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32 Top Traditional Scottish Food & Scottish Dishes

32 Top Traditional Scottish Food & Scottish Dishes

The main factor in traditional Scottish food and recipes for the Scottish dishes is the abundant supply of game and dairy products. The next contributor is the bountiful supply of fish, fruit, and vegetables. Last, but not least, is the high reliance on simplicity and minimal seasoning.

What is Scottish Food?

Scotland, with its temperate climate and abundance of indigenous game species, has provided a cornucopia of food for its inhabitants for millennia. The wealth of seafood available on and off the coasts provided the earliest settlers with their sustenance. Agriculture was introduced, with primitive oats quickly becoming the staple.

The mobile nature of Scots society in the past required food that should not spoil quickly. It was common to carry a small bag of oatmeal that could be transformed into a basic porridge or oatcakes using a griddle. It is thought that Scotland’s national dish, haggis, originated in a similar way: A small amount of offal or low-quality meat carried in the most inexpensive bag available, a sheep or pig’s stomach.

edinburgh food

History of Traditional Scottish Food

In common with many medieval European neighbors, Scotland was a feudal state for a greater part of the second millennium. This put certain restrictions on what one was allowed to hunt, therefore to eat. In the halls of the great men of the realm, one could expect venison, boar, various fowl and songbirds, expensive spices (pepper, cloves, cinnamon, etc.), and the meats of domesticated species.

From the journeyman down to the lowest cottar, meat was an expensive commodity and would be consumed rarely. For the lower echelons of medieval Scots, it was the products of their animals rather than the beasts themselves which provided nourishment. This is evident today in traditional Scots fare, with its emphasis on dairy produce.

It would appear that the average recipes for Traditional Scottish food would consist of a pottage of herbs and roots (and when available some meat or stock for flavoring), with bread and cheese when possible.

Before Sir Walter Raleigh’s introduction of the potato to the British Isles, the Scots’ main source of carbohydrate was bread made from oats or barley. Wheat was generally difficult to grow because of the damp climate.

Food thrift was evident from the earliest times, with excavated middens displaying little evidence of anything but the toughest bones. All parts of an animal were used.

The mobile nature of Scots society in the past required food that should not spoil quickly. The recipes for Traditional Scottish food had to address this problem.

It was common to carry a small bag of oatmeal that could be transformed into a basic porridge or oatcakes using a girdle (griddle). It is thought that Scotland’s national dish, haggis, originated in a similar way.

A small amount of offal or low-quality meat carried in the most inexpensive bag available, a sheep or pig’s stomach. It has also been suggested that this dish was introduced by Norse invaders who were attempting to preserve their food during the long journey from Scandinavia.

scottish curry

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Traditional Scottish Food

1. What is the Most Popular Food in Scotland?
Haggis. Scotland’s national dish is haggis, a savory meat pudding, and it’s traditionally accompanied by mashed potatoes, turnips (known as ‘neeps’), and a whisky sauce.
2. What is Typical Traditional Scottish Food?
Although typically served with haggis, neeps and tatties are featured in many Scottish dishes. Just to clarify, ‘neeps’ are turnips and ‘tatties’ are potatoes. In Scotland, neeps and tatties go together like peas and carrots.
3. What is a Typical Scottish Breakfast?
The basic ingredients to a traditional Scottish breakfast include square Lorne sausage, link sausages, fried egg, streaky bacon, baked beans, black pudding and/or haggis, tattie scones, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, and toast. You can find breakfast recipes for Scottish food in the group below.
4. What Fruits are Native to Scotland?
Apple trees, Pear trees, plums, and cherries are common fruit tree choices in Scotland. Hardy varieties of each of these can be found which are suitable for growth in almost all parts of Scotland.
5. What is a Traditional Scottish Dish for Christmas Dinner?
Roast turkey is the traditional main course. However, a variation on the turkey stuffing, made with haggis, is a great idea for enjoying a turkey dish. Dishes like Roast Pork, Glazed Ham, Roast Angus Beef, Steak pie, Roast Leg of Lamb are also served at the Christmas dining table. For dessert, the most traditional is the Christmas pudding, usually served with brandy sauce cream. We have collected a few Christmas dessert recipes for Scottish food in the group below.

