Scottish Oatcakes | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (2024)

Scottish Oatcakes are traditional savoury biscuits or crackers that are perfect with cheese.So easy and satisfying to make, I think they’re head and shoulders above shop bought ones. Containing just oats, salt, olive oil or butter plus water, you’ll be surprised just how good homemade Scottish Oatcakes are.

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While some Scots may not like a Sassenach such as myself calling these savoury biscuits Scottish oatcakes, I really don’t have a choice.That’s because I live in north Staffordshire and if you say ‘oatcake’ here people immediately think of Staffordshire Oatcakes. Not biscuits, but oat pancakes often stuffed with bacon or sausage and cheese, usually eaten for breakfast.

So, although you may think of these simply as ‘oatcakes’, I really do have to call them Scottish Oatcakes.

Oats became the staple cereal in Scotland due to the country’s cooler, damper conditions. This meant the land was better suited for growing oats rather than the wheat more common further south.Consequently, many oat-based dishes, including porridge and oatcakes, came to be associated with Scotland.


You’ve probably seen various types of oats and oatmeal in the shops. But it isn’t always obvious what the differences are.So, here’s my quick guide to all things oaty.

The first stage in processing whole oats is to separate the kernels, or groats, from the outer husks. After cleaning and drying, these are prepared in various ways to create different products.

  • PINHEAD, COARSE or STEEL CUT OATS These are the most minimally processed oats. Steel blades are used to cut the groats into pinhead sized pieces. These have a chewy texture and, if you’re making porridge with them, it’ll take longer to cook.
  • MEDIUM & FINE OATMEAL These are made of ground oats, milled to different degree of fineness.

  • ROLLED or JUMBO OATS Here the oats are steamed and then pressed between rollers. These are the oats I buy most of the time: they still have good texture but don’t take as long to cook as pinhead oats.

  • PORRIDGE OATS These are processed in the same way as rolled or jumbo oats but are rolled thinner and flakier. When used for making porridge, I find them too smooth for my taste. But they do cook more quickly.

Faced with these different types of oat, the next question is obviously…


The short answer is, any of them alone or in combination.

Obviously, the finer oatmeal and porridge oats will give you a finer textured oatcake. Coarse or medium oatmeal plus rolled oats will create a ‘rougher’ one.

Tip: you can make your own oatmeal by whizzing up rolled or porridge oats in a food processor.

For the Scottish Oatcakes you see in this post, I used a combination of medium oatmeal and rolled oats. I whizzed up the rolled oats (in a coffee grinder, actually) but not too finely. I think it’s nice to have some largeish pieces of oat remaining for a rustic feel and more interesting texture.

If you’re only going to buy one type of oat, then I’d go for rolled oats due to their versatility.


Making Scottish Oatcakes really is dead simple.All you do is season your oats/oatmeal with a little salt, then make a dough by adding olive oil or melted butter plus boiling water.

I’ve made some batches with olive oil and some with butter. Personally, I think there’s next to no difference. The ones with butter were perhaps slightly richer, but this was barely noticeable. Both versions had good flavour and were nicely crunchy. So just use whichever fat you prefer.

The dough should be firm but not sticky. I experimented with resting the dough, but found it became crumblier and more difficult to work with.

Dust your work surface with oatmeal or wholemeal flour (the latter is less sticky), then roll out the dough no more than 3-5 mm thick. Cut out rounds 5-6 cm in diameter, re-rolling the scraps to make more oatcakes.

It’s worth noting that oats can be very ‘thirsty’. This means that when bringing together the dough scraps to re-roll, I almost always have to add a touch more water to prevent it going dry and crumbly.If, when rolling out, the edges start to split, just push everything back together and keep going.

Into the oven on a lined baking tray, Scottish Oatcakes should only take 30 minutes to cook. I turn them over after 20 minutes.

When they’re lightly golden and cooked all the way through, cool the oatcakes on a wire rack.Store in an airtight container when completely cold.


Oatcakes were traditionally a major source of carbohydrate so would be served with all sorts of meals. They can also take the place of bread or toast at breakfast and are good alongside soups: maybe even a Scotch Broth?

But I love Scottish Oatcakes best with some really good cheeses.

Here there’s two local ones from the Staffordshire Cheese Company: Buxton Blue and Cheddleton Original, plus a French sheep’s cheese.

Smooth cream cheese is also a nice contrast to the pleasantly rough and rustic oatcakes. A blob of homemade chutney like my five-star rated Smoky Tomato- Chilli Chutney or Homemade Piccalilli makes it extra special.

For a wonderful cheeseboard, serve local cheeses with Scottish Oatcakes plus a selection of Sourdough Crackers, Easy Homemade Crackers , Easy Seed Crackers and homemade chutneys.

Or how about spreading on some homemade Potted Cheese flavoured with your choice of herbs, spices and booze?

Of course, packet oatcakes, like other savoury crackers and biscuits, can be bought everywhere these days.

But, as with so many things, you can’t beat the flavour and satisfaction you get from homemade. You’ll also be avoiding the environmentally disastrous palm oil found in many brands of oatcake.

For very little effort and cost, you can enjoy wonderfully wholesome and delicious Scottish Oatcakes.

Have you made this Scottish Oatcakes recipe?
Leave a comment & don’t forget to rate the recipe!


Scottish Oatcakes | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (21)

4.91 from 11 votes


Scottish Oatcakes

Traditional savoury biscuits or crackers: perfect with cheese or to eat alongside soup.

