To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t heard of traditional Scottish Tablet before I came to Scotland, but I’m really glad I’ve heard of it now!
When I first moved here, I heard rumours of this delicious traditional sweet treat that everyone seemed to love. It was called “Tablet” which explained absolutely nothing about what it is, so I didn’t exactly rush out and try to find some. My first Christmas, someone finally bought me some, and I realised I had been missing out big time!
Tablet is a wonderfully tasty, sugary, sweet (or candy) with a slightly grainy texture that melts in your mouth.
When I try and explain it to people who’ve never heard of it or tasted it, I usually compare it to fudge, and I have heard it called Scottish fudge before, although it has a medium-hard texture rather than soft as a fudge usually does.
After numerous people had told me that I just had to try it, when I finally did, I wasn’t disappointed. Instead, I wondered what took me so long!
It’s delicious sugary goodness, and seriously addictive. Not so good for the waistline, but definitely the perfect treat when you want something sweet!
Alongside other Scottish classics like Cranachan, Stovies, Scottish Macaroons, and Clootie Dumpling, Tablet is one of the Scottish dishes you just have to try.
However, it’s also really fun to make your own Scottish Tablet. It can be temperamental (we’ll get to that) but it’s worth giving it a go. Especially if you don’t have access to Tablet where you live.
Why not try your hand at making your own with the Scottish tablet recipe below? See our top tips to make sure things don’t go wrong!
Below you’ll find the step-by-step recipe method with photos to help you achieve the perfect Scottish Tablet, or scroll straight to the bottom of this post for the printable recipe card!
Where does Tablet come from?
You’ll often hear it referred to as “Scottish Tablet”, but actually, lots of sweets similar to Tablet can be found around the world. They sometimes tend to be a bit on the softer side than the traditional Tablet found in Scotland, but some are awfully close in texture as well.
In Latin America, there’s Dulce de Leche en Tabla, then Borstplaat in the Netherlands, and Sucre a la creme in Quebec, Canada. Sometimes you’ll hear it called Swiss Milk Tablet, but that refers to the type of condensed milk used rather than anything to do with Switzerland.
I also realised we have something really similar in New Zealand called Russian Fudge (although I can’t seem to find any reason why it’s called that and all recipes seem to originate in New Zealand). It’s essentially the same but with Golden Syrup added to it as well.
However, having now lived in Scotland for years, I have to say I’m most partial to Scottish Tablet! It’s become a part of my life here.
Most weddings I’ve attended feature Tablet after the main meal or as a favour to take home with you, and we even had Tablet on the cake table at our wedding – yes we had a whole cake table don’t judge us!
It’s often present in hotels/B&B’s as a treat on the tea tray, and there are lots of variations to be found, like Tablet Ice-cream and Tablet Cheesecake.
Basically, you can’t visit Scotland without trying Tablet!
But I have to say the homemade stuff has always been better than the shop-bought kind because it doesn’t need preservatives or any substitution for milk products. I’m not saying all bought ones have these, of course, but many do so that they can have a longer shelf life. It makes sense, but if you can try a good batch from a traditional Tablet recipe, then that’s the way to go!
Is Tablet hard to make?
I first tried making Tablet one Christmas when we were visiting some of Phil’s relatives. His stepmother, Margaret, showed me her family recipe, and with plenty of supervision, I helped to make it.
It was amazing! I decided I wanted to try it on my own, so she sent me “Aunt Grace’s Scottish Tablet Recipe”, and here we are!
It was through practising on my own that I learnt it can be temperamental, and you need to know what to do if things aren’t going quite to plan. Luckily I’ve had lots of time to learn now, and I can help you all to not make the mistakes that I have!
Full tips and tricks are listed after the recipe below.
There are endless variations for a Scottish Tablet recipe out there, but I firmly believe this one is the best, and I know it works!
Scottish Tablet was originally made with sugar and cream, but it’s now more commonly made with sweetened condensed milk and butter since it’s so easy to burn the cream. This is what we do in our Tablet recipe.
It still needs lots of attention to make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan; you won’t be multitasking while you make this one! Be prepared to devote your full time to the recipe as you’ll need to constantly stir it to make it work.
The recipe also makes quite a lot, and Tablet always makes a great gift… if you can bear to part with it!
Things You’ll Need to Make Scottish Tablet
- Large Microwave Safe Bowl – optional as you can heat everything on the stovetop
- Large Pan for the stovetop – and we mean LARGE as the Tablet needs to bubble up
- Wooden Spoon
- Scale for measuring or cups
- 12 x 9 inch tray – you can use whatever size tray you like, depending on how thick you want your Tablet to be, but this is the size we use most of the time
Ingredients for this Scottish Tablet Recipe
- 900g granulated white sugar (4.5 Cups or 2lb. Yes, that much sugar!)
- 250ml of full-fat milk (1 Cup)
- 1 tin of sweetened condensed milk (397g tin)
- 85g butter (6 Tbsp)
Moving from New Zealand to Scotland and having lived in the United States for a while means I’m never quite sure what measurement system belongs, so I’ve tried to put everything you might want in the recipe card below but let me know if you need help!
