Pigs in Blankets.

I have long been familiar with a dish called “pigs in a blanket,” which refers to hot dogs in croissant dough, and am not surprised that it is a US thing (hot dogs, n’est-ce pas?), but I am quite surprised to learn that Brits have a dish of sausage wrapped in bacon called “pigs in blankets” (as well as “kilted sausages” or “kilted soldiers”); furthermore, “it is a seasonal item, seldom offered commercially outside the Christmas season. […] Tesco in 2019 reported that a majority of shoppers they surveyed planned to serve the dish at Christmas dinner and that more planned to serve pigs in blankets than any other side dish, including Yorkshire pudding, another traditional Christmas dish.” Talk about two countries divided by a common language! The US version “can be traced back to at least 1940”; as for the UK one, tobotic on Reddit says “Delia Smith made them popular about 30 years ago. I’m sure plenty of people had the idea to wrap sausages in bacon before that, but she popularized the term for them and the idea that they should be included in a Christmas dinner.” For what that’s worth.


  1. I’m not sure a Yorkshire person (which I’m not, even though I live there) would call Yorkshire pudding a traditional Christmas dish. It is/was served with any roast dinner, which meant that it appeared every Sunday. And despite being a ‘pudding’ it was actually a first course, since batter and gravy would fill one up partially, so less meat would be needed for the main course…

  2. Stu Clayton says

    n-est’ce pas?


  3. The American version is totally new to me, but sounds tasty! Tangentially, but still within the baconsphere, I’ve always loved the names ‘devils/angels on horseback’ for similar creations.

  4. David Marjanović says

    I’m sure plenty of people had the idea to wrap sausages in bacon before that

    Berner-Würstel. (Hyphen traditionally missing, misleading everyone.)

  5. Bacon-wrapped sausages are commonly ones like frankfurters that are already fully cooked. It is much trickier if you have to cook the sausages and bacon together, because the bacon is already drier and can get totally carbonized while the sausages are cooking through. However, it can certainly be done. I have grilled bratwurst that were stuffed with prunes and mustard, then wrapped in bacon strips. With quality ingredients, they make excellent gourmet cookout food.

  6. Michael Hendry says

    That is NOT what ‘pigs in blankets’ meant when I was growing up (I’m 71). The International House of Pancakes (‘IHOP’) served ‘pigs in blankets’ that were breakfast sausages (the tubular kind, not patties, obviously), not hot dogs, wrapped in pancakes, not puff pastry. A single plate was three of each, and the pigs weren’t rolled up in the pancakes, the pancakes were folded over them with the open lip-side overlapping the next one. Though I haven’t been in an IHOP in ~30 years, I remember them well. That was my usual order on Sunday after-church family brunches in the ’60s. Having half a dozen kinds of syrup (boysenberry, raspberry, etc.) to pour on them was part of the attraction.

    Aldi’s carries a variation in their freezer case, which is a sort of breakfast corn dog, though I don’t think it’s called that. It’s shaped like a corn dog – a tubular sausage covered with batter on a flat wooden stick like a popsicle stick – but is made from a breakfast sausage wrapped in pancake batter, not a hot dog wrapped in corn bread. And you would definitely want to put melted butter and syrup on it, not mustard. So, basically a one-hand no-fork version of the IHOP pigs in blankets.

    As for the hot dogs in puff pastry, they are:

    a. Always tiny hot dogs, in my experience, never full-sized, and tiny in circumference as well as length – maybe half the diameter and one-third the length of a standard bun-length hot dog. At least that goes for the ones sold in my local (Shenandoah Valley) grocery stores.

    b. Labeled as ‘Hot Dogs in Puff Pastry’ or maybe ‘Tiny Hot Dogs in Puff Pastry’. If I had any in my freezer I’d check, but they don’t last long. They’re delicious dipped in a bit of Grey Poupon.

    I’ve actually devised my own short name for them, but first, some background. I realized a few years ago that my knowledge of popular culture was getting confused with age and lack of interest. Talking to a friend, I was surprised to be reminded that The Munsters and The Addams Family were two different shows, as were Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. I had merged the two haunted-house shows and the two married-to-a-witch shows in my memory. As for entertainers, I realized about the same time that I don’t know which is Snoop Dogg and which is Puff Daddy, though I’m aware that they’re both very well-known to just about everyone except me. That realization gave me a convenient name for Tiny Hot Dogs in Puff Pastry. I call them ‘Puff Dawgs’.

