Hands up if you think breakfast is the best meal of the day? Especially if you are staying at a hotel. Have you ever woken up excited to go down to the hotel’s breakfast buffet to indulge yourself? I know I have. Well, whenever you are in the United States, there are some specific dishes you may get at hotels or diners for breakfast. In this blog post, we will dive into the American breakfast vocabulary. I recommend you check out our post about how to order coffee in English after you read this. I mean, is it even possible to have breakfast without a cup of coffee? Enjoy!
Types of breakfast foods with English names
Eating habits vary according to where people live. It all depends on the culture, the products that are available in the area, and even the weather. Here in Brazil, where I live, breakfast consists of bread with cheese and ham, cheese bread, fruits, and different cakes. Eggs are also popular, but bacon certainly is not.
In England, for instance, a typical breakfast is fried eggs, sausages, tomatoes, beans, and some bread. French people would eat fresh croissants for breakfast. Australians prefer a spread called “vegemite.” They like to put it on toast.
Today we will explore what Americans like to have for breakfast with some information about restaurant vocabulary. And share with us! Tell us in the comment section the country you are from and what kind of breakfast food is common there.
Typical American breakfast menu with pictures
The United States is a huge country, which means people have different habits according to the region where they live in. In the South, for instance, biscuits and gravy are very popular, while California is known for healthier options, such as fruit smoothies and avocado toast.
Another meal that is common in the USA is brunch (breakfast + lunch). People usually have brunch later in the morning, around 11 a.m, and it can last until 3 p.m. It is common to have some kind of alcoholic drink with brunch. Mimosa, which is a drink made with sparkling wine and orange juice, are super popular. Other than that, the menu items are pretty similar to a normal American breakfast.
Let’s go ahead and check some vocabulary with this breakfast food list. These are all dishes you can find across the USA, although some might be more regional than others. Let’s take a look at what’s on the menu! Here is an American breakfast menu with pictures.
The classic breakfast
The most known combination for breakfast, Americans eat bacon and eggs almost every day. It is possible to prepare eggs in many ways, such as scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, poached eggs, sunny-side-up eggs (fried eggs), and omelets. People usually eat scrambled eggs or sunny-side-up eggs with their bacon strips.
What to ask for: the bacon and eggs
Where to get it: a diner, a restaurant, fast food restaurants
Something quick and sugary
You may think only kids eat cereal, but that’s not true. Cereal is an easy breakfast, so adults are big fans of it as well. Common cereals in the United States are Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Froot Loops, and Lucky Charms. You often eat cereal in a bowl with some milk.
What to ask for: A bowl of cereal
Where to get it: a diner or a grocery store, not typically available at fast-food restaurants
Fresh or frozen, and a little spicy
Americans are crazy about Mexican food. The burrito, which is one of the most famous Mexican foods, is a flour tortilla filled with chicken or meat. The filling for breakfast burritos is a little different, though. You can use scrambled eggs, eggs, cheese, ham, bacon, and sausage. I was surprised when I learned about these, but I can guarantee you they are pretty tasty.
What to ask for: a breakfast burrito
Where to get it: a diner, a restaurant, a food truck or in the frozen section at a grocery store
If you feel like eating eggs but you don’t want them the usual way, eggs benedict are a good option. It consists of an English muffin with bacon, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce. I love them. You should definitely give it a try at home!
What to ask for: the eggs benedict
Where to get it: you should look for this on the menu at a nice restaurant. The hollandaise sauce is best when it’s made from scratch, so avoid this option at a fast-food restaurant.
Toast is a piece of sliced bread that you put in a toaster. It pops up after a couple minutes and it is transformed to this crisp, warm, brown piece of toast. Try this with butter, cream cheese, jam, peanut butter, almond butter or anything else that suits your fancy. The possibilities are endless!
What to ask for: a slice of toast
Types: white bread, wheat bread, rye, sourdough
Where to get it: at a diner or the ingredients at a grocery store
Upgrade that toast!
French toast is another way to eat bread. You can easily make this at home with a hot pan, some eggs, milk, bread and toppings, of course. Just dip the bread in the egg mixture, fry it up, and then cover with cinnamon, melted butter, fruit, syrup or powdered sugar.
What to ask for: the French toast
Where to get it: a diner, a restaurant, possibly at a fast-food restaurant or just make it at home!
A short stack
Pancakes are my favorite. They are made of flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, salt, milk, and butter. After you cook them, it is common to piled them up and top it up with butter, maple syrup, or fruits. You can also add chocolate chips to the batter. In order to flip the pancake, you will need a spatula. Serve them warm and enjoy yourself!
What to ask for: a short stack (of pancakes)
Where to get it: diners and restaurants usually have this on the menu. You may also find it at fast food restaurants.
From the hot iron
Waffles are sweet treats and you can make them by mixing together flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla extract. In order to make them, you will need a waffle iron. I love to add whipped cream to my waffles, but you can definitely be creative with your toppings.
What to ask for: a waffle
Where to get it: diners and restaurants usually have this on the menu. You may also make it at home using a waffle iron.
If you like French fries, you’ve got to try hash browns. I had never heard of hash browns until the year I studied abroad in the United States. Hash browns are shredded potatoes that are pan fried. They are delicious, but usually they are a side to many other breakfast dishes.
What to ask for: a side of hash browns
Where to get it: diners, restaurants, fast food restaurants or from the frozen section at the grocery store
Nothing says southern food like an order of biscuits and gravy. This dish emerged in the late 1700s after the Revolutionary War for American independence (from England). People had little money and hard days of work out in the fields. And so, became popular the biscuits and gravy which are made from flour, milk, black pepper, and flavored with some sort of meat, usually sausage, ground beef or bacon. You may love the flavor but beware, this dish piles on the calories!
What to ask for: the biscuits and gravy
Where to get it: If you are in the American south (think New Orleans, Atlanta, or Charlotte) you can’t miss this. Or, look for a southern-cooking restaurant to get an order of this done right.
New York-style breakfast
I’m obsessed with bagels –– and New York City is the best place in the world to have them. Bagels are a type of bread which are shaped into the form of a ring. After that, they are boiled in water and then baked. There are several types of bagels, such as everything bagels, cinnamon raisin bagels, plain bagels, poppyseed bagels, sesame bagels, and many more. There’s a wide range of toppings you can add to your bagel. I absolutely love them with cream cheese and smoked salmon.
What to ask for: a (plain) bagel with cream cheese or a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon
Where to get it: a bagel shop or any cafe will have them
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L.A.’s favorite breakfast food
This is one of the healthiest options for breakfast. In my opinion, this is also super tasty and easy to make at home! You will need a toast and some avocado. You can also add a fried egg on top of the avocado, which tastes awesome. The avocado toast has become very popular in California (think San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego), which is a state known for healthier options when it comes to food.
What to ask for: an avocado toast
Where to get it: you can get one of those at a restaurant or make them at home (it’s super easy!)
If you like sandwiches…
This is my go-to order whenever I have breakfast at a fast-food restaurant. The sausage and egg sandwiches are made with English muffins or ciabatta buns. The filling is sausage and eggs, of course.
What to ask for: a sausage and egg sandwich
Where to get it: McDonald’s has a pretty good sausage and egg sandwich. You can find them at diners or fast-food restaurants.
Which of these breakfast foods have you already eaten? And which ones would you like to eat someday? Remember that you can definitely make an American breakfast at home. Most ingredients are common everywhere and you can find tons of recipes online. We hope this American breakfast vocabulary is helpful to you! Also, make sure to check out this blog post on how to learn about cooking using YouTube.