I tend to weigh ingredients on the scales when I bake, but you can also measure it out in cups if that’s what you prefer.
There’s no getting away from it; Tablet is definitely not diet-friendly! It requires a lot of sugar, but I firmly believe we all deserve a treat now and then, so why not Tablet?
You can substitute the granulated sugar for caster sugar (superfine sugar in the USA) if you like but we’ve always made it with granulated; just make sure it’s fully dissolved.
How to Make this Scottish Tablet Recipe
Below is the full explanation of each step to making this Tablet recipe a success, but if you want the quick version, then it’s in the printable recipe card below.
Start by melting the butter, sugar, and milk together.
Margaret always melts the butter, sugar, and milk together in the microwave, and I find that much easier to do that.
You can put it in the pot you intend to use on the stove, however, and just melt it together on low heat, ensuring it doesn’t catch on the pan or burn.
Using the microwave in this step is generally quicker, and there’s less room for error. It’s not “traditional”, but it takes some of the stirring work out and sets you up for success.
I have seen some other recipes use water instead of milk in the tablet recipe, but milk gives the Tablet a much creamier taste.
Once you have melted the first lot of ingredients together in the microwave add it to the pan with the condensed milk.
From here, you need to bring it all to a boil. This is a really important step because if you don’t get the mixture hot enough, the Tablet won’t set properly later on.
You need to have a big pot because as the tablet mixture rises with heat and comes to a boil it’ll expand. I learnt this the hard way. As you can see, I only just managed to keep it in the pot!
The Tablet recipe then calls for a “brisk simmer” for about 20 minutes which means not fully boiling but not on a low heat either.
The mixture will reduce a little in the pan, and you should keep stirring the whole time. You certainly get a workout making Tablet!
Once you’ve been simmering and stirring the Scottish tablet for about 20 minutes it will start to darken, and then you need to take it off the heat and beat it until it thickens up (check our top tips and info below about knowing if it’s ready!).
Traditionally this was done with a wooden spoon, and that’s how I’ve always done it too, but I know some people do use an electric beater as well.
Whenever I’ve seen homemade Tablet it’s been done in a greased tin, but you could also do it in a baking paper-lined or greased baking tray or lasagne-type dish. It depends on how thick you want the pieces to be when you cut them later.
The mixture below is still hardening up. As you pour, it should already start to thicken, so even if your tray is a bit bigger, it won’t necessarily fully spread over the whole thing. It’ll just make for some different-sized pieces around the edges!
After it’s been sitting about 20 minutes or so you can scour the top with lines for where you’ll cut later. This means you’ll get neater lines, as it can shatter if you just try and cut it without the lines. You should leave it to set further for at least 2-3 hours or overnight if you can keep people away from it for that long!
And that’s how you make traditional Scottish Tablet at home! It sounds complicated but it’s really not too bad. You just need to keep an eye on it and keep on stirring! I hope my little step-by-step tips will help you along the way.
What if my Tablet doesn’t set?
If your tablet doesn’t set, it means it didn’t reach the right temperature. It is possible to rescue it by putting it back into the pan and bringing to a boil again. That sometimes means it gets a little overcooked and won’t taste quite as smooth, so keep a close eye on it to see when it’s darkened and ready.
The finished texture is usually a tad grainy, but it then melts in your mouth.
The mixture will begin to darken when it’s ready, but that’s not exactly a clear instruction. As with fudge, there are some tests you can do to see if you’ve got it to the right temperature, although you will just get to know that it’s right if you make it a few times (and why wouldn’t you?).
The setting point of Tablet is 120 degrees Celcius if you want to use a thermometer. This means you use a candy thermometer to get it to that point and know it will set.
Alternatively, you can do the drop test in a glass of water. Take a bit of the mixture with the spoon or stirrer and drop it into a glass of cold water, and if it sticks together and forms a ball, it’s ready. If it trails and makes a sort of line, then it’s not ready, and you need to keep going.
Can you make Scottish Tablet in the microwave?
As noted above, I used the microwave in the first part of this recipe. This is a little controversial! Tablet purists might say that it should all be done in a pan on the stove.
The thing is, Tablet requires a lot of attention and careful heating so that the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Using the microwave for the first step of melting the butter, milk, and sugar together helps to minimise the chances of the mixture sticking.
I like to transfer the melted butter, milk, and sugar mix to the pan to finish the recipe because I think it gives it a better taste.
It is possible to add the condensed milk and continue to heat it in the microwave for around 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes and then beating it before pouring it into a tin to set, but I’d encourage you to try it with the method outlined here instead for the best flavour!
Tablet Flavour Variations
While simmering and stirring your Tablet, you can also add some whisky if you want to make it even more Scottish. I’d suggest just a dash; too much is quite overpowering! Do this nearer the end when you’re about to take it off the heat so that the flavour is retained.
