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Bubble and Squeak Cakes

This tasty English recipe is traditionally made with mashed potatoes and vegetables left over from the Sunday roast dinner. The main ingredients are of course potatoes and vegetables, and you can use any vegetables you wish, with carrots, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and peas being typical ones. These ingredients are combined with some fried onion (this is optional but we love to add onion to ours for extra flavour) and salt and black pepper for an easy side dish. The next time you make a roast dinner, make sure you cook enough to have leftovers, because this is well worth making, I promise you!

We often don’t seem to have leftovers because my husband and I appreciate great food and we have 4 growing boys who seem to be hungry most of the time. So even when I cook ‘enough to feed an army’ the food seems to vanish quickly! However, it’s worth making extra so you can make bubble and squeak. Failing that, you don’t have to use leftovers. You can cook mashed potatoes and veggies just so you can make this yummy side dish.

Some people make one big one and then cut it into wedges but I like to make individual cakes. Dip them in flour before frying so you get a nice crust on them and they can be flipped without breaking into pieces. This was a popular recipe during World War II because it was a simple way of converting leftovers into something yummy when most foods were of course subject to rationing. Try them with ketchup. One of my English friends says she likes to serve these with bacon and fried eggs at breakfast time.

Best Recipe for Leftover Mashed Potatoes
Summary: This has to be the best way to use up not only leftover mashed potatoes but also leftover vegetables. The cakes bubble and squeak during cooking and they taste wonderful.
Cuisine: English
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable, olive or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ finely chopped yellow onion
  • 500g (2 cups) mashed potatoes
  • 250g (1 cup) finely chopped or mashed cooked vegetables (Brussels sprouts, parsnip, cabbage, carrot etc)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 50g (1¾ oz) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  1. Put the oil and butter in a wide, shallow pan and heat it over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender.
  3. Combine the onion with the mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables.
  4. You can add fresh parsley if liked, plus some salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Shape the mixture into 8 round 'cakes'.
  6. Put the flour on a plate and dip the bubble and squeak cakes into it on both sides to coat.
  7. Tap off any excess.
  8. Shallow fry the bubble and squeak cakes in 2 batches for 2 minutes on each side or until crispy on both sides.
  9. You can use the same pan you used to sauté the onion.
  10. Add more oil if necessary (if you do, the cakes will 'squeak' hence the name).
  11. Drain on kitchen roll (paper towels).
  12. You can either serve them immediately or else let them cool on a greaseproof paper-covered baking sheet then chill for up to 3 days or freeze for up to a month.

Photo Description:

These bubble and squeak cakes are going to look different each time you make them because sometimes you might be using carrots while other times it might be cabbage, corn or peas which are the leftover vegetable. Use onions and parsnip and yours will resemble the photo, or use colourful veggies for more colour, as you wish. Regardless of what goes into these bubble and squeak cakes, they are sure to taste good. These are a nice accompaniment to any kind of meat or poultry or you could enjoy them as a snack with a fried egg on top or even add them to your breakfast instead of your usual hash browns. We like to cook these until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides and then enjoy them piping hot.

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, my name is Christine and I would like to welcome you to TeaTime Recipes. Tea has always been a favourite of mine and I adore the tradition of serving this wonderful beverage with all kinds of little snacks both sweet and savoury. Read More