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British Roast Beef Dinner

Updated on September 14, 2014

Cooking a Roast Beef Dinner: A British Tradition

Who says British food is bland and boring?

Not me!

If you've ever tasted a well cooked slice of roast beef accompanied by a perfectly roasted potato and parsnip, a Yorkshire pudding, and lightly steamed fresh vegetables, well, then you know the fallacy of that statement.

The Sunday roast lunch is a time honoured tradition in Britain. Roast chicken with bacon rolls, sausages, and bread sauce. Roast lamb with mint sauce. Roast pork with crackling and applesauce. By far though, the most popular Sunday roast has got to be roast beef with Yorkshire pudding.

roast beef topside joint
roast beef topside joint

Finding the best beef joint

Quality ingredients = quality eating

To create a really good tasting roast dinner, you have to start with a good piece of beef. Look for a nice sized roasting joint from the hindquarter or rump of the beef cow. It should be a dark red colour with a nice layer of fat. Don't be put off by the anti-fat crowd, you need that fat to give your roast flavour.

You'll want a nice size roast as well. If you get something too small it will be dry. A joint that is around 2.5 kg/5 lbs will give you enough meat for 4 people, plus leftovers for another meal and a few sandwiches..

This is a good time to mention that the best place to buy a joint of beef is not the large commercial supermarket but an independent butcher. They can advise you and cut exactly the size piece you want. They are also less likely to have injected that joint of beef with water to bulk it out.

Once you get the beef home, store it in the fridge on a plate. Keep it covered. If not with the wrap it came in, then wrap it in greaseproof paper or unwaxed baking parchment. When you are ready to roast it, take it out of the fridge and let it sit, loosely covered, in the roasting tin for at least 30 minutes.

I like to cover the top of my beef joint with a mixture of crushed juniper berries, crushed black peppercorns, mustard powder, and salt.

It's Time to Cook

cooked roast beef
cooked roast beef

It's Time to Cook

  • Decide when you want to eat.
  • Take a look at your beef joint. How much does it weigh? This will help you determine the cooking time.
  • For rare beef, cook it for 20 minutes per pound (or per 500grams) plus 20 minutes.
    For medium rare, 25 minutes per pound (500grams) plus 25 minutes.
    For well done, 30 minutes per pound (500 grams) plus 30 minutes.

A 5 pound beef joint, cooked for 25 minutes per pound plus 25 minutes would mean a cooking time of 150 minutes, or 2 hours 30 minutes. If you want to eat at 7PM, that means you need to put the roast into the oven by 4:30PM. There are those who say the meat needs time to rest after removing it from the oven, but frankly, I've never noticed much difference. If you do want to allow for resting time, put it in the oven 15 minutes earlier and take it out 15 minutes earlier.

About 10 minutes before putting the joint into the oven, turn it on to gas mark 7/425F/220C.

Adjust the racks in the oven so that one is on the lowest or next lowest rung and one is at the top with a clearance of at least 5 inches.

Uncover the roast and using a sharp knife, slash the fat being careful not to cut any string used to tie the roast together. You can rub a mixture of cracked black pepper and salt into the fat as well if you wish.

Personally, I make a rub using juniper berries, mustard powder, salt, and pepper and rub that into the beef joint. Place about 1/4 cup of water into the roasting tray and cover the entire pan and joint with baking foil.

Place the beef joint in the oven on the lower rack. Take it out one hour into roasting, uncover it and baste it with any juices that have been released. Cover it again, turn it, and return it to the oven.

When it has 45 minutes cooking time left, remove the foil so the meat can brown.

Treat yourself to a Roasting Joint - The perfect main course for your next celebration

Organic Grass Fed Beef Premium (3) Roast Package (Chuck, Brisket, Tri-Tip)
Organic Grass Fed Beef Premium (3) Roast Package (Chuck, Brisket, Tri-Tip)

I'm drooling just thinking about how delicious this beef would taste.


You can't have a roast beef without one of these.

Properly cooked Yorkshire pudding
Properly cooked Yorkshire pudding

Yorkshire pudding

Again, very easy to make. Not so easy sometimes to get it to rise. All you need are eggs, flour, and milk. And a pinch of salt.

You'll need 1 egg for every 2 people eating. Whisk the egg/s until frothy. Add 2 heaped tablespoons of flour for every 1 egg. Add enough milk to make a thin batter. This should be thinner than American pancake batter, but thicker than crepe better. Add a pinch of salt. Whisk the batter until it is frothy. You want to get lots of air into the batter. Now, push it to the side of the counter out of the way and just let it sit for at least a half hour at room temperature.

This will take about 45 minutes to cook. Again, count back from when you want to eat the meal. Five minutes before cooking, put a small amount of fat, not oil and not a good spraying of anything in a can, into a baking dish. A 1 egg Yorkshire will fit easily into a 1/2 liter baking dish, 2 eggs into a 1 liter dish, and up from there. Put that into the oven and let it heat up until it is very hot, absolutely spitting.

