This Gaelic saying so neatly sums up the attitude toward food in Scotland: "S mairg a ni tarcuis air biadh," which translates to "he who has contempt for food is a fool." Meaning, there should be a love and enjoyment of Scottish food, both traditional and modern. The country's affinity for their cuisine can easily be seen in these 14 favorite Scottish recipes.
Haggis, porridge, and whiskey are just a few of the foods and drink the Scots have created over the years, making the best use of the offerings nature handed to them from the rugged mountains, lakes, sea lochs, and streams, as well as the fertile valleys and moorlands.
Scottish food is steeped not just in the landscape but also in the history and heritage of the country, which though part of the United Kingdom, still maintains its unique identity which you will find in the following recipes.
Watch Now: Traditional All-Butter Scottish Shortbread
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All About Haggis
Haggis is not merely for Burns Night (a celebration in January commemorating the life of a Scottish poet) but is a true traditional dish of Scotland loved and eaten there as well as in many other parts of the world.
Haggis is made from sheep pluck (the often-discarded parts such as lungs, heart, etc.), which is minced and mixed with oatmeal, suet, and seasonings and then stuffed into the sheep's stomach, sewn, and cooked. The meat and the method may sound off-putting, but the combination of ingredients is delicious—you simply must try it. Haggis is the meat in that most famous of Scottish recipes haggis, tatties, and neeps.
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A Bowl of Scottish Porridge
Discover the healthy and nutritious Scottish breakfast dish of porridge, a long-standing recipe that was originally cooked in a pan and stirred with a wooden spurtle (stick). The use of oatmeal in this recipe makes this dish a healthy start to the day. Slow-release carbohydrates will sustain you from breakfast through lunchtime.
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Tattie scones are a traditional part of a full Scottish breakfast and are sometimes also called potato scones; you may also hear them referred to as fadge or potato bread in Ireland. They are quick and easy to make and are a useful way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. Perfect for a breakfast plate—or any other time of day!
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Cullen is a small town in Northeast Scotland and the home of one of Scotland’s most famous dishes, Cullen skink. It is a hearty soup and traditionally made with Finnan haddock (smoked haddock), potatoes, and onions. Cullen skink is also known as smoked haddock chowder in other parts of Britain. You can also use Arbroath smokies—haddock that have been smoked over hardwood in and around the seaside town of Arbroath (hence the name)—a very traditional Scottish smoked fish.Continue to 5 of 14 below.
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Cock-a-Leekie soup is essentially a peasant dish and has many regional variations—some going back centuries, revealing just how important this dish is to Scottish food. There are recipes with chopped grilled bacon, others with beef stock or Jamaican pepper, some even with stewed prunes in the finished dish thanks to French gourmet, Talleyrand. Whichever way you make this easy recipe, it is sure to be a winner.
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Ask 100 Scots for a traditional stovies recipe and you will get 100 different answers—everyone has their own version (and of course theirs will be the best).
Stovie means "bits from the stove," which essentially means all the leftover bits from a Sunday roast. Not that you have to be restricted to the pickings from your Sunday lunch—stovies—which is basically a meat and potato stew—can also be made using a tin of corned beef or some cooked minced beef or sausages.
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You just have to love this silly-sounding name which in no way explains what it is, but it is still fun. A dish of Rumbledethumps is the Scottish way of using up the leftover mashed potatoes and other vegetables to create a hearty, sustaining casserole-like side dish (or you can eat this on its own). So easy to make, you will fall in love with it.
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Oatcakes are to Scotland what a baguette is to the French. The flat cakes made mainly from oats have for centuries been considered the Scottish national bread. They are quick and easy to make and are a delicious snack or accompaniment to cheese.Continue to 9 of 14 below.
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Though Scottish shortbread is traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve, this shortbread recipe is too good to save for just one night! The all-butter recipe makes for a melt-in-your-mouth cookie. Be sure to handle the dough as little as possible and to use cold hands and tools to achieve the "shortie's" signature light and crumbly texture.
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Tipsy laird is essentially the same as trifle, the pudding that has graced British tables for centuries. Also a traditional part of Burn's Night, this dessert is not only delicious but also pretty to look at. Layers of sponge cake, raspberries, custard, and whipped cream are flavored with a bit of whiskey (instead of the British sherry), which can be eliminated if serving the dish to children.
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The traditional Scottish Cranachan is a dessert that is often served at celebrations. The red raspberry puree layered with whipped cream flavored with whiskey and honey create a festive treat that is bursting with flavor. Toasted oats add a nutty taste and crunchy texture.
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Scottish tablet is for those with a sweet tooth—this fudge-like candy is exceptionally sweet. The recipe here calls for four pounds of sugar! But the good thing is just a little bite should satisfy your craving. Feel free to add flavorings such as peppermint.Continue to 13 of 14 below.
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Clootie dumplings are very different from what Americans know as dumplings—either the pouch-like Asian appetizer or the biscuit-style topping for a Southern stew. The Scottish dessert is more of a fruitcake, combining oats with currents and spices, as well as suet—animal organ fat. This hearty pudding is very much at the heart of Scottish celebrations including both Hogmanay and Burn's Night supper.
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Dundee cake can also be called a Scottish Christmas cake (though it is eaten year round) and is easily identified by the almond decoration around the top. It is essentially a fruitcake traditionally including almonds, whiskey, and orange peel.