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Home > Traditional English Recipes > Bubble and Squeak

Bubble and Squeak Recipe

Traditional Bubble and Squeak

Bubble and Squeak is a traditional English dish made from the leftovers of Sunday dinner or Christmas dinner, with the main ingredient being the leftover potatoes and cabbage, though most vegetables can be added such as Broccoli and carrots. It is all mashed together, shallow fried in hot lard, and then traditionally served along with cold meats (also leftover from the Sunday/Christmas roast) and pickles, or sometimes served as part of a cooked breakfast (fry-up). Some people when cooking a roast dinner will even cook extra potatoes and vegetables so that they have enough for their Bubble and Squeak the next day!

The History of Bubble and Squeak

The earliest known recipe of Bubble and Squeak was by Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell in 1806:
"Boil, chop, and fry, with a little butter, pepper, and salt, some cabbage, and lay on it slices of rare done beef, lightly fried" - Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell.

Bubble and Squeak was very popular during World War II when food was short due to rationing. History suggests that it was around this time of food rationing that Bubble and Squeek went from a beef-based recipe (such as in the recipe by Maria Rundell) to the modern potato based recipe that we all know and love today.

Bubble and Squeak is so called because of the noises it makes whilst frying in the pan, though others have said that the bubble and squeak is the noise your stomach makes after eating it! We'll let you decide.

Bubble and Squeak Recipe

There is no precise recipe for traditional Bubble and Squeak as it was always made from leftovers, which is part of the beauty of it. Here is a very quick take on how to make Bubble and Squeek. The only thing people often say to make sure of is that you use equal quantities of potatoes to vegetables, but there is no golden rule, however the potato is what binds it all together and so having more potato than veg is fine. You can use leftover boiled potatoes or even roast potatos if you wish.

  1. Mash your leftover potatoes in a bowl.
  2. Finely chop or shred your leftover vegetables and add them to the bowl, mixing them in with the potatoes.
  3. Add a thick slice of butter (or preferrably animal fat) to a non-stick frying pan and when it's hot, add the mixture from the bowl, .
  4. Press the mixture down with a spatula and smooth it out slightly. Leave it undisturbed to cook on a moderate heat for five minutes or more until a nice thick brown crust forms, then turn it over and repeat before serving it up.
  • Use animal fat to reach higher temperatures which is when it starts to 'Bubble and Squeak' plus you'll get a better crust.
  • For added flavour, cook some streaky bacon in the pan first, then remove it before frying the Bubble and Squeak in the bacon fat, then serve it up with the bacon and whatever else you fancy as part of a good old British fry-up.
  • You might also like to finely chop an onion and fry it in the bacon fat for a few minutes until soft, before adding the Bubble and Squeak mixture to the pan and mixing it in. Then simply press the mixture down with the spatula and leave to cook and form its crust.
  • Many people like to form the mixture into patties, and then serve them up with a fried egg on top.


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