Bangers and Mash is one of the most comforting British dishes, perfect for the whole family.
Bangers are sausages, and these are served with “mash” (British mashed potatoes), a brown gravy, and peas. Easy to make at home, this is one of the best comfort food dinners around.
This is traditional British pub food that you can easily make it home.
What is Bangers and Mash?
Bangers and Mash is the food of my childhood! It is pork sausages, served with mashed potato, plenty of onion gravy and green peas.
(My mum would always serve it with honey glazed carrots as well – but that isn’t traditional)
You’ll find a version of bangers and mash on nearly every British and Irish pub menu, and it really is a hearty warming dish of food.
But Why Bangers???
So most sausages these days are good quality sausages! They are filled with ground quality meat, herbs, spices, and a little rusk or grain mixed with fat to keep them moist. But during the war and food rationing, meat was in short supply, so sausages were bulked up with fillers like breadcrumbs and water. When cooked, if the sausages weren’t pierced and then cooked slowly over low heat, the water would cause the sausages to explode with a bang. They were affectionally named bangers, and the name has stuck ever since.
Today in the UK and Ireland, bangers are very cheap sausages that don’t contain much meat, they aren’t the tastiest or the nicest sausages, but the name is still synonymous with all sausages.
- This may be called bangers and mash, but don’t buy bangers! By this I mean don’t buy the cheapest sausages going. You want a good quality meaty sausage. If you can find them in your grocery store, pick a British or an Irish Sausage. If not, then a good quality breakfast sausage will be fine.
- Cook the sausages long and slow, you will find they stay succulent and tender without burning.
- The drippings from the sausages add extra flavor to a gravy, so once you have cooked your sausages, remove them from the pan and tent with foil to keep warm and use this pan to make the gravy. The recipe is detailed below, but if you want more info you can see my separate Onion Gravy post (which can be made without drippings).
- British Mashed Potato is mashed with a potato masher or a ricer. Don’t use electric mixers; the mash will end up gluey or gummy and ruin the dish. (see my post on British Mash for far more info making British mashed potatoes)
- The gravy is so simple to make and has just a handful of ingredients. Butter, Flour, Broth, Mustard, and a touch of cream if you are feeling decadent. Don’t put garlic in your gravy; it is VERY un-British!
- Instead of sausages, this recipe also works fabulously with pork chops or chicken breasts.
- To make this a little more Irish, add a splash of Guinness to your onion gravy. Perfect for St Patricks Day!
- Instead of onion gravy, make Brown Gravy or White Gravy for this.
- You could go very un-British and serve this with sweet potato mash instead of regular mashed potatoes.
- Or add some pea mash.
- Add some sautéed cabbage to the mash for a fun, healthy Irish twist.
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Bangers and Mash
For the “Mash”
- 1 ½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes – see note 1
- 1 tbsp salt
- 4 tbsp butter – see note 2
- ¼ cup milk
- salt and pepper
For the “Bangers” and gravy
- 1 tbsp oil
- 8 sausages – see note 3
- 2 onions – sliced into half-moons – see note 4
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp AP flour
- 1 ½ cup beef broth/stock – see note 5
- ½ tsp beef better than bouillon/beef bouillon powder – see note 6
- 1 tsp mustard
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- salt to taste
Start with the mash
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters.
1 ½ potatoes
- Place the potatoes in a pan and add cold water until they are covered by at least an inch of water.
- Add the salt and bring to a boil.
1 tbsp salt
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20-25 minutes until tender to a fork.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat the milk in the microwave (or in a small pan) until it is just below boiling.
¼ cup milk
- Once the potatoes are boiling, start cooking the sausages (see below) – set a timer for your potatoes!
- Drain the potatoes very well and leave them in the sieve or colander for several minutes to really steam dry.
- Use a hand masher or potato ricer to mash until smooth.
- Add the butter and hot milk and stir to combine well.
¼ cup hot milk
4 tbsp butter
- Check the seasoning on your mash and add salt and pepper to taste.
While the potatoes are cooking cook the sausages and gravy
- Pour the oil into a large skillet or frying pan and heat over medium-high heat.
1 tbsp oil
- Add the sausages to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning often.
- While the sausages are cooking peel the onions and cut into half-moon shapes.
- Remove the sausages onto a plate and tent with foil.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter and oil to the pan.
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
- Add the sliced onions, cook for 5-8 minutes until tender and starting to color.
- Reduce the heat to low, then add in the flour and cook for 2 minutes until well combined and lightly golden brown.
2 tbsp AP flour
- Whisk in 1/4 cup of the broth. The mixture will become a very thick paste. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup more broth. Once the mixture has thinned slightly, you can slowly whisk in the remaining broth.
1 ½ cup beef broth/stock
- Add the bouillon powder/paste.
½ tsp beef bouillon
- Bring to a low simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened and glossy.
- Add the mustard and heavy cream, taste and season with salt if needed.
1 tsp mustardr
2 tbsp heavy cream
- Return the sausages, and any juice that has collected, to the pan, and place over low heat to warm through, while you finish the mash.
- If you can’t get Yukon Gold, then try another medium-starch potato, like Dutch Cream, Desiree, or Maris Piper.
- If you have it use salted butter; if not unsalted butter will work, just add extra salt to taste at the end of mashing.
- If you can find them in your grocery store, pick a British or an Irish Sausage. If not, then a good quality breakfast sausage will be fine.
- You can use brown onions, white onions, red onions, or shallots. I use brown onions as they are cheap and easy to find.
- You can use chicken broth/stock instead. Your gravy will just be lighter in color.
- Bouillon powder or paste is an intense base that you can use to make broth/stock. I like the Better than Bouillon brand. But you can use your favorite bouillon powder or half a crumbled stock cube. (You can use chicken instead of beef)