Wondering how to find the best food in Scotland? We got you covered! Our Scottish food and drinks guide will take you from the Edinburgh to the Highlands and everywhere in between. Here’s what to eat in Scotland and why you’ll love this delicious cuisine on your visit.
About the Food in Scotland
Scottish food is somewhat similar to English cuisine and other food you may find around the United Kingdom. However, you’ll find it has its own unique attributes using specialties from around the country.
Traditional Scottish food combines meat, fish, and great local produce for simple but amazing flavors. Of course, everyone’s heard of a fish n’ chips. Yet, we wouldn’t fully understand how tasty the food from Scotland was until we visited ourselves!
Best Food in Scotland: Breakfast Time
1. Full Scottish Breakfast
The first thing you should try to start your day is the massive traditional Scottish breakfast. This meal is somewhat like the English version, but with its own twist.
We had ours with eggs, sausage, bacon, veggies, and haggis. The wild breakfast combination is sure to fuel you up for a day of adventure. Unfortunately, the only problem is you may need a quick nap after!
2. Scones in Scotland
Scones are a Scotland food classic and an easy Scottish breakfast to enjoy. They are thought to have been created in Scotland in the early 1500’s, and can now be found throughout the U.K.
The fluffy biscuits taste great with assorted jams and butter. Also, make sure to try the tattie scone which is like a small potato cake.
3. Scotch Pies
Take note… This is not your average pie! Typically, they come with mutton, lamb, or beef inside and are baked to perfection. They are easy to eat on the go and bought at local bakeries around Scotland.
4. Local Sausages
By now you can tell that meat is a big part of the Scottish diet, and that definitely goes for the sausages. Black pudding and pork can be eaten for both breakfast and lunch.
One of our favorites we tried during our Scotland food tour was the Lorne sausage. The popular choice is made with minced meat, rusk, and spices. It often comes in squares or slices so be sure to try this on your visit.
5. Scottish Porridge
Porridge is another great food in Scotland that is usually eaten in the morning. It is made with a creamy milk, fruit, and oats. Some would compare it to an oatmeal, but know that it’s quite different!
The oats are usually ground instead of rolled or cut. Oats are one of the healthiest grains in the world so this is sure to get you going before epic hikes like the Old Man of Storr.
Best Scotland Food: Lunch & Dinner
6. Cullen Skink
Don’t let the name fool you. This hearty soup is a big part of traditional Scottish cuisine and much tastier than it sounds! Cullen Skink goes well as an appetizer and is known as Scotland’s national soup and commonly eaten as an appetizer.
It’s filled with a hefty helping of Haddock, potatoes, and onions. The creamy soup is great on a cold winter day to warm you up and we definitely had it more than once.
Ready to try Scotland’s national dish? We should start out by saying that haggis isn’t for everyone. It’s strange combination of animal parts makes for a unique flavor an adventurous traveler will enjoy.
One of the main ingredients is sheep’s pluck, which is the heart, liver, and lungs! Haggis is then mixed with oatmeal, spices, and stock.
In the past, it was cooked inside an animals stomach. Yet, an artificial casing is often now used in its place. We tried haggis multiple times on our Scotland road trip and it was almost always served differently.
8. Fish n’ Chips
If you’ve been to the United Kingdom before then you’ve probably already become familiar with fish n’ chips. Haddock is baked or fried and served with a large portion of french fries.
You will typically get tartar sauce, ketchup, and malt & vinegar as toppings, too. This is one of the best things to eat on the go in Scotland and perfect at the beach with a view. Some people even use these establishments purely as chip shops and just go for the french fries.
9. Angus Steak
The most world-renowned Scottish food has to be the Angus beef! Angus comes from a special breed of cattle found in the northeast part of the country. We got to experience this food in Scotland plenty of times eating out during our stay in Stonehaven.
The best restaurants and pubs in Scotland will serve it as a steak or hamburger. It’s also one of the best traditional dishes you can make on your own after purchasing it at the grocery store.
10. Veal in Scotland
Before we arrived in Scotland we didn’t expect so many restaurants to offer veal. We had our first experience with it at Cobbs Restaurant before our Loch Ness boat cruise. It came from the farm next door and is an important part of Scottish cuisine.
The veal here was served three ways as a steak, sausage, and stew topped with potatoes. We can now attest this is certainly not a dish to miss while exploring the Scotland food scene.
11. Scottish Beef Stew
This thick and hearty stew is perfect in the chilly winter months in Scotland. We’ve seen it served in a few different ways, but the beef flavor stays consistent.
The stew pictured below was referred to as a “steak & ale pie’ on the menu. It came with a bread puff pastry, vegetables, and mashed potatoes. This was the perfect hot meal after our day mountain biking at Nevis Range.
Best Scottish Food From the Sea
12. Scottish Salmon
Some of the best food in Scotland comes from the sea, and the salmon is definitely worth trying. We had it on numerous occasions as it was a healthier alternative to the many meat options. It usually comes with a side of potatoes or other root vegetables which makes for a delicious fish dinner.
Salmon in Scotland is sustainably farmed off the coast and served fresh around the country. The only salmon that even compares for us was in Norway, but it’s honestly hard to find one better than in Scotland!
13. Fresh Oysters
Oysters are one of our favorite shellfish to eat on our travels. Yet, we weren’t expecting them to be such a delectable part of the food in Scotland. They absorb their flavor on the sea floor and can take anywhere from three to eight years to fully form.
The best oysters we ate were from a small seafood shack in Oban. This is also the seafood capital of Scotland and somewhere foodies will surely enjoy! You can also find them served in a steak or oyster pie at bakeries and local pubs.
