What Are the Staple Foods of Scotland?

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Scotland's self-sufficient rural communities spurned a culinary tradition all their own. The diet of Scotland's people in many respects ensured the health and vigor envied in pre-industrial times. Oats were the staple ingredient used to make foods and thicken soups and stews that are still common in Scottish households today. Enjoy a Scottish staple food traditionally with a cup of tea or a cup of whiskey.


Traditionally, there is no food waste in Scotland. All parts of the animal are used, giving rise to a popular staple food called haggis. Haggis is a type of sausage made from sheep's organs, such as the heart, liver and lungs, mixed with onion, oatmeal and spices for taste and flavor. The pudding is then stuffed and cooked in a sheep's intestine for casing. Haggis is usually served with mashed neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes).

Aberdeen Angus Beef

Developed in the early 19th century from the cattle of Northeast Scotland, the Aberdeen-Angus breed is a popular staple food in modern Scotland. Aberdeen-Angus is the hallmark of quality beef around the world. Under natural conditions, the cattle matures early, achieving a desired balance of fat and lean with little proportion of bone. The result is a well-marbled, lean meat with threads of fat woven throughout the flavorful steak.

Smoked Salmon

Communities near the coast or rivers traditionally supplemented their diet with salmon. The extra fish was smoked to eat during the long winter months. Smoked salmon is still a favorite dish in Scotland. The salmon is salted then cooked at high temperature, leaving an appealing smoky flavor. It is usually served sliced thin as an entree.


Oatcakes are a traditional Scottish staple served with savory and sweet foods. The versatile food is made simply with different textured oats and lard formed into patties. They are often served with farmhouse cheddar cheese.

Scotch Broth

Scotch broth is a hearty soup full of nutrients and flavors. The authentic stock is made by boiling mutton neck, though today beef and chicken marrow is often substituted. Hard root vegetables such as turnips, swedes and carrots are first added with a bit of barley. Later, the softer vegetables like cabbage and leeks are added to preserve the texture. This staple is served thick and hot off the stove.