Classic English Toad-in-the-Hole

“Toad in the hole,” a weird name for a dish, isn’t it? Usually in America it refers to an egg cooked in the hole cut out of a piece of bread. But in England, it’s sausages cooked in what is essentially Yorkshire pudding. To me the English version is more whimsical, perhaps because Mr. Toad is my favorite character in The Wind in the Willows? In any case, this recipe has a playful name, and much like its cousin “pigs in a blanket,” is a hit with kids.

I first posted a recipe for Toad in the Hole back in 2003. I wasn’t quite satisfied with that recipe, and based on feedback from readers and a bit more experimentation, recently updated the recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

Classic English Toad-in-the-Hole Recipe

  • Prep time: 35 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 scant teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb of bangers (an English sausage made with pork and breadcrumbs), or good quality pork or beef sausage links (in casings)

Method

1 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour with the salt and a pinch of pepper. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour in the eggs, milk, and melted butter into the well and whisk into the flour until smooth. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.

2 Coat the bottom and sides of an 8x12 or 9x9 casserole dish with vegetable oil (we use high smoke point grapeseed or canola oil). Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Put the empty dish on the rack. Preheat the oven with the dish in it to 425°F.

3 While the oven is coming to temperature, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet on medium high. Add the sausages and brown them on at least a couple sides.

toad-in-the-hole-1.jpgtoad-in-the-hole-2.jpg
toad-in-the-hole-3.jpgtoad-in-the-hole-4.jpg

4 When the sausages have browned, and the dish in the oven hot, pull the oven rack out a bit, put the sausages in the casserole dish, and pour the batter over the sausages. Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the batter is risen and golden.

Serve at once.

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63 Comments

  1. stacy Dyer

    Elise…do you cut this in squares when it is finished baking?

    Great question. I would cut it so that a serving included one whole sausage, unless you wanted smaller servings, and then I would cut them so that a serving was half a sausage and some surrounding dough. Squares, rectangles, whatever works. ~Elise

  2. Mick Dundee

    G’day. Tried it with Natterjack toads, bit chewy and not much to go round, next time I think i Wal and I will try using the larger Cane toads. Plenty of them here in the top end of Australia (and they keep us awake at night).

  3. Elise

    G’day Mick. Hah! That’s pretty gross. Thanks for the laugh. You have any good frog’s (toad’s) legs recipes?

  4. eyespot

    Ha Ha, I am from England and the first time I made toad in the hole for my Canadian husband, he called it “slugs in the mud”, because the batter didn’t rise at all. lmao
    By the way, I am an expert now and I always cook it in a square cake pan.

  5. yummymummy

    My mum made this for me when I was growing up, I decided to make it for my American husband and he asked me for the syrup!!

  6. Bob Farrington

    Hi I’m travelling in Australia at the moment and i’m going to cook this classic for some other English friends,do you know what would be classic accopaniment- veg etc?.

  7. Rob Kenny

    @bob probably a bit late but I normal serve toad with Onion gravy, peas, carrots and mashed spuds.

  8. sam

    Hi Elise – glad to see you are covering one of my favourite dishes! A classic English toad in the hole probably wouldn’t use turkey sausages, to be honest I am not sure Brits even realise that sausages can be made from turkeys! I agree with the person who suggested getting the pan with oil really hot and smoking before adding the batter – this is generally considered to be an essential component to the success of the recipe. Rob Kenny is a brave man to suggest serving with mashed spuds, just an onion gravy would be enough carbs for me. As for the cutting – suggest everyne gets a hole sausage and then you fight over the remainder. In my family we had 2 people who liked just the crispy bits, one who just liked the soggy bits and then me who finds it all good!

    Hi Sam, good point on the turkey sausage, thanks! I’ve revised the recipe since the original one you commented on, to include making sure the pan is really hot before adding the batter. ~Elise

  9. Wubble-U

    When I make toad in the hole, I cook the sausages in the oven using dish that’ll be finally used for the batter. It also gives some fat for the batter.