Traditional Scottish Food & Recipes for Scottish Dishes

1. Scottish Rumbledethumps – Scottish Food

1. Scottish Rumbledethumps - Recipes for Scottish Food

England has 'bubble and squeak', Ireland 'colcannon' and, in Scotland, this delicious fry-up of vegetables is called Rumbledethumps. The dish is popular in the Scottish border regions, but you can easily make it at home wherever you are.

This Rumbledethumps recipe is based on a classic recipe from Sue Lawrence, one of Scotland's most famous cooks and food writers. Sue's recipe is classic and works every time. It's also easy to adjust to your tastes and preferences, too.

For this Rumbledethumps recipe, you can use leftover mashed potato and swede (also known as turnip or tatties and neeps) if you have some handy or cook from fresh. The beauty of the dish is it can be made the day before and heated up. Then all it needs alongside is a hearty stew, or, if you prefer to eat it on its own, try it with a fried egg on top.

Rumbledethrumps is one of the great and simple recipes for Scottish food.
Check out this recipe

2. Full Scottish Breakfast – Traditional Scottish Food

2. Full Scottish Breakfast You Can Make At Home

Whether you’re looking to relive that amazing meal you had on a trip to Edinburgh, or just want to get back in touch with the recipes for Scottish food you grew up eating, you can have a taste of Scotland right in your own kitchen.

So, don’t want for a trip back to Scotland to cure that craving for Scottish cuisine. We’ve some tips below on the tasty Scottish food and recipes that you can make right in your own kitchen at home.

Start your day out right with a hearty meal of a full Scottish breakfast. This is going to include eggs, black pudding, back bacon, mushrooms, link sausage, buttered toast, a tomato, baked beans, and tea or coffee.

And if you’re like me, it will also include a small bowl of porridge. Also note that sliced haggis is an optional addition to your breakfast plate.
Check out this recipe

3. Scottish Bap – Scottish Dishes

3. Scottish Bap - Recipes for Scottish Food

The Scottish bap bread is a soft roll, usually round, sometimes oval, sometimes square. It's a flat-topped bread roll, dusted with flour, and an indented hole is in the middle to stop it from rising to a dome.

It's best eaten fresh out of the oven first thing in the morning, sliced in two and enveloping fried bacon and eggs. It is one of those recipes for Scottish food that everyone loves.
Check out this recipe

4. Scottish Bubbles and Squeak Patties – Scottish Food

4. Scottish Bubbles and Squeak Patties

My father in law is from Scotland and this is a favorite family dish. This one is a Scottish favorite. Makes a great side dish with chicken.
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5. Scottish Oatmeal Rolls – Traditional Scottish Food

5. Scottish Oatmeal Rolls

My family likes rolls that can hold up to scooping gravies, sauces, and more. This is one of those recipes for Scottish food that is always a favorite. The oatmeal in the dough gives it a Scottish touch.

6. Traditional Scottish Mince & Tatties – Traditional Scottish Food

6. Traditional Scottish Mince & Tatties

If you haven’t heard of mince and tatties, it’s basically ground beef and root vegetables in a hearty gravy with mashed potatoes.

When we lived in Scotland for 3 years, this dish was the most frequently consumed meal (aside from sausage rolls) that friends made for us. These recipes for Scottish food are simple, down to earth comfort food!

It seemed easy enough, and the ingredients are super simple, so I thought I’d give it a go in our wee Scottish kitchen.
Check out this recipe

7. Sticky Scottish Pecan Appetizers – Scottish Food

7. Sticky Scottish Pecan Appetizers

Served in Scottish Shortbread “cups,” these appetizers are sticky, salty-sweet, and delicious. Shortbread has been around for many centuries, thought to have originated in Scotland as a specifically designed biscuit using yeast.

