Our Favorite Recipes for a Cozy Sunday Roast
Ideas for traditionalists, rule-breakers, and everyone in between.
The origins of the British Sunday roast reportedly date back as far as the 15th century, but the ritual—which is enjoyed across the United Kingdom and Ireland—became popular in the 19th century. During that era of rapid industrialization, meat (and fuel for cooking it) became widely affordable for the first time. At its core, the Sunday roast is a family-centered event, though the food is important, too: There will typically be a roast beef on the table, along with Yorkshire pudding, gravy, potatoes, and a range of roasted vegetables.
Admittedly, I didn’t grow up eating a traditional Sunday roast—there were never Yorkshire puddings or peas on our table, and we usually preferred oniony, fall-apart-tender brisket to a bone-in rib roast—but the custom of a weekly meal shared with family is definitely one I can get behind. Every Sunday, my parents, sister, and I would go to my grandparents’ house for dinner, where we’d eat red sauce spaghetti with Italian sausage and mushrooms, barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs in the summer, and (if it was one of our birthdays) fried fish followed by pie or lemon cake.
I recognize that none of those dishes are quite classic (to say the least), but I also believe that a Sunday roast is more of an attitude than a rigid set of rules. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of our best recipes—some more traditional than others—and tools to help you plan, execute, and enjoy your next feast, without any of the fuss.
These dishes will be the centerpieces of the meal. Traditionally, that role would be filled by a beef roast, or maybe chicken or lamb—three options that are as timeless as they are delicious. There’s no reason why vegetables can’t be the star of the show (it’s 2023, after all!), so why not roast a whole cabbage or clusters of maitake mushrooms, as well?
Here’s the stuff you’re really looking forward to spotting on the dinner table. Whether you lean toward classics like Yorkshire pudding and creamy peas or just want potatoes in every form, having a strong roster of sides is essential.
After a meat-and-potatoes-heavy main, I often want something creamy and refreshing to close out the meal. Classic British desserts like fools and trifles fit the bill (and it doesn’t hurt that their names are so delightfully silly). Sticky toffee pudding is another personal favorite, and I don’t think you can ever go wrong with chocolate truffles.
Last but certainly not least: The things that will turn your Sunday roast dreams into a reality. These items from our Shop will help you every step of the way, from making sure your roast reaches the right internal temp to setting the table, regardless of whether you’re serving two or 20.
See what other Food52 readers are saying.