  10. cj phillipson

    had a hard time finding a decent sausage to use where i am located but it works well with a quality bratwurst also this is a very good recipe

  11. Amanda

    My Scottish fiance was so surprised when I made this. He loved it because this dish was a childhood classic in his home. Serving this with HP brown sauce is a must!

  12. Sylvie

    Comfort food to me, ideally with onion gravy, mashed potato and some brussel sprouts.

  13. Tom

    I cook this regularly and would not dream of serving it without onion gravy. Brown off the sausages before adding the batter or else it’ll look a bit anemic when cooked.

  14. Meister @ The Nervous Cook

    So that’s what Toad in the Hole is! It looks so much better than the name implies, ha!

  15. Marilyn

    I ‘inherited’ a simple way to remember Yorkshire pudding batter (which is what’s used for TITH)… just remember 1,3,5 (first three odd numbers) – that’s one egg, 3 ozs Flour (I use plain my mom used self-raising)) and 5 fl ozs milk (1/4 of an English pint). For TITH I always cut the sausage into four pieces (baby toads… tadpoles???) and actually cook them through, because we like our sausages well done. I add those to a hot baking pan and pour on the batter; then as you say 20 – 30 mins in a hot oven. Onion gravy, mash and peas for me. TITH and HP sauce for him indoors. The 1,3,5 ratio makes enough Yorkshire pudding for four, but for TITH this just feeds the two of us.

  16. Ken Utter, Rexford MT

    Have you heard of “pasties”? They are well known
    here in Mt. especially around Butte, Helena,
    Anaconda. They are essentially very similar to
    this toad in a hole recipie, but the bread is
    made into a batter, flattened, and then beef
    (shredded is best, ground is ok, as is chunks)
    chopped onions, chopped potatoes, or shredded
    potatoes along with seasoning are placed on the
    center (like a taco) then folded over and baked
    in the oven. Serve with gravy on top.

    I think I’ll have to make that. Thank you for the suggestion Ken! ~Elise

  17. Mick

    I know this may sound gross, but to stop Yorkshire Pud from sticking to the pan you should always use the same pan and never wash it. If you wash the pan it will stick.
    Also use a metal pan or baking tray. I have one that I keep just to do Yorkshire Puds in, but being a Yorkshireman it gets used every week at least once!

    If you mean don’t wash it with soap, then yes, I could see that. Typically one is advised not to use soap with cast iron pans so that a “cure” can develop and enable relatively stick-free cooking. With cast iron you just rinse out with water, and dry well so that it doesn’t rust. ~Elise

  18. Steve E

    I’m always fascinated by the history of food. The way I see it, Toad in the Hole is the great grandfather of the traditional American eggs, pancakes and sausage. Here we would call it a Grand Slam…and since I’m American I would use maple syrup instead of brown sauce or onion gravy.
    So, to get an American dish, you deconstruct a European one and add MORE sugar!

  19. Alberto

    It is the first time that I read this interesting, very original. Tomorrow I will prepare for the family. Greetings from a fan from Spain.

  20. David Morton

    My old mom made this using “Wall’s pork sausages”
    They were the vegetarian version of bangers!
    Mostly bread crumbs and other fillers, I think they showed the finished product to a pig, just to get the pork label in there.
    Anyway, they tasted good in Toad in the hole as well as at “Lyon’s corner house” with chips and baked beans or peas.
    Strangely, back the food additives didn’t seem to kill people.
    Lyon’s corner house was replaced by crappy burger places, like Wimpy’s.

    Nice web page, keep it up.

  21. The Starving Student

    I have never seen such a thing before. It’s like a sausage roll on steroids!

  22. Katrina

    Neat! I’ve never seen anything like this before!

  23. Helen Burton

    what is onion gravy? is that like a southern gravy that goes with biscuits? I haven’t tried this yet but am intrigued. Scrambled or poached eggs would go well with it too.
    Helen

  24. Daffodil

    I used to make this exact recipe but with bits of cut up breakfast sausages. The larger links are more bold and direct.

