Deconstructing the ‘Full English Breakfast’: Are Chips a Traditional Component?

The Full English Breakfast, often simply referred to as a ‘fry-up’, is a quintessentially British culinary tradition. It’s a hearty meal that typically includes eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, and black pudding. However, the inclusion of chips in a Full English Breakfast has been a topic of debate. Some purists argue that chips have no place in this traditional meal, while others believe they add a delightful crunch and a different texture to the mix. So, are chips a traditional component of a Full English Breakfast? Let’s deconstruct this beloved British breakfast to find out.

The Traditional Components of a Full English Breakfast

The Full English Breakfast has a long history, with its roots dating back to the early 1300s. The meal was initially a luxury enjoyed by the wealthy, but it gradually became a common feature of British breakfast tables. The traditional components of a Full English Breakfast include:

  • Eggs (usually fried, but sometimes scrambled or poached)
  • Bacon (typically back bacon, which is less fatty than the streaky variety)
  • Sausages
  • Baked beans
  • Grilled tomatoes
  • Grilled or fried mushrooms
  • Black pudding (a type of blood sausage)
  • Bread or toast (often served with butter and marmalade)

The Controversial Inclusion of Chips

Chips, or French fries as they are known in some parts of the world, are not traditionally part of a Full English Breakfast. They are more commonly associated with fish and chips, a popular British dish typically served for lunch or dinner. However, in recent years, some restaurants and cafes have started including chips in their Full English Breakfasts.

This has sparked debate among food enthusiasts and breakfast purists. Some argue that chips add an unnecessary amount of carbohydrates to an already heavy meal, while others believe they provide a satisfying crunch that complements the other components of the breakfast.

Regional Variations

It’s also worth noting that there are regional variations of the Full English Breakfast. For example, in Scotland, a Full Scottish Breakfast might include haggis and tattie scones, while a Full Irish Breakfast often features white pudding and soda bread. In some parts of England, particularly in the North, chips are sometimes included in the breakfast, but this is not a widespread practice.


In conclusion, while chips are not a traditional component of a Full English Breakfast, their inclusion is not unheard of. Whether or not they belong in this classic British meal is largely a matter of personal preference. So, if you enjoy a bit of crunch with your breakfast, go ahead and add some chips to your Full English. After all, the most important thing is that you enjoy your meal.