Traditional Scottish Tattie Scone Recipe

by Phil & Sonja
Traditional Scottish Tattie Scones Recipe presented on chopping board and bowl

It’s a well-known fact that no full Scottish breakfast is complete without a tasty tattie scone! When we started looking into what traditional Scottish food to make it was one of the first things mentioned by our friends! They also said it would be really easy to make…

Our first couple of attempts at making Scottish tattie scones, however, didn’t really go as planned. Numerous tattie/potato scone recipes said they were “easy”, and yet we ended up with tough and chewy scones the first time around, and undercooked tattie scones the second time. 

However, when we finally made it work, our tattie scones were divine! Light and delicious, and just perfect with a cooked breakfast or even with butter and jam. 

When you know what you’re doing, it’s an easy dish to recreate, but you need the full instructions on how to get there! I kept saying to Phil that I just wished there was someone in the kitchen to show me where I was going wrong. So we’ve laid out all our tricks so we can be that person for you!

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Why are they called tattie scones?

Tattie is another word for potato, commonly used across Scotland, where they originated. You might hear them called Tottie in Glasgow and fadge or potato bread in Ireland. 

How do you eat a tattie scone?

There are a few different ways to enjoy a tattie scone but it’s most commonly found alongside a full Scottish Breakfast.

The exact items a Full Scottish consists of can be a bone of contention and it’s not to be confused with a Full English! You’ll generally find it includes most of the following; eggs, bacon, link sausage or square/Lorne sausage (another Scottish product), baked beans, black pudding, haggis, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, and toast. 

Plus, of course, a tattie scone or two!

The tattie scone is fried in the remnants of the bacon fat or in butter and can be used to mop up the egg yolk or eaten with a bit of brown sauce. Delicious!

If a Full Scottish isn’t for you, you can pop your tattie scone in a bread roll with other breakfast items, or eat straight from the toaster with a slather of butter. Finally, some people even enjoy theirs with butter and jam, like traditional scones. 

Authentic Scottish Tattie Scones Recipe with homemade scones on a teatowl

Why make tattie scones?

Tattie scones are pretty cheap to buy in supermarkets across Scotland, but they’re not quite the same as the home-made variety. Homemade tattie scones turn out soft and light rather than stiff and a little salty like the bought kind. 

Making your own offers a little extra something to a cooked breakfast and really gives you a taste of Scotland.

Traditionally Tattie Scones would have been made after a midday meal when any leftover potatoes were still warm. They’d be cooked on a dry girdle (griddle), liberally smeared with butter and rolled up to eat. Any cold leftovers could be re-heated by toasting or frying with butter. 

This recipe really is simple once you learn one or two tricks to help you make it work along the way. It’s something a little bit different from making bread and uses up potatoes when you need to. Not only can the potato scones be eaten in a variety of delicious ways, but they also freeze well too! 

Traditional Scottish Tattie Scones Recipe presented on chopping board and plate

Things you’ll need to make Tattie Scones

While a girdle or griddle pan is often recommended for making Scottish Potato Scones (and many other Scottish foods in fact) it’s not strictly necessary. You can make them in a large flat-bottomed frying pan as well. 

Other than that you’ll need a pan to boil the potatoes in, of course, and a masher. If you have a potato ricer this is useful to get all of the lumps out and make the potato a little fluffier, but again, not necessary and plain old mashed potatoes will do!

Ingredients for Tattie Scones

The ingredients for tattie scones are simple:

  • 500g Potatoes
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 20g Butter

That’s it! You don’t need anything else, except maybe a pinch of salt. There are recipes floating about that include an egg, but this makes it more of a fritter than a traditional tattie scone, and it shouldn’t be needed to bind the scone together if you follow the step by step method below.

The amount of each ingredient varies depending on how many you want to make and what type of potatoes you use. King Edward potatoes are generally considered to be the best option because they are light and floury when cooked.

Our recipe makes roughly 12 scones depending on how big you cut them but you can easily do more or less. 

Plain flour is preferred over self-raising as you don’t actually want the potato scones to rise at all, they should stay flat and thin. 

Scottish Potato Scones on a chopping board

How to make Tattie Scones step by step

There’s a common misconception that Tattie Scones are made from leftover mashed potato. While it’s certainly possible to make them with leftovers they won’t be as light and fluffy as potato scones made with still-warm freshly boiled potatoes.

