20 Scottish Foods and Drinks That Everyone Should Try

The top Scottish foods and drinks from Scotland! Whether you are on holiday in the Highlands or want to bring Scotland home to you, this list of Scottish foods and drinks will deliver a culinary tour of Scotland with traditional Scottish recipes!

So what do they eat in Scotland?

Scotland has world-class seafood, top-quality produce, and incredible local game. There is nothing boring about Scotland’s cuisine.

Living in Scotland for 3 years brought an instant and deep love for the history, the land, and the people. I didn’t know at the time that I would also fall in love with Scottish foods.

Scottish foods and drinks are nostalgic for me. Most people have probably experienced a deep memory just by smelling something, like cookies baking that reminds you of Grandma’s house. But when the sense of smell, taste, sight, sound, and touch are combined while eating, the memory can become even more vivid. 

So I have put together this list of foods that take me back to Scotland and are also highly recommended by several Scots that I know that live there. This list is not just a list of foods that Scotland is known for but it is a list of foods that Scots, as well as visitors to Scotland, love and eat daily!

1. Haggis, Neeps and Tatties is the top of the list of Scottish Foods

Haggis, neeps and tatties. A traditional Scottish dish.
Photo: Allrecipes.co.uk

I’m going to start this list of Scottish foods with the obvious. Haggis. Scotland is known for it. You will find it all across Scotland but it is not the only thing that Scots eat! If you have a weak stomach, skip the ingredients list below and just go get some, eat it and come back here to tell me how much you loved it!

Haggis is made from…are you ready for it??…Sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs mixed with some oats, onion, suet, and spices. All of this is stuffed into a sheep’s stomach (artificial casings are mostly used now) and then simmered in a pot for hours. Haggis is really just a crumbly sausage with a peppery flavor. It is absolutely delicious and a must-try Scottish food on a visit to Scotland!

Neeps. If you are American, this one might confuse you. In Scotland, neeps are turnips that are cooked and pureed like mashed potatoes. But in the US, look for rutabagas in the grocery store NOT turnips! In a grocery store in Scotland, look for a ‘Scottish Neep’ or ‘British Swede’. Whatever you call them, the earthy-sweet flavor plays off the Haggis beautifully!

Tatties are potatoes, plain and simple! Mashed with butter, they are a hearty addition to this traditional plate.

While you are in Scotland, make sure that you eat your fill of this tasty meal. If you return to the US and some other countries, you cannot import Haggis due to the fact that sheep’s lungs were banned in 1971. You can, however, buy haggis in a tin to get your fix!

I recommend this recipe if you want to make your own!

You can even buy Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties Crisps (chips to Americans)!

Mackies of Scotland Haggis, neeps & tatties crisps

2. Full Scottish Breakfast

Full Scottish Breakfast

The Full Scottish may vary slightly from place to place but it is a hearty start to the day. The usual plate will include square Lorne sausage, link sausage, a fried egg, streaky bacon, baked beans, black pudding, white pudding and/or haggis, tattie scones, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, and toast.

If you are in Edinburgh, I HIGHLY recommend the Full Scottish at the Edinburgh Larder on Blackfriars St. It can get busy as it is just off the Royal Mile but it is worth the wait! They focus on local, seasonal ingredients of the highest quality with some classic Scottish foods.

3. Aberdeen Angus Beef – a World-reknowned Scottish food

Angus Beef has been recorded in Scotland since at least the 16th century and it originated in Aberdeenshire, in the northeast of Scotland. They are small, hornless cattle that are usually either black or red in color. The marbling of this breed creates the most amazing flavor and tenderness!

Aberdeen Angus Beef can now be found all over the world thanks to its superior quality but make sure to try it while in Scotland for authentic Angus Beef!

4. Tablet

Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe
Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe

Tablet is a candy that is popular all across Scotland. You’ll find it in every store and cafe. It is similar to fudge but a little more firm and grainy. The first known recipe dates back to the early 1700s in The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie where it was made with only sugar and cream.

Pick up a packet whenever you see some and keep it in your bag or backpack. You’ll find yourself reaching for it when you need a little sweet treat! It doesn’t take much since Tablet is very sweet. But this little confection definitely should be on your list during your Scottish adventures!

