Traditional Scottish Recipes for Pancake Tuesday

For one of our favourite days of the year, Pancake Tuesday, we've asked food blogger Fraser Wright to take a look at some traditional Scottish pancake recipes for you to enjoy.  

Published 8th Feb 2016
Updated 5 th Mar 2019

Here are three traditional Scottish recipes for pancakes to be eaten at breakfast, or for a teatime treat. Scotland has a rich tradition of using a griddle for baking, or girdle as it is called in Scotland.

The original girdle, of ancient times, was simply a flat stone set in the hearth. It is perhaps due to Scotland’s relative poverty in the past, that instead of the oven, this simple and basic method for baking breads and cakes has persisted.

There are a wealth of recipes such as oatcakes, soda scones, drop scones, bannocks, and crumpets to name a few.

Drop Scones: Hearth Cakes


"When I was young I remember making drop scones with my grandmother. We ate these hot, spread with lots of butter and jam. We always made them with regular milk, however, the traditional recipe I have calls for buttermilk - turning them into something more like American style pancakes, that are so popular today.

"Just like an old Scottish recipe I have for soda scones, the resemblance to American biscuits is uncanny."


• 200g plain flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 bicarbonate of soda
• pinch of salt
• 25g castor sugar
• 375ml buttermilk
• 50g cold unsalted butter


1 Preheat your girdle, or large heavy based frying pan, over a medium heat. You need to be able to use the batter right away, as it bubbles up as soon as you mix it together.

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2 Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Rub in the butter to make fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Now stir in the buttermilk. Stir just enough to incorporate everything evenly. Do not beat. Lightly grease the pan with butter -

3 I use a pastry brush to spread the butter around. Start dotting spoonfuls on to the pan. You do not want them to brown too quickly as they need time to cook all the way through. When you see the mixture beginning to dry around the edges and up the sides this is when you want to flip them.

4 Brown on the other side and remove either to a cooling rack, or folded tea towel, to keep them warm if you want to eat them straight away.

Scots Crumpets


"This is a recipe for Scots crumpets, another favourite. These are not like the spongy leavened English crumpets but more like a pancake. One side is smooth and brown; the other dotted with holes. These too can be spread with butter and jam, and eaten rolled up."

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• 250g plain flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 25g castor sugar
• 30g unsalted butter, melted
• 300ml whole milk
• 1 large egg
• pinch of fine sea salt


1 Take a girdle, or heavy based wide frying pan, and put it over a low heat to get it ready.

2 Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the castor sugar and the salt, making sure there are no lumps. Beat the egg in a jug, add the milk and butter. Stir this into the dry mixture. Stir just enough to combine - stir as little as possible so it doesn’t become elastic.

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3 Pour the batter into the jug that was used to combine the wet mixture.

4 Take a small cloth or rag, rub it in butter and use this to grease the pan. You may not need to grease the pan - I have a well seasoned girdle that doesn’t need to be greased, giving the crumpets a lovely even brown surface.

5 Pour out the crumpets, as many as will fit into the pan without touching. They should be 10cm - 12cm in diameter.
Bubbles will start to form and then burst on the upper surface of the crumpet. Before the upper surface dries flip it and cook it on the other side until golden brown.

This should only take 2 - 3 minutes in total. Have a trial to make sure the heat is just right, you may need to adjust it.

6 Keep the cooked crumpets in a folded tea towel to keep them warm.

Traditional Beremeal Pancakes


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"These delicate pancakes are similar to the famous Breton galette. Like the buckwheat they use in Brittany, the beremeal gives the pancake a savoury tang. They are delicious spread with crowdie and topped with dark sweet caramelised onions. With crowdie, they are also excellent drizzled with lots of Scottish heather honey. This is a wonderful way to use this ancient variety of barley meal."

Makes 8 – 10


• 125g Beremeal
• 125g Plain Flour
• 2 Large Eggs
• 1 tsp salt
• 50g unsalted butter, clarified
• 250ml Whole Milk
• 250ml Cold Water
• Unsalted Butter for greasing


1 Sift the flours and salt into a large bowl. Beat the eggs in another bowl.

2 To this add the milk, water and the clarified butter. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until just incorporated, but not too much otherwise the dough can become elastic due to the gluten.

Leave to stand for 1 – 2 hours at room temperature. The batter may thicken as it stands. It should be the consistency of thin cream so add some water if you think it needs it.

4 Take a heavy based wide frying pan, or a pancake pan if you have one. Put it over a high heat. When it is nice hot put a small knob of butter and spread it around. Take a ladleful of batter and tip it into the pan. With your other hand tip the pan around so the batter forms a perfectly round, very thin pancake. You may need to adjust the amount of batter you use.

5 Fry to a golden brown, this takes 1 – 2 minutes, then flip it over to the other side and fry again until golden brown spots develop. Add a small knob of butter before you fry every pancake. Transfer to a plate when ready.

• See more of Fraser’s recipes at

Like this? See also:

• Scottish festive traditions involving food and drink

• A history of the Clootie Dumpling, including a recipe for making your own

A history of the black bun, including a recipe for making your own

• A history of Clapshot, including a recipe for making your own


Fraser is originally from Glasgow and lives in a wee flat in Edinburgh. He writes the food blog and wants to put Scotland on the map as a place for good food.
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