This list is here to put Scottish desserts and sweet treats on the map!
Scotland is known for many amazing things, beautiful scenery, rich culture, and fascinating heritage. However, Scotland is also home to some amazing sweet treats, desserts, and puddings. We decided to pull together some of our favourites!
So what are the best Scottish desserts and Sweet Treats?
Here, in no particular order, are 17 of the best Scottish desserts not to be missed, whether you’re a local or planning a visit!
Though this list is in no particular order it’s hard not to put Cranachan in the number one spot.
This classic Scottish dessert is hugely popular in Scotland and was traditionally made to celebrate the raspberry season.
Like many Scottish dishes, it uses simple ingredients and turns them into something fantastic. It’s dishes like Cranachan that made us start Scottish Scran in the first place!
The dessert is simple, combining honey, whisky, oats, cream, and, of course, raspberries.
Traditionally it also used crowdie cheese, though this has now often been replaced in more modern recipes with double or thick cream.
The oats soften in the mix and the whisky and honey balance each other perfectly.
We worked on our own version of this recipe, and it’s also been immensely popular since it’s so easy to make. You can find how to make Cranachan here, you won’t be sorry!
But since we also like trying more modern versions of traditional Scottish desserts, we also took the fantastic taste of Cranachan and made it into a cheesecake with another tasty recipe, which can find that here.
The Tunnocks teacake came into the world in 1956, created by a Scottish bakery that began life in 1890. This delicious treat is hugely popular in Scotland, alongside other Tunnocks products like the Caramel Wafer and the Snowball.
The teacake is not what you would expect in the traditional use of the term, in that it’s most definitely not a cake! Unwrap the distinctive red and silver foil and you’ll find a biscuit base supporting a ball of light marshmallow, all covered in chocolate. Yum!
You’ll spot Teacakes all over Scotland in shops, cafes, and even on the tea tray at your B&B. The Tunnock’s teacake deserves its spot on our list of the best Scottish desserts for both taste and place in the Scottish culture.
You can find out more about Tunnocks on their website, which also has very distracting games!
This Scottish dessert seems to be a lesser-known one, and we think that should change!
Caledonian Cream is so easy to make, and it’s delicious. You mix the whipped cream with whisky liqueur, marmalade, and orange or lemon juice and it’s ready to go!
Serve instead of Cranachan, or as another easy dessert for lots of people.
Check out the full Caledonian Cream recipe here.
“Rock” type sweet treats are often found at seaside locations around the UK, like Blackpool, or Brighton. They’re made of hard candy and shaped like a stick.
Edinburgh Rock is a little different in that it is made from sugar, water, cream of tartar and colourings, and is often broken up into smaller pieces.
It was first made by Alexander Ferguson and is said to have been invented by accident when he tried some candy that had been forgotten for months.
You can still find Edinburgh Rock sold throughout the city, often in tartan boxes.
Dundee Cake is a traditional Scottish fruit cake that has gained worldwide fame since it’s first appearance over 350 years ago.
The Dundee Cake is one of Scotland’s most famous cakes and, it is said, was liked by the Queen at tea time. A Scottish dessert by royal appointment!
The story goes that Mary Queen of Scots didn’t like cherries, so a fruit cake was made and decorated with the distinctive almond decoration that has now become very familiar to those of us in the know.
A more likely story is that the Dundee Cake recipe was created in the 1700s, later to be mass-produced by the Marmalade company Keiller’s Marmalade.
Whether it’s true or not the cake itself is delicious, rich and tasty full of dried fruit and spices. You can find our recipe for a delicious Dundee Cake here
A sweet made of potato sounds like a joke, but we assure you it isn’t!
Scottish Macaroons take mashed potato and mix it with icing sugar to form a circle or a bar, which is then dipped in chocolate and sometimes covered in coconut.
It was invented by John Justice Lees at his father’s confectionary shop, and Scottish Macaroon bars are still made by Lees today!
See our recipe here to make your own!
A Tipsy Laird is basically a Scottish take on a trifle, with the sherry swapped out for whisky.
It’s made of layers of whisky-soaked sponge, fruit and jam, custard, and cream. It’s really easy to make and perfect for serving a large number of people.
Check out our Tipsy Laird recipe here.
These are less well known than the Dundee Cake but they earn their spot on our list of best Scottish desserts by taste alone!
These tasty tarts are like a chewy mince pie, a little similar to an American Pecan Pie. They’re a moreish combination of nuts, currants, butter and sugar in a pastry case, with the sweetness traditionally tapered with a little vinegar.
More modern variations have added a little cinnamon and lemon zest instead of vinegar.
The Ecclefechan Tart can be served as small individual tarts or slices from a larger version. It’s named after a village in Dumfries and Galloway of the same name.
Ecclefechan is very close to the English/Scottish border, so you’ll sometimes see these called Border Tarts, although these are often iced as well.
See our Ecclefechan Tart recipe here.
Soor Plooms (“sour plums”) are a tart green boiled sweet originally from Galashiels, and are said to have first been made in 1337 to commemorate a victory over an English raiding party.
