A number of hotels outside of the US offer something they call an American Breakfast. What does that usually include in terms of food and beverage?

I have seen this choice offered in a few countries but right now I am looking into what Mexicans think an American breakfast is. Have been to Mexico 8 times already but never picked that option.

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    Not mentioned in the answers so far is hashbrowns, which I feel are pretty American. Usually in some form of fried patties of potato. A Canadian breakfast by contrast seems to usually have cubed deep fried potato. So like chips/fries but in little cubes instead of long skinny sticks or such. Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 5:40
  • I wonder what they would make of a question like this over on our sister site cooking.SE? Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 5:40
  • I've added this to my list of good example cross-site SE questions. Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 5:59
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    @hippietrail Those little cubes are known as "home fries" in the US. I have no idea why. Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 0:38
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    @MichaelHampton Interesting, I've never heard them be called "Home Fries." "Home Fries" to me are the thick cut wedge type fried potatoes. At least everywhere I've lived. The cubed ones we always called "hash browns" but they are not the same as the shredded ones, obviously. But searching for "Home Fries" images in Google/Bing brings up an assortment of cut potatoes, some of which are more wedged, and some more cubed. I think the reason is that they are cut "at home" and therefore not evenly cute like they would be by machine.
    – chadbag
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 20:44

4 Answers 4


An American breakfast is simply the American variant of an English breakfast, which is elsewhere an Irish breakfast— what Wikipedia in its neutralism calls a full breakfast, in contrast to the so-called continental breakfast.

A full breakfast is a "heavy" breakfast high in animal protein such as eggs, sausage, ham, and/or bacon, often fried. The American variant will have some kind of bread such as flapjacks/pancakes, French toast, or a waffle, and American-style sausage or bacon. I have rarely seen a hotel "American" breakfast that includes genuinely American dishes like waffles and chicken, grits, or biscuits and gravy.

  • Right. I've seen English and Continental breakfasts in many places. Never heard of anything being called Irish breakfast though.
    – Itai
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 2:05
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    Plenty of places offer Irish breakfast in Australia. I'm sure about hotels because I rarely stay at hotels in developed countries. I've never been sure what the difference between Irish and English breakfast is. They're both huge and high in fat and vary from place to place. Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 5:35
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    It seems that black and white pudding are essential elements of an Irish breakfast, but optional in an English one. Perhaps also higher probability of baked beans in an English one vs Irish one? But other than those, they seem to be pretty much the same.
    – BrendanMcK
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 11:28
  • In Ireland, I have never seen anything called an “English breakfast”. There is often something like a regular Irish breakfast (English breakfast with pudding but no beans) and a “full Irish breakfast” (with baked beans).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 13:31
  • For completeness, if you ever see a "Scottish breakfast" advertised, it's like the above except it'll almost certainly include black pudding, the sausage should be a lorne sausage (square and usually both pork and beef), and there will usually be a fried potato scone instead of hash brown. Pretty rare outside of Scotland, sadly. Commented May 16, 2016 at 10:48

It'll vary a little from place to place and on your establishment's interpretation.

However, a good definition comes from businessdictionary.com:

A hotel breakfast that includes most or all of the following: two eggs (fried or poached), sliced bacon or sausages, sliced bread or toast with jam/jelly/butter, pancakes with syrup, cornflakes or other cereal, coffee/tea, orange/grapefruit juice

Wikipedia's picture for an American breakfast (source)

If they're trying to include some unique American food, biscuits and gravy is a fairly uniquely-American dish.

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    That photo makes me hungry! Isn't that Canadian bacon though? :)
    – Itai
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 2:03
  • @Itai often sold in the US as just 'back bacon' or 'Irish bacon' :)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 2:30
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    The term "Canadian bacon" is not understood outside North America. I've been to the US and Canada several times each and still can't remember what it's about. Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 5:38
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    @hippietrail It was supposedly first popularized in Canada and later brought to the US via England, where it was named so for marketing purposes. Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 8:32
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    I don't think pancakes are typically found in an English or Irish breakfast, that might be the main difference.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 13:34

"An American Breakfast" is not a standardized item, especially from country to country The only things it usually seems to include is some form of bread, meat and eggs. In S. Korea sometimes the bread was jam and coleslaw sandwiches. In Thailand sometimes the meat was fish sausage. In Sweden the eggs are usually soft boiled, but they do throw in some baked beans to keep the English happy too.


Both terms "American breakfast" and "Continental Breakfast" mean widely different things at different hotels and in different countries. The only thing for sure is that when both are offered, the American breakfast is larger and has more items and heartier items than the Continental breakfast.

While the American breakfast usually includes eggs and meat (often pork), sometimes a Continental breakfast does as well. Sometimes the Continental breakfast has only hard-boiled or scrambled eggs, while the American breakfast offers eggs any style or omelets. It really does depend on the specific hotel.

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    I've never experienced that. A "Continental Breakfast" at some U.S. hotels might be just bread, especially sweet pastries. An "American Breakfast" almost always includes eggs and pork products.
    – jetset
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 8:42
  • @anomuse what you're describing is called a continental breakfast in the US. That would never be labeled an "American breakfast" by a hotel in the US.
    – Rob K
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 15:28

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