Traditional Rumbledethumps Recipe

We first saw Rumbledethumps on the menu at the Ben Nevis Inn near Fort William and had to ask what is since the name isn’t exactly a giveaway…

The description seemed decent enough, and we enjoyed an amazing dinner. Rumbledethumps included!

Scottish Rumbledethumps Recipe

What is Rumbledethumps?

Rumbledethumps is a Scottish side dish consisting of creamy mashed potato, with sliced cabbage and sometimes fried onions stirred through it, before it’s topped with cheese and baked in the oven.

It’s really simple but really delicious. And it’s the perfect accompaniment to other dishes like Haggis, Chicken Balmoral, Savoury Mince, Steak Pie, or even Beef Olives.

While it doesn’t sound like much, we were pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was when we first had it, and we’ve since recreated it many times ourselves, perfecting our recipe that we can now share with you.

It’s also the ultimate comfort food!

Why the name Rumbledethumps?

While the dish is something you might have enjoyed before or made a variation of the past, the name is a bit strange for sure.

Why is it called Rumbledethumps? No one really knows where the name originated, but the dish is said to have come from the Scottish border regions.

The name is theorised to have come from the sound that the potatoes and cabbage make when being mixed together in a large pot with a wooden spoon.

While this dish is firmly Scottish, there are variations of something similar from other countries too.

Colcannon in Ireland is like the basis of Rumbledethumps, mixing the cabbage and potato, but without the cheese on top.

Bubble and Squeak is an English dish made by frying mashed potato and other leftovers, but often includes cabbage.

Scottish Rumbledethumps Recipe

Why we love this Rumbledethumps recipe

When it comes to a hearty side dish that is comforting and satisfying, we think simple is often best, and this is pretty simple! But it’s also a lovely change from a plain mashed potato side. Plus, it can be served with so many different things, as suggested above!

We had it with Haggis and a Whisky Cream Sauce at the Ben Nevis Inn and have been hooked ever since.

Even if you don’t like cabbage, we really recommend giving Rumbledethumps a go. The cabbage wilts into the mashed potato and gives it flavour, and who doesn’t love melted cheese on potato?

Things You Need to Make Rumbledethumps

  • Large pot
  • Large frying pan
  • Baking dish
  • Grater

Ingredients Needed to Make Rumbledethumps

  • 1kg of potatoes (approx 2lbs)
  • 1 savoy cabbage (250g or 0.5lb)
  • 75g of butter (0.1lb)
  • 100g of mature cheddar cheese (0.2lb)
  • 2 small onions (optional)
Scottish Rumbledethumps Recipe

Potatoes

We used a British All-rounder potato, or something like Maris Pipers works well for Rumbledethumps. We’ve been recommended Russet potatoes for those abroad.

Basically, whatever you would normally use for good mashed potatoes works.

Cabbage

We used Savoy Cabbage for this recipe. However, you can use any cabbage you like or can get your hands on. However, just avoid using purple cabbage! It’s not quite the right texture and flavour.

Onions

We have used onions in our recipe, but it is optional. They add flavour to the dish, but the savoy cabbage and the potatoes are enough and totally satisfying as they are.

Cheese

This is really what makes the dish! We used mature cheddar because we love that stronger flavour, but you can use mild cheddar or any other cheese you like.

How to Make Rumbledethumps – Step-by-step Method

First of all, gather all of your ingredients together. Prepare the potatoes by peeling them and chopping them up. Then boil the potatoes for 15-20 mins until they are soft.

Scottish Rumbledethumps Recipe

Slice the onion if you are using it and fry it until softened. Then set them aside.

Scottish Rumbledethumps Recipe

Now time to prepare the cabbage. Slice the cabbage roughly and cook in 50g butter until it is softened. It will seem like a lot but don’t worry; it wilts down in the pan and then again when you stir it with the potatoes.

Scottish Rumbledethumps Recipe

Once the potatoes are ready, mash them up with the remaining butter and season them to taste.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Mix the cooked cabbage and the onion through the mashed potatoes. Put the potato and cabbage mixture into an ovenproof dish.

