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Traditional Scottish Oakcakes

Oat cakes, normally known as oatcakes in Scotland, are a traditional Scottish food.  I’ve heard there is a version in England that is more like thick pancakes, and I’ll have to look for those to try in the future.   The Scottish oatcakes recipe is simple and quick.

Oatcakes are a great accompaniment to stovies, corned beef hash, or any slow cooked meal, stew or stroganoff.

A Scottish breakfast could also be found using the humble oatcake with butter, cheese, or jam added to the top.

Most Scottish food is relatively easy to make, and to smash the assumption that it is all deep fried mars bars up the Aberdeenshire neck of the woods, I suspect that adding more traditional Scottish recipes to my blog could be a good idea.  Sorry to disappoint the deep fried mars bar brigade, but I’ve yet to meet a Scot whose eaten one.

To make oatcakes, make sure you buy proper oatmeal, preferrably pinhead as more rough versions can be harder to work with.

Please don’t be tempted to try porridge oats, buy oatmeal – every time.

Oatcake Recipe

  • 8 – 10 large oatcakes.
  • Preparation, 15 minutes
  • Nutritional, oatmeal is a good source of dietary fibre.


  •  200g pinhead oatmeal
  • 35g butter
  • half teaspoon of baking powder
  • half teaspoon of salt
  • 6 – 8 tablespoons of water


  • Heat the butter and water in a saucepan or the microwave.  I blast mine in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until the butter is melted. Mix the oatmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  • Add the melted butter and water to the oatmeal mix in your bowl.  Mix together until it forms a stiff dough.  You may need to add a little extra water to make the dough form.  If you need more water, add half a teaspoon at a time,  and don’t be afraid to get your fingers in the bowl to make the dough work.

  • Dust a clean surface with some oatmeal to roll out the dough.
  • Use a cutter to cut oatcakes into circles, or whatever shape you have available.  If you don’t have a cutter, just cut them into triangle or square shapes.  I used a sandwich cutter for larger sized oatcakes.
  • Grease a heavy bottomed frying pan or griddle.  I have a cast iron pan that I use for things like this.  The oatcakes should be cooked on a low heat for approximately 5-6 minutes each side until they begin to go brown.
Being new to the foodie community, I’m making my oatcakes my first entry into best of british – Scottish Challenge
 The full rules are posted on The Face of New World Appliances. However, here is a summary of what you have to do to enter:
  • Post your recipe on your blog with a link back to The Face of New World Appliances AND to the hosting post.  Visit the host post to find out how to enter fully.
  • The round-up of entries will be posted on or before the 20th July.





13 thoughts on “Traditional Scottish Oakcakes

  1. The deep fried mars bar came about in Stonehaven some 15 years ago. A local lad made “Young Frier of the Year” and he was young enough that some of his friends were still at school. During a lunchtime when kids were in the chippie he claimed during taunting that he could fry anything. Someone put a mars bar on the counter and the legend was born. Just to put the record straight.

    Most Scots eat a fabulously fresh diet. We bought (for instance) our oatmeal direct from the mill at Kelso. Talk about fresh!

  2. Are you supposed to cook the oatmeal first?

    1. Hi Kelly. The oatmeal is cooked during the process.

  3. These are fantastic! I love oatcakes, with soup or cheee or stashed in my bag as a quick snack but figured they were something I should make for muself. These are very simple, from ingredients I always have on hand, and even my boyfriend (not an oatcake man) really likes them. Thank you! Have bookmarked and will make again and again.

    1. What a lovely comment. I’m glad you enjoyed them. They are sooo easy to make, that I whip them up quite often. Much cheaper than buying and always fresh too.

  4. I recall my Mum using chicken fat sometimes to replace part of the butter (unless,of course fresh country butter is available in summertime-which is absolutely the best) – they seemed lighter ….and have even used some goose fat on occasion.

  5. I want to know the difference between steel cut and pinhead oats. I looked online and found they are the same. But the recipe did NOT come out with steel cut. I went to a British store and have pinhead now. I hope my Scottish cakes work this time.

    1. Steel and pinhead should be the same. Remember that the oatcakes need to rest to harden once they are cooked. If you try to pick one up straight from the pan to eat, it will fall apart.

  6. Course oatmeal would work too, wouldn’t it? I’d love to try these.

  7. mm love oatcakes, thanks for sharing. x

    1. I’ve always loved oatcakes. Was Friday lunch every day growing up as that’s when I went to my grandmothers for a feed. She made stovies, oatcakes and had it with beetroot or beans and it was my most looked forward to meal of the week, every week. I need to get the proper recipe off my mum and do it for my kids. Corned beef hash just doesn’t have the same appeal to it.

  8. My Nana used to make these when we were little, she always did them over the fire on a griddle and she always roughly cut them into triangles, We’d eat them warm with loads of slightly salty butter and the edges of the oat cakes always curled up, the edges were the best. Ta for the childhood memory xXx

    1. Griddle in triangles is the traditional way from what I can gather. They’re lovely though I had to wait for mine to cook as I thought they might fall apart before that. Once they were cool, the felt just like shop bought oatcakes.

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