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Survey reveals most cooked meals

Roast dinner tops list of most cooked meal

Brits’ favourite dishes and greatest cooking concerns revealed by Opies

  • Comfort foods spaghetti bolognese, curry and casserole among Top 10 favourite meals made at home
  • 62% of people are scratch cooking at least 4 days a week
  • Over half of Brits, however, are cooking the same menu each week and even more are looking for small ways to improve their midweek meal choice – and now we are more at home this is more pertinent than ever

The lid has been lifted on the nation’s cooking habits, concerns and favourite meals – with a classic roast dinner taking the top spot of Britain’s most popular home-cooked dish.

The survey, by Opies, found almost two-thirds (62%) of Brits are cooking a main meal from scratch at least four nights a week, increasing to 69% for those aged 55 and over. However, the survey also reveals that over half of us (55%) tend to cook the same meals each week, and 58% saying they are looking for ways to make small changes to their repertoire. Interestingly, despite food being the second most popular category on Instagram with five million Instagram posts in the first quarter of 2019 (source: Fanpage Karma), over a quarter (28%) of GB adults say they are either bored or very bored with their weekday meal choices.

The Opies’ survey has revealed, from a list of dishes, the top 10 meals that UK households make on a regular basis¹.

  1. Roast Dinner – 59%
  2. Pasta and Sauce – 50% (excludes pasta bake)
  3. Curry – 49% (includes Thai and Indian)
  4. Spaghetti Bolognese – 49%
  5. Stir Fry – 41%
  6. Casserole – 35%
  7. Cottage Pie / Shepherd’s Pie – 33%
  8. Chilli Con Carne – 33%
  9. Bangers & Mash – 32%
  10. Fish & Chips – 26%

Respondents were also asked to share what they take into consideration when deciding what to eat. Unsurprisingly time to prepare is the top consideration (56%), with health (51%), cost (47%) and convenience (47%) all playing their part.

Regional variations: 

  • In Wales, nearly two-thirds of residents (61%) are cooking the same meal each week and the Welsh love cooking a curry more than any other regional British household.
  • Almost 1 in 3 (30%) Scottish people say they are bored or very bored with their weekday meal choices.
  • 62% of Londoners claim they are looking for ways to make small changes to their home cooked dinner menu repertoire.
  • Those living in the North West are the most prolific scratch cookers, with 68% of respondents claiming they cook this way at least four nights a week. 
  • Over two-thirds of people living in the South East are cooking from scratch at least 4 nights a week. They are also the largest lovers of a Roast Dinner with 69% of households making this classic at least once a fortnight.
  • Spaghetti Bolognese is loved by those living in the South West of England more than any other regional British household.
  • The largest makers of a homemade pasta and sauce dish live in the East of England. 
  • Residents of Yorkshire and Humber are the largest number of homemade pasta bake makers.

Easy and cost-effective ways to elevate Britain’s Top 10 Favourite Meals

1. Roast Dinner surplus into a Leftover Sandwich: A quick and delicious way to use up cold meats with the addition of Swiss cheese, and a layer of Opies Cocktail Gherkins for extra crunch and tang. For indulgence, finish with a good dollop of mustard and mayonnaise.

 2. Pasta & Sauce – upgrade to Linguine with Cheese, Pickled Walnuts & HerbsStir soft cheese into cooked pasta with lots of chopped herbs, then add some finely chopped Opies Pickled Walnuts to really intensify the flavour of the dish. This is a favourite amongst children and adults alike.

 3. Spaghetti Bolognese – be bold with a couple of added extras. Add some Opies capers and cocktail onions to a traditional tomato sauce to intensify flavour and create a welcome crunch. To save time, or perhaps for Meat free Mondays, try Opies’ recipe for Roasted Pepper Tomato Sauce, which can be batch cooked and frozen for added convenience.

4. Curry – change it up with a one-pot recipe: As a step-up, why not make a quick and easy Chicken & Lemon Biryani? Full of fresh, zesty flavour from the Opies Sliced Lemons, this one-pot recipe also saves on washing up.

5. Stir Fry – upgrade with a luxury take on a fake away: Rather than make a trip to the takeaway or await a delivery, recreate a Sweet & Sour Stir Fry at home. Opies recommend adding Stem Ginger in Syrup for an easy yet surprising way to add both sweetness and subtle spiciness to the stir fry.

6. Casserole – cheer up a Chicken or Turkey CasseroleNothing beats a warming casserole. For a time-saving option, Opies suggest using cooked chicken in the dish. Adding Pickled Walnuts creates a depth of flavour that perfectly complements the meat and root vegetables.

7. Cottage / Shepherd’s Pie – it’s easy to elevate this British classic. Follow Opies’ recommendation and Pickled Walnuts to the meaty sauce to make a rich flavour reminiscent of Worcestershire sauce. Top with grated potato and parsnip for a decorative finish that has extra crunch.

 8. Chilli Con Carne – calm down the spice but increase the taste. Some like it hot and some don’t? For those in the household who prefer a milder meal, top the homemade chilli with cocktail gherkins: they deliver on taste and offer a crunchy texture. Anyone who prefers to turn up the heat should stick to the jalapenos and additional sliced fresh chillies!

9. Bangers & Mash – make a moreish onion gravy all the more richer by throwing in some small, silky cocktail onions. It will transform the overall taste of this family favourite. After all, a really rich onion gravy is the perfect partner to soft mashed potato and slightly charred sausages.

 10. Fish & Chips – transform with homemade Tartare Sauce which can be made in super-quick time. Opies suggest mixing mayonnaise with lots of capers and gherkins to deliver a gentle, natural saltiness to the sauce.

 Chicken Biryani Leftover Sandwich Cropped Thatched Cottage Pie


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,077 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23rd-24th November 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

¹ Regular basis means preparing the dish at least once a fortnight


Splat Marketing & PR is a boutique food PR agency that provides trade and consumer PR for Bennett Opie Limited. Based in Staffordshire, we specialises in PR  and reaching out to trade, consumer and digital titles. We can also help with marketing planning and devising a strategy for effective brand communications.