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Bangers and Mash with Crock Pot Onion Gravy from DIA

Bangers and Mash with Crock Pot Onion Gravy from DIA

Dragonfly in Amber

“Where the hell have you been?” I demanded.

He took time to kiss me before replying.  His face was cold against mine, and his lips tasted faintly and pleasantly of whisky.

“Mm, sausage for supper?” he said approvingly, sniffing at my hair, which smelled of kitchen smoke.  “Good, I’m fair starved.”

“Bangers and mash,” I said.  “Where have you been?”

He laughed, shaking out his plaid to get the blown snow off.  “Bangers and mash?  That’s food, is it?”

“Sausages with mashed potatoes,” I translated. “A nice traditional English dish, hitherto unknown in the benighted reaches of Scotland.  Now, you bloody Scot, where in hell have you been for the last two days?  Jenny and I were worried!”

Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 33 – Thy Brother’s Keeper)

It’s a welcome home sausage for JAMMF!

I can do that. 🙂


My Englishman loves the occasional dish of comfort to remind him of home.  The English get a bad wrap for food a lot of the time – even around here – but Bangers and Mash is an example of simple, economical food done right — especially when it comes with a dish of piping hot onion gravy alongside.

For those of us on this side of the pond, bangers are sausages.  They got their nickname because sausages in the past, particularly those made under rationing during World War II, were made with a lot more water and would sometimes burst when cooked over too high a heat.  That won’t happen with a modern sausage, so you can remove your face shield, I promise.

These days, you can find a sausage for every occasion — pork, beef or veggie means that everyone can partake — you could even try OK’s Homemade Lamb Sausage from Robbie Burns Day.

potatoes for bangers and mash

Peeled russet potatoes make a great year ‘round mash, but I took advantage of the harvest season here in the Northern Hemisphere and used a fresh batch of new red-skinned potatoes from my neighbour’s garden.  The skins were so thin that I just scrubbed them with a soft brush and left them on for a little added taste, texture and nutrition.

I prefer to steam potatoes that I’m going to mash in about 1″ of salted water instead of boiling them in a big pot of water.  I find my method makes for lighter, fluffier, less water-logged mash.  Try it and see if you agree!

To make the gravy on the stove, combine the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over med. heat.  Add the onions and thyme/rosemary and stir occasionally until the onions soften and begin to colour.  Lower the heat slightly and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until a deep caramel colour, about 35-45 minutes.

(In my years as a chef, I’ve caramelized a lot of onions…and unless you really have 45 minutes to stand, undisturbed, at the stove while the onions brown, it’s just so MUCH EASIER to do them in the crockpot.)

bangers and mash

Looking for more comfort food with more onion gravy?  Try Toad in the Hole from my other blog, Island Vittles.

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Bangers & Mash with Crock Pot Onion Gravy from DIA

: An English classic; simple, delicious food.  The crock pot version starts cooking while you’re at work, then comes together quickly for an easy end-of-day meal that everyone loves.

Serves 4

Crock Pot Onion Gravy:

  • Onions – 2 medium
  • Vegetable Oil – 2 Tble
  • Butter – 1 Tble
  • Fresh Thyme or Rosemary – 1 sprig
  • All-Purpose Flour – ¼ Cup
  • Beef, Chicken or Vegetable Stock – 2 Cups
  • s+p – to taste


  • Pork, Beef of Veggie Sausages – 1-2 per person
  • Vegetable Oil – 1 tsp


  • Potatoes, peeled and cubed – 2 lbs
  • Bay Leaves – 2 (optional)
  • Butter – ¼ Cup
  • Half & Half (Light Cream) – ¼ to ⅓ Cup
  • Horseradish or Dijon Mustard – 1 to 2 Tble (optional)

Onion gravy:  Julienne the onions and add them to the crockpot along with the oil, butter, thyme/rosemary and a pinch of salt.  Keep the onions from touching the edges of the crockpot so that they don’t burn.  The onions will take 4½ to 5 hours on low.  Stir occasionally if you’re around.

When the onions are a deep caramel, remove the thyme/rosemary sprig.  Turn the crockpot to high and stir in the flour.  Recover and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the stock, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Sausages & Mash:  Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Toss the sausages with the oil in a baking pan. Cook until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and tent lightly with foil.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes and optional bay leaves in a medium pot with 1” of cold, salted water.  Cover and bring to the boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce to medium and boil, covered, until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain.

