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An Ulster Fry-up, an Irish Fry-up, or a Full English Cornish, Scottish, Welsh or Full Irish Breakfast

Regional variants of a Full Breakfast: a Full English breakfast, a Full Cornish breakfast, a Full Scottish breakfast, a Full Welsh breakfast, an Ulster fry-up or a Full Irish breakfast.

A full breakfast is a substantial breakfast meal, usually consisting of bacon, sausages and eggs, often served with a variety of side dishes and a beverage such as coffee or tea. It is especially popular in the UK and Ireland and in British-influenced cultures including the Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It is sometimes referred to as an English breakfast or a full English breakfast. When staying at a Bread & Breakfast hotel in the U.K. you can depend on getting variations of a Full Breakfast.

The phrase "full breakfast" is used to differentiate it from the European continental breakfast traditionally consisting of tea, milk or coffee and fruit juices with croissants or pastries. The meal is regarded as a staple of traditional English cuisine; W. Somerset Maugham stated, "To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day. Many British cafés and pubs serve the meal at any time as an "all-day breakfast". Other common names for the dish include bacon and eggs, or the fry-up. Variants include the full English, full Scottish, full Welsh and full Irish breakfasts and the Ulster fry.

A variant of the full breakfast, the 'breakfast roll' or 'bacon roll' – consisting of elements of the full breakfast served in a French roll or wrap – has become more popular in recent times due to the fact it can be easily eaten on the way to work as a hand held breakfast. The breakfast roll is available from many petrol stations and convenience stores throughout the UK and Ireland in the morning hours.

Common foods and dishes

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

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

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

♣  eggs, fried, poached, scrambled or in a basket

♣  fried or grilled bacon, also referred to as "rashers" or "slices"

♣  sausages or sausage patties (Bangers-England)

♣  white pudding

♣  black pudding

♣  kidneys, grilled or fried

♣  potato, either sautéed or served as chips, potato waffles, potato bread, potato cake, or hash browns (Boxty-Ireland)

♣  bread, usually toasted or fried, (black-top or batch bread-Scotland)

♣  pancakes (Irish pancakes – Ireland)

♣  baked beans

♣  bubble and squeak

♣  fried mushrooms

♣  fried, grilled, or tinned tomatoes

♣  oatcakes (in Scotland)

♣  fruit pudding (in Scotland)

♣  potato (or 'tattie') scones (in Scotland and Ireland)

♣  sliced sausage, also known as Lorne or square sausage (in Scotland)

♣  laverbread (in Wales)

♣  cockles & mussels (in Wales)

♣  hog's pudding (in Cornwall and Devon)

Full English breakfast:

A traditional full English breakfast includes bacon (traditionally back bacon, poached or fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or toast with butter, sausages and baked beans, usually served with a mug of tea. As nearly everything is fried in this meal, it is commonly called a "fry-up". In Britain it is common to serve the toast on a toast rack with butter on the side as opposed to many Canadian restaurants serve the toast already buttered.

Black pudding is added in some regions, as are fried leftover mashed potatoes (called potato cakes) or hash browns. 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 Cornish breakfast:

The traditional Cornish breakfast includes hog's pudding and Cornish potato cakes (made with mashed potatoes mixed with flour and butter and then fried), or fried potatoes alongside the usual bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, egg and toast. In the past traditional Cornish breakfasts have included pilchards and herring, or gurty pudding, a Cornish dish similar to haggis, not to be confused with gurty milk, another Cornish breakfast dish made with bread and milk.

Full Scottish breakfast:

In Scotland, the full breakfast, as with others, contains eggs, back bacon, link sausage, buttered toast, baked beans, and tea or coffee. Distinctively Scottish elements include 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. It is not uncommon to have kippers or haddock with your morning meal.

Full Welsh breakfast:

The traditional Welsh breakfast includes laver bread, a seaweed purée which is mixed with eggs, bacon, and cockles and fried into crisp patties.

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. Traditionally, it comprises bacon rashers, eggs, sausages (either pork or beef), vegetable roll, 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 and wheaten farl.

Other common components that may be added include mushrooms, fried tomato, pancake and/or beans. All this is traditionally fried; however, in recent decades, people have taken to grilling the ingredients instead. Irish pancakes are different than what is served as an Irish pancake as it is thin and rolled similar to a Crêpe.

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

Like most full breakfasts the usual accompaniment is strong tea, typically a blend with a high proportion of Assam leaves, e.g. Nambarrie, Lyon's, Barry's, Bewley’s or Punjana 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 Irish breakfast:

An Irish breakfast consisting of sausage, 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 fried tomato. Sauteed mushrooms are also sometimes included, as well as baked beans, liver (although popularity has declined in recent years), and brown soda bread. 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) often served with milk. Fried potato farl, boxty or toast is often served as an alternative to brown soda bread. "Boxty is a traditional Irish dish made of potatoes. An old Irish rhyme goes: 'Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan; if you can't make boxty, you'll never get a man'." Boxty is comprised of half mashed potatoes and half raw grated potatoes fried thinly on a grill.

Bacon or Sausage Butty:

When in a rush and a favourite with “Onslow” on the T.V. series “Keeping up Appearances” was a bacon butty. It consists of crisp bacon between two sides of a toasted bun. In most cases the bun is toasted in the frying pan where the bacon was fried to give it the extra bacon flavour. Still a favourite by many.

Reprinted from


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