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Ploughman's Lunch Recipe

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The classic, English pub-style Ploughman's Lunch is an easy meal to pull together and full of filling ingredients.

You'll love the simplicity of this meal while savoring the various bites and combinations of flavors you can pull together. This meal is typically served at room temperature, but you can make it ahead of time and chill it if you'd like to serve it at a picnic or take it to work.

Ploughman's lunch plate on a marble background.
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While this meal seems reminiscent of provincial living and a meal a farmhand might have eaten in the 1800s, the name and specific combination of ingredients was created by the UK's Cheese Bureau in the 1950s to promote eating more English cheese! In the 1960s, the ploughman's lunch was part of a PR campaign by the Milk Marketing Board in pubs and taverns. However, the classic combination of bread and cheese plus sides has, of course, been eaten for centuries! It's a great meal to eat outdoors on a warm summer day.

What's in a Ploughman's Lunch?

A typical Ploughmans' lunch has cheese, bread, pickles, or relish. It can sometimes include a relish called Branston pickle, ham, salad, and egg.

The Ploughman's lunch has multiple variations and depending on the area of the country might have different condiments or favorite drink pairings.


Here are the simple ingredients you'll need to make this ploughperson's lunch.

A wooden cutting board with grapes, cheese, a halved hardboiled egg, pickles, radishes, fig jam, ham, sliced apples, half a baguette, and sliced cucumber.
  • Crusty Bread - a good hunk of bread (either a baguette or country-style loaf will work) is a necessity.
  • Pickles - your favorite pickles or pickled onion will work in this recipe. I chose gherkins because they have a great sweet and lightly sour flavor.
  • Hard-boiled Eggs - you can serve a halved hard-boiled egg or a scotch egg with this meal.
  • Ham - traditionally, a thick-cut slice of ham might be served as part of this lunch, but to simplify it, you can use a few slices of quality deli ham.
  • Cheddar Cheese - I'd recommend a good, mature cheddar cheese. You can certainly include more than one type of cheese, but a high-quality cheddar is a classic cheese choice.
  • Radishes - a few peppery radishes with their leaves add a nice bit of salad to this board.
  • Grapes - red or green grapes will work on this board. They add some lovely juicy, sweet flavor.
  • Apple - slices of apple are an easy and classic fruity addition to this plate.
  • Cucumber - add some sliced English cucumber or small Jerusalem cucumbers to this platter.
  • Jam or Jelly - while a jar of Branston Pickle is often the chutney of choice for this plate, you can serve a little bit of fruit jam or jelly as well. I used a fig jam, but apricot is also a great pairing!

See the recipe card for quantities.


You can make this meal in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. It's a great take-to-work lunch!

A white plate with grapes, cheese, a halved hardboiled egg, pickles, radishes, fig jam, ham, sliced apples, half a baguette, and sliced cucumber.

Substitutions & Variations

  • Condiments - you can add any type of jam or jelly you'd like to this plate, as well as a dollop of English mustard or butter.
  • Vegetables & Salad - you could add some mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, celery, or red onion to this tray.
  • Serve with - a glass of cider, a glass of ale, or a pint of beer.

More Easy Lunch Ideas

If you love a simple lunch with healthier ingredients, try one of these favorites.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Connect with us on Instagram, and share your photos, or leave us a rating.

Yield: 1 serving

Ploughman's Lunch

A white plate with a ploughman's lunch.

This classic British pub meal, called a Ploughman's Lunch, is a hearty and easy meal to pull together.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • Hunk of crusty bread or ½ a baguette
  • 2 gherkins
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, halved
  • 3 slices deli ham
  • 2 ounces mature cheddar cheese
  • 3 radishes, halved
  • ½ cup red grapes
  • ½ apple, sliced
  • ⅓ cup sliced English cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon jam or chutney


  1. Combine all the ingredients on a large late of wooden board. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 668Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 265mgSodium: 1599mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 5gSugar: 44gProtein: 34g

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