Does Britain have a sweet tooth?

Transcript item

This week, we're talking about special occasions and how we celebrate them in the UK with special food. But before we get to that, we need to talk about something really important. Sweet things. People in the UK love puddings or desserts, cakes and biscuits. Listen to the people we interviewed talking about their favourite sweet food. Which one sounds best to you?

No, I can't answer that. There are so many. Right, sweet tooth, what do I like? Everything. There is not a sweet thing I will not have. So, I like fruitcake, I like a nice Genoa cake, I like your big, fat, Christmas really rich, I like biscuits. My biscuits, I like Garibaldis, I like bourbons, political ones obviously. Fig rolls I could eat by the dozen. Biscuit.

Yeah, I do have a sweet tooth. And it's actually more my family kind of insist on having something sweet after a meal, so if I cook a meal and there's no pudding at the end of it, I do get complaints. So, yes.

We usually have something sweet after the meal, ice cream or a steamed pudding or rice pudding. Or tonight I'm making clafoutis, which I think is actually a French pudding with eggs and flour and sugar and prunes soaked in brandy.

Biscuits, cakes, baklava I like, in India we like gulab jamun. I like lassi, you know, rasmalai.

Yes, we do. We often have stewed fruit which we have gathered in the correct season, like picking blackberries or elderberries and then cooking them and freezing them. So over the winter we can just collect them out of the freezer and then put some breadcrumbs or crushed biscuits on the top so that you have a fruit crumble. And so we often have that after a meal.

I like for Christmas. What else do we like? We like Christmas cakes, yule logs. When I was in Slovakia going over to Vienna, sachertorte. There is not – a torta della nonna, a plum tarte aux prunes is absolutely gorgeous.

So again, if I'm home, I almost inhabit this more kind of Indian lifestyle where we will go to town and we'll definitely have something sweet. My family have a huge sweet tooth. And yeah, that can be things like gulab jamun, which is these kind of like dough balls that are soaked in sugar and my granddad loves making them. So there's always some of those. Or it might be, my dad likes making this dish called semiya that he knows I love and he'll make it especially when I'm home. Which is to do with milk and like these vermicelli noodles that you like cook in milk for a long time with cardamom and things.

Bread and butter pudding, rice pudding. There is not a thing I will not eat. I love sweet things, so yeah. And savoury. A cheese board, a wonderful cheese board to finish off with.

Do you have a sweet tooth?

If you have a 'sweet tooth', it means you enjoy sweet things – and a lot of people in the UK do. As you saw in the video, people often eat something sweet after a meal. It could be something small, like a biscuit, or it could be something cooked or prepared.

Dessert – or pudding?

In the video you heard several different words to talk about sweet things. A sweet dish, served after a meal, has different names. In restaurants you'll see 'dessert', and you might be asked 'Would you like to see the dessert menu?' However, when eating at home, people might say 'pudding', 'sweet' or 'afters'.

To make things even more confusing, 'pudding' has several meanings. It can be sweet (like sticky toffee pudding or rice pudding) or savoury (like Yorkshire pudding or even black pudding).

Britain's favourite desserts

Take a look at the top ten most popular desserts in the UK – results of research done by Breville in 2019. There's also a map of the UK, showing the most popular desserts in each region – according to the research.

Check out these recipes for great British puddings.

Over to you

  • Have you tried any British desserts? What did you think?
  • What is the most popular dessert in your country? Do people have a sweet tooth?


No votes yet

Submitted by khuludaljoufi on Mon, 27/02/2023 - 12:56


I never tried UK dessert but now I want tried pudding it’s look delicious 🤤

The traditional dessert in my country is cheesecake with Saudi coffee , every meeting or party and so on this dessert exists.

I think there a lot people sweet tooth they favourite the sweet dish above the salty dish , for me I don’t preferred sweet more

Submitted by Masha_Smi on Wed, 22/02/2023 - 15:13


Hello, Now I live in Poland. I think the donut is the most popular dessert here. There was Fat Thursday recently. This is the day when people eat more donuts than usual. People everywhere have a sweet tooth, in my opinion.

