Everything You Need To Know About Queen Elizabeth II's Favorite Foods

Queen Elizabeth II has reigned longer than any other royal in British history, and she is the second longest reigning monarch in the world. Her passing on September 7, 2022, marked the end of what's known as the "modern Elizabethan era." She served for seven decades on the throne and remained a steadfast reminder of British history, culture, and tradition. As Brooke Newman, a historian at Virginia Commonwealth University states, "when the British think about themselves and their best selves, they think about Queen Elizabeth. She's dignified, she's inscrutable. Her feathers are rarely ruffled. She's the face of the nation that they can be proud of" (via Smithsonian Magazine).

While the queen was personally known for several things — her effective wielding of brooches as per Town & Country, an impeccable taste in hats, her love of corgis — being a foodie was not chief among them. However, she definitely had her culinary go-to's. Here are some of Queen Elizabeth II's favorite dishes that you can try for yourself at home.

Sunday roast

According to Chef Darren McGrady, who served as the personal chef to the royals for 15 years, the queen was very fond of a Sunday roast (via British Heritage). Sunday roast is a long-standing British tradition that is still enjoyed today, whether at home or down at the pub.

The main part of a Sunday roast is, to use a British saying, exactly as it says on the tin: A roast. Specifically, a great big piece of roast meat. While roast beef is the most traditional option, it's not a requirement for the dish. You can use roast lamb, pork, or poultry, according to your preference. Even vegetarians and vegans can get in on the fun by using a meat substitute like seitan. When it comes to sides, BBC Good Food suggests potatoes, carrots, or another root vegetable, along with the beloved Yorkshire pudding. Oh, and don't forget the horseradish sauce! It's the preferred condiment for a proper Sunday roast.

For Elizabeth, Sunday roast meant traditional roast beef. According to an interview with Express, McGrady said she also liked her meat well done — never rare or medium rare. On Easter Sunday, though, the queen preferred roast lamb with seasonal vegetables and a compound salad — "just some lettuce and cucumber with a little mint or some grated carrot and coriander" (via My London). 

Chocolate biscuit cake

Elizabeth, or Lilibet as she was affectionately called by those close to her, loved chocolate. "The Queen was definitely a chocoholic, she loves dark chocolate," McGrady said in a March 2022 interview with international coffee retailer Coffee Friend. While she enjoyed treats like chocolate mousse et café (dark chocolate mousse with espresso coffee mixed in), her absolute favorite was Chocolate biscuit cake.

The cake is even something of a family tradition now — Prince William chose the very same for his groom's cake when he married Kate Middleton. The queen herself loved this cake so much that she reportedly had a slice of it every day with her afternoon tea, according to Hello! magazine. Chef McGrady said that she even traveled with the cake. According to an article on MyLondon, the chef brought a cake tin with him as he traveled between the various royal residences so that Her Majesty would never be denied a slice. Where do the biscuits come in, you might ask? Rich Tea biscuits — cookies to us Americans — are broken into small pieces and mixed into the thick chocolate batter.

Earl Grey tea

Fragrant with the scent of bergamot, Earl Grey was the queen's tea of choice, though she was also partial to a cup of Darjeeling or Assam. Her favorite brand was Twinings & Co., a 300-year-old tea company that's had a Royal Warrant since the reign of Queen Victoria (1819-1901), as per Royal Central.

The tea is said to be named for the second Earl Grey, who was given the recipe by an envoy from China. He liked it so much that he asked Richard Twining, head of Twinings & Co. and a director of the East India Company, to recreate it for him (via The British Museum). According to the Twinings & Co. American website, Earl Grey is a fresh-tasting tea with notes of citrus and bergamot.

The queen took her Earl Grey with a splash of milk and no sweetener, as per Travel & Leisure. Of course, she preferred it brewed the traditional way, "made with tea leaves in a teapot and poured into a fine bone china teacup," according to former royal butler Grant Harrod in Yahoo. Also, if you're still holding out your pinky while drinking tea, you should know that it's considered to be rude. (via Southern Living). 

Jam pennies

Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed afternoon tea every day. The service has been a tradition in England since the early 1840s when it was introduced as a small meal to tide people over until supper (via Afternoon Tea.co.uk). During afternoon tea, you can count on fancy snacks like finger sandwiches, sweets like cakes and pastries, and scones served with a lovely pot of tea.

When it came to teatime, the queen's favorites among the offerings were sweet sandwiches called jam pennies (via Daily Mail). Named for their diminutive size and a circular shape that reminds people of old English pennies, there's nothing particularly fancy about them. It's just a jam sandwich — bread, a bit of butter, and jam, cut into small circles (or similar shapes) for serving. These simple treats were a lifetime favorite of the queen's, with Chef McGrady stating that she enjoyed one every single day since she was five years old. According to Mirror, strawberry jam was her preference, especially when it was made from the fresh, seasonal strawberries that grow at Balmoral, the Scottish castle that serves as the royal family's summer home (and what is said to be the queen's favorite residence).

Tuna mayo sandwich

Do you enjoy a nice, simple tuna salad sandwich? How very royal of you! This lunchtime staple was another favorite of Queen Elizabeth II. The sandwich is known as tuna mayo in the UK. According to another former royal chef, Owen Hodgson, this common comestible was the sandwich she enjoyed most (via The U.S. Sun).