  25. Suzy Quan

    There are other variations to this breakfast/supper food.In Maine an egg dropped in to the middle of a hole in a piece of bread is called a Popeye. Then theres the Hens in a Nest which is an egg yoke dropped onto beatten egg whites on toast with two strips bacon and broiled which is the Scottish version.

  26. Sarap42

    My Mom made Toad in the Hole all the time while I was growing up. She always made it with pork breakfast sausages and poured the batter into the castiron skillet she cooked the sausages in. I like to have a piece for dinner with mustard and then have a piece for dessert with maple syrup – yum! I can’t wait to try Elise’s version!

  27. Edith

    Thanks for the dinner idea! As always, your timing is inpeccable. Now to round up some American ‘toads’ … the kids are going to love the name.

  28. laura @ glutton for nourishment

    this is the stuff of my childhood. i love it! and your recipe sounds divine.

  29. Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat)

    Funny, I’ve always heard of an egg cooked in the hole of a piece of bread as “a bird’s nest”!

  30. Julie

    I think my husband will love this! What kind of seasonings are in a traditional English banger? Being of German heritage we love our sausages so I frequent a great German sausage shop here in Tulsa. Curious if you or any of your readers would know what kind of German style sausage has the same flavor profile as a banger?

  31. KariVery

    This looks really yummy!! Just found a great old cast iron skillet at a thrift store and this looks like just the thing to try as my first dish to make in it! Can one of you please please share how to make the onion gravy??? Sounds wonderful!

  32. Joanna

    Sounds delicious. I’m going to try this with some “Nürnberger Bratwürste”.

    Nurenbergerwurst are our favorite sausages. They would be great in this dish. ~Elise

  33. Carriann

    My british hubby just about died of happiness when I made this for dinner tonight. Easy, yummy and filling. Comfort food for sure. But I needed some Tums when I was done. It’s rich.

  34. Angie

    I did a little research and it looks like bangers are generally flavored with pepper (white or black), ginger, sage, mace, and/or nutmeg. That said, to me bangers have a really mild flavor and have a smoother texture (resulting from the high proportion of binder to meat in the sausage). I’d say that as long as you stick with a mildly spiced sausage, you can’t go wrong here! For mine this week, I plan on using ‘bossage’–sausage made from jowl bacon and lean cuts.

  35. Twinkles

    @Ken re: Pasties

    As a good Cornish lass, I must protest! That is definitely NOT a pasty! Pasties are cubes of beef, onions, potatoes and rutabaga and they’re wrapped in pastry – nothing like yorkshire pud.

    Elise – if you’ve never had one, you absolutely must. The Cornish Pasty is the English version of the ubiquitous hand pie that every culture has. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasty You can make vegetarian and other variants but they’re still pastry hand pies.

  36. Lady Amalthea

    I love these whimiscally-named recipes! Toad-in-a-hole sounds much tastier (and more appealing!) than pigs in a blanket. Though I’d still rather eat a pig than a toad …

  37. Marilyn

    Simple onion gravy…. better if you were making it with the juices in the tin a roast beef had just been cooked in, but here’s the quick easy version. One medium onion per person – pick the ones you like best – traditionally it would be the yellow ones that sting your eyes but sweet onions and red onions work too – just in different ways. Slice and fry slowly and gently in butter (you don’t want to burn them) until caramelised. Add enough beef stock to have enough gravy chock full of onions and thicken with a little cornstarch. In the UK I always use beef oxos (1 for four people). I even bring them to the States every winter. As I can’t get the great British sausage here (USA) I have also made TITH with home made meatballs – any sort – beef or chicken or pork or turkey – just change the accompaniments with the meal. Onion gravy with beef, chicken gravy and cranberry sauce with chicken or turkey, gravy and apple sauce with the pork ones. They can all be served with real (!!!) mashed potato and a decent veg such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli or sprouts. Do the recipe in the same way – small meatballs are like cut up sausages which is how we like TITH any way.

