Scottish Oatcakes

Oatcakes is something I posted a long time ago, back when my blog was less than six months old, and while I would normally edit the original post I feel that these really deserve a bit of attention. It may sound silly but they are probably one of the things I miss the most from back in England… or at least I did, before the company which makes them changed their recipe and now they’re much too “smooth”. You very rarely see them in France, and for an oatcake-lover such as myself, a solution was needed.

I should point out here that yes – it is indeed spelt “oatcake”, and not “oat cake”, as I once thought; nor does it really resemble a cake, more of a biscuit or crisp flat bread. Traditionally cooked on a griddle, they can alternatively be baked on a tray in the oven and the recipe couldn’t be more simple.

Scottish Oatcakes

Their history is pretty interesting too:

Scottish soldiers in the 14th century carried a metal plate and a sack of oatmeal. According to contemporary accounts, one would heat the plate over fire, moisten a bit of oatmeal and make a cake to “comfort his stomach. Hence it is no marvel that the Scots should be able to make longer marches than other men.”

Traditionally, these were eaten with almost every meal in Scotland as a major source of carbohydrate, though from the 19th century onwards they were more commonly served as accompaniments to meat, fish and soup dishes. These days, they’re usually eaten for breakfast – and it’s something which wasn’t uncommon at my breakfast table when I was a teen, which is probably where I developed my love of them.

I’m glad I decided to post about them again because truly – more people need to try these wonderful little things. I actually find this version far preferable to the store-bought variety now so do give them a try if you get a chance!

Scottish Oatcakes

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Scottish Oatcakes
Yields 24
A crisp, savoury oatcake; perfect with a little butter and cheese for breakfast or as a snack.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. - 220g Rolled Oats
  2. - 20g Butter
  3. - 2tsps Salt
  4. - 100ml Hot Water
Instructions
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 190 degrees Celsius and then place the oats into a food processor and chop on high speed for about 15 seconds to ensure the oats are less coarse.
  2. Transfer the oats to a large bowl. Melt the butter and add to the bowl with the salt. Stir the butter into the oats, before adding the hot water and blending with the oats to form a stiff dough. Try to push the dough together into a crumbly ball, adding a bit more water if necessary to bind it, and turn onto a lightly floured surface.
  3. Roll the dough out until very thin - around 3mm. Using a round cookie cutter, cut the dough into discs and place on a baking sheet - no grease required.
  4. Place the trays into the oven and bake for between 15-20 minutes, flipping the oatcakes over half-way through baking to ensure an even colour. The finished oatcakes should not be brown, but rather a slightly darker colour than the original dough.
  5. When ready, remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Gluten-Free
  1. If you want to ensure the oatcakes are completely gluten-free, please remember to check that the oats you buy are certified GF, as well as using a GF-flour when rolling them out.
Storage
  1. Store in an air-tight tin when cooled completely – enjoy with butter or other toppings of your choice for breakfast, or just as a snack!
Five Euro Food http://www.fiveeurofood.com/

Comments

  1. says

    Crispy, thin biscuits like these aren’t something I’ve ever made but I’m sure they’d be tasty with some soft or crumbly cheeses and a slice of fruit.

    • says

      Thanks Sawsan – it’s one of the things I love the most from all my recipes here, and it definitely isn’t fair that they never got any love in my opinion!

  2. says

    I never got into oatcakes back home but then again, I wa quite a bit younger and oats weren’t my thing! Now however, I’ll be all over them! They look fantastic. Just need a bit of Red Leicester…yum. My husband happens to be a Scot, was born in the US but his heritage is Scottish, we have a tartan and everything :)

    Nazneen

    • says

      Oooh – red leicester… I haven’t that in years! I love that stuff… and double gloucester too… even better when it has chives in it!

  3. says

    I have only recently found gluten free oatcakes in Hong Kong and really love them as you can mix them with both sweet and savoury meals. I will have to give your recipe a go and love how you made your butter all fancy in a mould. Have a super week. I hope you are adjusting to the move and enjoying your little one! Take care, BAM

  4. says

    These look very good, Charles. I have eaten oatcakes and enjoyed them for their texture – they weren’t smooth at all. I always had them piled a little too high with butter. I just think oatcakes deserve a good slathering of cold butter. Your oatcakes look perfect and I love the image with the butter xx

  5. says

    I’ve heard of Scottish oatcakes, but wouldn’t have known what they looked like until now. they look like a thick cracker. Definitely have caught my interest.

    • says

      Hi MJ – I didn’t realise until writing this up that apparently oatcakes from other regions in England are so different… it’s been an education :)

  6. says

    Charles, LOVE! Now I have two recipes in rapid sequence that I can’t wait to try from your blog — these lovelies and the port jelly. I cannot believe how easy they are to make and so sensible too on the nutrition front (you know how that makes me happy ;-)). I’ve read about how the US military packs chocolate as part of their rations for energy but oats would seem to be a more sustaining source plus it also offers protein – very cool to discover that history. Your cakes look great Charles — is that a hunk of butter beside the Swiss cheese in the photo? (wasn’t sure) either way, very nice styling.

    • The Wife says

      I can confirm that the big lump is indeed butter. Don’t ask how many of those we go through in a week though! ;-)

        • says

          Well… nothing wrong in theory, but when you eat the quantity of it I used to then it’s not ideal :p.

          Incidentally, the cheese is a French Emmental (as in: “made in France”), as opposed to being from Switzerland. I’m not sure if it’s the same in your experience but I always find that Swiss Emmental melts really poorly, and yet French Emmental melts really well, making it perfect for toasties and fondues!