Some recipes call for vanilla essence to enhance the flavour, but traditional Tablet recipes don’t include it, and, in my opinion, it’s not really necessary. The caramelisation flavour is already there, and it’s sweet enough.
As well as these suggestions, you could experiment with other spirits such as Rum or Baileys. Add these in the same way as whisky above.
I have seen recipes that add a whole other flavour, such as chocolate or even a more floral infusion, such as lavender or rose. Chocolate would completely change the taste, but you could add some cocoa powder to the recipe if you want to give it a go. Other essences, like the floral ones, can be added near the end once removed from the heat and just before you beat it.
Personally, we prefer our Tablet without any additional flavours, but we’d love to hear if you give something else a go!
And that’s Aunt Grace’s Scottish Tablet recipe, don’t tell her I’ve shared it!
Top Tips for Making Scottish Tablet
Tablet is well known to be temperamental, and it’s no surprise we’ve had many questions since we released this recipe! Based on these, we’ve compiled these top tips. There is some further explanation above throughout the recipe method, but these will get you started.
Homemade Traditional Scottish Tablet
Scottish Tablet is a bit like fudge but with a harder, and with a slightly grainy texture that melts in your mouth. It's a must-try if you visit Scotland, but now you can make your own at home with Aunt Grace's Scottish tablet recipe too!
- 900g granulated white sugar (4.5 cups or 2lb. Yes, that much sugar!)
- 250ml of full-fat milk (1 cup)
- 1 tin of sweetened condensed milk (397g tin)
- 85g butter (6tbsp)
- Slowly dissolve the sugar, milk, and butter until it's smooth. This can be done in a pot on the stove but it's also easy to do in the microwave and lowers the risk of burning. Put in a microwave-safe bowl and blast for 90 seconds at a time on a low or defrost setting. It'll take approximately 6 times in the microwave for it to melt into a smooth mixture.
- Pour the liquid into a large pot on the stove. If you're using an electric stovetop you can use a trivet to stop the mixture burning.
- Add the condensed milk and bring it up to a boil (stir continuously to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan)
- Briskly simmer for about 20 minutes until the mixture darkens to a caramel colour, stirring continuously
- Take off the heat, quickly beat the mixture and pour it into a buttered swiss roll tin
Be sure to use full-fat ingredients or the recipe won't work correctly. Also, use a large pot because the mixture will increase in volume when it's coming to a boil. Continuously stir the mixture so it doesn't stick! You can use an electric beater for the last step, but it's not necessary.
See our post for all the top tips!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 155Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 26mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 0gSugar: 33gProtein: 0g
The nutritional data in this recipe is provided by a third party and these values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed.
- Use a large pot to enable the mixture to have room to expand
- Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved at the first stage when you’re melting the butter, sugar, and milk together. You should use a spoon to scoop some of the mixture up and allow it to run back into the bowl, checking you can’t see any sugar crystals/grains and that it’s fully dissolved. This helps it to set properly later and avoid it being too grainy.
- Allow the mixture to really bubble up and reach boiling point for a few minutes before turning it down to simmer. If it doesn’t get hot enough, it won’t set.
- There is no exact length of time to simmer and stir as it depends on your stovetop, but this part of the recipe is crucial to the Tablet setting. Ours takes approximately 20 minutes. The mixture should start to darken, but to double-check it’s ready, you can use a candy thermometer to see that it’s reached 120C/248F. Another option is the “drop test”. This is where you drop a small amount of mixture into a glass of cold water, and if it forms a little ball, then it’s ready!
- After taking off the heat, make sure you beat the mixture until it starts to thicken before pouring it out. It takes some arm work! You can use an electric hand mixer for this stage but be careful not to overdo it.
- If your Tablet seizes, then it’s overcooked and/or overbeaten. Once the Tablet has darkened in the pan as your stir, it’s ready, don’t keep cooking it. This is where the soft ball test or thermometer come in handy. And once it loses its shine and thickens when you’re beating it, then it’s done. Don’t keep going, or it will turn rock-hard.
- If your Tablet still doesn’t set, it is possible to pour it back in a pan, reheat, and start the process again. It can turn out a bit more sugary/grainy, but at least you’ll still get Tablet! When you put it back in the pan leave it to melt together and heat again without stirring, then once it’s all melted, stir it gently to avoid making it too grainy, and only beat minimally once it’s off the heat.
- If all else fails, add your unset Tablet to ice cream!
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Definitely let us know how you get on with your Tablet making. And we love seeing your successful Tablet photos in our Facebook Group… or your mistakes too!
Sonja and Phil x
143 thoughts on “Traditional Homemade Scottish Tablet Recipe”
This is a perfect recipe! However, 2 lbs of sugar is 4.5 cups, not 7.5 cups. I figured this out before I made the batch and it is absolutely excellent. It might do to check on that so it can be correctly enjoyed! We made it plain, but next time we may add a bit of whisky or ginger 🙂
Oops! Thanks so much! We’ve changed that now I don’t even know how I did that. Trying to show all the measurements we can since people around the world use all different ones! We’re so glad you made it and enjoyed it that makes us so happy!
