Roast Dinners Are Everywhere—Here's How to Make One At Home

Popular in Britain for centuries, this cozy comfort food meal is having a renaissance. We reveal why, plus share recipes to recreate one at home.

Traditional English roast dinner plate

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Despite the fact that Sunday roast dinners have been a tradition in Britain since at least 1485 (when King Henry VII was said to have planted the seed for the Sunday feast as a way to break the fast after church), there were many years in the recent past when trend analysts thought the custom was a culinary falling star. 

Back in 2019, our friends at Food & Wine declared Sunday roast the “ultimate home-cooked meal.” With fewer folks cooking multi-course menus in the early 2000s, relying on convenience foods and opting for more restaurant visits instead, the ritual of the Sunday roast dinner seemed to be losing a bit of steam. 

This was true until three culinary trendsetters changed the tide and triggered a legit Sunday roast dinner renaissance.

First, perfectly-timed with the pandemic when we were spending more time at home and up for more “project cooking” recipes, Ina Garten shared a preview of her then-upcoming cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, in May 2020. A picture of Garten-friend and actor Emily Blunt’s English Roasted Potatoes caused such an uproar that fans crashed the Barefoot Contessa website. So many Instagram followers flocked to snag the recipe—which was part of Blunt’s Sunday roast dinner tradition—that Garten felt inspired to post an apology about the website’s temporary absence: “We're fixing it now. Try again soon,” the celebrity chef, author, entertaining ace, and BHG contributor wrote. “They're worth it!! Xxxx."

A few years later, a third female force entered the conversation and officially put Sunday roast dinners back on the map in 2023. TikTok creator Brittany Miller, aka @brittanyhmiller, regularly started sharing her twists on the tradition. Racking up millions of views and thousands of comments per Sunday roast dinner post, plus a slew of other creators following suit by sharing their own videos, it’s clear that we’re craving more roast and all of the fixings.

What Is Sunday Roast Dinner?

A “proper” Sunday roast dinner typically includes a roast of some sort (beef, lamb, chicken, and/or turkey), plus Yorkshire pudding (aka popovers or “yorkies”), roasted potatoes, gravy, and vegetables. The richness of the menu and the meat-plus-many-sides concept is somewhat reminiscent of American Thanksgiving. However, in Britain, this is enjoyed much more than once per year; in fact, some restaurants offer it daily and many families or friend groups make it a weekly tradition. 

A 1,009-person survey by the London-based data and consulting company Kantar reveals that 84% of U.K. residents consider roast potatoes “essential” as part of a Sunday roast dinner. (No wonder Blunt’s spuds briefly broke the internet.) The potato side dish is so beloved, in fact, that it has developed its own nickname: “crispy roasties.”

For the vegetables, carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, parsnips, cauliflower, peas, and green beans are classic counterparts to the roast, yorkies, and crispy roasties.

RELATED: 2024 Food Trends You’re About to See Everywhere 

How to Make Sunday Roast Dinner

To recreate a Sunday roast dinner any time of the week and at any place on the map, start by picking your protein. Our Beef Tenderloin with Parmesan-Herb Stuffing comes with a luscious beef gravy that would check off two recipes in one as part of your Sunday roast dinner. Or consider pairing that same beef-dripping-and-wine sauce with Roast Beef with Rosemary or Peppercorn Roast Beef with Herbed Yorkshire Puddings. If red meat isn’t your jam, try one of our foolproof method for roasting a whole chicken or our Classic Roast Turkey instead. For the white meat mains, we recommend topping things off with one of the poultry-based gravies in our gravy recipe guide.

Next, it’s time for the other the carbohydrate complements. This Popover recipe is a fan-favorite; one says, “I’ve used it for years!” For the potatoes, our Fried Smashed Potatoes are our top recommendation. They follow the same boil-then-roast method as Blunt’s crispy roasties.

Round things out with your choice of any or all of the following vegetables: Sticky Roasted Carrots with Citrus, Brined Skillet-Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic-Roasted Broccoli, Pan-Roasted Cabbage, Carrot, and Celery Root, Carrot and Parsnip Swirl, Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower, and Roasted Green Beans with Beets, Feta, and Walnuts.

Then light some candles, pop open some wine, and raise a glass to a feast well fixed—and a “newstalgic” new routine.

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