Mash the potatoes until smooth, add the butter and stir vigourously with a wooden spoon.  Add the cream and optional horseradish/Dijon and stir again.  Season with salt & pepper and cover to keep warm.

Assembly:  Season the thickened gravy with salt & pepper.

Mound the mash in the middle of each plate and top with the sausages.  Spoon over the onion gravy and serve with green peas or your favourite vegetable.


  • If you don’t make the gravy, cook a few sliced onions in the pan with the sausages and serve some Dijon or English Mustard on the side.
  • If you do make the onion gravy, don’t rush the onions; the darker the caramel of the onions, the richer and more flavourful the gravy.
  • You can also fry the sausages on the stove top or grill them on the BBQ.
  • Caramelized onions freeze very well.  I often do up to 10 onions at a time, then freeze them in individual containers for use later.




  1. Denise Twist
    September 5, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Ah, a favorite around my house. With a husband and two nearly adolescent sons (read: huge food bill) this is not only Manly Food but pure comfort as well. I have a red wine and onion gravy that I make but I’m trying yours next time!

    • Theresa
      September 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      I love a little red wine in my gravy…great idea, Denise!

  2. MacZac
    September 5, 2012 at 7:02 am

    I love the onion gravy! I usually stand over the bowl eating it with the serving spoon. I love the Toad in a Hole so I can’t wait to try this too!

    • Theresa
      September 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Hope you like it, Lori!

  3. sattvahealth
    September 5, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Oh I’ve always wondered about bangers and mash!!! I can’t wait to try this! Looks like the perfect meal for the cooler months.
    What would work in place of sausage?
    Will this recipe be part of the cookbook? I hope it gets published soon! I’ve been telling all my friends and family about it and have about 50 people anxiously awaiting the preorder from amazon!!!!

    • Theresa
      September 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

      I think I need you as an agent, Lior. That’s a lot of pre-orders…I’m working on that cookbook! 😀

  4. sattvahealth
    September 5, 2012 at 7:29 am

    PS have I mentioned lately about how much I LOVE your onion gravy? I have had dreams about it!

    • Theresa
      September 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      I dream about it too! LOL

  5. The Suzzzz
    September 5, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I’m making this tonight! The onion gravy sounds really good.

    • Theresa
      September 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      I think you’ll like it Suzzzz!

  6. Pamela Jones
    September 5, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Can’t wait to try!

    • Theresa
      September 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      Let us know what you think, Pamela!

  7. Peggy
    September 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Oh I love the idea of caramelizing the onions in a crockpot!

    • Theresa
      September 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      Once you’ve done it, you’ll never go back, Peggy. 🙂

  8. Donna
    September 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I have to give this a try! It looks amazing and hearty enough to fill all tummies of the hungry males in my house! Thanks Theresa!!

    • Theresa
      September 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Donna, I’ve never met a male who didn’t like it. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Belinda W. Jonak
    September 7, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Bangers=exploding tube steak…hot liquid builds up and makes a forceful exit from the sausage. Cereal sounds safer…snap, crackle, pop.

    • Theresa
      September 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      I have never seen a modern sausage explode — and besides, cereal for dinner sucks.

  10. Marissa
    September 17, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Browning onions in the crock pot? This. Changes. Everything.

    • Theresa
      September 17, 2012 at 8:55 am

      Yes, yes it does. Life is much easier now. LOL

  11. Eleanor
    November 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

    This gravy is AMAZING! After trying it out with the bangers and mash, I made it in the crock pot along with a pork tenderloin (cooked all together), and even my 4-year-old couldn’t get enough. Thank you so much!

    • Theresa
      November 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      I have yet to find someone who doesn’t love that gravy! LOL I’m glad you’re family loves it too.

  12. Kate
    March 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Made this tonight. Fourth time now, I think. That Onion Gravy….Should be a pudding flavour. Just sayin’.

  13. Valerie
    August 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    This is under your gluten free recipe list but your gravy contains flour. Do you have a suggestion for gluten free gravy?

    • Theresa
      August 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      That should really say Gluten-Free and Adaptable, I guess.

      If I’m making a gluten free gravy, I use corn or tapioca starch. Mix about 1 Tble with 2 Tble cold water…make the gravy, minus the flour, and when it’s bubbling, stir in about half of the cornstarch slurry. Stir well, let it simmer another 3-4 minutes until thickened.