Submitted by arashjahanbakht on Thu, 16/02/2023 - 11:13


The Iranians have a sweet tooth and they consume a lot of sweet food. Indeed, every person has a sweet thing or chocolate in their pocket. They always have their tea with a lot of sugar. Suprisingly, Some people not only sweeten their tea with a lot of sugar, but also drink that with several sweet biscuits. That's why many people in Iran suffer from diabetes.

Hi arashjahanbakht!

I have to admit I used to have sugar in my tea but now I don't. I do still have to have sugar in my coffee every morning though ... I am trying to reduce it little by little!
What would you say is the most popular type of cake in Iran? In the local bakeries here in the UK, chocolate brownies are very popular. I tend to be more of a savoury person and prefer a packet of crisps to a piece of cake! How about you?😊

~ Tina ツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by stefherz on Wed, 08/02/2023 - 02:29


I definitely have a sweet tooth, even though I go generally light on sweets. I love everything that has chocolate and dough, but I don't like jelly and sugar candy.
I haven't yet eaten a dessert that was explicitely presented to me as British, but I'm from Germany and there we have some desserta that are the same (or at least similiar) to British ones, Apple Crumble and Cheese Cake for example. And in France I ate Boûche de Noël, which is the French Yule Log.
I would really like to try the Sticky Toffee Pudding, and have already bookmarked the recipe to do it later!
A typical (and one of my favourite) desserts in Germany is the Black Forest gâteau. "Typically, it consists of several layers of chocolate sponge cake sandwiched with whipped cream and cherries." (Thanks Wikipedia for helping me out with the description :)

Submitted by KarolineAS on Tue, 17/01/2023 - 01:12



We Brazilians have a sweet tooth. I guess brigadeiro is our national dessert. It's made of chocolate and sweetened condensed milk.
Even though I've never tried any British pudding (at least made by a British), some of them exist in Brazilian cuisine, like rice pudding, carrot cake, and banoffee pie.
Among the British desserts I've never heard of before, I would like to try Victoria sponge.

Hi @KarolineAS!
I've never heard of brigadeiro before, is it a dish made for special occasions or something that is popular all year round?
~ Tina ツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by cigdm on Mon, 09/01/2023 - 19:37


I haven't tasted any British desserts but I can say that each of them looks very delicious. In Turkey, baklava is a popular kind of dessert especially the ones with pistachios. Some people are crazy about it. People generally like having sweet things in my country so it's a fact that they have sweet tooth.

Hi @cigdm,

I haven't tried baklava, could you tell us a little bit more about it please? And are they easy to make, I love to cook and try out new things!

~ Tina ツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by R.Parimala on Mon, 26/12/2022 - 06:36


Waugh , I wouldlike to write the preparation of dalpayasam.
Ingredients - Greengram Dhal, Jaggery, ghee, milk, cardamom, cashewnuts and raisins.
First , boil dhal with water, add milk and jaggerry for sweet taste. Finally add cardamom powder , roasted cashew and raisinins. Serve it hot. Really the taste is good. Every one can try it in our home.Really it's nutritious.
Enjoy with dalpayasam.

This recipe sounds really interesting, but actually I don't know most of the ingredients. Where is it from?

Submitted by R.Parimala on Fri, 09/12/2022 - 11:00


Yes. I ate darkchocolate after Lunch.
In India, Dal payasam is a famous dessert and it served after a large meal .