Over time, the base of this recipe has evolved into 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3 parts flour, with additions to match desired tastes. One of those recipes for Scottish food that allows you to taste the flavor of Scotland.
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8. Scottish Soup – Traditional Scottish Food

8. Scottish Soup - Recipes for Scottish Food

Ahhhhh! Good old bonnie Scotland. How we love you so. We’re lucky enough to have visited Scotland a bunch of times and we’ve eaten some incredible food up there. So good.

We decided to make a super British soup in honor of Scotland, the flavors are super earthy and warming, you’re gonna love it.
Check out this recipe


9. Stovies – Traditional Scottish Food

9. Stovies - Recipes for Scottish Food

Stovies is a traditional Scottish dish, which is usually made from meat, potatoes, and onions. It is one of those recipes for Scottish food that becomes a very simple and quick-to-prepare dish.
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10. Slow Cooked Scottish Beef Stew – Scottish Food

10. Slow Cooked Scottish Beef Stew

Fall-apart beef cooked in the oven or the slow cooker - this Scottish beef stew is my favorite Scottish recipe and perfect for Burns night! (New Year's Eve)
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11.Traditional Cullen Skink – Traditional Scottish Food

11. Traditional Cullen Skink

Traditional Cullen Skink is a classic Scottish dish from the recipes for Scottish food. It's a thick soup or chowder but definitely a meal in itself and real comfort food. It comes from the Scottish town of Cullen in Moray on the northeast coast of Scotland.

Made from smoked haddock, leeks, and potatoes, this version is lovely and thick. I like to put half the soup through a blender to make it really nice and thick. It's a great dish to serve for dinner in autumn and winter as it's really hearty and warming.
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12. Hotch Potch – Scottish Dishes

Basically, it’s a stew of mostly green vegetables and lamb, or that’s how it’s written, but, not so fast. Other ingredients were used in the past, or in times of famine, to make a version reproducible by home cooks, I assume.

What sort of things get eaten in Scotland during a famine? Wild things, interesting things, and the header mentioned 3, in particular, that might be hard for average 20th Century readers to find: Levisticum Scoticum, (Scotch lovage) wild onions, lamb’s quarter, and, nettles, specifically the tops of nettles, which I thought was interesting, and evidence of it being an early to mid-summer recipe.

The greatest food has a story, and I think the techniques and combinations born of frugality, or even hardship can be the most interesting.
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13.Traditional Scottish Shortbread – Scottish Food

13.Traditional Scottish Shortbread - Scottish Food


What is one of the easiest recipes for Scottish food? Traditional Scottish Shortbread Recipe. Perfectly crumbly, irresistibly buttery, and wonderfully delicious. Scottish Shortbread has been a year-round favorite treat for centuries!

Shortbread is as basic and simple as a cookie (biscuit) can get. But it’s also divinely delicious. And for that reason, shortbread has been a favorite throughout the UK for hundreds of years.

The origin of shortbread goes back to somewhere around the 12th century when it was originally made from leftover bread-making dough that was left to dry out and harden into “biscuit bread.”

Over time butter replaced the yeast and biscuit bread evolved into shortbread. The term “short” refers to the crumbly texture from the large quantity of butter. Butter was a luxury item and so shortbread was enjoyed only on special occasions and, of course, by the nobles and royals.
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14. Classic Cranachan – Traditional Scottish Food

14. Classic Cranachan - Recipes for Scottish Food (1)

Cranachan is the classic Scottish dessert of Scotch-spiked whipped cream layered with raspberries and toasted oats and sweetened with honey. It's as easy as it is delicious.

