Layered dessert with raspberries and cream

Scottish Cranachan

Cranachan is a Scottish dessert that is typically made with raspberries, whipped cream, oatmeal, honey, and, of course, whisky. My version has a slight twist but is still quintessentially Scottish!

My secret is out.

People have finally discovered the magic of Scotland and fallen in love with it like I did when I lived there in the early 1990’s.

I sometimes wish that I could keep Scotland my little secret. During a visit in August 2018 and again in 2019, I kept thinking that it was such a shame that all of these tourists had discovered ‘my Scotland’.

When I lived there, it seemed that most people had not discovered it yet and the grandeur of my heart’s home was reserved for just me.

Scotland is my happy place – plain and simple. I would move back there tomorrow if I could.

While I want to keep this place my secret, I also want to share it with everyone so they can fall head over heels for this magical land as I have!

I think that shows like the wildly popular Outlander (and the books by Diana Gabaldon) have propelled Scotland to top of people’s destination bucket lists, with good reason.

Diana’s love of Scotland shows through and the romance of the Highlands and the culture is brought to life by the magnificent Sam Heughan and other Scots on the show.

Scotland is full of friendly people, incredible scenery, captivating history and fabulous food. I will never tire of Scotland, no matter how much time I am lucky enough to spend there.

It’s no surprise that Scottish food is made often in my house, even here in the US. Traditional recipes sometimes have to be updated and ingredients need to be substituted but I love to create Scottish dishes and my family loves to eat them!

What is Scottish Cranachan?

Cranachan is a traditional dessert made with fresh Scottish raspberries, whisky and honey-flavored whipped cream, and oats.


White bowl full of ripe red raspberries on a white background

Scottish raspberries are the best I’ve ever eaten (I’m not just saying that because they are Scottish!). They are sweeter and more full of flavor. The seeds also seem to be smaller and softer, which I prefer.

Whipped Cream with whisky and honey

The cream in Cranachan is normally flavored with whisky and honey. Take your pick of whisky and use your favorite although I would stay away from very peaty or smoky whisky’s in Cranachan.

Fettercairn is stellar in Cranachan with it’s spices and citrus notes.

Heather honey is traditional and is available online. You can use any honey you like, though, if you can’t get heather honey.

My twist!

I decided to change this recipe up just a bit and use Drambuie in place of the whisky and honey.

Since Drambuie is a whisky with honey and spices in it, I felt that it was the perfect substitute!

I also try to have Drambuie on hand at all times because it is absolutely divine!

Bottle of Drambuie, The Isle of Skye Liqueur


Steel cut oats are traditional here but, if I’m honest, I use whatever oats I have on hand. I usually have steel cut (aka pinhead) at home because I eat them for breakfast most mornings.

I use Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats.

Toasting the oats is important to crisp them up and give them a nutty flavor.

Soaking them in whisky, or in my case Drambuie, overnight imparts a sweet spiciness that is a welcome contrast to the smooth cream.

Single portion of Scottish Cranachan in a glass surrounded by raspberries and spoons

***A tip for you while you make this recipe: After soaking the raspberries in the Drambuie, you may be tempted to strain out the Drambuie so there is not too much liquid. I found that using a bit of the Drambuie in the dessert is delicious. But the most amazing this was drinking the Drambuie that had raspberries infused into it! I have seriously started adding a muddled raspberry or two to a dram of Drambuie in the evening!***

Raspberries and whipped cream on a spoon with cranachan dessert in the background

Other Scottish Recipes to try

I highly recommend checking out my post with 15 Scottish Foods and Drinks to try!


Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 3 Tablespoons steel cut oats (also called pinhead oats)**

  • 6 Tablespoons Drambuie, divided in half

  • 340 grams fresh raspberries

  • 300 mL heavy whipping cream

  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon honey (Heather honey, if available)


  • The day before you want to serve your Cranachan, gently toast the oats in a heavy bottomed saucepan until lightly browned, about 2 minutes is all it should take.
  • Pour the toasted oats and 3 Tablespoons of Drambuie into a small bowl and stir together. Cover and let sit out over night.
  • The next day, choose several of the best looking raspberries to decorate the top of your Cranachan. Put the rest of the raspberries into a bowl and cover with the remaining 3 Tablespoons of Drambuie. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, pour in the heavy cream and whip until soft peaks form. Slowly add the powdered sugar and whip until medium peaks form. Stir in 2 Tablespoons of the toasted, Drambuie-soaked oats.
  • Using a fork, smash some of the raspberries that have been soaking in Drambuie. Leave some chunks of berries partly whole.
  • To assemble your Cranachan, layer some of the raspberries in the bottom of 4 glass parfait or dessert dishes. Cover with some of the whipped cream in each glass. Repeat the layers until you have filled the dishes.
  • Divide the remaining oats and sprinkle on top of each of the individual dishes. Top with reserved berries. Best served within 30 minutes of assembly. Refrigerate after assembly if not serving immediately.


  • **You can use whatever oats you want in this dessert. Pinhead oats are traditional but you can use old fashioned oats as well!

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