  7. cuchuflete says

    Just to confuse the issue further, when I was a small mischief maker in the early 1950s my mother would make what she called pigs in blankets. I don’t recall what sort of meat—whether sausage or ground pork— was on the inside, but the wrapper was neither pastry nor bacon. It was cabbage.

  8. cuchuflete says


    “ Finnish – Cabbage Rolls – Kaalikaaryleet

    Sometimes called “Pigs in Blankets.” ”

    The above is a Ukrainian cooking site describing a Finnish recipe.

    Are cabbage rolls called pigs in a blanket?
    Not everywhere, but DEFINITELY in Southwestern PA. Grew up calling cabbage rolls pigs in a blanket. https://www.quora.com/Are-cabbage-rolls-called-pigs-in-a-blanket?top_ans=278552614

    My mother was from Philadelphia, a daughter of Ukrainian immigrants.

  9. ktschwarz says

    Speaking of “… by a common language”, yes, Lynne Murphy has covered pigs in blankets vs. pigs in a blanket of various sorts, including the IHOP pancake kind and (in the comments) the cabbage-wrapped kind. Surprisingly, the name was first used for oysters wrapped in bacon in the 1800s. Her conclusion: “it looks like the current AmE meaning coincides with the wide availability of packaged refrigerator doughs.”

  10. If I must, I must: I once heard “pig in a blanket”, meaning an uncircumcised penis. I don’t know if that was a common expression or just someone’s momentary flash of wit.

    (That was at a show, where the bass player was naked. He had friends in the audience.)

  11. @Y: Depending on context, there could definitely be a element of alluding to the perceived non-Jewish-ness of both a pig and an intact penis.

  12. Uh!oh-

    Fixed, thanks! Quis copyeditet ipsos copyeditores?

  13. I read it as “Pigs in blankets” but next time I glanced it (underlined…) looked like “Plos in blankets”.

    I thought “could it be a project aiming at publishing contents of Public Library of Science’s journals on blankets?” and then read the next title…

  14. The description there and Wikipedia in general seem reluctant to distinguish croissant from crescent roll. Am I wrong in thinking that whether or not the dough is laminated is key? And, if so, that it’s the latter that is used to wrap sausage (because it’s breadier and thus more sammichy).

    (Not that I’m sure that it’s tempting, but Google search does claim hundreds of thousands of hits for vegan pigs in a blanket.)

  15. LH – you may remember the Yankee Doodle in New Haven. They served the platonic ideal of a “pig in a blanket” – a hot dog in pastry dough with cheese and bacon also stuffed inside, and a great relish. New Haven has never been the same city since the Doodle closed.

  16. Kate Bunting says

    In Britain the sausage type are served as an accompaniment to the Christmas roast, usually turkey. My mother used to cook a few sausages with the bird and drape some rashers of bacon over its breast to help keep it moist and to add flavour. I suppose buying ready-prepared ‘pigs in blankets’ is considered easier.
    Mum was a Yorkshirewoman, and Yorkshire pudding is definitely not a ‘traditional Christmas dish’. It traditionally goes with roast beef for Sunday dinner, though nowadays carvery restaurants often offer it with any roast.

  17. LH – you may remember the Yankee Doodle in New Haven.

    I do, but I’m not sure I ever ate there — it was Louis’ Lunch for burgers as far as I was concerned. The NH establishment I miss is the Elm City Diner; there was no place like it if you were peckish in the wee hours of the morning.

  18. Keith Ivey says

    I agree with MMcM. Describing the wrapper as croissant dough or puff pastry doesn’t match the usual reality. It’s dough that comes out of a can in triangular sheets, and there’s not much lamination. “Crescent rolls” are not croissants (and I had them years before I ever heard of a croissant).

  19. Christmas dinner in Britain seems to be standardized the way Thanksgiving is in America, with a roast turkey and a common list of sides. But that cannot be a particularly old tradition, since for centuries the proverbial English Christmas poultry was goose.

