Listening to an English podcast is a smart and entertaining way to improve your English. In addition to practicing your listening skills, listening to podcasts is a great way to keep your brain active throughout the day. There are hundreds of them on all kinds of topics: culture, history, personal development, news, and more. Have a look below at our list of recommended podcasts to help you learn English quickly and easily.
Simply put, podcasts are audio recordings. They cover many themes and subjects, and are widely available. You can find them on Spotify, Deezer, or the Podcast app on your smartphone.
They’re super accessible and practical! All you need is an internet connection (you can even listen offline if you download them to your device) and your favorite app or platform. Check out these articles for more general information on podcasts and their purpose:
- What is a podcast, and how do they work?
- How to subscribe to a podcast
- The Complete History of Podcasts
- How to listen to a podcast
You can listen to English podcasts just like you’d listen to the radio or a YouTube video.
- In the car, on the subway, waiting for an appointment: podcasts can transform this kind of “lost time” into productive time.
- While working out or in the bathroom: take care of your body and your mind at the same time!
- During housework: while doing dishes, cleaning, running errands, cooking, ironing, etc. Keep your brain active and make chores more interesting!
- At night, before bed: lots of podcast fans use them to fall asleep. It’s nice to hear a soothing voice tell you stories before going to sleep!
MosaTip: If you download episodes in advance, you can listen to your podcasts without an internet connection. Perfect for unplugging while traveling or camping!
You get the idea. Whenever you have a minute, take out your headphones and have a listen to an English podcast. You’ll learn more about whatever the subject is, and work on your English listening skills, vocabulary, and accent. In short, these can be a great addition to traditional lessons, and they’re great for learners on the go!
Although you certainly can listen to podcasts anytime, anywhere, if you’re someone who gets distracted easily, you may want to dedicate time in your day specifically to listening to English podcasts instead of trying to multitask. Generally, active listening (rather than simply letting the language wash over you without really trying to understand) produces better results, faster. If you’re unclear on the difference between passive and active learning techniques, take a look at this article.
There are many podcasts whose main goal is to help listeners improve their English. These are usually suitable for beginners. In general, this type of podcast is inspired by the Pimsleur method, one of the earliest audio-based learning approaches. Here are a few English podcasts for beginners that we recommend:
This is an extremely useful BBC podcast that’s centered on English grammar with a British accent. Each episode features an English teacher and a student from a foreign country talking about a grammar concept. This means you’ll get some extra exposure to a variety of non-native English accents! There’s an accompanying document that explains the grammar rules studied, as well as downloadable PDF exercises. Unfortunately, there are no new episodes (the page has been archived), but the exercises provide such good practice, we wanted to share!
Espresso English is an American English podcast offering short episodes (usually about 10 minutes) on specific skills, for instance vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. Topics include “The Difference between Just and Only” and “An Easy Way to Form Questions in English.” There are hundreds of free episodes in the archive, as well as an “English Word of the Day” blog to keep growing your vocabulary.
Culips is a great American (and Canadian) English podcast website that offers a variety of levels and categories of content. A couple of them are great for beginners! First, “Simplified Speech” offers conversations that use simple vocabulary at a slow conversational speech, with optional study guides. Second, “Real Talk” is another great section that focuses more specifically on practical everyday conversations. Topics include what to say if you’re stopped by the police, or how to pick up medicine at the pharmacy. This is great for practicing specialized but common vocabulary.
The English We Speak is a BBC series that offers short tidbits to introduce and explain popular expressions and sayings in British English. Most episodes are only a couple of minutes, perfect for keeping the attention of beginners. Hosts talk at a conversational pace, and each episode is centered around the vocabulary lesson. Recent episodes have been about casual expressions like “Zip it!” and even Gen Z English slang, like “It slaps!”
podcasts in english (or “pie” 🥧 yum!) is a great British accent tool for listeners at a beginner’s level, that has been around since 2006. Every few weeks, a short recording (usually less than 5 minutes) is added to the website. In addition to each short recording, you’ll find a transcript, worksheet (with answers available), and vocabulary tasks to make sure you’re getting as much out of each podcast as possible! Pie also offers podcasts in a variety of levels, from elementary (beginner) to intermediate, as well as business-specific content. The website also offers pronunciation guides, travelogues, and additional exercises. However, some content is behind a paywall.
Do you want to improve your listening comprehension in English?
Good news, we have a course for that! MosaSeries English: The Man With No Name. Start your 15-day free trial today and try it risk-free!
MosaSeries is an original and captivating English story divided into short episodes, designed to help you improve your listening skills, broaden your vocabulary, and learn the most important aspects of English grammar.
