Are you looking for something hearty and delicious for brunch? Then it’s got to be Bubble and Squeak! This simple, traditional British dish is a great way to use those tasty leftovers from a big roast dinner. So, grab your mashed potatoes and cooked veggies from the fridge, and let’s get them bubblin’ and squeakin’.
- What is Bubble & Squeak?
- Why You’ll Love Bubble and Squeak
- Recipe Ingredients
- How to Make Bubble and Squeak: Step-By-Step
- Bubble and Squeak vs. Colcannon
- Tips For Making The Perfect Bubble and Squeak
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Breakfast and Brunch Recipes
- Full Printable Recipe Card
- Pin This Recipe For Later!
What is Bubble & Squeak?
Bubble and squeak is a classic British dish of leftovers from a traditional Sunday roast dinner. It’s typically made from mashed potatoes, cabbage, and other leftover vegetables in your fridge. The ingredients are all fried together in a pan until the mixture “bubbles and squeaks.” Although, I’ve never heard any squeaking.
In the 18th Century, a classic bubble and squeak usually included leftover roast meat from a roast dinner, most likely roast beef. However, when Good Housekeeping published Home Encyclopedia in 1951, it stated that the modern version no longer contained meat. It’s reported that this is likely due to rationing in the UK during the second world war.
What Does Bubble and Squeak Mean?
The unusual name originates from the sound the potato and vegetable mixture makes when frying in the pan.
When Do You Eat Bubble and Squeak?
The next day after a roast dinner!
If I’m hosting Christmas dinner and have guests staying with me, you can bet your bottom dollar they will be served my version of Bubble and Squeak for Boxing Day brunch. It’s always a winner, and there’s never any left.
That said, Bubble and Squeak is not just for Christmas. Traditionally it’s a hearty breakfast recipe served with a fried egg on top. It’s also a classic Monday meal, following a Sunday roast, served alongside leftover roast meat and drenched gravy. Aaaand… you might also see it appearing alongside the main meal as it’s a popular side dish.
What Does Bubble and Squeak Go With?
Bubble and squeak is usually served as an accompaniment to fried eggs with a dollop of ketchup or brown sauce. However, if you want to make it more substantial, it is excellent served alongside protein and extra veggies.
Why You’ll Love Bubble and Squeak
- You’ll never get bored: The beauty of bubble and squeak lies in its versatility—you can easily customize it to your liking by adding other vegetables or proteins.
- It’s easy to make: This recipe is super simple and only requires a few ingredients, so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal.
- It’s budget-friendly: This dish is very affordable, as it uses inexpensive ingredients like potatoes and cabbage that you already have from dinner the night before.
- Prevents Waste: Because you’re using up your leftovers, the food ends up in your tum rather than your bin.
- It tastes great! Last but not least, this recipe simply tastes great. The combination of the crispy potatoes and the flavorful cabbage is simply irresistible. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do!
- Leftover Mashed Potatoes: Mash potatoes are quite literally the glue that holds this dish together. You could use leftover roast potatoes if you have any. That’s not usually the case in my house, but they will work great. Just give them a mash with a fork or potato masher, as it’s the fluffy insides we need to release to hold all the other ingredients together.
- Leftover Vegetables: Ok, so this is where I’m slightly different. Instead of savoy cabbage, I typically use Brussels sprouts and red cabbage (purple cabbage) in my boxing day bubble and squeak. Trust me, it’s insanely good, and it’s beautifully colorful! But you do you – use your favorite type of cabbage.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: My favorite go-to oil. It contains healthy fats and has exceptional anti-inflammatory properties, especially compared to vegetable and seed oils.
- Bacon: Streaky smoked bacon rashers provide flavor, so you get a hit of sweet, smokey, salty, luscious crispy bacon in every bite.
- Optional Flavor Boosts: I’m using a red onion because, well, onion + potato = a match made in heaven. There’s also a garlic clove for seasoning, which lifts the dish to next-level deliciousness.
- Eggs: You can’t beat bubble and squeak topped with a fried egg. Yum!
How to Make Bubble and Squeak: Step-By-Step
Bubble and Squeak is such an easy side dish to make. Here’s how in seven simple steps:
- Sauté Onions
In a medium skillet, sauté the onions until softened and translucent.
- Fry Bacon
Fry the bacon until crispy.
- Add Garlic
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add Veggies
Add the mashed potatoes and vegetables, and mix the ingredients together to combine.
- Add Vegetables
Press all the ingredients down to compact the cabbage and potato mixture against the bottom of the pan. Leave it alone for 5-6 minutes until it is crispy on the underside, then mix everything up again. This will ensure you have crispy bits throughout the middle. Once again, apply pressure to compact the potato mixture.
Transfer to the oven (or first pour it into an oven-proof dish), and bake until piping hot all the way through and the top is beautifully crisp.
To serve, fry up eggs, place them on top, and tuck in!
Find the recipe card with exact ingredients and full recipe instructions at the bottom of this page. ⇩
Potatoes and cabbage are an essential base to a delicious bubble and squeak, but apart from that, go crazy. This statement won’t go down well with purists, but I don’t believe there’s any right or wrong way to make it. Use whatever leftovers you have, whatever vegetables are in season, and substitute ingredients with others based on your preferences. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.
- Cabbage: I’m using red cabbage and Brussels sprouts in this recipe, but I have also used green cabbage, savoy cabbage, white cabbage, kale, and Sweetheart cabbage. They’re all great alternatives.
- Onions: I love to include fried red onions because they add a ton of flavor. But you can easily use a brown onion, shallots, scallions (spring onions, green onions), leeks, or chives to get some onion flavor into the dish. You could even add a teaspoon of onion powder in a pinch.