Top with grated cheese and then bake for 15-20 mins at 180C or until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown.

Serve with your chosen main meal.

Variations to Try

Add Crispy Bacon

What is better with mashed potato and cabbage? Crispy bacon. You can fry small slices of bacon with the onion or the cabbage and add that to the dish. It will add extra flavour and taste amazing.

Make this a Main Dish

You could make this a main meal by adding things like chicken or any other meat you like. Fry and cook off your chosen protein or even use leftover meat from a roast dinner and then bake as you would above. You can then serve it with a creamy cheese sauce, parsley sauce, or a nice meaty gravy.

Serve with Eggs and/or Tomatoes

You can poach or fry some eggs and serve them on top of a portion of the Rumbledethumps for brunch!

This would also work so well with some tomatoes. Grilled fresh tomatoes or tinned, whatever you prefer. Delicious and a lovely alternative to your usual breakfast options.

FAQs

How do I store the Rumbledethumps?

This can be prepared and stored in the fridge before baking. Or store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. They will last for up to three days. You can reheat it in the oven or in the microwave.

Can you make this Vegan?

Yes, absolutely you can! Just use your preferred dairy-free butter and vegan cheese, and this will make a great side dish for a plant-based diet.

Can this be made with leftovers?

Yes definitely. In fact, as we have mentioned, this can often traditionally be made with leftover mash. Just add the cabbage and go from there. Yum!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Traditional Rumbledethumps Recipe

Scottish Rumbledethumps Recipe

Rumbledethumps is a Scottish side dish consisting of creamy mashed potato, with sliced cabbage and sometimes fried onions stirred through it, before it's topped with cheese and baked in the oven.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1kg of potatoes (approx 2lbs)
  • 1 savoy cabbage (250g or 0.5lb)
  • 75g of butter (0.1lb)
  • 100g of mature cheddar cheese (0.2lb)
  • 2 small onions (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the potatoes by peeling them and chopping them up. 
  2. Boil the potatoes for 15-20 mins until they are soft.
  3. Slice the onion if you are using it and fry it until softened. Then set aside.
  4. Slice the cabbage roughly and cook in 50g butter until it is softened. It will seem like a lot but don't worry; it wilts down in the pan and then again when you stir it with the potatoes.
  5. Once the potatoes are ready, mash them up with the remaining butter and season them to taste. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 180C
  7. Mix the cooked cabbage and the onion through the mashed potatoes. 
  8. Put the potato and cabbage mixture into an ovenproof dish.
  9. Top with grated cheese and then bake for 15-20 mins or until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown.
  10. Serve with your chosen main meal.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 327Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 212mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g

These values are an indication only.

Dishes to have Rumblethumps with:

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18 thoughts on “Traditional Rumbledethumps Recipe”

  1. Me and my Mom were in Glasgow this past July and I had Scottish Beef with Crushpot on the side. Would you be able to do a recipe segment on Crushpot? It was very tasty.

    Thank You,
    Patti

    Reply
  2. WOW, something totally different & delicious – well worth a try.
    I did fry the cabbage with the onion, just adding it at the end to save some steps.
    We had it with corned meat – it was the perfect accompaniment. I could have eaten the whole dish myself. Thank you for sharing these wonderful, family traditions.

    Reply
  3. Delicious! I’m from Finland and we often use cabbage and potatoes in our dishes – but very seldom together. This however tasted so good it goes straight to my book of favourite recipies. Thank you!

    Reply
  4. I made this today and it was delicious. I followed the recipe to the letter and will definitely be making it again. Joyce C. Canada

    Reply
  5. We love rumbledethumps! I like to mash some of the potatoes and the rest leave chunky. I always mix in most of the cheddar cheese into the potato-cabbage-onion blend and then sprinkle more cheddar on top. I haven’t tried rumbledethumps with bacon but it sounds like a great idea. Your recipe is very helpful for anyone who hasn’t made it before! Well done!

    Reply

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