A typical Scottish breakfast by hyunlabWarning: I am about to make you very hungry. 

Since we’ve just “arrived” in Glasgow, you’re going to hear way too much about the awesome food that we might find at our cozy, traditional bed and breakfast (like this one).

The ingredients of a typical Scottish breakfast are somewhat flexible, and you’ll probably not find all of these elements served at a single meal, but here are some dishes that are likely to be included:

  • Lorne sausage
  • Link sausage
  • Streaky bacon
  • Fried egg 
  • Tattie scone
  • Black pudding
  • Baked beans
  • Fried tomatoes/mushrooms/onions
  • Buttered toast
  • Tea or coffee
And sometimes these as well:

You can’t say that I didn’t warn you. 

Scottish breakfast by adactio
Scottish breakfast, a photo by adactio on Flickr.

When my family travels abroad (usually to such epicenters of culinary delight as Iowa and Colorado) we expect a free breakfast even from a reasonably cheap hotel. This usually includes but is not limited to cold cereal, aging fruit, gluey white biscuits, yogurt, and (if we’re lucky) a pre-packaged waffle. The thought of going to a Scottish inn and being served all of this (in Glasgow you can get a single room and the full spread for just £28 a night) is simply breathtaking.

Anyway, is it possible to make your own genuine Scottish breakfast at home? Of course it is, and I’m going to tell you how. But here’s another warning: this is not a heart-healthy meal. Sure, some web-chefs recommend frying everything in sunflower oil rather than the traditional lard, but if you’re health conscious I don’t think you would consider eating this in the first place.

  1. The non-vegetarian parts of this meal will take the longest to cook, so you need to start frying that up first (be prepared to use two frying pans). The Lorne sausage (a square, sliced sausage which you can make from scratch using the recipe here), black pudding (or blood pudding…mmm), medallions or rashers of bacon, and link sausages (don’t prick them!) should be fried for a few minutes over low heat. Cooking times will vary according to the thickness of the meat.
  2. As the meat nears the end of its residence in the pan, the veggies should be added to a second pan and allowed to fry into a tender state. Also begin the eggs at this juncture, frying to your personal taste.
  3. Just after frying the egg, put in your tattie scone (a potato scone that can be made from scratch with this recipe here). There’s a reason they call this a “fry up.”
  4. If it’s not lunchtime by the time you’ve gotten this far, and you think that your stomach can hold still more food, fry a little haggis and some kippers, boil up some porridge, and stick bread in the toaster. If you have a heart attack, it’s not my fault.   
  5. The Scottish breakfast should be served with tea, Heinz tomato ketchup, and the British classic: HP sauce (which, believe it or not, you can also make yourself). What kind of tea, you ask? Why, Scottish breakfast tea of course! Taylors of Harrogate is a popular brand. 

So there you have itthe artery-clogging Scottish specialty which has fortified many a hard-working farmer and factory worker over the years. Ith gu leòir*!

Scottish Breakfast with slice by david.nikonvscanon
Scottish Breakfast with slice, a photo by david.nikonvscanon on Flickr.

*Scottish Gaelic for “eat plenty!”
First Photo: A typical Scottish breakfast, a photo by hyunlab on Flickr.

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Written by Abigail Young

I've had a passion for everything British my entire life, despite being raised as a small-town girl in the American Midwest, After years of dreaming, I got the chance to live and work in England for an entire year. Now I write about my favorite country, and hopefully inspire my fellow Britophiles to get over there and experience it for themselves.

This article has 13 comments

  1. LANA Reply

    Well, homefries, cornbeef hash and eggs with buttermilk biscuits aren’t any better, here in the U.S.A. I would love to try a Scottish breakfast someday. I figure if you only eat that way occasionally, it’s not the end of the world. Loved the photos, can’t wait to see what you have for dinner!

    • Abby Rogers Reply

      Haha, Lana, you’re so right! The calorie-count on corned beef hash alone would frighten a health-conscious person. But of course, if it’s an occasional treat, why not?