    • says

      Oh yes! Rice cakes… my God, I love those things! My flat-mate used to hate me when I was at university. I used to eat copious quantities of these things and he just couldn’t stand the smell of them, which he claimed “infected the entire apartment” :D

  7. says

    YES CHARLES YOU HAVE READ MY MIND.

    I love oatcakes. They feel slightly healthier than yoru average cookie so i feel less bad eating a a whole pack when I’m peckish. My favourite way is to eat it with raisins on top and then it becomes almost like an oatmeal and raisin cookie…. almost.

    WHen I was busy with my final year submissions, it was horrible, I barely slept more than a couplehours a day and I had no time to cook, nor even buy food. SO i survived on things in my pantry that didnt require cooking.. aka oatcakes. With peanut butter for some fat and protein and sanity. Sigh..

    Thanks charles, gonna make my own version soon!

    • says

      Hehe, I like to make them sometimes with a bit of extra salt added and then you don’t need anything on top… just crush them up and nibble on them as a snack – lovely! :)

    • says

      Hi Jean – it’s a real shame – all the big brands which make oatcakes make them so smooth now… even the ones they call “rough”… don’t like them at all!

  8. says

    Oh no oatcakes are for sure non existent in France but I have seen those in India. Not surprising right? I just bought a kg of oats so your recipe is coming at the right time. Maybe I could add some chocolate powder or hmm…. I will experiment a bit!

  9. says

    Hey Charles, making your delightful oatcakes right now. How you managed to get 24 cakes from 1 cup of oatmeal however escapes me. Did you use a really, really, really tiny cookie cutter ;-) or is there something else I’m missing?

    • says

      Hi Kelly – great to hear… let me know how they turn out! 24 oatcakes… hmm, maybe my counting was a bit off – it has to be rolled really, really thin – too thick and you’ll end up with hard slabs of inedible oat stuff. Thin = crispy = delicious, but you’re right… 24 might be a bit of a stretch… I’ll update that number later… I think ~16 is probably a more accurate number perhaps.

      • says

        Charles, they turned out *so* well! I’m delighted with the discovery and so glad you posted them. I will be featuring them on my blog with love back to you of course. By the way, don’t change the number — I’m offering a prize to anyone who can figure out how to get 24 cakes from one cup of oatmeal – Lol! :)

        • says

          Aaah great! So glad you like them – if you can ever find a pack of manufactured ones (Nairns, Walkers and Patersons are the “big three” names) give those a try but I much prefer mine now because I really like the “rough” consistency. Butter and marmalade on those babies for breakfast with some coffee… awesome stuff! :D

  10. says

    What a truly simple recipe Charles, and thank you for sharing it again. We love the taste of oats so I can see how these would become a favourite. And gluten free which is great for my GF friends and family, I could see how delicious these would be with melts butter.

    • says

      Thanks Eva, they’re lovely to have for breakfast – actually I much prefer them cold than hot, but that’s a personal taste thing I think!

  11. says

    These remind me of rice cakes, but looks and sound so much better! Could you add a bit of maple and brown sugar to make them flavored oat cakes? They sound like something we would love here – especially the kids. They are always eating oat bars and granola bars and I’d love to make them at home from scratch. Then I know what’s really in them. I’m glad you reposted this one Charles. I know it will be made often here. I’m going to start tomorrow in fact. They’ll be perfect to take with us on our weekend getaway. :)

    • says

      Mmm, rice cakes – love those too. I wish it was easier to puff rice oneself… not something that’s easy to do apparently (I did some research!)

      Let me know if you try them Kristy – I hope they turn out well for you!

  12. says

    We haven’t been in touch for such a long time, I somehow missed this wonderful post! I love sweets with oats (as long as it’s not soft mushy muesli). You know about my passion for ANZAC biscuits I guess so why not savoury biscuits? Scottish oatcakes have been on my baking list for ages. Yours look so cute, so perfectly round and crunchy, I’m really tempted to try them this weekend. (Your post also “sells” them very well ;-) )

    • says

      Thank you Sissi – I hope you will have a chance to try them, they’re so yummy. I often up the salt content a bit because they’re SO good when they’re a bit salty. Perfect for breakfast or a snack anytime… and now I’m hungry, lol!

      • says

        Charles, I am now devouring another portion of ANZAC biscuits (I shouldn’t prepare them… I’m addicted especially to the cranberry version) and thinking about these oatcakes I could have for breakfast with cheese… I have a question: what kind of oats do you use? Are they whole “flakes” or rather broken flakes? Whole flat “flakes” cannot be used in ANZAC biscuits for example…

  13. Hannah says

    These look delicious! Both mine and my husband’s parents love oatcakes and we’re thinking of making these for Christmas presents for them – how long do you think they last for?

    Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Hannah,
      As long as they’re kept in an airtight tin, I’d say they should last at least one week – probably more. If they get soft you can re-crisp them up in the oven. Just make sure it’s a clean tin, because they will absorb any flavours from their container otherwise! Good luck!

  14. Caroline Davies says

    Just made these today; I was dubious about adding 2 teaspoons of salt and added only one… But the oatcakes were still far too salty! Checking other recipes with the same ratio of oatmeal and butter they say 1/4 teaspoon or a pinch of salt.
    (NB the recommended daily maximum for salt consumption is 6g – one teaspoon)

    • says

      Hi Caroline – I like them a little bit more salty personally, although I admit that it could be a bit much for some people, especially if their taste-buds are more sensitive to salt. I do probably eat a bit too much.

      As for this recipe – I wouldn’t recommend eating the whole batch of oatcakes in one day, regardless of how much salt they had in them :D.

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