My version gets a boost from a dash of Whisky, of course, my favorite Scottish ingredient. Tablet is easy to make but does take a bit of time. The ingredients are simple to come by, though, so give this easy Scottish dessert recipe a try!

Read my post with tips on making Perfect Scottish Tablet!

5. Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread from Caroline's Easy Baking Lessons
Caroline’s Scottish Shortbread

Buttery, crumbly shortbread is loved the world over and no list of Scottish foods would be complete without it. It has long been a favorite in my house. It is difficult to keep my cookie jar full of shortbread because it is simply irresistible. A list of Scottish foods would not be complete if it didn’t include shortbread!

The History of Shortbread

The history of shortbread began with medieval “biscuit bread”. Leftover dough from bread making was dried out in a low oven until it hardened into a type of rusk. The word “biscuit” means “twice cooked”. Gradually the yeast in the bread was replaced by butter, and biscuit bread developed into shortbread.

As much as I love to make shortbread, it’s just smart to follow a recipe from a Scot. Caroline is a baking friend with an amazing website. Her recipes include detailed instructions with photos and sometimes videos and range from sweet to savory and are from all over the world. I always check her site when I am researching a recipe for ideas and techniques. That’s the best compliment that I can give!

Plus, Caroline gave me an entire list of Scottish foods to help me put together this post! How awesome is she??

Try the traditional Scottish shortbread recipes, both Classic Shortbread and Cranberry, Orange, and Pecan Shortbread:

Caroline’s Classic Scottish Shortbread

Caroline’s Cranberry, Orange, and Pecan Shortbread

6. Oatcakes

Scottish Oatcakes are savory biscuits or crackers that are sometimes also called bannocks. They pair well with cheese, Scottish smoked salmon, or chutney.

Oatcakes are crisp, with a nutty flavor, and are made from hearty Scottish Oatmeal. This recipe from BBC Good Food is stellar! I love to slather them with Dundee Marmalade (see next item down).

7. Dundee Marmalade

Dundee Marmalade is a jam-like spread with chunks of Seville oranges. It is both sweet and a little bitter. It originated in the 18th century when a Spanish ship took refuge from a storm near Dundee, Scotland. The ship was loaded with Seville Oranges and a local grocer and his wife bought them. The bitter taste put them off but the grocers’ wife was not going to be deterred!

She mixed the bitter oranges with sugar and created Dundee Orange Marmalade.

MacKay’s Dundee Marmalade is the OFFICIAL Dundee Marmelade and is still made in traditional copper pots. A true icon on this list of Scottish foods!

8. Stovies

Delicious Scottish Stovies
Photo: Thenosychef

I asked one of my favorite YouTubers, Tony from The Broonfords, what Scottish foods were traditional and common in Scotland. I really wanted this post to be about what people in Scotland ACTUALLY eat, not just the commercialized foods that the world has attached to the Scots such as haggis and deep-fried Mars bars!

Tony said that hearty and warming dishes are the standard to help fend off the cold weather. (My first thought when he said this was my landlord in Scotland, who used to stop by at lunchtime and finish off a flask of whisky before heading back out to the fields in the cold Scottish weather!)

Two of Tony’s first recommendations for common yet traditional fare were Stovies and Minces & Tatties (below).

Stovies are a delicious, filling, and traditional Scottish dish. They are comfort food at its best. This is a simple, one-pot dish made on the stovetop (hence the name!) and the must-have ingredients are potatoes, onions, salt, and pepper. Meat is often added and it tends to be whatever is leftover from other meals. Back bacon or mince is a delicious addition.

BTW, if you love Scotland like me or are just curious to see what all the fuss is about, check out The Broonfords YouTube Channel. You’ll get a personal guided tour of Edinburgh along with some history, anecdotes, and even ghost stories!

9. Mince and Tatties

Mince and tatties are a common Scottish food

Mince and Tatties are similar to Cottage Pie but aren’t baked all together like a pie. It tends to be a bit faster to make but is definitely not lacking in flavor!

One of the special things about this tasty dinner is that there isn’t just one set of ingredients or one way to make Mince and Tatties. Different regions of Scotland, and even individual families, have their own recipes. This dinner is a popular weeknight dinner in homes as well as common pub food.