Once heated, get a serving spoon and heat that under a running tap of hot water. Add one serving spoon full of hot water to the batter and whisk it briskly for 4 - 5 seconds. Pour it immediately into the hot dish over the fat and put it in the oven on the top rack. Now leave it alone until it has cooked.

Add some roasted vegetables

We like roasted potatoes and parsnips with beef at my house.

Peel and quarter 1 potato per person and 1 medium sized parsnip for every 2 people.

Heat 1 tablespoon fat in a baking tray until very hot and sizzling. Add the prepared vegetables, turn once, and place in a hot oven for about 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn the potatoes and parsnips about halfway through the cooking time.

Add your vegetables - Gives the plate a bit of colour

You'll want a nice veggie to go with your roast dinner. Just about any vegetable will do here so choose among your favourites.

Look in your local farmer's market or independent shop for fresh, seasonal produce.

Of course, you could just grab a bag of wilted, overpriced, forced hot house grown vegetable from the grocery store. But for such a special meal, why would you want to?

If you don't have a steamer, you can cook the vegetables by simmering them gently in hot water. Leave the lid off the pan. Leaving the lid off helps the vegetables to retain their bright colours.Cook until they are soft but still retain a bit of crispness. There are very few things in this world worse than soggy veggies.

Putting it all together - It's dinner time.

Bring your beef out and carve enough slices off for everyone. One or two slices per person should be plenty. Drain any juices from the pan into a glass bowl. You can save the fat off the top to roast your veggies next time and to make your Yorkshire pudding. The jelly underneath can be used to make gravy or makes a nice treat for your 4 - legged friends.

Cut the Yorkshire into sections and put a bit on each plate. If done correctly, it will have nicely risen in the oven. The outer edges will be crunchy while the middle will be soft.

Divide the roasted vegetables up between everyone. Same with your green vegetable.

To top it off, put a teaspoon of horseradish sauce on the side of the plate to go with the beef.

And enjoy.

Why not make your own horseradish sauce

1 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1/2 tsp sugar

2 T double cream (whipping cream)

2 T freshly grated horseradish

Blend mustard and sugar together with cream. Add grated horseradish and vinegar. Mix well. Allow to stand for 1/2 hour before using.

Roasting Pans - make cooking dinner easier

Look for a sturdy, solid roasting pan. Plan on spending a bit of money for your pan. This should be an investment for your kitchen, and if you choose wisely you will be able to use that roasting pan for a lifetime.

Avoid any pan with a non-stick coating. I have found that they cannot stand up to the high heats used when cooking meats. Within a few months, most of the coating will have flaked off, some of that into your food.

Some roasting pans come with a rack. I took mine out and eventually threw it away, but if you want to cook your roast up out of it's juices, go ahead and use it. Cooking times will be the same.

Cuisinart MCP117-16BR MultiClad Pro Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack
Cuisinart MCP117-16BR MultiClad Pro Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack

This particular pan has gotten consistently high reviews at Amazon.


Now that I've got your juices flowing - sorry about that

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    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 

      4 years ago

      I was drooling over this lens. I love roast beef and fortunately my mother taught me how to cook it. My wife is a fabulous cook but this is the one area where I outshine her (very hard to do). Could be because I like it so much. Thanks for a great lens

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I once tried roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and the meal was just awesome! Seeing the above photos makes my mouth water!

    • Whatsittoyou profile image


      5 years ago from Canada

      I love roast beef and yorkshire pudding. In Canada you can even buy Yorkshire puddings in the freezer section already made. You just have to put them in the oven and heat them up. Which is great because as much as I love them I wasn't good at making them!

    • kevkev227 lm profile image

      kevkev227 lm 

      6 years ago

      Love a good roast and yorkshire pudding :)

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 

      6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      It's not Sunday without a roast dinner. I live in the US now but I still make sure to keep this tradition alive in my household.

    • NanLT profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from London, UK

      @baby-strollers: And many delicious puddings as well. Like this one.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      The brits deserve credit for yorkshire puddin' at least - if not much else.

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 

      6 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      British cuisine was for many years too underrated, but now is time to give it proper position. It is great cooking and you made great lens about some top representatives. Thumbs up!

    • paddyritz profile image


      7 years ago

      Some good hints and tips - well done!