I like dark chocolate too @R.Parimala! But I try and restrict myself to eating chocolate only at the weekends! Dal payasam sounds interesting, what's it made of?
~ Tina ツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Marile on Wed, 07/12/2022 - 18:05


I love sweet food. I finish every lunch and diner having something sweet. Chocolat, cakes, icecream, etc

Submitted by Poppy0299 on Wed, 07/12/2022 - 09:06


I have never tried British dessert, yet I'm curious about their big croissants. I guess it's so delicious when I see some British people post it on their social media, Interesting!.
Many people in Indonesia love sweet things, same as British people we love biscuits, puddings, and cakes. Indonesia has lots of traditional snacks and cakes, and I really love it. Especially, "Kue Putri Ayu" it's a small green cake with grated coconut on top as topping. Not too sweet and it has a soft texture, it's so delicious. When you come to Indonesia I recommend you to try it. So, it means I have sweet tooth!

Hi Poppy0299,

Kue Potri Ayu sounds lovely especially the coconut topping! Why is it green and is it easy to make? Would you have a recipe you could share with us as I'd love to try and make it! If you have made it before, would you add an image to the padlet so we can get to see what it looks like? Pleassssse! ツ

~ Tina

Submitted by Trangmun2109 on Wed, 07/12/2022 - 08:53


I love sweet food although it is maybe harmful for your health. The most popular dessert in my country is fruit.

Hi Trangmun2109,

What's your favourite fruit? I adore mango but don't get to eat it very often as it's quite expensive to buy where I live.

~ Tinaツ
LearnEnglish team

Hello again!

Apples and pears are in season where I live at the moment ... which is in the UK. Pomelo, is that like a grapefruit? Does it grow locally?

~ Tina ツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by jerryrichardsi on Sun, 04/12/2022 - 11:00


In our country, we do have the habit of drinking tea or coffee made out of milk. Sometimes people go for curd with sugar after their lunch.

Submitted by Casin on Wed, 23/11/2022 - 09:40


Definetely, I'm having a sweet tooth and it continuosly demands some sweeties. Never forget the Italian desserts, they are delicious, espesially jellato, it's unbelievably good, it's a best dessert when you are enjoying it in the mid of the hot summer day, It's gorgeous, now one word could describe this pleasure

Hi @Casin
Which sweets do you like? And do you have a favourite flavour gelato or icecream? I prefer savoury food but if I do need a sweet fix then I'd go for a salted caramel ice cream!

Tina ☺

Submitted by Mariagrazia Pegolo on Tue, 22/11/2022 - 19:01


I do agree with Geotta. I was going to say "tiramisu" me too (that's one of the most typical Italian dessert) but I would add "crostata" which is a sweet filled with marmalade or chocolate. I think that everybody has a sweet tooth in general 😋

Hi @Mariagrazia!

I think a crostata is something like a 'jam tart' or 'custard tart' that my mum used to make when I was a kid. A sweet pastry case filled with something like you suggested. You mention marmalade, in English, marmalade is made with oranges or limes, is that the same in Italy?

~ Tina ☻
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Geotta on Sat, 19/11/2022 - 10:29


I love cake, dessert and other similar things. I'm Italian and the most popular dessert in my country is Tiramisu or "Torta della nonna", but we have a lot of kind of dessert.
when I've been in Uk I 've eaten a lot ok different sweet, very good, but I don't like pudding...
In general I have sweet tooth.

Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Sat, 19/11/2022 - 14:20

In reply to by Geotta


Hi Geotta,

Oh yes, tiramisu is so popular and so tasty I think you can get it almost anywhere in the world!

LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,

Unfortunately, it's not that easy to find tiramisu in Brazil primarily because mascarpone is uncommon and utterly expensive here.
So if you come to Brazil, do not eat tiramisu.
It may taste really different from the ones you find in Europe.

Submitted by Tsunami _Rei on Fri, 18/11/2022 - 18:18


I did try some type of crumble. I don't remember what he was made from but it was good.

Submitted by carlaacosta78 on Tue, 15/11/2022 - 10:46


i haven't tried british dessert, but i would love eat it! i love sweet things!

the most popular dessert in my country is milk pudding, but i dont like it, i prefer cakes, pies, ice cream, mousse, etc.. i have sweet tooth!