The Blane Valley Pub in the Glasgow City Centre serves stellar Mince and Tatties!

10. Porridge – A Quintessential Scottish Food

Scottish porridge with fruit and jam
My porridge this morning for breakfast.

You’ve probably heard of the health benefits of eating porridge (aka oatmeal) for heart health, controlling blood sugar, and digestive health. I think the Scots were way ahead of their time because Porridge has long been a staple in the Scottish diet.

As Tony from The Broonfords mentioned, the weather is cold in Scotland so the food tends to be hot and hearty. Oats grow well in the cold, damp Scottish climate so they have been used in numerous traditional recipes for centuries.

Porridge is simple to make and only requires a couple of core ingredients. Pinhead oats (also called steel cut oats) or rolled oats are the best to use. I stay away from Quick Oats most of the time but use ’em if you got ’em!

Traditionally made with just oats, water, and salt, you can also choose to dress up your porridge any way you like. If you have a competitive streak, you should enter the Golden Spurtle, a yearly porridge competition in Carrbridge, Scotland!

The Traditional Spurtle

If you are going to make porridge, it’s just fun to do it the traditional way using a spurtle. There is a craftsman in Stonehaven, Scotland that has an Etsy shop with spurtles that are beautiful and traditional. They are made from Scottish hardwoods that he has felled himself from storm-damaged wild cherry or elm trees. The spurtles are turned on a 1960s cast-iron British lathe in a workshop that he built in his garden. No mass production here. Check out his Etsy Store here . I will be buying several!

Traditional spurtles
The Spurtles from anyfinks etsy store. (Photo cred: anyfink)

Scottish Superstition

According to Scottish superstition, you should always stir your porridge clockwise with your right hand – otherwise, the Devil will come for the person doing the stirring! Porridge is traditionally served in wooden bowls and eaten standing up. Each spoonful was traditionally dipped in a bowl of cream that is shared by everyone at the table but I prefer to pour just a bit on top.

My daily porridge is adjusted based on what I have on hand. I usually use pinhead oats, water, salt, and some type of fruit. After cooking, I also stir in some ground flaxseed for additional health benefits and a dollop of fruit preserves (raspberry is my favorite!) The fruits can be either fresh or dried. Feel free to change them out depending on your mood and pantry selection! This morning’s porridge included cinnamon and chopped dried figs. (Yesterday’s (pictured above) included banana, blueberries, raspberry jam, and flax seeds.

This photo is off-topic but this is me at Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, where the Spurtles in the link above are made. This selfie was taken in August 2018 but I have been to this castle so many times between 1991 and 2019. One of my favorite places on earth!

Dunnottar Castle in Stonehave, Scotland. This castle amazing to explore!

11. Raspberries

Scotland is famous for producing the best raspberries in the world. The depth of flavor and incredible juiciness set them apart from all others so they have earned their place on this list of Scottish foods.

The weather in Scotland is perfectly suited to grow raspberries with their thick roots and ability to grow in very wet soil.

Scottish Raspberries feature in numerous Scottish desserts such as Cranachan, that most perfectly textured creation!

12. Tipsy Laird

Tipsy Laird Raspberry Trifle

A Tipsy Laird is the Scottish version of an English Trifle. Layers of Drambuie soaked sponge cake, fresh Scottish raspberries, custard and freshly whipped cream on top make up this boozy dessert. You will sometimes see ratafia biscuits added or sliced almonds on top. But my main focus when I make (or EAT) a Tipsy Laird is the Drambuie.

Drambuie is a Scotch Whisky Liqueur that I just can’t get enough of. I created this Tipsy Laird Opera Cake for the Great American Baking Show to show my love of Scottish flavors. Taste-testing was just delicious with the cake loaded with Drambuie flavor! Unfortunately, I was eliminated before I got the chance to make it for the judges but that won’t stop me from making it home.

What is Drambuie?

The Drambuie site says that the liqueur is ‘A blend of aged Scotch whisky, spices, herbs & heather honey. Its origins can be traced to a secret recipe created for Bonnie Prince Charlie by his Royal Apothecary in the 18th Century. The name Drambuie is derived from Scots Gaelic ‘An Dram Buidheach’ and means “The Drink that Satisfies”.