All Scottish recipes I can get!!
She didn’t put 7.5 in the first place. She states 4.5. Make sure you read properly. .
Perhaps you need to read properly. The author acknowledged the mistake in the reply to the review that you are having a go at. Fantastic recipe!
You too. She said thank you and corrected it on April 21st, 2020. In fact, you replied to her post stating that.
Looks fascinating to make.
Do you have a good recipe for bisquits?
My last name is Abernathy derived from Abernethy.. I have heard of the town of Abernethy and I know there is an Abernethy bisquit. I would love to try making them.
We had a look and you’re right there is a traditional Abernathy Biscuit! We’ll look into making it and see what we can do 😀
Please could you advise on how much Baileys to add?
We would suggest between 3-4 tablespoons of Baileys added once the sugar is melted. This works really well with whisky but ultimately it does come down to personal taste.
Phil & Sonja
whisky and ginger!
Tracy, My name is also Tracy it’s a celtic name and it means brave, warrior and war like!
One flavor you can add is treacle. While plain is my favorite Treacle is a close second.
Abernathy is on Bates Motel too 😀
Simmers Abernethy biscuits are the best (and only ones I know of) and are available in many supermarkets if you want to try them before making them so you know what they should taste like. My favourite biscuits.
My wife, Yvonne, used to work at Simmers Biscuits in a small town called Hatton, Aberdeenshire, where she would be involved in making Abernethy Biscuits.
We hope she brought home plenty of samples!
How much butter is 85 grams? In tablespoon or pounds.
That’s 6 tbsp. I’ll add it to the recipe!
Why has my tablet turned into toffee
Hi! This usually happens when the tablet hasn’t reached the right temperature to be able to set. It is possible to pour it back in the pan and then bring it to the boil again, simmer, and then beat before turning out into the dish. Make sure you have a large enough pan to allow it to expand and fully boil before turning down to a high simmer. If you want to you can use a candy thermometer and check it is at 120 degrees celsius before you take it off the heat.
I made the tablet yesterday. It turned out perfect..
The only thing I did wrong, was ,,, when it came to the boil. I did not turn to simmer but kept stirring like mad till thickens
But it turned out excellent….
That’s great I’m so glad it worked out for you!
Tablet lovely but separated when poured into tin. Top rose up like a volcano set well with a more sugary bit at bottom.
Can you suggest anything. Please
Thanks for your comment and your kind words. We wonder if you used full-fat ingredients because we found this helps, also did you fully dissolve the sugar initially? The only other thought was did you make sure that the mix got to the correct temp? A sugar thermometer can help with this. Tablets a fickle beast!
My mum made peanut butter tablet
Not fudge but yummy grainy tablet
She has passed and I’ve lost her recipe
I’ve tried to recreate it but can’t seem to get it right
I remember the peanut butter recipe was a bit different but I really don’t remember why. It seems she added a bit of Karo syrup? Have you ever made a peanut butter tablet?
Your mum’s recipe sounds lovely but sadly it’s not something we’ve come across before. You could try asking in our group on Facebook?
Lorie – I made some today. I melted 200g of Peanut Butter in the microwave (~90 seconds) while the tablet was on the stove. Don’t mix it in, you are ready to remove it from the stove. Do the “quickly beat”, and you are good to go.
Your recipe says granulated but in your picture is a bag of caster sugar? Which is it please?
Yes it should be granulated sugar! I must have taken that photo after and grabbed stuff from the cupboard. Will switch it out! Thanks!
Live in the US. I obviously incorrectly though Caster sugar and granulated sugar are the same thing. I’ve used them interchangeably making sticky toffee pudding with no trouble, but I’d love to know what the difference is. We have “raw” or “turbinado” sugar here… is that more like caster sugar? THANKS–I have just visited Scotland, found Scottish Tablet, then found your recipe. Now I’m home and can’t wait to make some, and (having grown up in a house where we made fudge on Friday nights) have a candy thermometer!
Hi Sarah Ann, granulated and caster sugar are very similar. Caster sugar has finer grains compared to granulated sugar and that is the only difference
“Castor sugar is “superfine” or “bakers” sugar in the US.
I think the only difference is castor sugar has finer smaller granules than normal sugar and i think that is the only difference castor has smaller finer granular where as normal sugar has bigger granules
If I’m wrong I’m sorry it’s just a common sense thing I don’t know if that is correct for an absolute fact but it makes sense to me
Turned out beautifully – thank you for this recipe! My family is from British Guyana but now live in the US and this is what I grew up knowing as fudge – not the mushy confection they have here. Thrilled to have found this recipe!
Thank you so much for the kind words, it’s a family recipe so we’re very pleased you liked it!
Really looking forward to making this and gifting it to friends and family – do you know how long it keeps for?
To be honest we usually eat it all pretty quick so we’ve never tested it! But since sugar is a natural preservative and it’s made largely of sugar it should last for at least a few weeks. It should be kept dry and ideally in a cool place (not the fridge), not somewhere warm. I would say it could then last a couple of months even… if it’s not even before then!