  38. Michelle

    Oh, I always wondered what toad in the hole was. I figured it was a dish for frog legs or something. It actually sounds pretty good.Thanks for the recipe :-)

  39. Dean E.

    I made this last night … added two teaspoons of yellow mustard powder to the batter and used fresh lard rather than vegetable oil. Also as authentic bangers weren’t available in my area I substituted two Bratwurst and two apple-pork sausage. Wrapped all four in proscuitto before searing for extra flavor. I made a traditional onion-madeira gravy (from a recipe at the Saveur site) for topping. It turned out intensely delicious, and more attractive in presentation than expected. Thank you very much, this is something I hadn’t tried before, but will definitely make again soon. What an amazing comfort food for Fall and Winter.

  40. sanjeev

    I liked the recipe and post.

  41. John

    I had no idea that the Toad in the Hole I had eaten was specific to America…this looks so much better than that ackward love child of a fried egg and toast. Can’t wait to try it.

  42. Kristi Reynolds

    what is HP sauce? We’ve seen in in Brit recipes before and my daughters insist that it must mean Harry Potter.

  43. Edith

    I made this for dinner a couple nights back. We aimed for a ‘breakfast for dinner’ taste, so I left out the black pepper, used fresh maple breakfast sausage (which I precooked) and baked in a cast iron skillet. We sliced it up and slathered maple sryup over each piece, with fresh apple slices on the side. All three kids asked me to make it again sometime!!

  44. KariVery

    Thanks to Marilyn for the onion gravy recipe!!

  45. megan

    HP sauce is a thick brown savory sauce. A little like BBQ and wostershire mixed together.

  46. Felicia

    I tried this out for dinner tonight and really love it. I used powdered buttermilk instead of milk and chicken basil sausages, so it isn’t traditional by any means, but it certainly is delicious. I served it with roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and walnuts. Thanks!

  47. Kristi

    We liked this very much. Used small American breakfast sausages which I prebrowned and it was delicious. I would like to kick up the batter recipe a bit. Maybe a little gruyere and cayenne? Has anyone played with it like this and made it with cheese? I’m even thinking jalapenos (the Tex Mex in me).

  48. Tes

    Another delicious recipe!! We loved it! I rarely if ever feel the need to alter your recipes, and this was no exception. Perfect just how it is! Thank you Elise! ..and that comes from the whole family :)

  49. Claudia Kent

    Thanks for the memories. I love Toad in the Hole!
    Along with beans on toast, cheese on toast(with ketchup), bangers and beans, roast beef and yorkshire pudding, treacle tart, mincemeat pie…

  50. jo

    The HP in HP sauce is Houses of Parliament – thats the picture on the bottle. Love toad in the hole.

  51. Geordie Kris

    here is a tip for any one not from england or not used to making the yorkshire pudding batter: the fat in the dish you use has to be smoking hot…and sizzle when the batter mix hits it. Also try making onion gravy to go with it and Mustard for the sausages…Beautiful!!

  52. Karen

    My mother used to make this for my sister and me when we were growing up in the UK but being from the south of England she always had to make “those heavy northern dishes” healthier so she added slices of home grown tomatoes which roasted beautifully in the hot batter and they look pretty too by adding some color. My sister and I now make this for our California kids and we add a variety of veggies. My nephews love roasted cauliflower or broccoli, my daughters love it with asparagus. Quite frankly you could cook anything in that batter and it would be delicious.

  53. Jay

    Isn’t it funny how a recipe can have so many names depending on where you live. I’m a brit living in Canada & eggs cooked in toast holes, are referred to as eggs in a hole, or eggs in a basket. Toad in the hole, is the same as your recipe, sausages or bangers browned lightly, then cooked up in yorkshire pudding. Gravy or HP sauce, as other posters have mentioned, always a must for topping.

    I use purchased or home made pork sausage most often, or a lovely beef & onion sausage our local butcher makes, or, if I’ve been out and about shopping, English bangers purchased from a Brit store that we’re lucky to have in our area. Whichever sausage it is, this is truly one of the top ten in comfort dishes.