We peeled our potatoes because we found that easier, but you can boil the potatoes in the skins and carefully remove them afterwards too. The recipe calls for 500g but we weighed them before peeling and boiling so you’ll lose a little weight which is fine. 

Potatoes on chopping board for making Scottish Tattie Scones Recipe

Don’t cut the potatoes too small if you peel them, just make them as small as the smallest potato you use or cut in large chunks/halves to allow for a nice and even cook. 

Once the potatoes are boiled drain the water and allow them to air dry for a few minutes. This will help to remove some more of the moisture. 

Potatoes drying for Scottish Potato Scones Recipe

Next, add in the butter, ideally softened to room temperature, and mash well to remove any lumps. 

Adding the flour is the next step and how much you use depends on the potatoes. Here’s where you may need to go a bit off-piste! I measured out 125g of flour but keep more on hand to add as you flatten out the tattie scones later.

Add the flour slowly, one tablespoon or so at a time to make sure it’s thoroughly mixed into your mash and that you don’t add more than necessary.

The potatoes should come together to form a stiff dough, once you see this happening you can stop adding flour and turn them out onto a floured surface. I used a wooden chopping board as our worktop proved too sticky. 

Separate the dough into 3 even-sized balls, adding in a little flour whenever you need to to ensure it doesn’t stick to anything.

Dough for Scottish Potato Scones Recipe

Now importantly, leave these to cool just a little!

While you want to use warm potatoes to get fluffy tattie scones, you won’t be able to make the dough thin enough or shape and lift it into a pan to cook if it’s still too hot, it will just break apart when lifting or stick to the surface. You don’t need long, maybe only 5 minutes or so. 

Most of the recipes we researched said to now “roll” out the dough into rounds, but I found that when using a rolling pin to do so it would just stick to the surface immediately. Instead, I did this by patting them with my hands, constantly flipping and adding a little flour as I did so, to prevent them from sticking into the board.

You’re aiming for roughly the size of a side-plate and you can actually place one on top and cut around it to get a perfect circle once it’s big enough. 

Remember to keep flipping and lightly flouring so they don’t stick!

Rolling out dough for Scottish Tattie Scones
Plate to measure circle for Scottish Tattie Scones Recipe
Scottish Tattie Scones ready for frying

I did them one at a time but if you have a big enough workspace you can do all three. You want them to be about 5mm thick, or slightly less. 

Once you have a circle then you can score into 4 and prick all over with a fork. There are two options for cooking. Fry it whole and then cut into 4 afterwards, or cut into 4 and fry individually. It’s easier to do it individually but I quite liked doing them whole as well and then cutting after. I’ve shown both options below.

Scottish Tattie scone in the pan
Scottish Tattie Scone frying in pan

Preheat the pan on a high heat and then reduce the heat to medium when you put them in.

Use a hot, dry pan, rather than frying in butter. This is because when you’re doing multiple scones the butter will burn and you’ll be left with that taste on the scone. A light dusting of flour will stop them from sticking.  

Fry for 3-4 minutes each side, depending on thickness. You can flip more than once and should keep an eye on them so they don’t colour too quickly on the outside without heating and cooking through the middle. If they start to brown too quickly turn your heat down. 

Remove and eat! 

You can then eat them freshly cooked straight from the pan or return to them to the pan with a little butter to fry, adding a little more flavour and crispness. You can, of course, save them for later to reheat in a buttered pan or even in the toaster. 

Cooked Scottish Potato Scones in a Bowl

Our top tips for getting the perfect tattie scones are:

  • Use freshly boiled or still warm floury potatoes, rather than old mash.
  • Allow the potatoes to air dry after boiling before moving on to the next steps.
  • Let the dough sit for a few minutes to cool slightly if the potatoes are still really warm, as it’ll make it easier to work with. 
  • Keep flipping and flouring the dough as you push and flatten it into a circle
  • Use a dry pan rather than greased. 
Scottish Tattie Scones in a bowl and on a chopping board
Yield: 12

Traditional Scottish Tattie Scones Recipe

Traditional Scottish Tattie Scone Recipe

These homemade Scottish Tattie Scones are much better than the bought variety!