I buy mine at present from Ochil Pantry online. They have a 3 month date as it’s wrapped tight and advice a cool dry place to store. My mother in law used to make it – didn’t last long there either. I think I’ll have s try at making it a
Tablet can keep for 10 days in tub/tin or 2 weeks if stored in fridge
this is my upbringing, the very brown sugar candy we always had(Scottish descent but lost much of tradition after4 gen)small cheat to make creamier is to add a tablespoon or so of cornstarch to it into fast and continue on. smoother texture. We also make use of the boounty of maple syrup here and reduce milk and add som Maple syrup
Some great tips! Thank you.
Can I use less sugar in. This recipe.
We haven’t tried it with less as it’s a key part of tablet sadly.
Could one use caster sugar?
We’ve only ever used granulated as that’s the family recipe but can’t say why it should be an issue to give it a go! Bearing in mind tablet can be temperamental, but hopefully it wouldn’t change anything.
Yes I make it with with caster sugar or golden caster sugar every time and it turns out fantastic. It is easier for melting as opposed to granulated sugar and the golden CS makes a lovely caramel flavour too
My Gran used to make this when I was little. I am a Grandma now so thought I would make this for the littles in our family. I was not able to find her recipe so used yours – thanks, it brought back wonderful memories!! Mine did turn out a bit grainy, I perhaps did not get the sugar to a complete melt before taking it to the pot. Any other suggestions for avoiding that in the future?
What a lovely message, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. It sounds like you hadn’t quite melted the sugar as you say, lots of stirring to help it break down. We’re so glad we brought back some nice messages.
It takes patience for to get to the non-grainy stage but definitely worth taking time over this. Absolutely nothing worse than gritty tablet!
Totally loved your Scottish tablet. My mother was Irish and made something so like this but had p nut butter. It isn’t fudge but so like this. Thank you so much. I made hers at Xmas and this also. I think I gained 50 pounds. I kept tasting one then the other. Couldn’t tell which was best😂
One of the reasons we started Scottish Scran and our Scottish Scran Facebook group is to hear stories like this, thanks so much for commenting, we’re so pleased our recipe helped you make something a little like your mother’s recipe, which sounds amazing!
All the best,
Hello from the United States! Eager to try the recipe as my son fell in love with tablet when we visited Scotland. Just wondering if the butter should be salted or unsalted, and whether there is a specific butter that you might recommend. All best and many thanks!
Hello from Scotland! We would suggest unsalted butter and the best quality you can find, rather than a specific brand. You’re looking for high-level of butterfat made with a good quality milk. Not sure about the specific brands we’re afraid!
Thank you for this recipe and I am interested in more!
Hi , I can’t get my tablet to be soft it ends up brittle and hard what am I doing wrong ??
Hi Joe! Tablet shouldn’t be soft it like fudge it does have a harder texture. However, if it is too brittle and breaking up after you have cut it into squares then it may be that you need to make sure the sugar is fully dissolved during the first step. Let us know how you get on!
I think 120 degrees celsius may be a little too high for soft ball. I have a South African recipe that is very similar and uses 112-116 degrees celsius and it works for me well. When I tried 120 with this tablet recipe it got too hard between 116 and 118, so next time I am trying 112-116.
So pleased you’ve managed to make it work for you, 120 has certainly always worked for us. There are a lot of other variables of course, how much you beat it, how long it stays at that temperature etc, these can all also affect the mix. We hope your next batch is perfect!
Fabulous guys recipes for scones plz❤️
Why thank you! We have scones covered, tattie scones, drop scones or Grandma’s scones, we have it all! https://scottishscran.com/?s=scones
This was my second attempt. It was going so well but when I was beating it at the end off the heat it foamed up like it does when it boils then instantly set. Any idea why this happened? Tasted lovely but we ended up with more like crumble than tablets.
It sounds like you may have simmered it for too long or beat it back while it was still on the heat. Are you using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer? A spoon works best for us. We suggest once you’ve brought it to a boil you turn it down to simmer, once it turns a slightly darker colour, you take it off the heat. You can use a thermometer to gauge this if needed. You then beat it back with your spoon.
It’s an excellent sign that it tastes good. It sounds like you’re really close to success. It took us a while to perfect, but once you’ve got it, it’s a skill that will never leave you!
Phil & Sonja
I have been making Tablet for a while now after I had it at a lovely cafe in Evanton. Truly a favourite of mine. I’ve been using a couple of different recipes to see which ones I like best. I find it interesting how different the ingredients are not really different, but the amounts can vary dramatically. I’ve just been looking through my Scottish cookbooks, and the ingredients are the same. But, as they are in cups, and I now cook with metric measurements, I’ve not tried to work out the differences including those recipes. Main difference is the addition of golden syrup, the amount of condensed milk, and the butter.
I make russian fudge quite often, which i find to be somewhere in between tablet and soft fudge, but wanted to try a proper crumbly butter tablet.
Sadly this did not go well for me!!