It would be hard to do a list of the best Scottish desserts and sweet treats without mentioning Scottish Shortbread. The most traditional recipe for this crumbly buttery biscuit can be made with just three ingredients!
From humble beginnings, Scottish Shortbread can now be found around the world and is a particular favourite at Christmas in many households.
If you want to stock up your biscuit tin we shared our own Petticoat Shortbread recipe that’s as traditional as we can make it and really simple. Enjoy!
Tunnocks Caramel Wafers
Yes, another Tunnocks product has made the list of Scottish sweet treats you need to try!
A Tunnocks Caramel Wafer is basically what it says – layers of caramel and wafer biscuits coated in chocolate. It’s been around since 1952 when it was invented by bakery owner Archie Tunnock.
What could improve Scottish Shortbread, we hear you ask? Well, how about adding sweet caramel and chocolate? The buttery shortbread supports a thick layer of sticky caramel and a thin layer of plain chocolate is the perfect mix of sweet and subtly bitter. Perfection.
And thus, Millionaire’s shortbread is added to the list!
This delicious sweet treat goes by many names the world over, including Caramel Slice, Caramel Shortcake, and Caramel Squares. The name Millionaire’s shortbread originated in Scotland so we’re staking a claim that it’s Scottish!
We recreated this tasty treat in the most traditional way we could because some treats just don’t need any additions. You can find it here.
We also turned Millionaire’s Shortbread into a cheesecake version, with layers of shortbread, caramel cheesecake, caramel, and chocolate. Find our easy no-bake Millionaire’s Cheesecake recipe here!
Black Bun or Scotch Bun is a little lesser known than some of the more famous Scottish desserts and sweet treats.
This pastry-wrapped fruit cake was traditionally a King Cake eaten on the Twelfth Night on the 5th of January, which is the end of the twelve days of Christmas but it is now often eaten on Hogmanay (Scottish for New Year’s Eve).
It’s thought the name “Black Bun” may have come from Picturesque Notes on Edinburgh by Robert Louis Stevenson, published in 1879, in which he describes the tradition of “first-footing”.
To ensure good luck for the year ahead the first person to set foot over the threshold should be a dark-haired man who was not in the house for the ringing of the bells (midnight) and comes bearing gifts like coal, whisky, and you guessed it, black bun!
See our Black Bun recipe here.
Deep-Fried Mars Bar
Though by no means an everyday Scottish snack, the deep-fried Mars Bar has become famous in its own right. There’s not too much description needed for this vastly unhealthy treat since it’s exactly as described.
You can find them in chippies (Fish and Chip shops) across Scotland, and they’re worth a try if you like sweet and fried!
Scottish Tablet is one of Scotland’s best treats, although many don’t know what it is before they come to visit the country itself.
Tablet is a wonderfully tasty, sugary sweet that has been made in Scotland for centuries. It has a grainy texture but melts in your mouth, like a powdery fudge that is amazingly moreish.
There are some similar recipes around the world such as Dulce de Leche en Tabla or Russian Fudge but we think Scottish Tablet is the best, of course!
We are lucky enough to have a family recipe for Tablet and it has proven to be one of our most popular since we started Scottish Scran. You can find out how to make this traditional Scottish recipe here.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
The addition of this fantastic dessert could cause a little controversy. The origins of Sticky Toffee Pudding, like several famous Scottish dishes, are a bone of contention. It is widely believed to have been created in the Lake District, England.
However, around the same time, a hotel in Aberdeenshire began serving a Sticky Toffee Pudding that is much more like the one we know and love today.
So we’re claiming it as a Scottish dessert, at least for this purpose, because it’s too delicious not to!
What makes this pud so tasty is the use of dates, which often surprises many diners. They add a deliciously sticky sweetness that really is hard to beat.
We decided to make our own version of this classic so that we didn’t have to wait quite as long for the traditional version.
Our 5-minute Sticky Toffee Pudding in a mug has received amazing reviews, and you can find it here.
We also liked the idea of being able to make this wonderful dessert more portable and take it on our adventures around Scotland, so we created a Sticky Toffee Traybake that ticks all the right boxes; you can find it here.
If you really can’t get enough of all the sticky toffee goodness go one step further and try our decadent Sticky Toffee Trifle. Five layers of deliciousness!
A “cloot” is Scots for a strip of cloth or item, possibly used for patching clothes. Why is this important to this delicious Scottish dessert? The Clootie Dumpling is a suet-based fruit pudding that is boiled in a floured piece of cloth or “cloot”, hence the name.
This Scottish dessert is rich, filling, and decadent. Once it’s boiled, you can slice it and serve it with custard, a bit like a Christmas pudding, which is why it’s often served around Christmas and Hogmanay.
It’s certainly not a light dessert so if you see it on a menu be sure to leave a little room!
You can check out our Clootie Dumpling recipe here.
We’ve also made a super easy microwave Clootie Dumpling, which isn’t exactly traditional but it’ll give you the same flavours and is quick to make!
Scottish cuisine has so much to offer and there are certainly desserts and sweet treats that we haven’t included so what would you add to this list?
We hope we’ve made your mouth water and that you’ll try some of these recipes for yourself!
Phil & Sonja