If there’s one thing the Brits know how to do well, it’s their traditional desserts!
There are so many different desserts available in the UK and some of them should be more well known to the world than they actually are.
If you’re looking for a dessert that is extremely popular and traditional, then you’re in luck!
We’ve put together a list of 27 British desserts that are incredibly traditional in the UK, and once you try these scrumptious desserts, they will become a staple in your home.
So, let’s jump right in!
1. Eton Mess
Kicking off the list, we have the classic Eton Mess. This dessert is usually mistakenly called ‘eaten mess’, and it is a very popular dessert that is usually served at picnics or dinner parties.
Eton Mess is super easy to make as well. All you need is whipped cream, meringues, caster sugar, and a whole load of strawberries and you’ll be good to go!
Another classic that is enjoyed by the vast majority of Brits, is the fruit cake that originated in Yorkshire and it is quite different from the American version you may not so fondly remember.
Once you try this fruit cake, you’ll understand why the British population loves it so much. It is filled with soaked dried fruit and a plethora of other fantastic flavors.
If you love fruit and you want a classic dessert to serve after dinner, this fruit cake recipe is perfect for you.
The Victoria Sponge is one of the most well-known British desserts on this list.
It was named after Queen Victoria, and it takes two deliciously moist sponge cake layers and sandwiches a layer of jam and cream together to create this fantastic dessert.
Ideally, you want to use raspberry jam, but strawberry jam also works if you want to keep it traditional.
You can try a few other fruity jams, but if you go outside the realm of raspberry and strawberry, it won’t be a Victoria Sponge anymore!
It doesn’t get more British than the English Trifle! This is a popular choice for large get-togethers and parties, and it is jam-packed with loads of beautiful flavors.
The trifle is incredibly fruity and it mixes cold custard, fruit, and jelly (aka jello) together to create a beautiful dessert that you’ll want to eat again and again.
This classic dessert is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. The sticky toffee pudding is incredibly gooey and warm and will provide you with a comforting feeling after every mouthful.
In the UK, the sticky toffee pudding is so popular that you can actually find microwave versions of it so you can enjoy it quickly and whenever you want!
If you love sundaes, then you definitely need to try the Knickerbocker Glory! It’s a classic British dessert that is especially popular during the summer months, but really you can enjoy it all year round.
It’s fruity, creamy, and incredibly sweet and the way it’s presented makes it look even more appetizing.
It’s usually made with vanilla ice cream, but if you aren’t a big fan, you can swap it out with any ice cream that pairs well with the raspberries, mango, and blueberries in this dessert.
If you’ve never had or heard of bread pudding before, this dessert might sound a little strange, but we promise that this is one of those desserts you definitely need to try.
It quite literally uses bread as the main ingredient, but the finished product is extremely crisp, rich, and very sweet.
If you have a lot of leftover bread that is starting to go stale, bread pudding is a great way to use it up because it makes the staler bread taste amazing.
When you think of pancakes, you probably think of the traditional American pancakes that are thick and fluffy, but British pancakes are a little bit different.
They are more like crepes and they are made in large frying pans. They are super thin and airy, and they pair well with practically anything you want to use as a topping.
If you want to enjoy these British pancakes in a truly traditional fashion, all you need to add is some lemon juice and a bit of sugar.
Made with shortcrust pastry, there isn’t a person in Britain who doesn’t know what the Bakewell Tart is.
Made with frangipane, toasted almonds, and jam, you will often find the Bakewell Tart in all the British bakeries and in lots of convenience stores in the UK, they sell smaller versions of this classic dessert.
This tart is incredibly easy to make too, and you can choose between making the pastry yourself or getting the ready-made version.
If you head to the West of England, you will find a small nation called Wales that sits between the English borders and the coast of Ireland on the Celtic Sea.
Wales is filled with its own culture, and traditions and they also have their own traditional foods!
