What Is Fairy Bread?

Ray Hawk

Fairy bread is a sort of homemade dessert commonly known to children in Australia and New Zealand and served at parties, but it is spreading in popularity as well to other locations. It is simple to make and usually only involves three ingredients, sliced white bread, butter or margarine, and candy sprinkles known as "hundreds and thousands." It is suspected that the origin of the term fairy bread and the practice of making it are based on the desire of children to emulate a poem entitled Fairy Bread in the collection of poetry A Child's Garden of Verses and Underwoods written in 1913, by the famous Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson.

Fairy bread is common in Australia and often served at parties.
Fairy bread is common in Australia and often served at parties.

To make fairy bread, all a child has to do is take soft white slices of bread and butter one side completely. They then cut the bread slices diagonally so that all the pieces are triangles. The final step is to sprinkle each piece with multicolored candy sprinkles known in Australia and New Zealand as "hundreds and thousands." Some instructions also call for removing the crust from the bread, and allow for using cookie batter and other dough as a substitute for white bread.

Fairy bread is popular with young girls.
Fairy bread is popular with young girls.

The process is somewhat flexible, allowing children to work with whatever ingredients their parents have in the kitchen and with which they will allow them to play. Some suggestions also state that the bread should be sprinkled with hundreds and thousands before it is cut. Either way, the fairy bread pieces can now be stacked atop one another as the sprinkles will keep them from sticking together.

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Sliced white bread is a main ingredient in fairy bread.
Sliced white bread is a main ingredient in fairy bread.

Improvised desserts and snack foods of this sort are a nice addition to childrens' tea parties, which are another widespread practice mainly among young girls. Since tea parties are often served with miniature toy tea sets that are, in fact, empty and require the exercise of the child's imagination, fairy bread can add a nice touch to the experience. This is especially true when they call their older siblings or parents to join them in afternoon tea and are proud to have something to offer along with the empty tea cup to the guest.

The popularity of fairy bread has become so widespread that its entered into other aspects of culture in Australia. The coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old girl in the movie Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger, made in 2008 in Australia, features fairy bread. One of the reasons fairy bread may be so popular, especially with young girls, is probably due to the fact that, at a preteen age, they enjoy hearing stories about small, beautiful, magical creatures such as fairies, brownies, and elves, and these creatures are often featured in children's stories. They most likely cannot help but wonder what these creatures eat, hence the idea of fairy bread is born by writers such as Stevenson who create stories about harmless magical creatures to entertain the young.

Different kinds of jams are usually spread on fairy bread.
Different kinds of jams are usually spread on fairy bread.

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Discussion Comments


When I was a kid in the 1980's I grew up poor in the states and I used to put sprinkles on Wonder bread and call them sprinkle sandwiches.


Fairy bread is so popular in Australia. I'm not sure why it hasn't become popular in the States yet.

It is very easy to make this treat, but it's important to pay attention to a few things. First of all, white American bread should be used. Secondly, the crusts should be cut and removed. Fairy bread looks much better without the crusts, it looks more like cake. Thirdly, the butter should be sweet butter (or margarine). The salty variety should be avoided.

I like to cut my fairy bread after sprinkling the candy sprinkles. It's easier to cut that way and I usually use a pizza cutter for convenience.


@ysmina-- Fairy bread tastes like sweet bread. The sweetness depends on the sweetness of the butter and the sprinkles. It can also be more crunchy or less crunchy depending on which type of sprinkles are used.

It's not something I would like to have often, but kids do enjoy them. And you are absolutely right that it's a great activity. I had kids make them at my son's birthday part and they had so much fun. They ate a lot of it too. So it was definitely a hit. It was also great for me because I did not have to do anything aside from slicing the bread into triangles.

If you do this as a kids' activity, make sure to give them plastic knives and supervise them closely so that they don't get hurt.


Fairy bread sounds like a fun activity for kids at parties and other events. But what does it taste like? It doesn't sound like very appetizing to me but I guess kids like it.

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