Sweet summer raspberries folded into cream flavored with honey, whisky, and toasted oatmeal - what of the recipes for Scottish food could be more delicious? This traditional Scottish dessert of oats, cream, whisky, and raspberries is a delicious alternative to trifle.
Check out this recipe

15. Scots Christmas Pudding Recipe – Scottish Dishes

15. Scots Christmas Pudding Recipe

A perfect Christmas pudding of raisins, apples, dates, and warm flavors like cinnamon, ginger, honey, a dash of rum, etc.
Check out this recipe

16.Traditional Scottish Black Bun – Scottish Food

16.Traditional Scottish Black Bun (1)

This is a traditional Scottish Hogmanay cake that needs to be made some weeks before the year-end as it needs time to mature. Wrap in clingfilm then aluminum foil and store in an airtight container till needed. With the holidays coming up, try some of these recipes for Scottish food that will make your New Years' feast unique.
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17. Scottish Tattie, Neep and Carrot Soup – Traditional Scottish Food

17. Scottish Tattie, Neep and Carrot Soup

A hearty and comforting traditional Scottish food made with tatties (potatoes), neeps (turnip) and carrot. This is a traditional Scottish soup, the type my mum made when I was growing up.

It's a hearty bowl of soup full of chunky vegetables that will warm you right up. Neep is the Scottish name for a turnip. Tattie is potato.
Check out this recipe

18. Scottish Eggs – Scottish Dishes

18. Scottish Eggs

Have some Scotch Eggs for dinner the old Scottish way with this savory recipe that will find its place in your cookbook. These go well with Lowenserf Hot German mustard or Louisiana Hot Sauce. Best way to serve them is with a chilled Spinach and Bacon salad and fresh tomatoes. Enjoy!
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 19. Hot Toddy (Traditional Scottish Recipe) – Scottish Food

19. Hot Toddy (Traditional Scottish Recipe)

This hot toddy recipe is extremely simple, and that’s what makes it a classic. Only two or three ingredients are needed for this traditional Scottish food, but a good quality whisky is a must.

A hot toddy is the Scottish “cold-cure” equivalent to homemade chicken soup! The hot toddy is known worldwide, has been turned into a cocktail, and has had so many twists and additions that the original is almost forgotten.
Check out this recipe

20. Simple Scottish Bannocks – Traditional Scottish Food

20. Simple Scottish Bannocks

Bannocks are well-known across Scotland, but it’s hard to find a traditional bannocks recipe because everyone has their own version!

The name Bannock seems to originate from the Old Celtic English 'bannuc', meaning 'anything baked'. Made simply from oatmeal and flour, the first citing of a bannock or bannuc recipe in Scotland was in the 8th Century. It’s amazing this tasty bread is still baked today!
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21. Scottish Sauteed Veal Kidney – Scottish Dishes

21. Scottish Sauteed Veal Kidney

Scottish sautéed veal kidney is extremely tasty, tender, nutritious and easy to make on a busy weekday night. Organ meats are nutrient-dense and regularly eaten in traditional cultures.

This way of consuming the whole animal including offal is called “nose-to-tail eating”. Whether you think it’s trendy or disgusting, “nose-to-tail eating” provides more well rounded nutrition to human bodies. As long as you eat animal products, consuming the whole animal is more economical.
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22. Scottish Squares – Scottish Food

22. Scottish Squares

If this does not satisfy your sweet tooth...nothing will. Truly melts in your mouth! This traditional Scottish food recipe is over the top and should be rated 10!
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23. Scottish Curry – Traditional Scottish Food

23. Scottish Curry

Chicken Tikka Masala originated in a restaurant in Glasgow. "Curry" is actually not so set in its ways or in expectations that others may have. I did change the recipe up a bit, but stayed fairly true to the recipes particular uniqueness.

A Scottish twist on curry, this recipe features chicken legs instead of the original rabbit the recipe was inspired by. Not traditional, but entirely delicious.
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24. Traditional Old Fashioned Scottish Flummery – Scottish Dishes

24. Traditional Old Fashioned Scottish Flummery

Want to finish off a meal in real Scottish style? And a dash of whisky too of course. Then this wee recipe for traditional Scottish food is definitely the way to go.

