Traditional Scottish Oatcakes

Homemade Scottish Oatcakes on plates and board
  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
12 Calories
1g Fat
1g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 12
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 99mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 1g
Calcium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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. The oatcakes are similar to a flatbread or biscuit. They are quick and easy to prepare and make a delicious snack or accompaniment to cheese.

Traditionally, they are made in an oven or on a griddle. For some in Scotland, they replace toast as a breakfast staple. The Scottish oatcakes have a rich history in Scotland. There is documentation of them existing in Scotland as far back as 43 AD, and likely even before then.

There can be a wide variety in regards to the texture of an oatcake. Depending on how the oats are ground, the oatcake can be very rough to very fine. They can be slightly chewy or hard. This depends on the water content in the batter and how long they are baked for. Today there are a number of commercial bakers that mass produce oatcakes. Many local bakeries also make their own oatcakes. And now, with this easy recipe, you can make your own at home.

This recipe calls for melted goose or bacon fat. This can be found at better butchers. Another option is to save the bacon fat from when you cook bacon. It can be stored in a glass jar and kept in the refrigerator. Melt what you need for this recipe and keep the rest for another day.


Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oatmeal, salt, and bicarbonate of soda. Then drizzle in the melted fat and stir vigorously until a thick paste is formed. Then add the hot water and mix again. 

  3. Cut the paste into two small balls, sprinkle a work surface with oatmeal, and roll each ball on the surface to coat and to prevent sticking. Knead each ball for a few minutes until the mixture starts to dry slightly and stops sticking to the surface. Add a little more oatmeal as required but use sparingly; you do not want the cakes to become too dry.

  4. Roll each ball into a roughly ¼-inch (1/2-cm.) thick disc, then cut into quarters.

  5. Place the oatcake dough on a greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes in the oven or until brown at the edges.

  6. Alternatively, the oatcakes can be cooked in a hot frying pan, 3 minutes on each side.

  7. Serve the oatcakes warm or cool. They are tasty for breakfast, on a cheese plate, or with some jam at tea time. Store any leftover oatcakes on a plate covered with plastic wrap or sealed in a zip-top bag. They can last a day or two, but you don't want them to become soggy or stale.