  20. In my early mid-70s elementary they were pigs in a pocket.

  21. Keith Ivey says
  22. Might I add mention of a truly Canadian hors d’oeuvre?

    Scallops wrapped in bacon and broiled, often brushed with a bit of maple syrup.

  23. David Eddyshaw says

    Turkey is a horrible bird: I long ago convinced my family (without much difficulty) that we should eat duck at Christmas instead.*

    Obviously the Americans are to blame for turkey, with their national mythopoiea convincing them that it actually tastes good. (The Pilgrim Fathers can be forgiven: I’m sure it tastes much better than starving to death.)

    The article Keith Ivey links is instructive though. I had not realised that the rot set in so early over here.

    * Might try cassowary next year. That‘ll teach it!

  24. J.W. Brewer says

    There was room in ones New Haven eating habits for both Louis’ AND the Doodle! It wasn’t a zero-sum game or some sort of tribal conflict where you had to choose up sides. (Plus they had rather different opening hours to further decrease conflict.)

  25. Might try cassowary next year.

    …and to their surprise and delight, upon cutting the bird open, the missionary emerged, digested but otherwise unharmed and in good spirits.

  26. There was room in ones New Haven eating habits for both Louis’ AND the Doodle! It wasn’t a zero-sum game or some sort of tribal conflict where you had to choose up sides.

    Sure. I wasn’t making a moral/tribal judgment, just saying what my habits were.

  27. Lars Mathiesen (he/him/his) says

    Duck it is for Christmas. Goose if I had my druthers, but as it is my brother-in-law buys, cooks and makes the sauce, so convenient.

    Saint Martin’s should be goose too, except my butcher has failed me two years running. Danes in general have been brainwashed into thinking duck is traditional, but I know better.

  28. Charles Perry says

    In L.A. in the Fifties, if a bacon-wrapped hot dog was split and filled with a slice of cheese before grilling, it was for some reason called a Suzie Q.

  29. David Marjanović says

    Rhyming slang for “boo!!!”, which is my opinion of cheese. ^_^

  30. I grew up in England not hearing anything about pigs in blankets. Christmas dinner was roast goose, turkey, chicken or duck with vegs, but definitely no Yorkshires. Those are what Yorkshiremen eat (still, some of them) before a meal with gravy, to fill them up so they don’t eat as much meat and what the rest of civilized society eats with roast beef. This I know from the (according to him) most reliable authority in the world on everything, a Yorkshireman. Then, of course, we had the obligatory awful stodgy and slightly bitter Christmas pudding, a dish I abandoned as soon as I was in control of my own kitchen. I think the term “pigs in blankets” was popularized when the fad for posh food started, in the seventies.

    If you want a (possibly reliable) history of the term, I found one here, but I’m no authority so I can’t agree or disagree. twistedfood.co.uk/articles/features/pigs-in-blankets-history-christmas-other-countries-pastry-bacon-2

  31. Might try cassowary next year.

    i’ve never had cassowary (or cassionary, which i assume would be the proper name for the layered version Y invoked), but i was once offered ostrich and emu kebabs, both of which were surprisingly lamb-like. i believe they came from savenor’s, the cambridge (mass.) butcher with the game and exotics case.

  32. There are restaurants here in Bonn where one can get ostrich and kangaroo, but I don’t think that I ever have seen emu on a menu.

  33. Stu Clayton says

    I don’t think that I ever have seen emu on a menu

    I can see one in a menu right now.

  34. “We put the emu in menu!”

    “You can’t spell menu without emu!”

  35. >on a menu right now

    Entree? Or emu’s bouche?

  36. *applauds*

  37. I think the term “pigs in blankets” was popularized when the fad for posh food started

    That’s hilarious. In the US “pigs in a blanket” started to fade away in the eighties as more posh food became trendy. I can’t imagine an upper middle class person serving them as hors d’oeuvres at a party in 2024, I feel like they were common fare in the seventies.

  38. Stu Clayton says
  39. @Charles Perry: that sounds like a playful take on Cordon Bleu, so maybe so’s the name?

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