    • debnet profile image


      7 years ago from England

      Yummy yum yum!!! Blessed by a ravenous Squid Angel ;)

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 

      7 years ago

      A lot of the traditional foods in Newfoundland came from our British ancestors. I love Yorkshire pudding with roast beef

    • fiftysquid profile image


      7 years ago

      Yummy, now I am going to have to phone up my Mum and tell what I want for Sunday! lol! Thanks and well done!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yum, roast beef has always been a firm family favourite. Will give the horse raddish a go on sunday. Cant wait. thanks

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for the ideas.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mmmmm, roast beef!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I think I actually smelled this cooking and I am getting so hungry. Your British Roast Beef Dinner sounds wonderful.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is definitely a mouth-watering lens ~ I love roast beef and your recipe looks yummy. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

    • norma-holt profile image


      7 years ago

      Special blessing and featured on April Fools Day Blessings, You are requested to serve roast dinner to all the squid angels today or pay our gas bill.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • jvsper63 profile image


      7 years ago

      That does look delicious. Maybe I will get my daughter to try it. I lost my touch..Thanks for sharing Nice Lens Joni

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      * grin * that Purple Star looks mighty fine sitting there!

    • Sydneyaus profile image


      7 years ago

      This is the real feel good food.

    • petermurray profile image

      Peter Murray 

      7 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      Growing up in New Zealand, we used to have a traditional Sunday roast based on the British roast, but with local vegetables - kumara (sweet potato) and yams. I'm getting hungry.

    • NanLT profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from London, UK

      @CliveAnderson LM: I can't think of a way to justify Yorkshire pudding being healthy (grin) but --

      roasted potatoes or other root vegetables - toss them in olive oil, sprinkle with some fresh thyme or rosemary (I'll just lay a sprig or two of rosemary on top frankly) and roast them that way - they'll be lower in fat that making a mash or a loaded jacket potato with butter and sour cream. And they taste delicious.

      Beef - most of the fat will cook out as it is roasting. You can invest in a roasting tray with a rack to hold the meat up out of the fat if it is a concern. Personally, I don't believe that red meat is unhealthy.

      Remember - all things in moderation, including moderation.

    • Susan300 profile image


      7 years ago

      Mmmm.... So hungry now!

    • CliveAnderson LM profile image

      CliveAnderson LM 

      7 years ago

      I simply love my sunday roast dinners, but in this day and age it all seems to have become a health issue with all the lovely roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding and cualiflower cheese. Even reading your lens had my mouth watering so thank you for that... Great lens, thank you.

      Warm Regards,


    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 

      7 years ago

      I could just eat this and it's 6.30am here in Oz. I am from the UK and roasts are not quite the same here. **Blessed** and featured on My Time as a Squid Angel :)

    • NanLT profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from London, UK

      @Lemming13: One jam roly poly coming right up.

      Just one of many dessert recipes you can find at Traditional British Puddings

    • Lemming13 profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm a Brit and I was raised on roast beef, yorkshires and two veg - delighted to find a lens which celebrates my favourite sunday meal! I often have broad beans and mushrooms as my two veg, though my dear old gran would never have approved (peas and carrots with beef, mushrooms only with chicken or bacon). I like to add steamed or fried onions to my gravy, too, for that extra tang. I think you should share the great British jam roly poly with the world as well!

    • norma-holt profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a wonderful lens and featured now on Holiday Cooking. Top marks and fav;d

    • Jhangora LM profile image

      Jhangora LM 

      7 years ago

      I love roasted meat. Tandoori Chicken is my favorite dish. I eat beef though I am a Hindu. Enjoyed it a lot in S Korea. Thanx for the delicious looking recipe.

    • natashaely profile image


      7 years ago

      I am cooking my roast now and came on here to get some tips, you make it sound wonderful, can't wait! Meat and veg from the farmshop, I find it cheaper in the long run, my bills are lower than my friends who go to the supermarket! I love the taste of it, far superior! Wonderful lens, just making the yorkshires now using your method, wish me luck :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks very much for all this great information Nan - it's really helpful! :-D

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have to tell you that my mouth is so watering right now and I can almost smell this wonderful meal! Great suggestions and directions to a perfect meal. Yorkshire Pudding must be similar to what we call popovers in the states.

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 

      7 years ago

      ~ Blessed >*

    • mannasugar profile image


      8 years ago

      It has been a while since I ate roast beef on a regular basis, I am going to start eating roast beef more often!

      Hey everyone: What meal options do you feel is the Healthiest?

    • spritequeen lm profile image

      spritequeen lm 

      8 years ago

      Sounds delicious! I'm hungry now - thanks for sharing :-)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Try finding a nice slice of beef abroad let alone a roast potato! Thanks for making me proud to be British!

    • jolou profile image


      8 years ago

      I love roast beef dinners and yorkshire pudding is great with lots of gravy.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am now starving.... ;P

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • CastleRoyLisa profile image


      8 years ago from Rhode Island

      this looks wonderful great lens it made me drool as well.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      8 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I'm still 'drooling' over this menu for British Roast Beef Dinner since my visit in June. Now that I've been granted 'Angel Wings', I just had to return to give you a ~~SquidAngel Blessing~~ for a delightful menu and delicious recipe.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Oh my, what a totally yummy lens! * wipes drool from monitor * LOL I've always loved Yorkshire pudding, that is definitely addicting!