Use this quick and easy traditional recipe to make your own potato scones and enjoy them for breakfast or as a snack.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500g Potatoes
  • 25g Butter
  • 125g Plain Flour (1 cup)

Instructions

  1. Peel and boil potatoes, or boil with skins on and remove after. Use similar sized potatoes or cut to the smallest size.
  2. Drain potatoes and allow them to air dry for a few minutes
  3. Add in room temperature butter and mash into the potato. If you have a potato ricer you can use this instead and then mix the butter in.
  4. Add the flour a few tablespoons at a time until it forms a stiff dough. You may not need to use all of it.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and separate into 3 balls. If the potatoes are still hot or very warm then allow to cool slightly before moving on to the next step.
  6. Take each ball and pat it out into a flat circle, constantly turning and lightly flouring each side so that it doesn't stick. Once it's big enough you can use a small plate on top to cut the rough edges into a perfect circle. Remember to keep turning and flouring.
  7. Prick all over with a fork and then either cut into four or score but don't cut right through. If your dough is holding together well you can fry it as one large round and then cut after, or if you find it easier fry the tattie scones separately.
  8. Heat a large, flat-bottomed pan on the stove until hot, then turn down to a medium-low heat. Do not grease the pan as the butter will end up burning. If your scone is lightly dusted in flour it won't stick.
  9. Use a spatula/fish slice to move the scone/s into the pan and fry on each side for 3-4 minutes. Keep an eye on the colour and if it's browning too quickly then turn the heat down. You can flip more than once.
  10. Remove and allow to cool before eating with butter and jam if you like, or return to the pan with some butter to fry. The scones can be kept in an airtight container and fried later or warmed in the toaster. They can also be frozen.

Notes

Preferably use King Edwards Potatoes or a floury type of potato. The amount of flour you use will be dependent on how floury the potatoes are, and you'll also need a little additional flour to dust over the dough as you smooth it out into rounds.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 92Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 18mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

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12 comments

Evie May 15, 2020 - 10:59 pm

Mmm these sound yummy and I imagine them being light and fluffy so I will havevto give this recipe a try. I like your easy to follow instructions and tips. Thank you.

Reply
admin May 17, 2020 - 12:24 pm

You’re welcome glad you enjoyed it!

Reply
Anne May 16, 2020 - 9:22 am

These are one of my favourite foods. I make them from leftover mash sometimes but usually just buy them in the supermarket and leave them in the freezer. I often have them for a quick breakfast. I heat them in the microwave straight from the freezer and have them with butter or a fried egg. I’ve never tried them in the toaster but will do now. In England they’re called potato cakes and are easy to find in supermarkets though they’re not a traditional English food and it seems to be only my friends with Irish families who eat them. My dad’s from Northern Ireland so I grew up eating them. My dad and my aunts and uncles always call them ‘slim’, but I don’t know if that’s a common name for them in Ireland or not. I’m glad you pointed out not to use an egg in the recipe. Lots of online recipes do include an egg but as well as not being authentic that would completely change the texture.

Reply
Phil - Scottish Scran May 20, 2020 - 9:20 am

Hi Anne,
It sounds like you really know your tattie scones! We had them in England and in Northern Ireland, so good with breakfast! We really hope you find our recipe lives up to the ones you’ve had with your Dad 🙂
Phil & Sonja

Reply
Maggi November 17, 2020 - 12:49 am

Our local bakery used to make oatmeal tattie scores which were delicious, but I have never seen a recipe for them!

Reply
Karol May 16, 2020 - 2:05 pm

Going to make these babies this morning. Thanks for the recipe and the tips. I’ve had these (fadge) in NI and just love them.

Reply
admin May 17, 2020 - 12:23 pm

You’re welcome! Hope it goes well!

Reply
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[…] day early and have a decent breakfast – especially if you can find somewhere which serves traditional Scottish tattie scones (potato cakes)- they're delicious!  I highly recommend taking a packed lunch with you (or, you […]

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[…] Check out our Tattie Scone recipe here […]

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Laura Hopkins June 26, 2020 - 11:43 am

Just another PERFECT recipe from Scottish Scran!! I have made the tablet and now the Tattie Scones and cannot believe how easy (SO well-explained!) and tasty your recipes are. Thanks so much.

Reply
Phil Bolger July 6, 2020 - 9:45 am

This comment made us so happy! Thank’s so much for the feedback. It’s so lovely to hear that you like our work! And get to enjoy tasty treats too 😀

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