Since it has a reputation of being very peculiar, Scottish food is severely underrated. The common misconception is that the traditional dishes are hard to get used to if you’re a foreigner.

In reality, people in Scotland have created an authentic and exciting cuisine that should be experienced by every foodie. They have combined old traditional dishes with some more modern influences and it resulted in incredibly tasty food.

With a variety of different flavors, coming both from meat and vegan ingredients, it is suitable for absolutely everyone. Don’t forget about the desserts either!

Here’s a list of some of our top picks when it comes to Scottish food. The unique dishes made from fresh, local produce are a gastronomical adventure you must have in your lifetime!

The Best Scottish Food – 7 Must-Try Dishes

Haggis

This dish always tops the lists of Scottish specialties. The one and only, unmissable haggis is synonymous with Scottish food and tradition.

This well-known delicacy is described as a meat pudding or a crumbly sausage. Even though it doesn’t look very appealing, the rich texture and flavor of haggis are its main traits.

It is made with minced sheep’s pluck, onions, oatmeal and spices as basic ingredients. Everyone adds a personal touch or a secret spice that makes it different, but it usually has a peppery taste. That mixture is then traditionally prepared inside the sheep’s stomach.

To paint the picture of how much Scots love haggis, take the example of their national poet Robert Burns. He loved haggis so much, that he wrote a poem dedicated to it called Address to a Haggis. Now, every year, Scots celebrate him and their national dish in one event called the Burns dinner.

This is something you must try if you want to feel like a true Scot for a moment. Also, if a dish inspired poetry, it must be something special!

Scotch Pie

If you’re a fan of pies, especially pot pies, this specialty is something you must try. The Scots make one of the world’s most delicious pies, made with mutton meat, nutmeg and gravy.

Scotch pie is typical Scottish fast food. Don’t be surprised if you hear people calling it football pie, since it’s often eaten during half-times of football matches. They are served alongside a drink called bovril – a beef extract diluted with hot water.

If you’d like to try the absolute best Scotch pies, visit The Piemaker in Edinburgh. They even have something called the Scotch Haggis pie!

The Scots take their food pretty seriously, so, naturally, there are competitions involved. Each year, the Scotch Pie Club hosts something called the World Scotch Pie Championship. Keep an eye on the list of winners and try some of the best ones!

Cranachan

Here’s a little something to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. Cranachan is Scotland’s traditional dessert, which contains one of everyone’s favorite Scottish exports – whiskey!

The word pudding in Scotland could have a different meaning than what you’re usually used to. However, in this case, we’re talking about a real, sweet, creamy pudding, but made special by authentic ingredients.

Even though it’s rather easy to make, Scots argue that you just can’t make real cranachan in another country. The raspberries aren’t as fresh, the quality of oats is incomparable and Scottish heather honey is far from regular honey.

Pretty much any restaurant serving traditional Scottish food also has good cranachan. So, if you’re in the mood for something simple, but tasty and refreshing, you know what to order!

Salmon

Even though the Scots didn’t invent salmon, this fish is Scotland’s biggest food export. You can be sure that the salmon you eat in Scotland is not imported, but fresh and local.

Scottish Wild Salmon has been designated Protected Geographical Indication. That means that the EU picked it as an extraordinary product and is making sure it’s produced in a certain way.

Luckily for all fish lovers, Scotland is full of amazing seafood restaurants. If you’d like to take some home, supermarkets in Scotland have amazing smoked salmon, which is just as good!

Cullen Skink

This dish is perfect for those cold winter months, since it’s essentially a creamy soup. It is bound to brighten up any glum chilly day and remind you of a nice home cooked meal. 

Cullen skink is made with smoked haddock, potatoes and milk and seasoned with a unique blend of spices. It has an unforgettable smoky flavor while the potatoes add some softness to the dish. If you’ve ever tried clam chowder and loved it, this will win you over as well.

Like we mentioned before, the Scots are famous for their amazing fish. This dish will satisfy all your senses and give you that nostalgic feeling of grandma’s home!

Shortbread

This buttery biscuit is an ideal snack alongside a hot cup of tea. It is a classic when it comes to Scottish food and it has been the most popular biscuit for centuries. It is associated with Christmas and Hogmanay (day before the New Year), but it can be enjoyed all year round!

Even though it’s very easy to find nowadays, shortbread used to be a luxury. They were only given as Christmas presents or, if you’re a new bride, they would break one over your head!

This Scottish dessert is easy to make, so if you’re into baking, you’re in luck. The crumbly  biscuits were once described as “the jewel in the crown of Scottish baking”. Even though the basic ones are only made with butter, sugar and flour, they’re mouth-watering!

Those who aren’t bakers can get these at souvenir shops and supermarkets. If you’d like to try the best there is, go for the Walkers Shortbread!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

It tastes just as good as it sounds! Once again, this isn’t what most people would recognize as a pudding, but Scottish cuisine has its own rules.

This delicious dessert consists of a moist sponge cake, dates and toffee sauce. It is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which only brings out the toffee more.

The pudding can be found in most pubs and restaurants, since it’s a staple comfort dish. There’s a reason why this dessert is loved by everyone who tries it, so give it a taste!