is porridge and may occasionally be served as a starter in smaller portions.

More broadly, Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable refers to a Scotch breakfast as "a substantial breakfast of sundry sorts of good things to eat and drink".[7]

Full Welsh breakfast

The traditional Welsh breakfast includes laverbread, a seaweed purée which is then mixed with oatmeal, formed into patties and fried in bacon fat. Cockles are also often eaten.[8]

North America

Bacon and eggs.

A full North American breakfast (Canada and the United States) consists of eggs, a "breakfast meat" such as bacon, ham, or sausage, scrapple, pork roll, spam or even steak or country fried steak; fried potatoes such as hash browns or home fries; toasted white, wheat, rye or some other kind of bread goods, such as English muffins or bagels; fruit or fruit juice, and tea or, usually, coffee. It is often referred to as a "country breakfast" in many areas of the Midwestern United States. The terms "fry" and "full breakfast" are not generally used in North America, though hotels generally distinguish between a light "continental breakfast" and a hot, cooked breakfast.

In the Southern United States the meal is typically known as a "big breakfast" or "Sunday breakfast" and may add or replace elements of the above with: grits, toast or biscuits with white gravy, fried chicken, pancakes, cinnamon rolls or similar sweet pastries.

In Quebec, Canada, the meal may include regional variants like maple syrup, crêpes, buckwheat galettes, boudin, cretons and pommes persillade, baked beans.

Central America

Ingredients include ham, sausage or bacon, eggs, much like a full breakfast elsewhere. A distinguishing feature is that fry jacks are also eaten, these being fried pieces of dough, similar to beignets or sopapillas. It can also include items like toast, pancakes, or hashbrowns. Fresh orange juice is often added as a drink. Guatemala's version of the full breakfast includes fried plantains, tortillas, and refried black beans. In Belize breakfast often features eggs and/or fried meats such as bacon or ham, fry jacks or thick flour tortillas or Johnny Cakes (thick, fluffy homemade biscuits), and fresh local fruit such as mango or melon and tea. Fried beans, smoked, fried or fresh fish are common substitutes for the meat or eggs. Belizeans enjoy their foods highly spiced and will flavor every meal, including breakfast, with recado rojo (achiote paste), pickled habanero peppers or habanero pepper sauce.

In Costa Rica the traditional breakfast includes Gallo pinto, fried (sunny side-up) eggs, sour cream, fried sweet plantains, hand-made tortillas and coffee on the side.

See also


  1. ^ a b The scope of this article is the breakfast composed primarily of fried eggs and pork products.


  1. ^ David Else, 2003, Britain, Lonely Planet, ISBN 1-74059-338-3
  2. ^ "Freud's Nephew and the Origins of Public Relations". National Public Radio. April 22, 2005. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4612464. Retrieved 2009-07-05. "Bernays used his Uncle Sigmund Freud's ideas to help convince the public, among other things, that bacon and eggs was the true all-American breakfast." 
  3. ^ Quoted in Morgan, Ted (April 1980). Somerset Maugham. Vintage Books/Ebury Publishing. ISBN 0-224-01813-2. 
  4. ^ Traditional Irish Breakfast recipe from Food Ireland
  5. ^ Traditional Irish Breakfast recipe from Barry's Tea
  6. ^ BBC – h2g2 – Great International Breakfast Dishes
  7. ^ Brewer, E. Cobham. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 812. http://www.archive.org/stream/brewersdictionar000544mbp#page/n819/mode/2up. 
  8. ^ BBC - Food - Recipes : Cockles, laverbread and Welsh bacon

External links

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