What’s a ‘British Sunday roast’ anyway?


​You don't have to spend ​long with a British person before they​ tell you how much they're ​looking forward to their 'Sunday roast' and look at you like you're a crazy person when you tell them you haven't heard of it before. So what on earth is it?

Save your appetite for this article as we get stuck in to this mouth-watering traditional dish.


What's a Sunday roast?

Quite simply, it's a British meal that is traditionally served on Sundays for either lunch or dinner. The main part of this meal is meat that is roasted in an oven and then sliced before serving.

Roast beef and gravy

​roast beef with gravy and vegetables

Why Sunday?

Traditionally, Christian people go to church on Sundays. Many Christians choose to 'fast' (not eat) before going to church and so it became common in countries like the UK to eat a large meal after getting home from church. In the UK, this meal became known as the 'Sunday roast' is still commonly enjoyed today.

​What's in a Sunday roast?

​It's common to see roast beef, chicken, lamb or pork on the menu.

Roast pork and crackling

​roast ​pork and crackling

​Aside from the meat, you'll often see a number of side dishes. Roast potatoes are a must. Similarly, no Sunday roast would be complete without a Yorkshire pudding or two (​baked puddings made of egg, flour and water or milk). Vegetables are typically roasted, steamed or boiled and you're likely to find a selection of broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, peas or turnips. Alongside this, you'll also find stuffing - a mixture of breadcrumbs, onions and spices that is used to 'stuff' a chicken. And you'll also see a good helping of gravy too - a sauce made ​​from the juices ​of the roasted meat and often thickened with ​corn starch or wheat flour.

Roast potatoes

roast potatoes

Yorkshire pudding

​Yorkshire pudding



​​What goes with what?

Tradition means everything. To this day, you'll still see the same things accompanying whichever meat is on offer.

For example:

  • roast beef goes with English mustard (a hot, yellow sauce) or horseradish (a​ similarly hot sauce)
  • roast chicken goes with cranberry sauce
  • roast lamb goes with mint sauce
  • ​roast pork goes with apple sauce and, of course, the crackling (the crispy roasted skin of the pig)​
Roast vegables

​roast beef with gravy and vegetables

​Where can you get a Sunday roast?

​​In the UK, families still often cook these at home on a Sunday.

​Alternatively, you could head out to family-friendly local pub or restaurant where they'll almost certainly serve some kind of Sunday roast. Some pubs or restaurants offer a 'carvery' meal instead, where the meals are served buffet style and you can choose between several different roasted meats (or have a little bit of all of them).

​Does the humble 'Sunday roast' whet your appetite?

​Tell us whether your mouth's watering or your stomach's churning after reading this article by leaving a comment below. ​And why not share this article with your foodie friends by clicking the Share button below (desktop) or to the left (mobile).

Enjoy your meal!