Roast beef
CourseMain course
Place of originEngland
Serving temperatureHot or Cold
Main ingredientsBeef

Roast beef is a traditional dish of beef that is roasted. Essentially prepared as a main meal, the leftovers are often used in sandwiches and sometimes are used to make hash. In the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, roast beef is one of the meats traditionally served at Sunday lunch or dinner, although it is also often served as a cold cut in delicatessen stores, usually in sandwiches. A traditional side dish to roast beef is Yorkshire pudding.

Roast beef is a signature national dish of England and holds cultural meaning for the English dating back to the 1731 ballad "The Roast Beef of Old England". The dish is so synonymous with England and its cooking methods from the 18th century that a French nickname for the English is "les Rosbifs".[1]


Despite the song[clarification needed], roast beef was not generally eaten in medieval England: "no medieval feast featured ... roast beef, even in England".[2]

Culinary arts

The beef on weck sandwich is a tradition in western New York dating back to the early 1800s.[3] Roast beef is sometimes served with horseradish or horseradish sauce. In Denmark, it is mostly used in open sandwiches, called smørrebrød.

Roast beef sandwich

Main article: Roast beef sandwich

The roast beef sandwich commonly comprises bread, cold roast beef (either the leftovers from a homemade dinner or delicatessen meat), lettuce,[citation needed] tomatoes, and mustard, although finding cheese, horseradish, fresh/powdered chili pepper, and red onion would not be uncommon.[4]



  1. ^ "Why do the French call the British 'the roast beefs'?". BBC. Retrieved 25 November 2014
  2. ^ Rachel Fulton, "'Taste and See That the Lord Is Sweet' (Ps. 33:9): The Flavor of God in the Monastic West", The Journal of Religion 86:2:169–204 (2006) doi:10.1086/499638, p. 171
  3. ^ Piatti-Farnell, Lorna (1 June 2013). Beef: A Global History. Reaktion Books. ISBN 9781780231174.
  4. ^ "" Archived 24 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine