Soup is popular in Scotland, probably partly because of the dreich weather at many (most?) times of the year! Scottish soups are varied and of course there are many modern soups found on menus across Scotland, but we have a soft spot for the traditional homemade Scottish soups ourselves!
So much so that we have no less than 6 soup recipes on this site and we’re planning more too. There’s just something about a heartwarming soup on a cold day.
But what Scottish soup recipes should you try to make, or watch out for on your travels around the country? We’re partial to the below, but some of the names do require a little explanation!
So here’s our guide to Scottish soups that you should try!
Cullen Skink is so hearty it can be a meal of it’s own!
Many people picture some sort of creature when they first hear about this soup, but this traditional soup actually originates from the Moray Coast and is made primarily from smoked haddock. It’s a thick and creamy soup made by cooking the smoked fish in milk alongside leeks or onions, and potatoes.
Traditionally Scotch Broth was made by boiling the lamb neck and/or bones and then adding vegetables like carrots, leeks, potatoes, and cabbage alongside pearl barley.
These days Scotch Broth can be made with almost any stock base, and it’s probably more likely you’ll find vegetable stock, chicken stock, or maybe even beef as a base instead.
When we set out to make the recipe we made one with the traditional lamb base, and added a little meat to it too, and then a vegetarian version. Both are delicious, if we do say so ourselves!
Meaning is Scots for Harvest Broth, also known as Hotch Potch, because this is a true one pot meal made to celebrate, you guessed it, the harvest and all the delicious summer vegetables available.
Like Scotch Broth, it’s traditionally started with a stock made from lamb neck or another cut of lamb on the bone. Fresh seasonal vegetables like peas, cabbage, carrots, beans, and even lettuce are added and any meat is stirred through at the end of cooking, before topping the dish with fresh herbs like chives, mint, and parsley.
Potato soup sounds a little boring, but it’s honestly so tasty! It’s a simple soup made with potatoes and stock at it’s most basic, although we like to add carrots and leeks for a little extra flavour.
The trick is in not making it too thick and keeping some of the chunks of potato in it.
So easy but so good!
This oddly named soup is basically what it sounds like, chicken and leek! It’s been called the “national soup of Scotland” and some say it likely developed from a French chicken and onion soup recipe.
It involves boiling a whole chicken alongside many leeks to make a tasty stock, which is then thickened with rice, with the shredded chicken and more leeks added, and then traditionally topped with a few prunes for sweetness.
Another soup with a Scots name, although this one means Crab Broth or Brew, and is what is known as a Crab Bisque elsewhere. It originates in the fishing area of the North-East and the main ingredients are crab and rice.
Scotland has world class seafood and it’s nice to see more of it used in a delicious soup! Like many Scottish dishes, the ingredients are simple but come together in a way that makes the main event, the crab, really shine.
Scottish Lentil Soup
This one is definitely popular on cafe menus across Scotland! The red lentils used really break down during the cooking process and make for a tasty, creamy, soup.
Alongside the lentils there’s usually carrots, potatoes, and sometimes swede as well. It was traditionally made with homemade ham stock but now you’re as likely to see vegetable based versions as you are ham. We have both options in our recipe!
Sheeps Heid Broth
Okay so this probably isn’t one that you’re going to want to try! Or at least try to make yourself, we have managed to find a few restaurants across the country that will go to the trouble of making it.
But we seem to keep coming across the recipe in all the old Scottish cookbooks we like to collect so we couldn’t really leave it out of a round up of Scottish soups.
Times were often tough for many in Scotland and so this is a testament to using all the resources that they could to feed their families.
This soup is exactly what it sounds like, a broth made from Sheep’s Head, and is also known as powsowdie.
And that’s the top Scottish soups we think you should try, most of which are easily made at home with our recipes. Let us know if you give them a try!
Sonja & Phil x