Quest for the Perfect Scottish Oatcakes

Growing up with a Scottish mother, I became addicted to certain foods that are hard to find in the US (or that aren’t the typical way or eating them in the US),  i.e. English breakfast tea, weak, with milk and sugar, margarine and marmite, and OATCAKES! I was craving them recently and didn’t feel like going out to find them (they’re only carried in a few stores) or spending exorbitant amounts of money for them (they’re at least 5 dollars for a box of 12). So! I’m beginning a quest for the perfect recipe. This was try number one…the texture is pretty close but they’re a bit too sweet. But give them a try! They’re pretty darn tasty – I just have a very specific thing in mind.

Read on for the recipe…


1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/4 cup buttermilk


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 2 heavy large baking sheets.
  • Place oats in large bowl. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into same bowl.
  • Using fingertips, rub in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • Add buttermilk (by the way if you ever don’t have buttermilk, combine one cup of buttermilk and 1 tbsp vinegar and let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes. buttermilk voila!); stir until dough forms.
  • Transfer dough to floured surface. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Using 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds (I used a jar – made about 24 rounds). Arrange on prepared sheets, spacing apart. Gather scraps, reroll and cut out additional rounds.
  • Bake oatcakes until edges are pale golden, about 12 minutes.
  • Transfer cakes to racks; cool completely.

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