    • Dennis
      May 15, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Pamela’s artisan all purpose gluten free flour behaves exactly like regular AP Flour for cooking. Don’t know about baking, but I’m pretty sure it behaves the same there too.

  14. Amie
    August 19, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    This looks like something I could actually make. Yum!

    • Theresa
      August 19, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Easy and delicious! Go for it. 🙂

  15. Heidi
    September 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

    What kind of sausage do you like to use? Any particular flavors that work better than others?

    • Theresa
      September 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      I love pork and sage…my fave.

  16. Sue V
    November 2, 2014 at 7:23 am

    I have a love-hate relationship with onions — I love them in minute amounts, and they hate me in any size larger.

    Can you recommend a different type of gravy for this dish, one not made from onions?


    • Theresa
      November 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

      I would just make a quick gravy from the sausages, Sue. Roast the sausages in 1/4″ of water in the oven, then use the drippings to make gravy on the stovetop.

  17. Alice Watkins
    November 2, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I’ve heard of caramelized onions in the oven before but not the crock pot. Definitely should do a huge batch. What size crock pot for this recipe?

    • Theresa
      November 2, 2014 at 10:22 am

      5 to 6 quart will do this recipe and will also hold a double batch.

  18. Taraneh Quinn
    November 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Hi Theresa, I was wondering if I do the 10 onions how long in the crock pot? Thanks so much for sharing your love of Outlander and food!!

  19. Julia
    November 3, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Thank you so much for this blog and your recipes. You combine two of my loves; cooking and Outlander! This recipe looks like a good one.

    • Theresa
      November 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Great to have you here, Julia!

  20. Carol Mackey
    February 11, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Just caught a Cook’s Country episode making something in a crock pot–they used a collar of foil to keep the food from the sides of the pot so it wouldn’t burn. Sounds like it might work if you’re making a 10-onion pot of your onion gravy. I have a new CrockPot with a higher “low” setting than my old one and run into this frequently–will try this after I buy the “bangers”. Going to have to come up with a substitute for the “mash”–can you imagine an (Scots) Irish (wo)man who can’t eat tatties??? Maybe some ‘neeps (parsnips _and_ turnips), with some cauliflower thrown in for good measure–not very authentic, but, then . . . ya do whatcha gotta do . . . =D

  21. Liz
    January 24, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Have the onion gravy on the docket to clear out some frozen Swedish meatballs from IKEA (please don’t judge) and use up another pint of frozen chicken stock. However, as Swedish meatballs usually have a cream sauce, would adding 1c or less of cream or half-and-half be a way to adapt the gravy for that purpose?

    I’m basically adapting this plus Alton Brown’s Swedish Meatball sauce recipe (this fits my timetable better than his) because they’re so closely related, though this requires a lot less baby-sitting.

    Will let you know how it goes if you cannot respond, of course!

    • Theresa
      January 25, 2016 at 7:00 am

      The cream should work, Liz…and for sure let us know how it goes!

    • Liz
      February 10, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Well, it went OK, but next time I should start the onions earlier in the day if I’m adding frozen meatballs meatballs to them!

      I love that this recipe is so easy to follow, though, so it’ll stay in my back pocket for future reference.

  22. Kathy
    May 27, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Made double batch of onion gravy, cooked for 5 hours in crock pot, but the onions were still stewing in their own juice and were not browning. I put them in a skillet on medium high heat and it still took quite awhile for them to turn color. What went wrong in the crock pot?

    • Theresa
      May 30, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Kathy, I’m not really sure what the problem was. Did you have the crock pot on low or high? I’m wondering if the double batch of onions was just to many to allow the crock pot to get hot enough on low. Maybe try it on high next time?

    • Kathy
      May 30, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Well, the crock pot is quite old, but I did have it on high for awhile. Your recipe didn’t say to leave the top off, so the juices could not evaporate – maybe that was the problem. I think it would be easier to just carmelize the onions in a skillet and not use the crock pot. By the way, I wear my snorkeling mask while chopping the onions to avoid all the tears!

    • Theresa
      May 30, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      The point of the crockpot is so that you can leave the onions unattended. I use this method regularly without any problems and I’ve had lots of feedback on this recipe over the years from people who love it. The recipe doesn’t state to leave the lid off because if you did, it wouldn’t work; the crockpot would never reach a high enough temp, no matter what setting you had it on.

      If you prefer to carmelize them on the stove, then that’s your probably your best solution.

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