Tipsy Laird Opera Cake with raspberries and Drambuie
The Classic Scottish dessert – Tipsy Laird Trifle – is transformed into an elegant Opera Cake

13. Cullen Skink

Cullen Skink is one of the more popular Scottish foods
Cullen Skink by the Scottish Scran.

Soups are a popular part of the Scottish diet and Cullen Skink is one of the most popular. Cullen Skink is a creamy soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions. Authentic Cullen skink is made with finnan haddie, a cold-smoked haddock that is smoked with green wood and peat. The method originated in the northeast of Scotland. Arbroath Smokies are made using a similar method.

Cullen Skink can be prepared with any undyed smoked haddock if finnan haddie is not on hand. This soup is a local specialty, from the town of Cullen in Moray, on the northeast coast of Scotland but Cullen Skink is made all over Scotland.

Scotland is an island, obviously, so seafood is abundant and has long been a staple in the Scottish diet. And why not when the seafood is so fresh!

The Best Cullen Skink in Scotland

You can find this delicious soup all over Scotland but I recommend the Waterfront Restaurant in Inverness. The town of Inverness is definitely worth the drive or flight from wherever you happen to be. I personally like to rent a car when I visit Scotland so that I have complete freedom. And a stop at the Waterfront will reward you with some of the best eats around!

Making your own Cullen Skink

Luckily, you don’t have to travel to Inverness every time you crave this fantastic soup. You can make your own! If you visit the Scottish Scran, you will not only find an amazing recipe with photos, detailed instructions, and history of the dish, but you will find more Scottish recipes by this inspiring couple. Grab their recipe for Cullen Skink here and then browse their site for more inspiration!

14. Scotch Pie is a traditional Scottish Food

A Scotch Pie is a small double-crusted meat pie that is filled with minced lamb, haggis, or other meat. Usually seasoned with ground mace, the spiced meat filling is baked inside hot water crust pastry.

Scotch Pies have been made in Scotland for hundreds of years. For a time they were seen as ‘working man’s food’ because people could purchase them from a Pie Man on the streets and then carried to work. The hot water crust pastry provided a sturdy case for the meat filling.

The recipe from Rampant Scotland is the best that I have tried!

15. Irn Bru

Irn Bru, Scotlands OTHER national drink

Scotland’s national drink is Whisky. Scotland’s OTHER national drink is Irn Bru. It’s difficult to pin down the flavor of this classic carbonated beverage. It’s a lot like Whisky in that respect. Each person seems to taste something a little bit different. I describe Irn Bru as a bubblegum cream soda. Some people taste orange but most people don’t get any citrus. I think the orange color puts that idea in their heads!

You will find Irn Bru everywhere you go in Scotland. Try it at least once and come back here to tell me what you think. I honestly want to know if my family is the only Irn Bru obsessed group of people!

My oldest son doesn’t even like soda – the carbonation bothers him – but he will drink Irn Bru any chance he gets! During our last trip to Scotland, we all drank it as often as we could.

The only downside to Irn Bru is the sugar content. It is very sweet and most definitely NOT a diet drink. But, have no fear, the manufacturer, A.G. Barr recently released a sugar-free version. There is also an energy drink version, so you can skip the coffee if you wish!

16. Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala was created in Glasgow, Scotland.

Chicken Tikka Masala is probably not what you think of when you imagine Scottish foods. But, as some stories go, this dish was created by a Pakistani Chef, Ali Ahmed Aslam, in Glasgow in 1971.

While it doesn’t seem traditional, I remember eating as many Middle Eastern meals when I lived in Scotland as I did things like fish and chips!

My recommendation for Middle Eastern food in Scotland is twofold. First, go to Dishoom in Edinburgh. Eating at Dishoom isn’t a meal, it’s an experience. You don’t order a set plate of food. Instead, you order individual dishes of meats, sauces, and sides, and they are laid out for the entire table to enjoy. It is friendly and delicious and so worth the wait you might incur to get into this popular restaurant!

My second recommendation is to find a small shop in any town and order a Chicken Tikka Masala. Trust me when I say I loved everyone we went to! Doner kebabs are another firm favorite for my husband and me and you can find them on every block in every town!

Here is the most traditional Scottish recipe you’ll find!