I suspect I overbeat it at the end as it seemed to seize and very suddenly became granular in the pan. I tried to tip it into the tray, but it had already solidified too much and was too crumbly to press together, so i just ended up with cooked sugar! 🙁
I will try again another day!
(As i have seen replies to comments above asking these questions: I did fully dissolve the sugar at the start; I brought it to the boil and turned it down to a simmer, stirring constantly until it changed to a caramel colour; I did use a sugar thermometer to check the temp after the colour had changed; i beat it with a wooden spoon, it began to thicken slightly then very suddenly solidified after perhaps 20-30 seconds of beating.)
We’re so sorry the tablet didn’t work out for you! It can definitely be temperamental for sure. There are a couple of reasons it could have done this. Firstly it may be that the sugar was dissolved too quickly in the beginning, which can lead to this happening sometimes. It’s best to dissolve the sugar on a low heat (we like to do it in the microwave so it never gets too hot). Secondly, it could be like you say, because of the beating part. Sometimes it can be best to leave for a couple of minutes before you start beating, and make sure to only do so until it starts to slightly thicken and no more. Fingers crossed you may have better luck with another batch! We do usually try to save the batch by putting it on a low heat and letting it all dissolve again and then basically start the process again, bringing it to the boil, simmering, and then beating before pouring. All usually for a bit less time. It doesn’t always work but we have managed to salvage a few batches this way!
Worked really well! A sugar thermometer is essential though! I didn’t need to simmer for 20 minutes, just reached the temperature and made sure to beat the mixture for 5 minutes so the crystals form well!
I will definitely be trying this soon! My Dad made a chocolate version of this when I was growing up and we always just called it Daddy’s Fudge. I grew up thinking this is what fudge should taste like, and have never found anything like it when visiting a confectionery. I have not had it in years. It brings back many memories. I still today will not eat ordinary fudge. I am excited to try this version and to add cocoa to remake my Daddy’s fudge! Thank you so much for sharing
I have been making tablet for over 60 years. My grandchildren call it “Heavenly
candy” most recipes are much the same but it takes time and a few failures to get it right. I always add 2 tblsp. of golden syrup for a lovely colour and these days do the beating at the end with my electric hand mixer. Works great.
Known as Helensburgh Toffee to my family.
Thankyou for this recipe very similar to the one my mother taught me to make as a child. She was born in Scotland they came to NZ when she was 14 and we even have the address they lived at. We are going for a visit when lockdown hopefully ends. Sadly we have had to put the visit off. This recipe brings back many memories. Many thanks.
You’re welcome! We’re glad it brought back happy memories for you. Fingers crossed for a visit soon. We’re in the same boat wanting to get to New Zealand to visit family!
I call Scottish Tablet “Perfect Sugar” after a friend’s young son called Hollandaise sauce “Perfect Butter”. I discovered it on a tea tray at a hotel on Orkney. I was by myself and it felt quite naughty and exciting to taste it before the rest of the group even knew it existed. Maybe I’ll try making it over the holidays so I can give most of it away.
Can this be frozen after it’s been made to eat at a later date?
Hi Jill, Yes, you can freeze Tablet, it’ll stay good for around 6 months, obviously in a sealed container to avoid freezer burn. You can usually keep it for 7-10 days after baking it without freezing it because of the high sugar content, again in a sealed, dry container of some sort.
Hi I am a teacher and my class is going to get together and watch MacBeth. We are going to having a Scottish feast featuring Cock a Leekie Soup, Tattie Scones, and your Tablet recipe will be dessert. I am curious as to what size pan you are using? Should it be small, like 9″ square, or larger, like 9×13 (lasagna size)? I’m sure that makes a big difference. Thank you!
Hi! That’s really exciting hope the class enjoy it! It depends if you want to have thinner tablet or thicker pieces. In our family it was usually made in a 9×13 or 9×12 tray to give a thinner tablet but you can go smaller for thicker tablet also!
I’m from Australia have been meaning to make Scottish tablet but never found recipe now I can’t wait to make it. Thanks for all the great tips
You’re welcome! Good luck!
I’ve been trying to find a recipe for Velatis sugary caramel (US based company) for decades and this sounds just like it! By any chance do you have a chocolate variation? I found another tablet recipe with chocolate, but yours sounds *perfect*; I don’t just want to randomly fling chocolate syrup or chips or cocoa powder into the mix.
We genuinely have no idea sorry we’ve only ever made it true to this recipe so it would be an experiment for us too! Maybe you could try and merge the recipes? If you do give it a go, let us know!
Thanks so much for this detailed recipe, I made it yesterday and it has turned out perfectly. My Scottish Nana used to make tablet (we are in NZ), and it was a big part of my husband’s childhood – he’s from Edinburgh. Really pleased!
Thanks so much Philippa your comment made our day! So glad it worked out well for you.
Is it possible to use heavy whipping cream in place of the full fat milk? Or is it too thick?
We’ve never tried it and not sure how it would affect the texture. I would say it’s probably a bit much but you can always give it a go and see!