  2. J_on_tour@jayzspaze Reply

    Haha, that’s great Abby, although I’m not sure of the quality of ingredients that you would get in Glasgow for that price & I’d like to check out the health statistics too !!
    Many years ago I used to do Railrover tickets around the north and west of Scotland. Inverness being the capital of the Highlands seemed like a magnet for the European rail traveller and also for me as the northern base. I stayed several times in a decent but reasonable B&B alongside a host of travellers and tourists. On one occasion a group of German tourists wanted to try the Porridge as a starter before the “main event”. The host warned them that they would be unable to eat the cooked breakfast later. Most people outside Scotland are used to Porridge with sugar as opposed to salt and they all struggled to finish the bowl and were eventually defeated by it in a big way ! Consequently they refused and missed out on the other culinary goodies you mention here.
    I am a big fan of Lorne sausage, and Potato scone for breakfast …but only in small doses on a Scottish break. Haggis & Black Pudding although not quite my thing, I’ll eat it if it’s presented well on the plate. The best two places I would pick for breakfast at a reasonable rate would be Ewich house in Crianlarich and Belsyde House just outside Linlithgow. Glengarry house in Tyndrum comes a distant third as it’s a long time since I’ve stayed there due to the room arrangements.

    • Abby Rogers Reply

      Oh, those poor Germans! Frankly, I can imagine myself eating haggis before I tried porridge with salt instead of sugar. Blech!

      Yes, a seriously reduced breakfast of sausage and scone would be much more to my taste as well. Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll have to keep them in mind 🙂

  3. Catherine Reply

    I’d take out the tomato and the black pudding, but the rest is fantastic! My cholesterol level escalated just looking at the pictures. In Queens we have some restaurants that offer Irish breakfast. It’s similar enough, but NOTHING beats the actual deal in the UK. I find the tea actually balances out the meal a bit.

    • Abby Rogers Reply

      I’d take out the tomato too, Catherine! And the black pudding sounds less-than-scrumptious, but I’d probably have to try a bite just to say that I did.

      Yes, I would think that the real deal would definitely be the best 🙂

  4. Isabel Reply

    Hi Abby, I just found your website while looking for the cup measurements for a Bakewell tart; I’m a Scot, in Spain at the moment, without scales to weigh the ingredients. I wanted to make a pear & chocolate frangipane tart (see The Hairy Bikers) for dinner guests last night – it turned out really well btw, thanks.
    Anyway, I was browsing your site and found this page. I just wanted to say you can reduce the calories significantly by grilling (broiling?) everything – but not the egg & potato scone, of course! Scramble or poach the egg, but you must fry the potato scone – unless you want to serve it buttered, mmm-and-double-mmm!
    The other thing to note is that after a full Scottish (or English/Irish) breakfast you do not need to eat again until the evening meal or even the next day, thereby saving more calories, lol!
    The bakewell/frangipane turned out so well I’ll check out some of your other recipes another time.
    God bless you.
    As I’m sure you found out, not all Brits drink tea, just like not all Americans drink coffee, lol! So you can have coffee with your toast & marmalade :o)
    Oh, and another thing, you *must* cook porridge with salt, then serve with honey & a little cream to eat it at it’s best. After all, you wouldn’t think to cook anything else without salt, would you?
    Sorry for the long comment.

  5. Clodianne Reply

    On the subject of porridge, I well remember visits as a child to my great aunt who always served porridge for Sunday supper. A request for any kind of sweetener would have earned me a stinging rebuke ( she was a stern old biddy and I was terrified of her ). Milk was always served in a separate bowl – fingers rapped for pouring it on the oatmeal and God help you if you sat down to eat. “Stand to your porridge,” was the cry.

  6. altheweld Reply

    Hi Abbey, found this website by accident, but have found it interesting. Regarding traditional breakfast [ I shall call it -British- which includes England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland & in this debate I will include Ireland & the Isle of Man!] I am UK based & through my work I have travelled to most parts of UK & also Europe. I have enjoyed [& also not enjoyed] British “Fry-up’s” in many places, each one is different. From Town to Town, County to County, Country to Country. I can buy a full breakfast for about £3.50 from a road side caravan, not recommended, but if I am hungry enough then I will eat it!
    The best breakfasts are made from locally sourced quality ingredients, ie Scotland has its square sausage, Lancashire- Bury black puddings, Ireland has white pudding. in Yorkshire the toast is ‘dipped’ in the tomato juice to make it soggy, in Belfast the beans are fried in the bacon & sausage fat, yummy! I could go on? All have basicly similar ingredients but all are different, apart from Hp brown sauce & Hienz ketchup.
    anyway I am off to the fridge, I can feel a fry-up coming on!
    best regards Al

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