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

17. Scottish Salmon

scottish salmon is a top quality scottish food
Premium Scottish Salmon

Scottish Salmon is a premium farmed Atlantic salmon that is sustainably raised off the coast of Scotland. It is one of the more mild-flavored salmon on the market. The higher-fat content of these fish lends to a buttery texture that is to-die-for!

Salmon is not on the daily menu for most Scots but I had to mention it in this post. The Atlantic Salmon that you will find in Scotland is the best in the world! At least once during your trip to Scotland, splurge on Scottish Salmon! You will not regret it!

18. Forfar Bridies

Forfar Bridies from Scotland

Forfar Bridies are meat and onion-filled pastries that are basically hand pies. Bridies are sold in bakeries and cafes across Scotland. They can be made with shortcrust pastry but I saw more made with flaky pastry.

Forfar Bridies are named after the town where they were created. Forfar is only about 20 miles south of where I lived in Scotland and I count myself am so lucky to have eaten Bridies in their place of origin.

Is it a Pasty or a Bridie?

A Forfar Bridie is very similar to a Cornish Pasty. The main difference between a pasty and a bridie is the ingredients in the fillings. A Cornish Pasty normally includes meat, onion, and turnips or rutabaga while Bridies are made with meat and onion.

Here is a delicious and traditional recipe for Forfar Bridies.

19. Ribena

Ribena is a blackcurrant flavored drink that is popular all over the UK. My first introduction to blackcurrant was on a pub crawl in 1991. I didn’t like the pint of Guinness (I LOVE it now!) they gave me so they handed me a Cider and Blackcurrant.

It tasted like cool-aide.

That was a problem for two reasons. First, I loved it so much that I still obsess over the flavor of blackcurrant. Second, I drank a pint of Cider and Blackcurrant at each pub on the crawl that night. There were 18 pubs on the schedule.

But that is a story for another post.

I have since used blackcurrant in everything that I can. Add some to a Guinness for a drink called a Black and Black. I always have Ribena concentrate in my refrigerator (shown in the picture on the left above). I use this to drink as juice or to make blackcurrant curd with.

During a month-long solo trek across Scotland in August 2018, I bought the juice boxes in the right photo and drank several of them every day – before, during, and after my hikes and while sightseeing. Ribena will forever be a staple for me and most Scots!

20. Scotch Whisky

Whisky, the Water of Life! To say that Scotland has a lot of Distilleries would be the understatement of the century. But I do have a secret personal goal to visit every single one! (Who wants to sponsor that trip so that I can write about it?)

What is Scotch Whisky?

According to Wikipedia: Scotch whisky (Scottish Gaelic: uisge-beatha na h-Alba; often simply called whisky or Scotch) is malt whisky or grain whisky (or a blend of the two), made in Scotland. Scotch whisky must be made in a manner specified by law.[1] As of 2018, there were 133 Scotch whisky distilleries operating in Scotland.

I have not always been a Scotch Whisky lover but I have come to appreciate the distinct flavors developed in each whisky that I have tasted and the history of each bottle. When someone tells me that they don’t like Whisky, my response to them is “You just haven’t tried the right one!” I believe that there is a whisky for everyone!

The first known mention of Whisky in Scotland was in 1494. I have heard constant arguments over the origin of whisky but most people agree that it began in Ireland. Each Distillery has its own process, though, and has made it their own. Touring these distilleries is fascinating!

There is so much info about Whisky and so many different whiskies to try that I just can’t cover it all in this post. That will have to be a separate post – or a complete book! But suffice it say that if you come to my house, I will offer you whisky. And somewhere within our collection, I’m sure that we have at least one that you will like!

The different regions of Scotland produce Whisky with certain flavor profiles. I tend to lean toward Speyside and Highland whisky’s in general but there are times the heavy smoke and peat of an Islay whisky are what I’m craving.


Fruity, spicy, floral, sweet, caramel – My favorite is probably Glenfarclas or Cardhu but there are so many that I love! I also love that Glenfarclas is one of the last privately owned family distilleries. I think that preserving that is so special!


Spicy, malty, fruity, sometimes sweet – my favorite Highland is a toss-up between Fettercairn and Edradour! Fettercairn reminds me of gingerbread – strange but true – and the unicorn emblem is a favorite of mine! Edradour’s entire line, from the classics to the cask strength and wine finishes, could fill my shelves forever and make me VERY happy!


