What is Bread and Dripping?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Bread and dripping is a time honored British favorite that makes the most of tasty meat drippings coupled with chunks of crusty bread. Sometimes referred to as a mucky sandwich, it once enjoyed a great deal of popularity in local pubs as well as in the home. In recent years, the dish has lost ground to more healthy alternatives, but it is still possible to find pubs that serve platters of thick slices of bread and dripping along with hearty British ales.

British pubs sometimes serve fat-soaked bread as an accompaniment to a pint or shot of whiskey.
British pubs sometimes serve fat-soaked bread as an accompaniment to a pint or shot of whiskey.

Generally, the drippings are the leftover animal fat from the preparation of beef or pork. It is not unusual for the dish to include some small pieces of meat as well. The dripping is allowed to cool, so that the texture is the consistency of a think jelly. Once sufficiently gelled, the dripping is spread with a knife onto a slice of homemade bread and served at room temperature.

Some fans choose to add more salt to the already salty concoction, giving the dish a little extra bite, while others prefer ample amounts of black pepper as a topping. In general, any desired spice can be used to add another dimension of flavor to the dish. This is especially true when the dish is prepared in the home and served as a breakfast food.

While a time-honored favorite, bread and dripping is loaded with fat, cholesterol and carbohydrates. In recent years, people who love the concept, but who are trying to manage intake of these elements, have chosen to omit the use of animal fat in the dish. Substitutes like peanut or olive oil, with a few spices added, have become the norm in some pubs around the United Kingdom, making it possible to at least cut a fair amount of the cholesterol and fat from this accompaniment to a pint or a stiff shot of whiskey.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I love bread and dripping and still enjoy it from time to time. I eat it sparingly and still part of a calorie controlled diet. I just make sure it all balances out and the energy is burned off with exercise.


An elderly man recently told me this rhyme, working class humour from a period of great poverty in the 1930s: On Monday we had bread and dripping. On Tuesday we'd dripping and bread. On Wednesday and Thursday we'd dripping and toast, Which is still only dripping and bread. So on Friday we went to the landlord To see what he'd give us instead, Then on Saturday and Sunday, by way of a change, We had dripping without any bread! In 1950s Yorkshire, when cholesterol and hypertension were unheard of, bread and pork dripping, left over from a Sunday roast, and liberally sprinkled with salt for extra flavor, was a treat.


one of britain's oldest living people ada mason swore by this and ate it all the time. in fact a lot of the oldest people ever eat "unhealthy" diets. funny eh.


I am English, I have not heard about the healthy alternatives, but they may exist. We didn't eat bread and dripping for breakfast, but it was often our main meal in the evening. It was definitely a way of "making a meal from nothing". Ours was usually the pale fat on the top of the cold drippings, the jelly part was used in other meals or soups. It originated way back in history, when you literally used every single part of the animal.


Anyone know when this meal first gained popularity in England? Sounds like something born out of a time where meat was scare and/or expensive. Maybe World War II? Or maybe it dates back well before that to the 19th or even 18th century?

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