If there were ever a reason to lean into some jolly good British heritage, a coronation certainly tops the list. And what better way to the heart of a culture than through its (snack) food?
On May 6, the United Kingdom will celebrate its latest monarch, King Charles III, with a coronation literally fit for a King. It’s the most exclusive party in all the land, but that doesn’t mean we peasants won’t be celebrating in our own right—especially with these British snacks!
Related: How To Throw the Classiest Coronation Party Ever in Honor of King Charles
What do you serve at a coronation party?
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who love a good royal entourage and will be watching the festivities online or on TV, we’ve rounded up a list of the best British snacks for a coronation. And while King Charles’ official coronation dish is Coronation Quiche—because he loves eggs and cheese—there are plenty of other nibbles that might typically be offered during street parties in the UK for jubilees, VE Day celebrations, and yes, coronations, throughout British history.
Along with mains like Vol au Vents, Gala Pie, Coronation Chicken, and all varieties of finger sandwiches, you’ll find many biscuits, pretzel twists, picked delicacies and other delicious English delights in our snack suggestions below!
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Related: King Charles III Coronation: Everything We Know So Far
16 Best British Snacks for the Coronation
1. McVitie’s Hobnobs
Let’s start with biccies—AKA biscuits AKA cookies—because that’s where the Brits would start. Just take a look at Fortnum & Mason’s commemorative Musical Coronation Biscuit Tin! McVitie’s Hobnobs were introduced to the UK in 1985 and a chocolate-covered version two years later, and the oat-forward cookie has since grown to be one of the most popular biscuits in the country. The name supposedly comes from the verb “to hobnob,” meaning to mingle and be friendly with someone who is important or famous. In Channel 4’s 2021 program, Secret World of Biscuits the name is claimed to have come from the two words “hob” (the English colloquialism for a stove) and “knobbly,” referencing the oaty texture.
2. McVitie’s Digestives
Just as popular as Hobnobs, but a tad bit older, McVitie’s Digestives got their start in 1892 in Scotland. In fact, only a year later, McVitie & Price (as the bakery was then known) got to hobnob (see what we did there?) with the royals as they were tasked with baking the wedding cake for Queen Mary and King George V. And then again in 1947, McVitie’s baked Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding cake! In 1925, they introduced the chocolate version, and more recently we’ve been blessed with dark chocolate, caramel and thins too! While we’re not sure if King Charles prefers one biscuit over another, a royal source has spilled the tea and told the world that he only will eat biscuits warmed up—or not at all.
3. Bourbon Creams
There is no bourbon in Bourbon Creams, but that doesn’t make them any less desirable. So desirable, in fact, that Astronaut Buzz Aldrin made them the first cookie consumed on the moon! Interchangeably known as Bourbon Biscuits or Bourbon Creams and carried at multiple grocery stores in their generic version, the cookie is sandwich style with rectangular dark chocolate-flavored biscuits and a chocolate buttercream filling. Like an Oreo in construction, though, no one’s debating the best way to eat a Bourbon as far as we know.
4. Walker’s Shortbread
While probably the most well-known British biscuit export to North America, Walker’s Shortbread is actually Scottish. Its red tartan packaging never lets us forget it. With origins dating to the 12th century, and a modernized recipe in the 16th century thanks to Mary Queen of Scots’ penchant for sweets, this classic biccie tastes like pure butter and sugar, and crumbles accordingly. They used to be saved for celebratory family occasions, but now, they’re a Duty-Free staple at every UK airport. Nicholas Cage makes sure he buys a tin whenever he’s in town.
5. Quality Street Chocolates
One must never have guests over or throw a party without some sort of chocolate available, obviously. Quality Street tubs of chocolate have 12 different flavors all wrapped in different shiny wrappers and they were invented by a King! Well, the King of Caramel—England’s John Machintosh. Another fun fact: they supposedly got their name from Peter Pan author J. M. Barrie’s Regency rom-com, Quality Street.
Related: 24 Decadent Chocolate Dessert Recipes
6. Scampi Fries
Enough sweets already! How about some of the UK’s favorite fishy snacks—or so their tagline goes? They actually taste nothing like fish but have a tart and salty crunch to the small-bite-size crispy puff. They’re a pub staple along with Bacon Fries too.