Fruity, smoky, peaty – There are only a few Distilleries left in this region and my favorite of them would be Glen Scotia‘s Double Cask or Tawny Port Finish.


Mostly robust and smoky, peaty. I adore Laphroig Lore which is peaty and spicy with hints of chocolate.

The Lowlands

Softer and smoother, Lighter and floral – I haven’t tried many whiskies from the Lowlands so don’t have a favorite to recommend. I promise to do some research for you!

Map of Scotch Whisky Distilleries
Map of Scottish Distilleries

Watch my husband and I taste some whisky and make some cocktails on World Whisky Day 2020!

There are so many other Scottish foods that I would love to share with you from Tattie Scones to Scotch Pies, a Fish Supper to Cranachan. So stay tuned for more recipes very soon! Subscribe to the blog so you see the posts!

UPDATE: Since writing this post, I have written up a recipe for my favorite Scottish dessert – CRANACHAN! Check out the recipe and let me know what you think!

There you have the complete list of 20 Scottish Foods and Drinks that you MUST try when you visit Scotland! I would also recommend enjoying them at home to bring this wonderful corner of the world a little closer to you every day!

Which one of these is your favorite? Have you made anything on this list? Share in the comments below!

Journal your travels!

Before you head to Scotland or anywhere else, pick up a journal and keep track of where you go, what you see, how you feel, and what you eat! These journals from Promptly Journals are perfect for any trip. They also have journals for the times that you are not traveling.

Teal Travel Journal from Promptly Journals to keep track of Scottish Foods on your trip!

Resources from this post:

Anyfink Etsy Shop

Caroline’s Easy Online Baking Lessons

Edinburgh Larder

The Broonford’s Youtube Channel

The Broonford’s Patreon

The Scottish Scran

Scottish foods and drinks


  1. Hello Tanya. I’ve been an occasional follower since I watched you in the Tent. Hubs (very well-travelled due to work) and I (a few times across the pond) have been talking about a trip to Scotland for a bit (hubs has been to England many times; I’ve been there once; both have been to Ireland once) and I think we’re going to pull the trigger. You were one of the first to come to mind for advice on whisky. Two main objectives: 1) get in a couple rounds of golf and 2) check out distilleries. I would love any advice you want to share but esp on the whisky: I can look all day online but the truth is, we LOVE to get a real feel for a country & their people so I’m a little afraid to get something too tourist-y. IF those are great places, fine but if you have a few suggestions of maybe the “real taste of Scotland” (possibly a little lesser-known but great?) I’d be so grateful! We’ll likely stay in Edinburg (and maybe a couple nights in Glasgow) sometime in September, and likely at B&B’s because I always think that’s where you really get to know the people. Would be so appreciative if you would like to share some faves! TIA!

    • Tanya Ott

      Cheree – I am so sorry that I missed this comment! Do you still some help on picking some distilleries or anything else on your trip? I can send you details in an email!

  2. Pingback: Where to Stay in Edinburgh, Scotland | Ultimate Accommodation Guide | Volumes & Voyages

  3. Mickey Kitterman

    I really enjoyed this post, I have a couple of questions if you could be so kind as to answer, I would appreciate it.
    So Is the Bru and Ribena non-alcoholic

    And I usually make pasties with a hot water crust, which seems more sturdy than a short or flaky pastry.

    And I definitely need to make your Opera Cake-It’s been on my to do list since first meeting you

    • Tanya Ott

      Absolutely, I LOVE to answer questions!
      Yes, Irn Bru and Ribena are both non-alcoholic. Irn Bru is carbonated but it is a softer carbonation than Coke or Pepsi. Ribena is just delicious fruit juice!
      Hot water crust is definitely stronger than short or flaky pastry and it is still used in Scotland. But most of the bakeries and cafes that I went into used flaky. I did see hot water crust used on Scotch Pies, though!
      Go for it on the Opera Cake! You’ll love it!
      Happy baking!

  4. Aren’t they beautiful?? So much better than a wooden pie dolly! 🙂

  5. what a fun post, Tanya! so many things I’ve never heard about…. those wooden things for the porridge… WOW!

Leave a Reply