English Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy Recipe

This classic British pub dish is rich and comforting, perfect for soaking up a belly full of brown ale.

English bangers and mash with onion gravy

Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

Why It Works

  • Mild pork sausage doesn’t overpower the flavors of the gravy and potatoes. 
  • An onion-infused gravy adds texture and flavor to the dish.

Bangers and mash are a public house classic, some fatty sausages with buttery potatoes perfect for soaking up an afternoon's worth of ale. An inexpensive way to fill up your stomach, the classic cheap banger has given way to today's gastropubs replacing the fatty pork sausage with anything from spiced lamb to chicken-and-apple adaptations of the classic—although you can still find classic versions of this popular dish throughout Britain as a mainstay of pub menus.

Onion gravy is the simple sauce that normally tops the pile of sausage and mash. There are many versions of this gravy but the most important part of this simple sauce is making sure your onions are a deep even brown with no scorching. There is no real secret on how to properly cook up your onions; just keep an eye on them and toss them often to make sure they cook evenly.

close up view of brown onion gravy in saucepan

Serious Eats

Once you've figured out your onions it's a matter of stock. I've called for beef stock in this recipe, but if you have some good chicken or even vegetable stock, use that instead. Just keep in mind that using a vegetable stock will result in a thinner final gravy.

Finding some proper bangers can be challenging depending on where you are living. If your area has a good butcher, that's always a good place to start when searching out sausages. If, after much searching, you find yourself without bangers (and without the proper equipment to make a batch yourself), then in a pinch substitute any sort of plain, fatty pork sausage. Bratwurst always seems closer to a proper banger than a mild Italian sausage in my mind. But use your own judgment.

October 17, 2012

Recipe Facts

Active: 35 mins
Total: 35 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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Ingredients

  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

  • Kosher salt

  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup milk

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 3 cups sliced onions)

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons flour

  • 2 1/2 cups store-bought or homemade low-sodium beef or chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 8 bangers (about 2 pounds, see notes)

Directions

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Season well with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and place back in saucepan, add 3 tablespoons butter and ⅔ cup milk, and mash with a potato masher, adding more milk if a looser consistency is desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

    Potatoes in a pot, then mashed

    Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

  2. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Add onions and bay leaf and cook, stirring often, until onions are brown, about 15 minutes.

    Onions and bay leaf cooking in a pan

    Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

  3. Sprinkle with flour and mix until flour is evenly incorporated with onions. Stirring constantly, slowly pour stock over onion mixture. Bring to a simmer over high heat, stirring often, then lower heat to medium and cook until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

    Flour being added to the onions, then stock. Mixture is simmered in pan

    Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

  4. Heat vegetable oil in a large stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Reduce heat to medium-low. Place bangers in the skillet and cook until browned on one side, about 5 minutes; flip bangers and cover. Cook until bangers are fully cooked, about 6 minutes longer.

    Sausage cooking in a pan

    Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

  5. Divide mash between 4 plates, place 2 bangers on each pile of mash, and top with onion gravy. Serve with brown ale and extra gravy and strong mustard passed alongside.

    Sausage topped with onion gravy served on mashed potatoes

    Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

Special Equipment

Nonstick skillet, stainless steel skillet.

Notes

Bangers are a British pork sausage. If they are unavailable, any mild pork sausage can be used in their place.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
524 Calories
27g Fat
61g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 524
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 13g 64%
Cholesterol 53mg 18%
Sodium 1022mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 61g 22%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 24mg 119%
Calcium 141mg 11%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 1440mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)