Quick and Easy Traditional Bubble and Squeak Dish

Bubble and Squeak
The Spruce
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 Portions (2 Servings)

Traditional bubble and squeak is the lovely, quirky name for what is mostly fried leftover vegetables, usually from Sunday lunch, which is why the bubble is so popular on a Monday. It's also a popular British appetizer

The origins of the cute name are not known, but there is a reference in the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue from 1785 that "Bubble and Squeak is beef and cabbage fried together. It is so called from its bubbling up and squeaking while 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 left over from the day before. There is no hard and fast rule to this recipe; it is just a way of using up whatever you have left from dinner.

One primary ingredient which is always there is the mashed potato. The potato is the "glue" holding all the other vegetables together. 


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Bubble and squeak are 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.


  • 6 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 pound mashed potato
  • Any leftover vegetables (i.e. cabbage, swede, carrots, peas, and/or Brussels sprouts; finely chopped)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Traditional Bubble and Squeak Recipe ingredients
    ​The Spruce
  2. In a large frying pan, melt the butter (you can also use vegetable oil, but butter tastes better) and make sure it doesn't brown. Add the finely chopped onion and fry gently for about three minutes or until soft and translucent.

    Traditional Bubble and Squeak Recipe
    The Spruce
  3. 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, but not burn, the outside edges of the vegetables, so occasionally press the mixture into the pan to brown a little and then continue stirring.

    Traditional Bubble and Squeak Recipe
    The Spruce
  4. Finally, when the mixture is heated right through, give the vegetables one long final press onto the base of the pan with a spatula and leave to cook for one minute. Flip over and repeat.

    Traditional Bubble and Squeak Recipe
    The Spruce
  5. Serve as mentioned above with either a fried or poached egg on top, bacon pieces or ham pieces, or any leftover roast mixed in and reheated thoroughly.

    Traditional Bubble and Squeak Recipe
    The Spruce 
  6. Serve and enjoy! 

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.


  • Bubble and squeak cakes also make a great side dish for any roast meats, or as mentioned earlier, topped off with a poached or fried egg.


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