As rich and delightful as its history and geography, traditional Scottish food is something that you must experience more of when in this amazing country. Maybe how some looked or what they’re made of will make you question the life choices of the people of Scotland — but they’re all worth a try.
From strange puddings to buttered bacon to a heavenly ‘tablet’, here are some Scottish treats that you definitely must try.
- 15 Must-Try Traditional Scottish Food
- 1. Haggis
- 2. Neeps and tatties
- 3. Cullen skink
- 4. Bacon butty
- 5. Black pudding
- 6. Shortbread
- 7. A full Scottish
- 8. Bangers and mash
- 9. Terry’s Chocolate Orange
- 10. Leek and tattie soup
- 11. Sticky toffee pudding
- 12. Scotch pie
- 13. Sunday Roast
- 14. Scottish tablet
- 15. Battered Mars bar
15 Must-Try Traditional Scottish Food
Love it or hate it, the legendary haggis is among the most highly regarded food in Scotland. It even has an ode written by their national poet Robert Burns. This flavorful dish is made of minced sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs) mixed with oatmeal, onions and spices then stuffed either into the lining of a sheep’s stomach or intestines. It is then baked or boiled, then served with bread or another Scottish local fare such as neeps and tatties (more on that later).
2. Neeps and tatties
This is usually served with haggis but can be enjoyed on its own. ‘Neeps’ are actually turnips while ‘ tatties’ are potatoes, with butter and chives. This is tasty, filling meal that’s best eaten for breakfast or as a snack, if not a side dish to meals.
3. Cullen skink
This is a traditional Scottish soup that’s made with smoked haddock, potatoes, and leek. It is hearty and delicious and considered as comfort food that’s also served in pubs.
4. Bacon butty
Anything with bacon is good. Bacon just makes things extra special but in Scotland, it is stuffed in a white toll along with lots of butter. Then ketchup or brown sauce. Sounds weird, again? It is actually a popular snack fare, and a must-try so don’t judge yet.
5. Black pudding
Another weird but wonderful Scottish fare that you must try. It’s like a distant brother of haggis, only instead of the sheep’s pluck, it is made up of sausage, meat, oatmeal and pig’s blood which is responsible for its dark color. It’s also served in cafes and pubs so you won’t have a difficult time looking for it if you want to try, and you must.
Shortbread has been one of Scotland’s favorite dessert for centuries. It’s been around since 1736 and known for its creamy, buttery goodness. This treat comes in all shapes and sizes and best served with tea. It is also given as a gift during holidays, and there’s no doubt anyone would ever refuse it.
7. A full Scottish
When it Scotland, you must try starting one of your days with a full Scottish. A full breakfast in Scotland is just like a full English breakfast — only it comes with black pudding, Lorne sausage, and tattie scones.
Black pudding is sometimes replaced with haggis or white pudding (black pudding without the blood, but fat). Tattie scones may be bland for those trying it for the first time so make sure to put a lot of butter in it.
A full Scottish breakfast is also served any time of the day in most cafes, restaurants, and pubs, making it a hearty treat you can enjoy whenever you want.
8. Bangers and mash
A classic diner fare in Scotland, bangers, and mash is something that anyone can enjoy. It’s basically sausages and mashed potatoes made with lots of butter and milk to make it fluffier. Bangers or Scottish sausages are made with locally raised meat of the highest quality so anyone trying it for the first time is assured of a hearty and flavorful treat.
9. Terry’s Chocolate Orange
A unique Scottish treat that you can also bring back home is Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Yes, it’s round and yes, it’s got orange in it. It’s really a ball of milk chocolate with a bit of orange extract. It’s divided into slices so you can eat it like you’d eat an orange and really savor it.
10. Leek and tattie soup
Another traditional soup dish that’s also considered as comfort food, leek, and tattie (potato) soup is a must-try. It’s the perfect thing to have when you’re in Scotland and experiencing its unpredictable weather, or if you simply want something light yet delicious to enjoy.
11. Sticky toffee pudding
Scotland’s sticky toffee pudding sounds too good to be true considering what’s in it, but it’s real and a definite must-try. This treat is made with a moist sponge cake complete with dates, toffee sauce, and vanilla custard or ice cream. This is probably the best Scottish pudding ever so make sure you head to the nearest pub or cafe to enjoy some or a lot.
12. Scotch pie
The Scotch pie may be small in size, but it’s quite a big deal in the Scottish culinary scene. It has a double crust for that extra crunch and filled with minced mutton or other meat. It can be served hot or cold, and a delightful treat any time of the day.
Each year, butchers and bakers from all over compete to win the World Scotch Pie Champion, which is kind of a big deal in Scotland.
13. Sunday Roast
Scotland’s Sunday Roast is basically like American Thanksgiving every week. This is usually served for lunch or dinner and is made up of any type of roasted meat and a variety of side dishes.
Typically there’s Yorkshire pudding — a type of roll that’s cooked in lots of oil. Gravy and mashed potatoes can also be added, or neeps and tatties, sausages and stuffing. This hearty, full meal is another must experience when you’re in Scotland.
14. Scottish tablet
To describe a Scottish tablet is to just tell anyone what it is and how it is made. Butter, condensed milk and sugar until it crystallizes and hardens a bit. The result is something you’d want to take back to your home country because it’s that good.
These treats are also made with nuts, dried fruit bits, and even whiskey. This delicious thing is made all over Scotland so you’ll have no trouble getting some for yourself.
15. Battered Mars bar
Another strange bit delightful must try in Scotland is the battered Mars bar. Yes, that’s the candy bar battered then deep-fried. The result is some sort of a Mars pie with a rich chocolate filling that oozes out after that first bite. Eating it is quite an experience.
Just head on to a pub, order a battered Mars bar and they’ll make it for you without judgment. If you don’t like Mars bars, it can also be sweet of your choice and they’ll batter and fry them for you.