It had to be prepared exactly to her liking, of course. Hodgson told Hello! magazine that he made Her Majesty's "perfect" tuna mayo by "cutting the loaf lengthways, buttering both sides, adding the tuna-mayonnaise mixture and thinly sliced cucumber, with a crack of pepper." Then, you fold the lengths over and cut them into eight regular triangles, without the crust (the queen only ate her sandwiches with the crusts cut off). And chefs had to take care to not serve the queen's sandwiches as a square. Another former chef who was interviewed for the documentary "Secrets of the Royal Kitchen" explained, "The royals never have square sandwiches because tradition has it that anyone presenting them with pointed-edged food is trying to overthrow the throne of England" (via Express). 

Kellogg's cereal

What would you want for breakfast if you were royalty? Something rich and decadent, perhaps. But not for Queen Elizabeth II. Her preferred daily breakfast was a bowl of Kellogg's breakfast cereal — yes, that Kellogg's. Her two favorites were Special K and Corn Flakes. According to Vogue, she was even known to forego the milk and bowl and just snack straight out of the plastic container the cereals are stored in! She was so fond of the cereals that Kellogg's was granted a royal warrant by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen as a purveyor of cereals.

Chef McGrady said that Special K was truly her favorite cereal (via Express), while royal biographer Brian Hoey claimed it was Corn Flakes as explained in Delish. Either way, she was particular about her cereal, down to insisting that it be kept in a plastic container to maintain freshness (all the better for her snacking). She also enjoyed adding fresh fruit to it — maybe some of those Balmoral strawberries. Before her husband passed away, she would often enjoy her cereal with him as was reported in Hello! magazine. She also liked to read the newspaper while she enjoyed her breakfast — just like us commoners.

Cheddar cheese

There are several cheesemongers who are fit to serve the queen. Paxton & Whitfield, Britain's oldest cheese shop, has a royal warrant from Her Majesty, as does D. & F. McCarthy's, Deeside Deli LTD., and Selfridges & Co. Limited. But it's Dairy Crest Limited who can claim not just the warrant, but also Elizabeth's favorite cheese of all: Cathedral City Cheddar (via Food Network). Available in vintage, mature, and extra mature varieties, it's not just the queen's favorite — according to their website, it's the most loved cheddar in all of the UK.

The company came near to losing that love, however. In June 2022, the queen considered stripping them of their royal warrant after the company was fined 1.5 million pounds by the Environment Agency for polluting the River Inny in Cornwall, killing many trout and salmon as per The Guardian. The company released a statement offering its sincerest apologies and committing to investing "significant resources in the best technology, processes and people to further improve its environmental performance and minimise [sic] its impact on the local community." They have retained their warrant, and their cheddar is now available in the U.S., so we too can eat like the queen.

Gin and Dubonnet

Being a monarch is hard work, so it seems perfectly reasonable for a queen to enjoy a tipple now and again. According to the international mixology website Spirits Hunters, some of her favorite alcoholic beverages include German white wine, Mateus Rose, and, of course, champagne (her preferred bubblies were Bollinger, Lanson, and Krug).

Her favorite alcoholic drink of all, however, was gin and Dubonnet, also known as the Zaza cocktail (via Hello! magazine). The drink was also a favorite of the Queen Mother, so perhaps Elizabeth came by the preference naturally. Dubonnet Rouge Grand Aperitif is a fortified red wine that also contains brandy, cane sugar, herbs, and cinchona tree bark. According to Wine Lover Magazine, it tastes both sweet and bitter and is very full-bodied — almost syrupy in its viscosity. Then there's the gin, which should be dry. The basic recipe is two parts Dubonnet to one part gin, ice, and a slice of lemon shaken in a cocktail shaker. The queen preferred hers served with an additional slice of lemon and a lot of ice.

Venison burgers

Despite being the longest-reigning British monarch from a royal family, Queen Elizabeth II certainly enjoyed some very American foods. Here's the next one — hamburgers! She wasn't sending anyone off to the local McDonald's, mind you, but she did enjoy a grilled meat patty.

Beef was not her meat of preference, however. Elizabeth was reputably an accomplished deer stalker who brought down the only stag on her very first outing when she was 19 years old (via The Meat Eater). Group Captain Peter Townsend, a Royal Air Force officer and once the paramour of Elizabeth's sister Princess Margaret, called Elizabeth "a tireless walker and an excellent shot." According to Hello! magazine, her burger meat of choice was ... venison. Chef McGrady made the burgers from fresh venison that had been hunted at Balmoral, stuffing them with cranberries and other ingredients before grilling them. The queen's venison burger was served without a bun so she could eat it with a knife and fork.

Bombe glacée royale

It seems as if most of the queen's favorite culinary treats were simple, so let's end things with a bomb: a bombe glacée royale, to be exact. This indulgent dessert was served at her wedding to Philip and appeared on the menu as Bombe Glacée Princess Elizabeth as noted in "Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch."

A bombe glacée is an ice cream cake dessert. Softened ice cream is spread along the interior sides of a bombe mold and then frozen solid. Fruit, custard, or even bits of leftover cake are placed into the mold, and everything is frozen again. The bombe is then removed from the mold and drizzled with syrup or a liqueur before being served. While the queen especially enjoyed mint and chocolate bombe, Chef McGrady recalled making a bombe glacée coppelia for a banquet that he described as "coffee ice cream filled with praline and decorated with whipped cream and liquor coffee beans" (via Marie Claire). So decadent. So royal. And so very fit for a queen.