Gluten free Scottish oatcakes are traditional cookies made from healthy oatmeal and cooked in a cast iron skillet.  Eat them fresh with cheese, butter, or jam, or make ahead and serve at breakfast or for a snack.  Enjoy the taste of Scotland with these simple oatcakes!

Prep Time: 25 minutes
person holding a plate of oatcakes
Biscuits & Scones

Gluten Free Scottish Oatcakes

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Are you looking for a healthy cookie/cracker that’s easy to make?  These Scottish oatcakes are full of healthy fiber and protein that will fill you up, and have a lovely nutty flavor.  Traditionally, oatcakes were served at nearly every meal in Scotland!

Start with a few basic ingredients: oatmeal, butter, salt, baking soda, and boiling water.

ingredients for oatcakes

Stir everything together to get a thick dough.

bowl of oatcake dough with spoon

Roll out the dough, cut out the oatcakes, and fry in a cast iron skillet until cooked.  You’ll love smelling the nutty aroma of these traditional Scottish biscuits as they cook!

oatcakes in cast iron skillet

Pro Tips for Making Oatcakes

  • Keep the heat in the skillet on medium-low so the oatcakes cook more in the center without burning the outside.
  • Cook the oatcakes to brown them nicely on both sides, or just on one side if you’re baking in the oven them also.
  • For a crispy oatcake, bake the griddled oatcakes in a 400 F oven for 10-20 minutes.
  • Have fun experimenting with using finely ground, coarsely ground, and medium ground oatmeal for different textures.

person breaking an oatcake in half

What is the difference between oats and oatmeal?

Many people believe that oats and oatmeal are the same thing, but they’re not!  Here’s some definitions of these terms so you won’t get confused.

  • Oats: a gluten-free grain similar in appearance to wheat.
  • Oatmeal: a coarsely ground flour made from oats.
  • Porridge: a hot breakfast cereal made from oats and water.

person spreading raspberry jam on an oatcake

What are the different kinds of oats?

Oats can be processed into many different forms, and it can be confusing with so many shapes and sizes.  Don’t worry; this handy guide will keep these terms straight.

  • Groat: a whole oat kernel with the hull removed.
  • Steel-Cut (aka Pinhead or Irish) Oats: groats that have been chopped into a few smaller pieces.
  • Scottish Oatmeal: groats that have been stone ground until they’re about the texture of cornmeal.
  • Rolled (aka Old-Fashioned or Porridge) Oats: steam-softened groats that are rolled flat.
  • Quick Oats: rolled oats that have been chopped into smaller flakes to cook faster.
  • Instant Oats: chopped-up rolled oats that have usually been pre-cooked.

How do you make medium oatmeal?

Medium oatmeal is similar to Scottish oatmeal, which is groats (the whole oat kernel) ground until it’s about the texture of cornmeal.  Here in the United States, we can’t find medium oatmeal at our grocery stores, so we’ve got to use Scottish oatmeal, or just make our own.  Fortunately, it’s easy to make a substitute; just grind steel-cut oats a little in a blender or food processor until they’re about the coarseness of cornmeal.  (In the photos, I used rolled oats instead of steel-cut to make my medium oatmeal.)

Check out these other oat recipes for more deliciousness.

pouring milk over baked oatmeal pan of granola bars with greenery

  • Baked Oatmeal with Apples: an easy and tasty way to make this healthy breakfast cereal.
  • No Bake Citrus Granola Bars: a protein-packed snack flavored with orange juice and zest.

Did you make these Scottish oatcakes?  Please leave a recipe rating and review to share how you liked them.

person holding a plate of oatcakes

Gluten Free Scottish Oatcakes

  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 18 oatcakes 1x


Gluten free Scottish oatcakes are traditional cookies made from healthy oatmeal and cooked in a cast iron skillet.  Eat them fresh with cheese, butter, or jam, or make ahead and serve at breakfast or for a snack.  Enjoy the taste of Scotland with these simple oatcakes!



  • 1 2/3 cups Scottish oatmeal (235g)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (43g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 to 1 cup boiling water (177237 ml)


  1. If you’re making your own medium oatmeal with steel-cut oats, measure out 2 cups of oats.  Grind in a food processor or blender until the oatmeal is the texture of cornmeal.  Measure out 1 2/3 cups (235g) for the oatcakes, and set aside a little extra for dusting.
  2. Pour 1 2/3 cups (235g) of Scottish oatmeal into a mixing bowl and add the butter, salt, and baking soda.  Gradually stir in enough boiling water until a pasty, but not sticky, dough is formed and the mix is well blended.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a surface lightly dusted with some of the extra oatmeal.  Knead gently a few times, then roll out the dough to 3-5 mm thick.  Cut the dough into rounds, re-rolling the scraps as needed.
  4. Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot, then lightly butter it and evenly space 6-7 oatcakes in it.  Cook them for 10-15 minutes on each side, then remove to a wire rack to cool.  Repeat with the remaining oatcakes.
  5. For crispier oatcakes, only cook the oatcakes on one side in the skillet, then place them on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400 F oven until crispy (about 10-20 minutes).
  6. Serve the oatcakes warm or room temperature with butter, jam, cheese, or any desired topping.


  • Store leftover oatcakes at room temperature in a metal cookie tin to keep them crisp.
  • Oatcakes are traditionally cooked on the griddle (cast iron skillet) on only one side, then toasted over the fire on the other.  Feel free to toast the cooked oatcakes in a toaster to simulate this effect.
  • Experiment with using different ratios of coarsely ground oatmeal, medium oatmeal, or fine oatmeal to get various textures.
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Scottish

Keywords: Scottish oatcakes, gluten free, oatmeal

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