Hi, so excited to try this recipe. Should this be cooked down at room temp after transfer to the pan, or put in the fridge?
It’s best to cool at room temperature. Good luck!
Grew up in Scotland and, of course, loved tablet. Recently obtained mother’s recipe from my sister and have been fairly successful making it. It doesn’t seem quite as firm as I remember but definitely tablet.
I’ve tried less sugar and I have confirmed the size of a “tin” of condensed milk in the UK vs Canada where I now live.
Any other thoughts?
Also, the 3rd party nutritional information can’t be right where it states 0g sugar !!!!!!!
Sounds like you’be checked everything, now just to give it a go! If it’s not quite firm enough it may be that you need to heat for a little longer so it hardens up properly. And oops we will check that thank you!!
Canadian condensed milk comes in 300 ml tins. Do I need to buy another tin or is there a workaround?
Any tips Tom for making in Canada- what condensed milk did you use?
This was a “girls night activity” first experienced with my very cool older sister and her friend(s) in early 60’s with hair rollers, waves, make up. The anticipation was tremendous…the tablet was usually scoffed off by the end of the night. View of the interior of the pub across the street from kitchen window and the warmth and excitement (we could see in the windows from the 2nd storey). Made it several times …mindless, no recipe… through the years. On a trip back to Scotland my husband’s brother in law made it with my son ( then about 8 years old) – and gave him the recipe. Thank you James… you left behind an amazing recipe. My son and I used to make it now and again and at Christmas. Similar recipe but never beat it and simmered on the boil for 40 minutes. Roll on 25 years later I want to have a go and found your very specific instructions. I have the ingredients, I think, condensed milk is “Presidents Choice” ( Ontario, Canada) 300 ml. Maybe Helensburgh toffee guy can help?
Any tips for Canadian made tablet appreciated. Will also make a lovely neighbour gift and hand down recipe for the grandkids. Amazing you are doing this…Thank you!
How about a recipe for Macaroon bars…potatoes and icing sugar, rolled in chocolate and toasted coconut? My brother made them perfectly and now we get them from the Scottish Bakers here in Ontario. We had these made in small squares, in boxes, for a wedding treat. My grandchildren love to trick their friends with guessing the ingredients …who would guess potatoes?
We’ll look into it!
In your article you mentioned that the traditional version used sugar and cream instead of Sweetened Condensed Milk. In Betty Crockers 1950’s cookbook they had a fudge recipe that sounds very similar to the Tablet recipe. My father used to make that fudge every Christmas and later taught my older sister to make it and now she is teaching her 27yo daughter to make it. I have never made that chocolate fudge recipe since I considered it as belonging to my father & sister. But THIS recipe I can make (yay!) can’t wait to try it! …have to buy full fat milk first though lol.
Whenever I make tablet I always make sure my pan it spotlessly clean, it may look clean but use a pan scourer just to make sure
I still make this with just sugar & cream! I use a passed down recipe but somewhere it lost the ‘Scottish Tablet’ title and just got called ‘Grandma’s Fudge’ and I could never figure out why I couldn’t find any recipe like it…until I read your commentary and saw the bit about how it was originally made! Thank you for solving this mystery for me! Lol
Wow super fabulous recipe made it for a Burns night this weekend at request of a Scottish friend. How’s that got a mix a Kiwi living in China going to a Scottish Burns dinner. I will make it again for my Grandchildren when I finally get home to see them after 2 years apart. Love it tastes great. 👍😄
Oh I also wasn’t sure how full cream the milk was as I can’t read the Chinese on the bottles so I did 200mls milk and 50min cream which worked a treat. Fantastic
I just came back from a Burns Night supper and made your recipe to be served at the very end. All the Scots came up to me and told me how authentic it tasted and how it was sooo good. But not to make it again because it’s not good for anyone to eat too much.
Hahaha, it is a little moreish. Very pleased to hear it went down so well!
Thank you for this tablet recipe…I can’t wait to try it! My main question is: How long do I beat it (after cooking but) before pouring into the pan? What should I watch for to know I’ve beaten it long enough? Am I trying to incorporate air? (Beat it as if I were whisking for whipped cream?) Or????
Thanks for your help! So excited to try your recipes 🙂
Hi Mollie, You’re beating out the air not putting more in, as you do with whipped cream. When it starts to thicken you’ll notice it starting to stick to sides, that’s when to get it out before it sets. Hope this helps, Sonja
A couple of helpful tips! My mother’s recipe and the one I use is – a bag of sugar (kg/2lb), a half pack of butter (115g/4oz) and a can of condensed milk – that’s it, just a splash of milk to start of the sugar melting! After all the boiling etc, take the pan off the heat and place it in a sinkful of cold water, THEN do the beating. As the mixture cools, you’ll see the crystals forming on the sides of the pan.To ‘test’ the tablet, rather than your water idea, just put a wee bit on a cold plate. If it a)sets and b)has a little white snowflake effect on the surface, it’s ready! As the mixture cools and thickens, you must judge when it will still pour out into the tray! Then you get to lick out the pan…….