CourseSnack, Bread, Cheese

CuisineBritish, Scottish

Keywordcrackers, biscuits, oats

Prep Time 25 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Total Time 55 minutes

Servings 24 oatcakes (approx)

Author Moorlands Eater


  • 140grolled oats or porridge oats
  • 140goatmeal (fine, medium or coarse)See Recipe Notes for making your own
  • ¾tspsalt
  • 75mlolive oil OR 75g butter, meltedsee Recipe Notes
  • 100-150mlboiling water
  • more oatmeal or some wholemeal flourfor rolling out (wholemeal flour is less sticky)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.

    Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.

  2. Mix together the oats, oatmeal and salt in a bowl, then make a well in the centre.

  3. Pour the olive oil or melted butter into the well, along with 100ml of the boiling water.

    Stir quickly to bring the mixture together into a firm dough. Add more boiling water if necessary.

  4. Sprinkle a little oatmeal or wholemeal flour on your work surface and transfer the dough onto it.

    Sprinkle the dough and a rolling pin with oatmeal and roll out to 3-5 mm thick, depending on how thick you'd like the oatcakes. If the dough starts to come apart at the edges, just push it back together with your hands. If the dough seems to dry, sprinkle with extra water.

    Cut out oatcakes using a 6-7 cm cutter then transfer to the baking trays.

    Bring together the scraps and re-roll to make more oatcakes until all the dough is used up.

    The oat dough can be very 'thirsty': you will most likely need to add a little more water when bringing together the scraps.

  5. Put the trays in the preheated oven and bake the oatcakes until lightly brown and cooked all the way through.

    Unless you've rolled the dough very thick or very thin, this should take around 30 minutes. Turn over after the first 20 minutes for even browning.

  6. Transfer the oatcakes to a wire rack to cool.

    Store in an airtight container once completely cold.

    Should keep for a least a month.

Recipe Notes

Note 1 You can make your own oatmeal using rolled oats or porridge oats: whizz in a food processor or blender until they're as fine or as coarse as you like.

Note 2 I've found little difference between oatcakes made with olive oil and those made with butter, so use whichever you prefer. 75g of butter melted isn't the exact equivalent of 75ml of olive oil but it makes little difference to the result.

Recipe based on one by Bill Cowie shared via Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.


Scottish Oatcakes | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (2024)


What to eat with Scottish oatcakes? ›

The result is a crisp and cracker-like Oatcake to be eaten with cheese, butter, jam or meat.

Who eats oatcakes? ›

The oatcake is a local speciality in the North Staffordshire area of England. They are normally referred to as Staffordshire oatcakes by non-locals, because they are made in and around Staffordshire and Cheshire; locally they are simply called "oatcakes".

Are Scottish oatcakes good for you? ›

They're high in gentle fibre, which not only helps us stay regular, but also 'feeds' the friendly bacteria in the gut. These bacteria then make a substance called butyrate, which helps keep the gut lining healthy.

Are oatcakes healthier than bread? ›

A typical medium slice of white bread contains around 1 gram of fibre but around 95 calories. One Nairn's Organic Oatcake contains 1 gram of fibre but only 46 calories – half those in a slice of bread. So, for the same calories as a slice of white bread, you can have two oatcakes and double your intake of fibre.

Why are oatcakes so high in calories? ›

As oatcakes are flour based, most of the calories they contain come from carbohydrates. Having said that, they're also a great source of fibre.

What do oatcakes taste like? ›

The taste of oatcakes is unique. They have a magical flavor that is sweet, but not too sweet, and a bit salty. Part dessert, but mainly a snack, oatcakes are cookie-like but sort of cracker-like too—very much like hobnob biscuits. These oatcakes are perfect with a cup of tea or a cup of coffee.

Do oatcakes spike blood sugar? ›

Oats are a rich source of soluble fibre which health experts say helps to fill you up and balance blood sugar levels, making oaty food low GI.

Are oatcakes Irish or Scottish? ›

Oatcakes have been a staple of the Scottish diet since at least Roman times and probably long before. In the 14th century, Jean le Bel accompanied a French count to England and Scotland, and describes nuns making "little pancakes rather like communion wafers", and this is thought to describe the making of oatcakes.

Are oatcakes a good bedtime snack? ›

The Sleep Council's Lisa Artis recommends eating oatcakes before bed, especially if it's a little nibble you're hankering after. “Oatcakes with cheese are a great bedtime snack as it contains complex carbohydrates and protein to optimise tryptophan levels.

Are oatcakes anti-inflammatory? ›

Butyrate also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the large intestine2. Oats can be a gentler source of fibre for your gut compared to some other grains.

Why are oatcakes so filling? ›

Why? The oatcakes may look small, but they're packed with slow-digesting, low-GI carbs, guaranteed to keep you full for hours – miles better than bread. Meanwhile, the peanut butter gives you a great protein hit, which keeps your levels topped up and helps you to build muscle.

How many calories are in 2 oatcakes? ›

Nutrition Information
Typical ValuesPer 100gPer Oatcake
of which saturates6.1g0.6g
5 more rows

When should I eat oatcakes? ›

Oatcakes are like a baked version of porridge. So when you don't have time to make porridge, when you are on the go, or if you're looking for something more filling than toast, try oatcakes for breakfast topped with banana or peanut butter for a speedy, nutritious and filling start to your day.

Are oatcakes anti inflammatory? ›

Butyrate also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the large intestine2. Oats can be a gentler source of fibre for your gut compared to some other grains.

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