    Just had to add my two cents along with another poster, about Ken’s post referencing “Pasties”. Pasties, (look up Cornish Pasties for an example) are a hand held meat & veggie mixture baked up in pastry, never dough.
    I believe he may be thinking of Bierocks, another hand held meat & veggie mixture that’s baked up in a bread style dough.

  54. Clive

    My grandma Joan used to make this for us when we were children growing up in Lancashire, England; 4 suggestions:
    1. Mix the milk and eggs first and THEN slowly add the sifted flower and pinch of salt (for the batter mix).
    2. Gently prick the sausgaes a few times before browning.
    3. Make sure the oil is smoking/VERY hot before carefully placing the dish in the oven.
    4. Add a sprig of thyme to the batter/mix before the dish goes in the oven.
    Especially nice with beef gravy poured over and some English mustard on the side.

  55. Lee

    Beware when heating up the oil in the pan. It can explode if it boils and touches the element on the stove. That has been my experiment with making toad in the hole so far…

  56. CulinarilyCourtney

    This is very different from the toad in the hole I ate several years ago when in London. Are there variations to the recipe? Mine was like a box shaped yorkshire pudding that was then filled with a bed of mash potatoes, a sausage, steamed peas and carrots, and drenched in gravy. I still think it was one of the best meals I have ever eaten…

  57. Lynda

    Another name for an egg cooked on bread with a hole in the middle is Chicken on a Raft.
    I used this recipe for Toad tonight and it came out great. My husband usually makes it with his Mum’s recipe, but he wasn’t home when I started it. Hard to find English style sausage in the US, but I found a local source. American sausages are too meaty…
    Thanks.

  58. Joluise

    I always make this in a metal baking pan, heating it up in the oven first (very hot), then placing the sausages in the pan to cook (not in the frypan). Once the sausages are browned, add the liquid. The metal pan tends to make the sides crustier. Cooking the sausages in lard is even better but not healthy!!

    I use any sort of sausage, it really doesn’t matter.

  59. Tammy

    I am an American and I’m making this dish for dinner tonight..although I am thinking about frying a potato onion mixture to put in with the sausages and bread pudding and making gravy from the potato onion base….wish me luck!! Brusel sprouts are going to be a definite side dish! thanks so much for the receipe and the helpful tips!!

  60. Abigail L-B

    Delicious. My mother was craving this but she’s a vegetarian so we initially used Veggie Sausage and Jone’s Breakfast sausages. Everyone loved it but the sausages were not quite right, so I am using Irish Bangers from Whole Foods and trying again tonight. My only question is about the length of time you need to keep the batter. The recipe says 30 minutes; my husband (also British) said you should make it the night before and let it sit in the refridge. Any thoughts on that?

    Well, the batter is essentially Yorkshire pudding batter. Most recipes I’ve seen say to let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but I’ve also known people to keep the batter chilled longer. Whatever works for you. ~Elise

  61. Heather

    As a born and bred Englishwoman, this recipe looks like a decent low-fat interpretation of the classic, but I would never try it.

    This should not be a low fat recipe – the oil in the tin is what causes the batter to become so supremely delicious – so make sure you use a decent amount of fat.

    Secondly do not cook this in a glass or ceramic dish but in a baking tin. Heat up some oil in the tin in the oven, then plop in the sausages and pour over the batter immediately. This causes the batter to aerate, making lovely puffy pudding.

    Also the batter is overcomplicated. Yorkshire puddings are, and always shall be, equal amounts of egg, milk and flour. Try 200ml milk, 200ml flour and 4 eggs. Leave the whisked batter to set for 30 mins in the fridge before using.

    Also they are not called bangers. Just sausages. Use Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausages with at least 80% pork.

  62. AMB

    Great recipe! I followed the directions exactly, and it worked perfectly. I can’t judge how “authentic” this recipe is, and I’m not really looking for authenticity. I just want something that tastes good and is easy to make. This recipe fits the bill. Thank you!

  63. Linda Groshart

    Made these for a British Beer tasting, but used mini muffin tins and half a little smokie. Was a perfect bite sized snack with the beer.

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