- Herbs: Adding fresh herbs can add a fresh flavor to the dish. Some chopped fresh parsley, a little thyme, and even rosemary are all beautiful.
- Patties: Traditional bubble and squeak is shaped like a large potato pancake; for want of a better description. But you can also mold the potato mixture into smaller patties before frying. These variations are often called bubble and squeak cakes or bubble and squeak patties.
Bubble and Squeak vs. Colcannon
Bubble and squeak and colcannon are both traditional dishes with roots in British cuisine. Both are beloved as comfort food and make a cozy addition to any meal, but there are a few key differences.
Bubble and squeak originates from England. The main ingredients include mashed potatoes and cabbage, fried to crispy perfection.
Colcannon, on the other hand, is an Irish dish. Like Bubble and Squeak, it contains mashed potatoes and cabbage. However, the cabbage is usually kale. It often calls for leeks, onions, and other herbs. Unlike Bubble and squeak, colcannon is not fried, and as a result, it has a much smoother and creamier consistency.
Tips For Making The Perfect Bubble and Squeak
- Lumpy mash is best: The texture of bubble and squeak largely depends on how the mashed potatoes have been prepared. As I want texture, I must prepare my mash with that in mind. So, I use a potato masher and only add a little cream, butter, or milk. If you use a potato ricer or whisk, your bubble and squeak will be more creamy and may fall apart rather than stick together.
- Why does my Bubble and Squeak fall apart? Firstly, mashed potato is really important in holding Bubble and Squeak together. Follow the recipe for the right potato-to-vegetable ratio, and you should be fine. Secondly, press the potato and cabbage mixture well into the oven-proof pan or dish before it goes into the oven so that it sticks together well. Thirdly, don’t over-mix. It will form a crispy crust and hold together when sliced.
- Season with caution: I have included salt and pepper in the recipe instructions because you may need to include it. It really depends on how well your leftovers were seasoned to begin with. If you already have well-seasoned ingredients, you likely won’t need to add any more. For the best results, taste as you go!
Frequently Asked Questions
Bubble and squeak can be healthy as part of a variety and balanced diet. The recipe contains mostly vegetables that are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also uses extra virgin olive oil, a heart-healthy fat with anti-inflammatory properties.
No! This recipe contains bacon and eggs. To make this recipe vegan, simply omit the bacon and eggs and ensure your leftover cabbage or other vegetables are vegan-friendly.
No! This recipe contains bacon. To make this recipe vegetarian, simply omit the bacon and ensure your leftover cabbage or other vegetables are vegetarian-friendly.
Yes! There is no wheat in this recipe. But always check your ingredients.
Yes! This bubble and squeak starts on the hob and ends up in the oven until it’s cooked through. That way, you can achieve the most mouthwateringly crispy base AND topping.
I don’t use eggs as an ingredient in the bubble and squeak recipe. Instead, I fry them and serve them on top. Eggs are entirely optional.
It Depends! I wouldn’t reheat a bubble and squeak if you add leftover meat that has already been cooked twice, i.e., first on the day of a roast dinner, then again in the bubble and squeak. If your bubble and squeak is meat-free or contains freshly cooked meat, reheat it in a frying pan to keep it crispy.
Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The mashed potato goes smooshy, and the texture is not great after freezing, thawing, and reheating.
Once cool, transfer any leftovers into an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
More Breakfast and Brunch Recipes
If you like the look of this recipe, check out more of my breakfast and brunch recipe ideas. I’ve got a selection of both sweet and savory options for you to choose from.
- Blueberry and Hazelnut Porridge
- Wholemeal Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Cream
- Creamy Porridge Custard with Strawberry Rhubarb Coulis
- Coconut Blueberry Wholemeal Muffins
- Healthy Full English Breakfast
- Ultimate Scrambled Eggs
- Ground Beef Cheeseburger Frittata
- Easy Spinach Feta Egg Cups
Thinking of making this recipe? Please drop me a note in the comment section and provide a star rating! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I ALWAYS LOVE hearing from you.
Full Printable Recipe Card
Bubble and Squeak
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- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, optional
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 150 g (150 g) leftover Brussels sprouts
- 150 g (150 g) leftover cabbage, I’m using red cabbage, but use whatever you have
- 500 g (500 g) leftover mashed potatoes, or roast potatoes
- kosher salt, not included in the nutrition panel
- black pepper, not included in the nutrition panel
- 1 fried egg per person, not included in the nutrition panel
- Prepare: Gather and prepare your ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC/gas mark 5. You will need a 9-inch oven-proof pan. If your pan isn't oven-proof, you can use a frying pan + a greased oven-proof dish.
- Cook: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the hot skillet and sauté for 5 minutes until they start to soften. Add the bacon and continue to cook until it's crispy – another 6-8 minutes. In the last minute of cooking, add the garlic.
- Combine: Add the leftover Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and mashed potatoes to the skillet, and carefully (so it doesn't spill out everywhere) give everything a good toss to combine. Taste it to see if you need to add any seasoning. Then, press all the ingredients down to compact the cabbage and potato mixture against the bottom of the pan.
- Crisp: Leave the bubble and squeak alone for 5-6 minutes until it is crispy on the underside, then mix everything up. This will ensure you have crispy bits throughout the middle of the bubble and squeak. Once again, apply pressure to compact the bubble and squeak, and then put the skillet into the oven (or pour it into an oven-proof dish first). Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the top is seriously crispy and piping hot all the way through.
- To Serve: Slice the bubble and squeak into wedges and top with a fried egg (optional). Enjoy!
Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Nutrition Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimated using an online nutrition calculator. For accuracy, we recommend you calculate using the exact ingredients and brands you used.