Traditional Bubble and Squeak Recipe

Photo © British Leeks
    20 min
Ratings (18)

Traditional Bubble and Squeak is the lovely, quirky name for fried left-over vegetables, usually from Sunday Lunch. The origins of the charming name are not really known but reference is made in the 'Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue', 1785, that  "Bubble and Squeak, beef and cabbage fried together. It is so called from its bubbling up and squeaking whilst over the fire."

Traditionally the Bubble and Squeak will be eaten on a Monday for lunch or dinner, sometimes with a fried egg on top, maybe a little bacon, or meat leftover from linch the day before. There is no hard and fast rule to this one and really  no specific recipe it is simply a way of using up whatever you have left from dinner.

One main component  which is always there is mashed potatoes. The potato is the "glue" holding all the other vegetables together. I love it made with cabbage as well, if I have some of course. 

Bubble and Squeak is also known as Bubble or Fry. In Ireland Colcannon is made from mashed potatoes, cabbage or Kale and onion and is very similar to Bubble and Squeak, as is Rumbledethumps in Scotland.


What You'll Need

  • 6 tbsp butter, and or vegetable oil (butter tastes the best)
  • 125g / ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • Leftover mashed potato
  • Any leftover vegetables, cabbage, swede, carrots, peas, Brussels Sprouts, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fried bacon pieces (optional)

How to Make It

  • In a large frying pan melt the butter, make sure it doesn't brown. Add the finely chopped onion and fry gently for  about 3 mins or until soft and translucent.
  • Turn the heat up ever so slightly and add the mashed potato and all of the chopped up leftover vegetables. Fry for at last 10 minutes  turning them over continuously in the melted butter ensuring the potato and vegetables are thoroughly reheated.  Plus you are also aiming to brown the outside edges of the vegetables but not to burning the bubble and squeak, so occasionally press the mixture onto the pan to brown a little then continue stirring.
  • Finally, when the mixture is heated right through, do one long final press. Press the potato mixture on to the base of the pan with a spatula and leave to cook for 1 min. Flip over and repeat.
  • Serve as mentioned above with either a fried or poached egg on top, the bacon pieces, or any leftover roast reheated thoroughly.

An alternative is to mix the potato and vegetables and form into small patties then fry as above.