Differences Between Continental, American and English Breakfast

One of the things people take into consideration when choosing hotels is whether or not they offer free breakfast. If you’re planning a vacation, you want to get the best deals possible and getting a free breakfast is certainly one of those perks you want to have as well.

If you check hotel booking sites like Agoda or Booking.com, you’ll come across listings that say Free Breakfast. So finding one shouldn’t be so hard. But the thing is, you’d probably want to know what kind of breakfast they serve right?

Most menus in hotels and resorts aren’t very descriptive, especially when you look at their breakfast menu. Often you just see options like continental breakfast, American breakfast and English breakfast. What do these mean? How is one different from the other?

The key differences between these three types of hotel breakfasts is that continental usually does not include any cooked food and what’s on the plate is lighter than the other 2. American and English breakfast, on the other hand, have meat and cooked eggs along with various breads and sides.

These 3 breakfast types can either be buffet-style or plated.

Continental Breakfast

Often, hotels serve free continental breakfast to their guests. American and English breakfast may be availed at an added cost.

Continental Breakfast:

  • Croissant, pastries, rolls
  • Fresh fruit and/or fresh veggies
  • Cold cuts like ham, prosciutto or salami
  • Jam, honey and butter
  • May include cereals

Coffee, tea, or juice

If  you’re looking forward to a big breakfast, you better skip the continental. This light and small breakfast is much preferred by Europeans. In Medieval Europe, breakfast was for gluttons and those who worked in fields. Rich people did not eat breakfast back then.

English Breakfast

An English breakfast consists of sausages, fried eggs, tomatoes, bacon or ham, beans, mushrooms, toast and black pudding or cheese. It usually does not come with sweets. It’s a full breakfast and is served on a big plate.

The English breakfast is best for those looking for a filling meal to start their day. You’ll find this kind of breakfast still served in most of Europe as well as in former British colonies.

American Breakfast

It’s a little difficult to pin down an American breakfast into one definition. Usually though it has eggs, ham or bacon, sausages and toast. It may be served with waffles or pancakes. In an American breakfast, eggs can either be cooked into an omelet or sunny side up. Both English and American breakfasts are hearty.

Breakfast Buffet

Now if you have a big appetite and would like to have more options for breakfast, you are better off with a buffet breakfast. Many luxury hotels and resorts have all 3 types of breakfast in one buffet spread, while small inexpensive hotels serve mostly continental breakfast.

With a buffet breakfast, you get at least a dozen kinds of meats, soups, eggs cooked to your specifications, an array of breads, fruits and desserts.

If you happen to be visiting Las Vegas, you have to try Wynn’s breakfast buffet. It’s an experience in itself and you just have to see it for yourself to understand why everyone’s raving about it. Wynn Las Vegas has 16 kitchens with nearly a hundred dishes to choose from. Just make sure you book ahead as they can get fully booked fast.

Americans Try An English Breakfast For The First Time


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