Marmite might be one of the most controversial food items in all of the UK—about 50 percent of the population love it, and the other 50 percent detest it. Now, Twiglets—twisty little pretzel-like snacks—don’t actually have Marmite on them, but that same salty taste comes from brewer’s yeast extract, which is the main ingredient in Marmite. And as far as snacks go, Twiglets are actually fairly healthy as they’re made with 80 percent whole grain and contain some great essential minerals like zinc.
8. Mr. Porky’s Pork Scratchings
Pork Scratchings, despite being just as divisive as Marmite in the general population, made it all the way to the number one spot on the UK’s favorite pub snacks in a 2021 survey. Pork Scratchings—or as we Americans like to call them, crackling or pork rinds—are exactly what they sound like pork shank fried and dried and salted. They pack a crunch and have a particularly pungent smell. They’re also eaten around the world—by Cameron Diaz, most notably!—but known differently, like Mexican chicharrones.
9. Pickled Onions
While pickling has been around since ancient Mesopotamia, the English really took a shine to pickling in the 1700s. But it wasn’t until 2009 that America, and the world, realized just how fond the British are of their pickled onions when Kate Winslet shouted them out in her Oscar-winner speech. These tangy little morsels really are divine though, and can be eaten plain by just popping them into your mouth, or atop a cracker and cheese, a salad, or really any way that suits you.
10. Pickled Eggs
This snack is a super easy go-to for a British-themed party as all you have to do is boil and peel eggs, then put them in a jar of vinegar and some select spices. Like pickled onions and pork scratchings, they were a go-to in pubs. They’re also amazing for hangovers and pre-hangovers.
11. Cheese and Pineapple Sticks
Often called a Cheese and Pineapple Hedgehog, this super simple party snack was a mainstay at British parties in the 1980s and ’90s and for good reason—anything that can be encapsulated on a toothpick is a win-win for both party host and party guest. Just make sure to use a mild cheese like cheddar. It’s worth noting that pineapple-inspired party snacks were popular in the US in the ’60s and ’70s because of the Hawaiian craze that crossed the country, so maybe the Brits stole the idea from us in the first place!
12. Coronation Quiche
While not every monarch has chosen a signature dish for their special day, King Charles’ mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II might have been best known in this category for her Coronation Chicken— an Indian-inspired cold chicken salad with curry, sultanas and mayonnaise. This time around, we’re getting the Coronation Quiche, a dish chosen by the king and queen consort with a recipe by their royal chef, Mark Flanagan. The main reasons for choosing the dish, despite the current egg shortage in the country, is that it can be served hot or cold, is easily sharable, isn’t too costly, and can be adapted for a variety of tastes. Here’s the Coronation Quiche official royal recipe if you’d like to give it a go!
13. Sausage Rolls
Even though sausage rolls are probably French in origin, their popularity grew in England during the early 1800s. But their moment in the spotlight hit its zenith when Youtuber and musician LadBaby took sausage roll-themed cover songs to the top of the British charts for four years in a row beginning in 2018. Like quiche, these delectable morsels can be served hot or cold and can be eaten as a main or a snack. The puff pastry serves as the perfect buttery-ness to encapsulate succulent pork sausage.
14. Scotch Eggs
A Scotch Egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in minced pork meat coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried or baked. They’re much better heated up but can be served cold or at room temperature as well. Interestingly, there’s a debate as to their origins—were they made for the working class of coastal Yorkshire folks in Whitby, or did Fortnum & Mason create them as a convenient traveling snack for the London elite? Either way, they make a splendid party snack and a must-have for any coronation party.
Related: How to Make Scotch Eggs
15. Pork Pies
A staple at the dinner parties of King Charles’ aunt, Princess Anne, Pork Pies has been around for as long as Brits can remember. And regional and generational proclivities remain for the savory snack. But one thing is for sure true—a pork pie is as versatile a party snack as any other and can be made well in advance or fresh out of the oven with a variety of spices for the filling.
16. Coronation Colin
If you’ve never heard of Colin the Caterpillar, don’t worry, no one outside of the UK has! Introduced by Marks & Spencers in 1990, Colin has become the most beloved novelty dessert in the country. Initially, the rolled sponge cake with buttercream inside and a chocolate coating on the outside was meant for kids’ birthday parties, but you’d be hard-pressed to not find them at any British celebration these days, young or old. And while it doesn’t seem likely you’d be able to get a Coronation Colin in the US, just pick up some Little Debbie Swiss Rolls and set up a DIY station at your coronation watch party with candied crowns and other sweet bits and bobs to decorate your very own Coronation Colin.
Next: Rehearsals Underway for King Charles’ Coronation Parade