Many of us have a British friend or have come in contact with someone British who uses a food name that you’ve never heard of. Consider this the official Culinary Ginger Guide of American to British Food Names. As a British national living in America, I thought it was time to take the mystery out of this!

An American flag on top and a U.K flag on the bottom

In addition to the name conversions, I’ve added some British food slang names in there also. Americans have different names for certain foods. Consequently, names for the same foods in England, or other parts of the world may differ. 

Green and yellow zucchini in a basket

For example, Arugula, as its called in America, is known by Rocket in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. What Americans call Zucchini, the Brits and French call Courgette. 

French Fries are Chips and Chips are Crisps?

Probably the most popular example of this food/word changeup is the word ‘Chips”. The American’s call these wonderful fried potato strings French Fries. The British? Why, Chips, of course. 

Interestingly, you may often see the ever popular Fish & Chips on a menu in America but never ‘Fish and French Fries’! So, there’s a bit of a crossover right there. And to make matters even more confusing, Americans call Potato Chips “Chips” and the Brits call them “Crisps”!!! 

A battered piece of cod fish sitting on top of chips/French fries

Now, take, for instance, the ever popular American Cinnamon Roll. In England, we call these Chelsea Buns and, interestingly, they are so very similar. 

Jello is Jelly and Jelly is Jam?

You’ll like this fun one. American Jelly is Jam in the UK and American Jello is Jelly!!! Well, that’s not confusing, at all!

There’s also the American Popover which is called a Yorkshire Pudding in England. That delectable sweet treat that follows a meal in America, as we all know, is dessert. In England it’s Pudding. A Cookie in America? Well, that’s a biscuit in England. You get the idea…

4 Yorkshire pudding on a plate

Confused? Don’t be!

Being British and writing recipes for both my American and British audience is challenging as I constantly have to use two names for many foods. I compiled the following comprehensive list (that is constantly being updated) to you help you decipher any food name mysteries and make your life in the kitchen just a bit easier, plus it’s a fun read and you may learn something you didn’t know.

The list below ranges from finished dishes like these, to names of individual foods like cookie to biscuit and slang names like sandwich to butty or sarnie.

  • All-Purpose Flour – Plain flour
  • Arugula – Rocket
  • Baked Potato – Jacket Potato
  • Beet – Beetroot
  • Broiler – Grill
  • Chips – Crisps
  • Cilantro – Coriander
  • Cookie – Biscuit
  • Corn Starch – Corn Flour
  • Cotton Candy – Candy Floss
  • Cupcake – Fairy Cake
  • Endive – Chicory
  • Eggplant – Aubergine
  • Fava Beans – Broad Beans
  • Fish Stick – Fish Finger
  • Flavor – Flavour
  • French Fries – Chips
  • Green Beans – Runner Beans
  • Green Onions – Spring Onions
  • Grilled Cheese – Toastie
  • Ground Beef – Mince meat
  • Jelly – Jam
  • Jello – Jelly
  • Ketchup – Tomato sauce/Ketchup
  • Low-fat Milk – Semi-skimmed Milk
  • Maraschino Cherry – Glacé Cherry
  • Pickles – Gherkin
  • Popsicle – Ice Lolly
  • Oatmeal – Porridge
  • Powdered Sugar – Icing Sugar
  • Romaine lettuce – Cos Lettuce
  • Rutabaga – Swede
  • Sausage – Banger
  • Sandwich – Butty or Sarnie
  • Shrimp – Prawn
  • Slice of Bacon – Rasher of Bacon
  • Sugar (Granulated) – Caster
  • Sugar (Dark Brown) – Muscovado
  • Yogurt – Yoghurt
  • Zucchini – Courgette

Do you have any other words I can add to A Guide of American to British Food Names? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them.