One of their most popular desserts comes in the form of Welsh Cakes. These Welsh cakes are quite similar to scones, but instead, they are a lot flatter and are usually topped with sugar and filled with raisins. Some variations have jam in the middle, but either way, they taste amazing!
Also known to some as “Figgy Pudding”, this is a classic dessert that is usually enjoyed by the Brits around Christmas time.
Christmas Pudding is usually made with brandy and can be made months in advance to allow the brandy to soak into the actual pudding, giving it an even richer flavor.
If you are planning to have this dessert for Christmas, it’s definitely in your best interest to make it at least a month before Christmas Day to really enjoy the flavor!
12. Arctic Roll
Everyone in Britain has had the Arctic Roll at least 10 times in their lives. It is a really popular party food that is enjoyed by all who attend. Most Brits will talk of it fondly when they are reminiscing about their childhood.
It’s sort of like an ice cream cake, consisting of vanilla ice cream that is wrapped in sponge cake, and there is a whole layer of jam in between.
It’s one of those desserts that are really simple, but that’s one of the things that makes this arctic roll so special.
13. Spotted Dick
The name of this dessert might make you doubletake, but don’t worry! There’s nothing explicit or rude about the Spotted Dick.
The name of this dessert actually comes from the old meaning of dick or dog, which was actually used when speaking about pudding or dough.
Spotted Dick is an incredibly moist dessert that tastes delicious. If you want to be extra traditional with this dessert, you will want to add pouring cream or custard to the pudding.
14. Bara Brith
Bara Brith is another traditional Welsh dessert that has a spot on this list because of how classic it is. Bara Brith is actually Welsh for “speckled bread”, which is a reference to the appearance of the bread itself.
Bara Brith is sort of like a Welsh version of fruit cake, so if you want to get the extra flavor out of it, you will want to soak your chosen fruit in tea overnight.
It might sound like a lot of work, but we promise that it is 100% worth it!
15. Brandy Snaps
Brandy Snaps are what’s known as a biscuit in the UK, which is sort of like hard cookies for anyone who doesn’t know! These biscuits are incredibly crispy, and they go really well with something like vanilla ice cream.
You will find that Brandy Snaps come in a variety of different shapes, but the most common are usually cigars or baskets. They are really easy to make and takes absolutely delicious.
In Scotland, Cranachan is an extremely popular and traditional dessert, and it’s not hard to see why! It is filled with cream, fresh raspberries, oats, and whisky that all work beautifully together to create this beautiful dessert.
You can experiment with the amount of liquor in this dessert, so if you want to put lots in, you can! It purely depends on your personal preference.
17. Banoffee Pie
Beloved by Brits far and wide, banoffee pie combines the flavors of banana and toffee to create an incredibly sweet and creamy dessert.
Banoffee Pie is usually enjoyed in the cooler months, but really you can have it whenever you want!
You have to make sure you have all the ingredients at hand, but once you do, it’s quite simple to make and it takes absolutely incredible.
Also known by the name of “Strawberry Fool”, strawberries and cream are a classic pair that are enjoyed by the British people, and have been enjoyed for many, many years.
It’s so simple to make as well, all you really need is fresh strawberries and of course, cream, and you’ll be good to go! This particular recipe is more of a Strawberry Fool than standard strawberries and cream, but either way, it tastes incredibly fruity and creamy.
19. Jam Roly Poly
The Jam Roly Poly is made with a suet-based sponge and jam before it is slow-cooked to perfection. Once the dessert has been cooked, it is then topped with deliciously warm custard.
Some people do prefer to have ice cream instead, but if you really want to stay traditional, go for the warm custard instead!
If you love shortbread, then you definitely need to try this Millionaire’s Shortbread recipe. It takes the classic shortbread recipe and tops it with delicious caramel and rich chocolate to create a taste sensation that everyone should experience.
This is a great dessert to make if you are hosting a party or small get-together. Your dinner guests wont be able to get enough of this delightful shortbread.
