How to make traditional Toad-in-the-hole and +2 versions recipes

Homemade and special recipes here! An English classic that is sure to appeal to you, the Toad-in-the-hole, and some special ways to make it. Let's cook together!

Even though its name is strange, as well as the names of other English dishes, we don't have to be afraid to bite a toad during the family lunch. Put simply, the Toad-in-the-hole is a traditional English dish consisting of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, spiced with rosemary and served with onion gravy and vegetables, especially with peas.

Classic homemade Toad in the hole

Classic homemade Toad in the hole. - Source: By Jerry Pank - originally posted to Flickr as Toad in the hole, CC BY 2.0,

The origin of the Toad-in-the-hole isn't clear, but we know it's been around since at least the middle of the eighteenth century. It became the favourite dish of middle class English families relatively fast, despite the upper crust of old English society snubbed and reviled the dish, considering it vulgar, uncivilized, and an affront to British cuisine.

There are also a lot of questions about the special name of the food. Let's face it, life would be more colourful if fast food restaurants gave their dishes similarly imaginative names. What has toads got to do with a popular dish? The answer is very simple: directly nothing in the world. But if we have a sizable dose of imagination, it may refer to the way toads wait for their prey in their holes, making their heads visible on the earth surface, just like the sausages peep through the batter.

On the other hand, we have a more imaginative conception of how the food got its name comes from the beautiful coastal village of Alnmouth in Northumberland, where it was invented to celebrate a notorious golf tournament. This is how the story unfolds: a toad surprisingly pushed out a golf player's ball from the 18th hole, and after this happened the toad poked its head out from in it, which leads to the surprise of the player and the laughter of those who saw the unfortunate event.

Due to the simplicity and delicacy of the food, it has rightly become popular in the Anglo-Saxon countries as well as in many former British colonies where British culture has left its mark permanently. And nowadays, in the 21st century, when the information can flow with speed and freedom like never before, this dish has embarked on a world-conquering journey. And thanks to the simplicity of the food, people can further shape and improve the preparation of the Toad-in-the-hole to make it even more suitable for their own tastes.

Well, here lies a fast and good recipe for a

Classic homemade Toad-in-the-hole recipe


  • 180 g of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 4 sausages (the best choices are the British Bangers)
  • 3 large eggs
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 350 ml (1 and half cup) whole milk


  • 1. First we must make the batter. Sift the flour into a big bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs and a little milk. Blend to a smooth paste, then gradually whisk in the remaining milk until the batter has the pouring consistency of cream. Then add the chopped parsley and rosemary with the salt and pepper, and whisk again.
  • 2. Coat the bottom and sides of the pan with the olive oil, then put the empty pan on the rack. Preheat the oven with the dish in it to 220oC.

  • 3. Cook the sausages for 10-15 minutes until brown on all sides.
  • 4. When the sausages have browned pull the oven rack out a bit, and pour the batter over the sausages.
  • 5. Return to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes at 220oC until the batter is well risen and golden.

Onion gravy

The Toad-in-the-hole is usually served with onion gravy, so here I present a quick and easy recipe for making a delicious caramelised onion gravy as well.

Toad-in-the-hole with Onion Gravy

Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy is a typical winter food. - Source: By Annie Mole - originally posted to Flickr as Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy, CC BY 2.0,

Ingredients for the onion gravy

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium sized red onions (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 150 g sugar
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 g picked thyme
  • pinch of salt


  • 1. Heat the olive oil on a low heat in a saucepan and add the onions and salt.
  • 2. Add the sugar when the onions are softened and translucent, then increase the heat. Keep the onions moving until they get a deep caramelized brown colour.
  • 3. Add the balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and picked thyme, then reduce the liqueur by half. Add it to the premade gravy.

There are so many ways to prepare this popular food today that it would be difficult to count. As many people or families as there are, each has its own tastes and needs. I will try to present a few different perspectives for the preparation of the Toad-in-the-hole below.

Toad-in-the-hole with sweet potato and red onion

Some people say sweet potato makes everything better, and maybe they're right. Although sausages, sweet potato and cooked onion are also delicious meals separately, they're able to make this food even more wonderful together.

In terms of ingredients, you only need two extra pieces of sweet potatoes (small sized) and one piece of red onion. Cut them into wedges and put them into the oven with the sausages, such as the third step in the preparing method of the original recipe.

When the sausages get their brown colour on all their sides the sweet potatoes and the onion wedges will be also ready. From this point you can continue the methods like in the original recipe.

Toad-in-the-hole without sausages? The answer is vegetables.

Yes, we can do it. We can make a great Toad-in-the-hole with no sausages, but vegetables. And finally it is tasty as well.

What do you need instead of sausages?

  • 2 small carrots (cut into 2-inch length)
  • 1 medium onion (cut into 1-inch-thick wedges)
  • 2 garlic cloves (sliced)
  • 2 ounces of haricots verts or thin green beans
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil

First of all, set a steamer basket in a medium saucepan filled with one inch of water. Then add the carrots, cover and steam over high heat until just tender, about four minutes will be enough.

Unlike in the third step of the original method put the onion, garlic and a generous pinch of salt into a large oiled skillet, and then cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the onion just starts to soften, it is about three minutes. After this you need to add the haricots verts and cook, stirring, until the onion is lightly browned and the beans are just softened, it is about three to four minutes. Add the carrots, tomatoes, basil, rosemary and cook, stirring, until hot, about one minute. Season the vegetables with salt and black pepper.

Finally pour the batter evenly into the hot pan and scatter the vegetable mixture on its top. After these steps you can bake and finish it just like in the original recipe.

You can find some pictures about Toad-in-the-hole with sweet potato and red onion here: Sausage, sweet potato and red onion toad-in-the-hole with mustard gravy

Spicy meatball Toad-in-the-hole recipe

If you love the meat but not the sausages, here is a spicy meatball Toad-in-the-hole recipe:

Ingredients for the meatballs:

  • 150 g sourdough bread without the crusts (cut into 1 cm cubes)
  • 140 ml whole milk
  • 550 g minced pork
  • 70 g bacon (very finely chopped)
  • 1 small onion (grated)
  • 1/2 tablespoon grounded sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1,5 tablespoons parsley (finely chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1,5 rosemary sprigs
  • 65 ml olive oil

In the first step of the preparation method of the meatballs you have to soak the bread in the milk in a bowl and then wait until the liquid is absorbed, it is about 5-10 minutes. Once the bread has absorbed the milk, break the bread cubes into a lumpy mash with your hands or a spoon. After this step mix the minced pork, finely chopped bacon, onion, parsley, garlic, sweet pepper, cayenne pepper and lemon zest with a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of black pepper in a large bowl. In the next step, add the bread soaked in the milk and knead the mixture with your hands until the consistency is the same everywhere. Shape the mixture into 10 meatballs of the same size.

You can find a video and some pictures about Toad-in-the-hole with meatballs here: Meatball in the Hole

Pour the olive oil into a large pan and place the meatballs in it at equal distances. Then place the pan into the preheated oven (step 2 in the original recipe) and bake for about 10 minutes. After this, transfer the meatballs to a bowl covered with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Meanwhile, clean the pan of the liquid released from the meatballs, oiled it again, put the meatballs back, and you can continue the methods from step 4 of the original recipe.

Here is the video, how Jamie Oliver make Toad in the Hole:

Enjoy your meal! :)

December 8, 2020