Pair interesting podcasts with the spaced repetition of MosaLingua exercises, and you’ll have some really powerful tools to help you develop your listening comprehension. Next up, check out our favorite English podcasts for intermediate learners:
Learning English Broadcast is a great podcast for people who are already comfortable with English vocabulary and enjoy listening to the news. New episodes on international news stories are released every day, recorded at a slow speed, but sometimes using specialized vocabulary. As the name suggests, this podcast is recorded in the American accent.
This is another fun and interesting British English podcast produced by the BBC. Each week, a short episode is released on a special topic or news story, like mermaids or comfort foods. Vocabulary is fairly simple, and presenters speak at a conversational pace. Each episode comes with written summaries and additional materials. Also in this series: 6 Minute Vocabulary and 6 Minute Grammar.
Luke is an experienced English teacher from London, and also a stand-up comedian! Many of his podcasts are entertaining one-person narrations on current events and culture topics, but he does sometimes have guests on for conversations, too. He offers full transcripts for each episode, as well. Luke’s podcast has even won five awards, so you can be sure you’re in good hands with him!
This is a great podcast by American linguist Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Each episode is fully in English, and topics range from travel to business to cultural English. There are a TON of lessons (more than 1,800!), and they come with typed learning guides. There are a few free sample episodes, but if you want the full benefit of all the episodes, you’ll need to choose either a monthly or annual membership.
Better@English is a great podcast for intermediate learners. The show covers a wide variety of topics, and episodes include grammar rules and conversational dialogues. The website provides background materials for context, as well as transcripts. The host, Lori, is American and a former English teacher, and she speaks very clearly at a conversational pace. She also sometimes has guests from other countries. They always speak English, but this gives you a chance to listen to some other accents!
Finally, if you love the MosaLingua YouTube channel, try out the MosaLingua Language Lab podcast. This podcast, hosted by Abbe, is about all of the different aspects of language learning: vocabulary, grammar, motivation, speaking, pronunciation, resources, and more. Some episodes are specifically about English, but most are about language learning in general. Episodes are short, usually 5-7 minutes long, and feature tips and hacks you can put into practice right away.
Depending on your level, you can also choose general podcasts geared toward native English speakers. People make podcasts on all kinds of subjects: news, history, personal development, sports, culture, to name just a few! In other words, there’s something out there for all tastes and interests! Here are a few you might want to start with:
This American Life is a very popular public radio show in the United States, Canada, and Australia, and it’s also available as a podcast. Each episode features a different anonymous person telling their own story—sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad, and sometimes inspiring. This is a very entertaining way to practice your English listening skills, and you’ll hear a variety of American accents, too.
Freakonomics Radio is a current project by Stephen Dubner, co-author of the popular Freakonomics books. This podcast is generally economics-based, but spans larger questions about society, science, and more with questions like, “Who decides the cost of living?” and “Does advertising actually work?” What’s more, he often hosts guests, including Nobel laureates, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals.
Jenna Wortham, Wesley Morris, and the New York Times have created an entertaining and introspective podcast about American culture, often through the lens of music and film. Episodes are long, usually about 45 minutes, and are clearly pronounced conversations between the two hosts. Topics include the evolution of the “Blaxploitation” film trend and what “Tiger King” reveals about America, for example.
London-based journalist Nate Lanxon is behind the podcast Tech’s Message. The show focuses on UK tech news—sometimes funny, sometimes insightful, and always interesting! It’s been around for six years, so there’s quite an archive to listen through. Tech’s Message was even nominated for a Webby Award, the most prized honor for web creators. By the way, do you get the play on words the creators made with the title of their show? 😉
Last on our list but not least, Investors Chronicle has a series called “Not Your Normal Finance Show.” This London-based podcast provides approachable and useful stock market data, tips, analysis, and guides on investing for beginners. Weekly topics range from looking at companies like Amazon and Disney+ to analyzing the chocolate, health and fitness, or video game market. Check out one of the 700+ episodes, and you’ll be hooked!
It’s not exactly a podcast, but it is a great way to improve your English listening comprehension! MosaSeries: The Man With No Name is a series of 24 audio episodes that will help you improve your skills, broaden your vocabulary, and learn important grammar concepts and conjugations step by step. And above all, it’s an original and fascinating story, 100% in English.
Are you learning another language in addition to English? Simply addicted to podcasts and want to branch out into new genres? Be sure you don’t miss the lists of our favorite podcasts in other languages:
What’s your favorite English podcast? Have you listened to some we didn’t list above? Let us know about them in the comments section! Happy learning!