Ploughman’s Lunch
ploughmans lunch

Ploughman’s Lunch

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2
ploughmans lunch

Last Updated on 22/07/2022 by richard

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Celebrating British Food & Cooking

A ploughman’s lunch is a British pub grub classic.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer’s lunchtime, than sitting in a beer garden with a spread of fresh crusty bread, cheese, pickles, crisps, sometimes a salad or grapes and a pint of the local brew.

A Bit of History

kentish style old fashioned  ploughman's lunch
Ye olde Kentish ploughman’s lunch

Ploughmen of old would take their lunch, usually wrapped in a cloth when they left at dawn for a hard day’s work in the fields. Being country folk, lunch would consist of local or homemade produce, mainly bread and cheese usually accompanied by a bottle of cider.

After rationing, introduced during World War II was lifted in England in the mid-1950s, the Cheese Bureau launched a campaign to promote the Ploughman’s Lunch in the 1960s in order to increase cheese sales.  Local pubs would put their own spin on it for local patrons and tourists to enjoy.

The Modern Ploughman’s

Now, nearly every country pub in the UK will have a ploughman’s lunch on the menu and in my experience, no two are the same. Bearing in mind that some villages have two or three pubs it makes for quite a selection to choose from.

With the rise of the gastro-pub in Britain concentrating more on the quality of the food, there are a lot of modern twists available with continental meats, pates and artisan bread instead of the bloomer loaf.

Scotch eggs, cold meats and often apple and celery accompany rustic bread and locally produced cheeses of which we are lucky to have many with most counties producing their own varieties including the famous cheddar and stilton.

british cheese selection
Selection of British cheeses

I find the local farm-made cheeses have an intensity and depth of flavour much richer than the mass-produced supermarket-bought cheeses.

ploughmans lunch on a plate
Plated Ploughmans Lunch

When served in a pub you will probably find your ploughman’s lunch served on a platter or board. At home, it’s easier just to plate up your own.

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Frequently Asked Questions

This style of lunch was given to the plough men of Britain as a fulfilling lunchtime meal.

A Ploughman’s lunch was first mentioned in John Lockhart’s memoirs of Sir Walter Scott in 1837 but homemade cheese and bread would have been a staple of country folk long before.

branston pickle

It’s pickled in a sauce made from vinegar, tomato, apple, and spices. These extra root vegetables add a savoury depth of flavour you don’t get from a typical sweet relish—it packs a pretty huge umami punch. And the added apple, tomato, and spices mean it’s tangy and sweet and just a little spicy.

Here’s the Recipe …

ploughmans lunch

Ploughman’s Lunch Recipe

Crusty bread, cheese, pickles and country style ham with your choice of fruit.
No ratings yet
Total Time 30 mins
Course Lunch
Cuisine British
Servings 2
Calories 1706 kcal
How Difficult Easy


  • 300 g Cheese cheddar and/or stilton
  • 6 slices Ham thick cut
  • 4 Pickled Onions
  • 4 Gherkins
  • 2 Hard boiled Eggs peeled and halved
  • 2 stalks Celery
  • 16 Grapes
  • 6 slices Crusty Bread
  • 2 tbsp Branston Pickle
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Optional Extras:

  • 1 Scotch Egg halved
  • 1 Apple cored and sliced
  • 2 Tomatoes quartered
  • Watercress


  • Assemble the ingredients on a serving board and tuck in !



Calories: 1706kcalCarbohydrates: 133gProtein: 83gFat: 95gSaturated Fat: 45gFiber: 10gSugar: 30g
Keyword British, lunch
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