Recipes to Celebrate Guy Fawkes Night

Guy Fawkes night is a British celebration that commemorates the capture of Guy Fawkes who was instrumental in trying to overthrow the king in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. It falls on the 5th of November and is a night filled with bonfires and fireworks, and of course British food. The weather is often freezing, but can sometimes be wet and warm. No matter the conditions, though, the food is always comforting and easy to eat as you are sitting around a bonfire. Bring cheer to the festivities with both traditional and more current recipes.

  • 01 of 09

    Bonfire Toffee

    Bonfire Toffee

    Elaine Lemm

    Bonfire toffee is also known as treacle toffee and plot toffee, and no Guy Fawkes night would be complete without it. Treacle toffee is easy to make but does require caution—the toffee needs to reach incredibly high temperatures so please take care when making it.

    The recipe is so named because it includes black treacle, which is similar to molasses but less bitter. It is a thick, dark syrup that is often used in dessert recipes.

  • 02 of 09

    Yorkshire Parkin

    Yorkshire Parkin

    Elaine Lemm/istock

    A bonfire night "must" is Parkin, the Yorkshire version of gingerbread. This easy-to-make cake is sticky and moist, with the warm flavors of ginger, nutmeg, mixed spice, and black treacle. Parkin from Yorkshire is different from other Parkin by the inclusion of oats in the recipe.

    You can also make a biscuit version of Parkin, which is basically a cookie that will start off firm but will turn sticky as it sits. 

  • 03 of 09

    Traditional Flapjacks

    British Flapjack Bars
    The Spruce

    Not to be confused with American flapjack (pancakes), a traditional British flapjack is a soft, chewy, cake-like bar made from oats, fruits, and golden syrup or treacle. Traditional flapjack is perfect for bonfire night as it can be made in advance and is a small and very easy to eat a treat.

  • 04 of 09

    British Soups

    Two Bowls of Broccoli, Cauliflower soup with Stilton


    Jenner Images/Getty Images

    Nothing is more perfect to eat on a cold night in front of the bonfire than a large mug of warming soup—great for keeping out the chills. Soups can be made well in advance and then heated beforehand and transported in a thermos. From leek and stilton soup to cullin skink soup, there are plenty of authentic recipes to choose from. Add some crusty bread to make it even more filling.

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  • 05 of 09

    Shepherd's Pie

    Shepherd's pie in cast iron skillet, traditional British dish on rustic wooden table viewed from above


    istetiana/Getty Images

    Shepherd's pie is a perfect bonfire night food if you are feeding a crowd. Find your biggest baking dish and make a large pie so everyone can help themselves. Shepherd's pie is also easy to make and perfect when you need to use up those leftovers. A savory mixture of lamb and vegetables is topped with mashed potatoes and baked until a crispy, golden crust forms.

    For a meatless version, try a vegetarian shepherds pie, or if you'd like to use up some ground beef instead of lamb, a cottage pie is the perfect recipe that is quite similar to shepherd's pie.

  • 06 of 09

    Pasties and Pies

    Traditional Cornish Pasty Recipe

    Getty Images

    Easy to make and easy to hold make a pasty the ideal food while sitting around a bonfire. Cornish pasties are a traditional handheld snack in Britain, originating with the coal miners. A mixture of steak, onion, potato, and rutabaga is wrapped in a tender pastry and baked until golden brown. For variety, you can also serve cheese and onion pasties

    If you don't have time to make individual pasties, you can serve another British classic, the steak and kidney pie. Here, the "kidney" is not referring to beans but beef kidney that has been cut into cubes and combined with beef chuck and vegetables and cooked into a sort of a stew. The mixture is wrapped in a pastry crust before baking. If beef kidney isn't your thing, try a chicken, leek, and Caerphilly cheese pie instead.

    These pasties and pies are even more appealing when accompanied by some mushy peas.

  • 07 of 09

    Bangers and Mash

    Bangers and Mash
    The Spruce

    Maybe not the easiest to eat while sitting around a fire, but bangers and mash are quite delicious, as well as quintessential British food. Thick, fat, sizzling sausages with a creamy mash and lashings of onion gravy makes this dish the perfect comfort food for bonfire night.

    Any type of sausage works well when nestled in a mound of creamy mashed potatoes and topped with a rich onion gravy.

  • 08 of 09

    Chickpea Curry

    Chickpea and spinach curry


    Joan Ransley/Getty Images

    Curries have been a part of British cuisine for centuries and serving a meatless version at your bonfire is a nice option for vegetarians. (But make enough because meat-eaters also love it!) Chickpea curry, made with garlic, ginger, spices, and creamed coconut, is warming and filling and easy to eat. Serve with naan bread or chapatis for scooping and you won't even need forks.

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  • 09 of 09

    Hot Wine (A.K.A. Mulled Wine)

    mulled wine

    We may think of serving this beverage during the holidays, but what could be more appropriate on a cold night by the bonfire? Hot wine, tinged with spices and sugar, warms the body​ right through and creates a festive vibe. From the most basic recipe to a French version including Cognac, any recipe for hot wine is sure to make Guy Fawkes night fun.