    • Surreymagic profile image


      8 years ago

      Your lens is so good it's making me crave a lovely roast dinner! I love a British Sunday roast and so many pubs now do a decent one it's hard to resist.

      I have added your lens to my "British Squidoo lenses" lens.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      8 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Yum... I shouldn't have read this while waiting for my dinner to cook -- now I'm 'drooling'. I LOVE roast beef and your whole menu here looks absolutely delicious! Would love to come over the next time you serve this meal :). Lovely lens!

    • NanLT profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from London, UK

      @Grawr: My dream kitchen, if we were ever to win the Euro Millions and I could afford a house with a big enough kitchen to make my dream kitchen, would have an Aga which would be absolutely perfect for slow-cooking meats.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A tip for roasting your meat, If you have the time try slow cooking it. Usually when we cook a roast we tend to prepare the meat and then slow roast it in the oven for about 4-5 hours.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      My mother-in-law used to make Yorkshire pudding and I loved it. I cook a pot roast that's really wonderful, but I need to try your Yorkshire pudding recipe with it.

    • sulcatamandy profile image


      8 years ago from Montana

      I love this lens! I am so hungry now. I would like to try to make some of the Yorkshire pudding! When I do, I will be sure to report back how it turned out! *5

    • Brookelorren LM profile image

      Brookelorren LM 

      9 years ago

      Great job! It looks tasty.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      Looks delicious! Nice work. I haven't had a good roast in a long time, but we have one in the freezer. Might be time to cook it up. Congrats on getting your wings! Squid Angel blessed.

    • perfumereviews lm profile image

      perfumereviews lm 

      9 years ago

      Sunday roast with cracklin' is the best!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      9 years ago from Canada

      I just visited AJs new lens on gravy. Kind of funny that the next one is for your delicious roast dinner. It's 7 a.m. in the morning and you folks are making me hungry for roast beef! Nicely done & Blessed By Brenda.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      This lens is a contestant in the Epicure Group May Awards ( Best of Luck!

    • debnet profile image


      9 years ago from England

      Where's the gravy? LOL!! A must for pouring into the centre of the Yorkshires...yum! Lenrolled to Fish & Chips ;) 5*****

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You have made me yearn for roast beef -- it looks truly delicious! ;)

    • Adrienne Jenkins profile image

      Adrienne Jenkins 

      9 years ago

      Mmmmmm Yorkshire Pudding

    • BlackroseBugg profile image

      Melanie Barniskis 

      9 years ago from Southern Oregon

      Hurry up Sunday! Been a fan of English books for years and always wondered what those yummy sounding dishes looked like! THANKS!

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • NanLT profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from London, UK

      [in reply to stargazer00] Many thanks for the award.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      9 years ago

      This roast beef dinner sounds wonderful! Welcome to the Hungry Squidz Choice Group. Please stop by the group and grab the blue ribbon for your lens!

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 

      9 years ago from PA

      Yummy. I love leftover roast beef for sanwiches.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      yummy! 5-stars for you!

      check out new updated lens!

      v power!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Ahh Nan,

      You triggered my taste buds,and guess what it is 4:37 am here in India.

      For the critique,call me over lunch, and I will let you know ! Kidding :P

      As for the promoting part, I guess you should check out this one


      You could drop by my lens and get the info on this one .

      let me know ,if you need any help ( I m a NEWER NEWBIE although,but I love to help people in whatever way I can ! )

      Let me ask you this , Why do you do what you do ,Nan ?

      I am using this data to better my lens (content wise) here That would follow in the next lens.



    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      9 years ago

      Another fine addition to Culinary Favorites From A to Z. Your roasted root vegetables look absolutely divine!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • TimeHacker profile image


      9 years ago

      Great start on squidoo, very nice and informative lens. Good work, 5* from me :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi Nan ~ I never knew what Yorkshire Pudding was - I will have to try it one time. Might I suggest rubbing the roast with some Nature's Seasonings and some Worchester sauce sprinkled on - a really nice taste.

      Even a beginer could follow your instructions. Very good and well written.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      yummmmmmmm...what time is dinner?


    • Sniff It Out profile image

      Sniff It Out 

      9 years ago

      Hi Nan, there's nothing better than roast beef and yorkshire pudding! It would be nice to see some more mouthwatering pictures of this dish and/or accompanyments in your lens (check out my free images lens for ideas on where to get them) I have lensrolled you to my Yorkshire Pudding lens and am pleased to welcome you to The Cooks Cafe group.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      9 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Hi Nan, Welcome to Squidoo! Your meal looks very scrumptious and not the least bit bland or boring!


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