Quick and Easy Traditional Bubble and Squeak Dish

Traditional bubble and squeak

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
306 Calories
22g Fat
25g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 306
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 12g 58%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 470mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 24mg 121%
Calcium 50mg 4%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 504mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Bubble and squeak is a quirky name for a dish that is mostly fried leftover vegetables, usually from Sunday lunch—making it popular for Monday lunch or dinner. It's also a popular British appetizer

In Ireland, colcannon is made from mashed potatoes, cabbage or kale, and onion, and it's very similar to bubble and squeak, as is rumbledethumps in Scotland.

Traditionally, bubble and squeak will be eaten on a Monday for lunch or dinner, sometimes with a fried egg on top, and can include a little bacon or leftover meat from the day before. It makes a nice side dish for a meaty dinner, too. There are no hard-and-fast rules for this recipe except for mashed potatoes—it's the "glue" that holds the dish together. Use bubble and squeak as a way to use up whatever you have left from dinner and transform it into something delicious.


Click Play to See This Easy, Traditional Bubble and Squeak Dish Recipe Come Together

"This bubble and squeak recipe was an easy preparation with leftover potatoes and cabbage, and the flavor was excellent. I added cooked carrots to the mixture, but other leftover vegetables may be used. Or, it could be made with potatoes and cabbage alone. It was delicious, and a great way to use leftovers." —Diana Rattray

Traditional Bubble and Squeak Dish on a plate with fork
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, or vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 pound mashed potatoes, about 2 cups

  • 1 cup leftover vegetables (cabbage, kale, peas, cooked swede, cooked carrots, and/or cooked Brussels sprouts), finely chopped

  • Bacon, leftover roast, bangers, and/or ham, chopped, optional

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Fried or poached eggs, for serving, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make bubble and squeak

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat and make sure it doesn't brown. Add the finely chopped onion and fry gently for about 3 minutes or until soft and translucent.

    A pan of finely chopped onions cooking in butter

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Turn the heat up ever so slightly and add the mashed potato and all of the chopped-up leftover vegetables. Add the chopped meat if using. Fry for at least 10 minutes, turning everything over continuously in the melted butter to ensure that the potato and vegetables are thoroughly reheated. 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 before turning.

    Vegetables and mashed potatoes added to the onion-butter mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  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 1 minute. Flip over and repeat. Season with salt and pepper.

    Cooked vegetable-mashed potato mixture in a pan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Serve with either a fried or poached egg on top. Enjoy.

    A plate of bubble and squeak topped with a fried egg

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.

Recipe Variation

  • Make bubble and squeak patties. Mix the potato and vegetables, form into small patties, and fry until crisp on both sides.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store leftover bubble and squeak in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
  • Leftovers can be stored for longer in a heavy-duty zip-top bag in the freezer. Squeeze all of the air out and freeze for up to a month. To reheat, let defrost in the fridge overnight, then reheat in a skillet with a little oil until crisp and warmed through.

Why Is It Called Bubble and Squeak?

The origins of the name bubble and squeak are not known, but there is a reference in the "Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue" from 1785: "Bubble and squeak is beef and cabbage fried together. It is so-called from its bubbling up and squeaking while over the fire."

How Do You Keep Bubble and Squeak From Falling Apart?

A good base of leftover mashed potatoes should help to keep your bubble and squeak glued together. If the mixture is a little loose and falling apart, try adding a sprinkle or two of flour.