Mussels are another amazing Scottish food that is found throughout the country. We loved enjoying them as an appetizer before moving onto our main course. At some traditional restaurants you can even order it as a scrumptious mussel stew.
In recent years, Scotland has seen a sharp decline in its pearl mussels which once flourished in its rivers. However, know that they are working to preserve the famous shellfish and its surrounding environment.
15. Northern Pike
Several tasty fish plates can be ordered around Scotland and pike was an instant hit for us. As one of the largest freshwater fish found around the U.K., you’ll see it everywhere on dinner and lunch menus.
Trout and salmon may be more highly regarded, but we had some great pike meals. It was especially delicious when served along side potatoes and a vegetable medley.
16. Lobster Feast
Lobster is another must-try food in Scotland and something we had the pleasure of eating on our recent road trip. European spiny lobsters are caught off the beautiful coastline between the months of June and September.
The best lobster we had was during our time in the Scottish Highlands. If you make it to the town of Carbost definitely stop into the Oyster Shed! Here you can sit above scenic town and enjoy lobsters at a great price.
17. Scotland Scallops
The last of the seafood edition for the best food in Scotland is one of our all time favorites. Scallops are a special treat that can be bought everywhere from seafood shacks to high-end restaurants.
The cool thing about them is they’re actually hand caught by divers along Scotland’s coast. We had them many times and they were always served in a delicious creamy sauce or puree.
Best Food in Scotland: Desserts
18. Ice Cream in Scotland
Scotland is a great place to satisfy your sweet tooth and that all starts with ice cream. The dairy in this country is second to none and that comes across in their tasty desserts. Some of our favorite memories were grabbing a cold ice cream cone on a hot summer day and taking a walk at the beach.
Whether you’re looking for a wild flavor or just straight vanilla, Scotland has what you need. Be sure to try the popular ice cream company Mackie’s and indulge in the small local shops during your trip.
19. Scottish Tablet
Something we saw everywhere on our Scotland food journey was tablet candies. This homemade treat is sold at both candy stores and bakeries.
Sugar, butter, and condensed milk are mixed before being boiled into a yummy dessert. We’ve seen all different flavors of Scottish tablet and especially loved the hard candy with nuts.
20. Sticky Toffee Pudding
Let’s move onto one of the best Scottish desserts! Sticky toffee pudding first originated in England and has made its way to other parts of the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand.
The date sponge cake comes smothered sweet toffee sauce creating the ultimate dessert. We recommend ordering it with a side of vanilla ice cream to truly appreciate the explosion of flavors.
While sticky toffee pudding may be our favorite, cranachan is a close second. When we first laid eyes on this Scottish dessert we assumed it was just a breakfast yogurt. Yet, we couldn’t of been more wrong!
Cranachan is a lovely combination of cream, raspberries, whiskey, and honey. Usually it’s brought out on special occasions and timed with the raspberry harvest in June. Yet, if you see this on the menu don’t hesitate to order it any time of the year.
22. Deep-fried Mars bar
Ok, now here’s food from Scotland that is a bit more wild. You might be thinking to yourself… Who would have the audacity to deep fry a chocolate bar? John Davie reportedly came up with it at a local fish n’ chips spot in Stonehaven.
We had the opportunity to try this at the Carron after our fish lunch, but ultimately passed. If anyone has tasted it and can give us an honest review be sure to leave a comment!
Drinks With Your Food in Scotland
23. Scotch Whisky
Could we really write a Scotland food and drinks blog without mentioning Scotch Whisky? The famous alcohol is said to have been brewed here since the 15th century. Main ingredients include malt barley, yeast, and fresh spring water.
The full bodied and smokey flavor is best drank neat with nothing added, but that all boils down to your personal preference. Today, you can visit the many distilleries dotted around Scotland on your visit. There is even a Malt Whisky trail that fans of the drink come to Scotland just to experience.
24. Scottish Tea
Tea is drank all around Scotland just like its British counterpart. The best time to have it is at a cafe in the morning or after a delicious traditional meal. The most popular tea in Scotland is black tea, and you can find every flavor under the sun to enjoy.
While tea is a more popular item in Scotland, you can find some amazing cafes to deliver your morning drink. Particularly in cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow, we went to so many different styled local shops that we loved.
From cappuccinos to espresso and even the Scottish twist to an Irish coffee with whiskey, they have it all in Scotland.
Finally, we have something to try for soda lovers! At first glance, we weren’t sure what to make of the Irn-Bru. With its strange color we thought it had to be some type of orange soda for sure. However, after trying a glass with some of the best food in Scotland we were hooked.
Irn-Bru actually tastes like a cream soda and considered Scotland’s other national drink after whiskey. It was invented in 1901 and is still enjoyed by patrons around the country.
Have any questions about this article or want to share more of the best food in Scotland? Drop us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Scotland Travel Planning
More Posts: Dunnottar Castle – Fairy Pools – Balmoral Castle – Renting a Car – 1 Day Isle of Skye – Eilean Donan Castle – Urquhart Castle – Edinburgh Castle – Royal Mile – 5 Magical Castles – Isle of Skye Ferry
Rental Car: The best way to get around Scotland is by rental car! We always use Discover Cars when traveling in Europe and have found some great deals by booking in advance.
Transportation: Omio is a great place to search for trains, buses, and transfers while traveling through Scotland.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Scotland. You can find everything from a Scottish Highlands tour from Edinburgh to a Loch Ness boat cruise, Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour, and even chocolate making classes.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.