21. Chelsea Bun
Chelsea Buns are believed to have originated in London, England and they have become a staple dessert that is usually served with tea.
The main bulk of the bun is made with egg-based yeast dough, and then it is usually flavored with cinnamon or mixed spice, or lemon peel.
The most classic variation of the Chelsea Bun also includes lots of brown sugar and currents in the dough which only add to the flavor more.
22. Rock Cakes
Another traditional English recipe, rock cakes are basically cookies that are extremely crumbly and surprisingly light, despite their bulkiness. Like Chelsea Buns, rock cakes are usually enjoyed with a cup of tea.
Though you can eat them when they are cool, to truly enjoy this classic recipe, it’s much better to eat the warm! They do look a lot like scones, but rock cakes are a lot smaller and they have a stiffer consistency.
23. Eccles Cake
Eccles Cakes are so popular in Britain that you can buy them ready-made in convenience stores all over the country.
They are made with a puff pastry that is filled with raisins, cinnamon, and brown sugar. It gets its golden hue from the honey that is glazed on the outside.
An interesting fact about Eccles cakes is that in 1653 they were outlawed because Puritans believed that they were pagan!
24. Treacle Tart
Treacle Tart is often regarded as the oldest desert in all of England. It is incredibly delicious and absolutely filled with treacle, as well as spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
Treacle Tart is traditionally served warm with a sizeable dollop of clotted cream, but some people prefer whipped cream or even ice cream.
Treacle Tart has been around for so long in Britain that there are now many different variations and versions of it.
25. Madeira Cake
Though it shares its name with the island region of Madeira, this cake is actually of British origin. It gets its name from the Portuguese Madeira wine, which used to be what was always served with the cake.
Madeira cake is a crumbly, lemon-flavored cake that pairs beautifully with a glass of wine or even a cup of tea. It’s usually topped with some form of icing or orange peel.
It’s a simple recipe that is super easy to make and tastes great!
26. Fruit Scones
Scones are a classic dessert in the UK, but if you want to take them to the next level, you definitely need to try these fruit scones!
They are essentially the same as normal scones, but with a fruity twist! You will usually find sultanas and currents within the scones and then you’ll sandwich them together with delicious jam and cream.
You can eat them cold, but if you really want to appreciate these fruit scones, it is recommended that you eat them warm.
27. Battenberg Cake
And finally, we have the classic Battenberg cake. If you’re a fan of marzipan, then this is an excellent recipe for you.
Along with marzipan, you will also be greeted by the beautiful tastes of apricot jam and almond paste. Altogether these flavors work incredibly well together.
Though it is not proved, it is believed that the Battenberg Cake was created as a wedding present to celebrate the 1884 wedding of Prince Louis of Battenburg to Princess Victoria.
The four colored sections of the Battenberg cake are meant to represent the four Battenburg princes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Oldest English Dessert?
The oldest dessert in England is Treacle Tart. It is believed to have originated in North England and was published in the Newcastle Courant in 1887.
What Is Jelo Called In The Uk?
In the UK, Jelo is called Jelly. It is different from the American jelly you eat with peanut butter, as it is a wobbly dessert that is usually paired with ice cream.
What Is the Most Popular Baked Good In England?
The most popular baked good in England is actually the classic Victoria Sponge cake.
The Victoria Sponge took the classic sponge cake and added butter to the traditional recipe, which led to the creation of the Victoria Sponge. It was of course named after Queen Victoria, who enjoyed eating small cakes with her afternoon tea.
In terms of traditional desserts, the UK is absolutely filled with them. We have listed some of the best British desserts here, but there are still so many others out there.
Once you’ve tried some of the recipes on this list, you’ll find yourself making them again and again because they taste so darn good!
There is something for everyone on this list, so you won’t have to worry about even the pickiest of eaters being put off any of these desserts. If you have a party coming up, most of these desserts will work really well for them!