Flummery is an ancient recipe that has featured in Scottish feasts dating right back to the 15th century. It is an easy recipe, but you will have to soak the oatmeal for 48 hours prior to making the dish. So, plan ahead when you want to add this wee touch of Scottish magic to your dinner table.
Check out this recipe

25. Scottish Bacon and Potato Pie – Scottish Food

25. Scottish Bacon and Potato Pie

Scottish Bacon and Potato Pie is beautiful enough to serve to company, but simple enough for a weeknight meal. It is often the simplest, least complicated things that are often the best.

Scottish Bacon and Potato Pie is layers of thinly sliced potatoes, neatly piled on a bed of bacon. It is then seasoned with parmesan, spices and baked until the potatoes are tender and the bacon crisp. Phenomenal!
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26 . Scottish Scones with Honey Butter – Traditional Scottish Food

26 . Scottish Scones with Honey Butter

Enjoy sweet homemade honey butter spread on this traditional Scottish food. These scones are fortified with oats and chopped walnuts. With a flaky crust and a creamy, honey-buttery inside this is a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.
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27. Scottish Oat and Walnut Biscuits – Traditional Scottish Food

27. Scottish Oat and Walnut Biscuits

These unassuming little oatcakes are the hottest things in upscale markets and cheese shops these days. They’re called oatcakes or biscuits in Scotland; we Americans would call them crackers.
Check out this recipe

28. Scottish Oatcakes – Scottish Food

28. Scottish Oatcakes

These slightly sweet rounds are a cross between a cookie and a cracker. Eat them plain or with jam for breakfast, or top them with cheese for a snack.
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29. Scottish Dundee Cake – Traditional Scottish Food

29. Scottish Dundee Cake

Dundee cake is called that simply because it is native to a place called Dundee in Scotland. This traditional Scottish food is originally made with sultanas, currants, fruit peels and a beautiful arrangement of almonds on top.

It looks golden brown in color and it’s definitely one of those cakes which you could eat cold or warm. What sets this cake apart from others is the distinct orange flavor that you get from the glaze.
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30. Scottish Coconut Snowballs – Traditional Scottish Food

30. Scottish Coconut Snowballs

Traditional Scottish snowballs are more like a scone, filled with jam and covered with icing and rolled in coconut. I’ve used raspberry jam as a filling here as it’s my fave.

You could use whatever jam you like as a filling. This traditional Scottish food is a great afternoon tea snack from Scotland.
Check out this recipe

31. Scottish Smoked Salmon And Dill Cream Cheese Tartines – Scottish Food

31. Scottish Smoked Salmon And Dill Cream Cheese Tartines

A tasty lunch that packs a nutritional punch! The added bonus is that these tartines make a super elegant addition to any lunch or brunch table.

Dill-flecked cream cheese is slathered on lightly toasted bread and topped with thinly sliced cucumber, Scottish smoked salmon. a perfectly soft-boiled egg and flaky Maldon sea salt!
Check out this recipe

32. Scottish Steak Pie – Traditional Scottish Food

32. Scottish Steak Pie

It's a traditional Scottish dish served on New Year's Day, but is delicious enough to be enjoyed anytime of year. This amazing Scottish steak pie is just the thing for which you're looking.

This traditional Scottish food is a simple steak pie recipe that doesn't require a lot of special ingredients. It's made from a simple beef stew topped with puff pastry. Fortunately, there's very little cutting of vegetables for the stew. This makes it perfect for busy days.
Check out this recipe

You might also like some of the articles from our website about recipes from other countries.

17 Heartwarming Traditional Irish Food & Recipes
24 Best German Food and Recipes
My 15 Favorite Traditional Norwegian Recipes
16 Great Recipes for Scottish Food
14 Truly Great Traditional English Recipes

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