Over the past few months living in London, I began to notice that the standard breakfast I was ordering all across the city seemed mysteriously similar. I finally realized that this particular breakfast was “a thing” here, and I have started to become quite fond of it. This Full English Breakfast or “Fry-Up” is a cousin (or grandparent?) of the similar “All American Breakfast” with a few distinctly English elements. It’s easy to make vegetarian or vegan, and easy to recreate yourself at home.
What’s in a Full English Breakfast?
The elements that tend to be present in a typical English breakfast are:
- Baked beans
- Sausage or eggs (often both)
- Hashbrowns (usually thick and triangle shaped)
- Toast (optional)
- Tomato slices or half of a tomato, grilled
- Sautéed mushrooms
This breakfast is very filling and a little more oily than my normal weekday oatmeal, perfect for an indulgent weekend brunch. Feel free to mix and match whichever elements appeal the most to you.
Essential Ingredients for The English Fry-Up
Most of the appeal in this breakfast for me (besides the fact that everything is delicious) is that it comes together quickly from canned or frozen foods. I use frozen veggie sausage (there are lots of brands to choose from these days), frozen hashbrowns, and canned baked beans. (Here they call them tinned.)
Tinned baked beans are hard to come by in the US, but in the UK they are as common as cans of tomatoes or beans. I’m lucky to have access to this awesome brand which has no added sugar, but if you can’t find canned baked beans, you can simmer normal canned white beans with a few simple condiments (I’d leave out the sugar and swap cornstarch for arrowroot) or try this crockpot recipe that makes a boatload of yummy baked beans to eat all week long.
Don’t leave out the grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, they are classic! I use a nonstick skillet or cast iron pan for best results. You can grill everything up on the same skillet or griddle, transfer it to your plate. Fry the egg at the end while you heat up the baked beans in the microwave and pour your coffee.
- 1-2 veggie sausages
- 1 egg, fried
- 1/2 cup baked beans, pre-made or canned, warmed
- 1 tomato, halved or thickly sliced
- handful of sliced mushrooms, crimini or button
Potatoes (Grain Alternative)
- hashbrowns, frozen
- salt and pepper, to taste
- a bit of cooking oil, for grilling
- Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat. Add a bit of cooking oil and distribute it evenly in the pan. Add the hashbrowns (straight from frozen), sliced mushrooms, sausage (straight from frozen) and tomatoes. Cook until done to your liking, flipping and turning as needed.
How to Perfectly Fry Eggs
- Heat a dab of oil on a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Carefully crack the egg onto the pan – it should sizzle. Add a dash of salt and pepper. For sunny side up, cover with a lid for a minute or two until the yolk is cooked to your liking. For over easy, cook uncovered and flip after a minute or two and cook until the yolk is cooked to your liking.
- Warm the baked beans, plate everything and grind salt and pepper over everything.
- Pair with a hot cup of black coffee, and enjoy!