Some great tips, Dave. Thank you for sharing!
How long can you keep it and do I have to keep it in the fridge?
Sugar is a natural preservative so it’ll last about 10 days in an airtight container, and longer if kept in the fridge. However, we’ve honestly never had it long enough to test!
I haven’t tried this yet as I’ve to wait for my wife to go out as I want to surprise her. She’s been after this for years and I happened across your recipe a couple of days ago. I hope it has a good shelf life as with 26 squares I’ll need it to keep at least 5 minutes, don’t want it going off before I’ve eaten it.
Thank you so much for the explanation and recipe. I know I don’t have the oomph anymore to stir anything for 20 minutes. Tablet looks like a peanut butter fudge that we make her in the USA. I found your site trying to figure out what tablet was. I read about it in Black, De-ann. The Quilting Bee: a romance by the sea (Quilting Bee & Tea Shop series Book 1) (p. 111). UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition. A book taking place near Glasgow.
Hello I came across your recipe a few days ago and decided I would like to try it, just wanted to say that’s tablet like I remember it from years ago and it is awesome!
Superb tablet recipe. Works every time, great idea dissolving sugar, milk and butter in microwave.
First time I’ve made tablet and your recipe worked perfectly! Took me back to when my Glaswegian mother used to make this when I was growing up.
This made us smile. Thank you so much for sharing!
How long should it take to set
You should leave it for at least 2-3 hours but we try and leave ours over night.
I’m absolutely judging you for the cake table, and judging you as Best Couple Ever. If I ever sell a book, that party is going to have an entire table of cakes, and a kiddie pool of ice and cider.
Now I need to make some tablet. :9
Just a reminder to everyone – if your tablet fails and seizes, you can always smash it up and crumble it on top of ice cream. No need to waste it.
Exactly! We even have a super easy tablet ice cream recipe you could use it in! – https://scottishscran.com/tablet-ice-cream-recipe/
Turned out great and it was so delicious. I got my milks mixed up – started with the sweetened condensed and then added the whole milk while the sugar dissolved. Turned out fine! I kept it all dissolving on the stove for a long time (20 mins?) til it wasn’t granular – from the recipe advice, I think that is really important. I used a thermometer and it only took me maybe 10 minutes or so to get to the right temperature.
I’ve been making tablet for a while but only recently started using a thermometer to try and make sure it sets ok.
The only problem I have is the tablet around the outside of the tin I’m using is ending up with bubbles underneath. I’m removing the slab of tablet from the greaseproof lined tin before its fully cooled to allow it to cool properly underneath (as the tin holds so much heat) . Any tips to limit/reduce the bubbles?
Hi! We haven’t had that problem, but it may be that you’re not beating it enough before tipping it out, as that should clear any bubbles. Once you’ve put it in the tin, bang it down (carefully so as not to spill it on yourself!) a couple of times on the bench to try and help clear any bubbles also. We always leave it in the tin to cool. It does take a while, though!
i am often not so good at following recipes, but just made a 1/2 batch of Scottish Tablet, which we remember discovering while visiting Islay (also Edinburgh & Stirling) a few years ago. It came out perfect !
Happy Holidays to you,
Thanks so much for letting us know, we’re glad it worked and you enjoyed it!
Turned out well and 1/2 of it was really pretty. The first half just poured out of the pan, but the rest got a bit grainy before I could get it all out. So, the top is not nearly as pretty. But it all tastes good.
If I were on FB, i’d leave you a picture.
Thank you,,,, your Clootie Dumpling is next.
Thanks for letting us know! Yes it’s a fine line to not beat too much and get out of the pan! We’re sure it still tastes great!
I have made a Toffee vodka and a white chocolate, coconut and cranberry version and they are both lovely. I chop the dried cranberries up a bit smaller and you can either melt the chocolate and add in or put it in in it’s solid form and melt in the pan, then follow with the coconut and cranberries. I don’t actually measure the amounts I put in, but don’t overdo it with the dry ingredients as these make the tablet thicken much quicker and if you put too much in the tablet, it will be too dry. Sorry I can’t be much clearer! I have also created a trusty tool for the last stirring part, using a wooden spoon, a hand whisk with the bread hook attachment and some cable ties 😁😁😁. Works fantastically
These all sound amazing! And love your stirring tool haha. Whatever works to make tablet right!
This is the same as my Grandmother’s recipe that I’ve made for years. It is so rich but so good!
This is so good and always one of my favorite treats! I simmer mine in a lodge enameled cast iron 6 qt pot for around 28min until it reached 120°c. Then I beat it for about 8 min until the shine was about gone and the mixture thickened. And then I poured it into a 9×13 tin. A favorite part is then scraping the leftover bits in the pan and sampling the deliciousness of hard labor!
Hi from NZ! When I tried tablet in Scotland, it immediately reminded me of Russian fudge made from the Edmonds cookbook recipe – it is firm and slightly grainy when I make it (not like soft smooth fudge) and it is the best thing ever
Oh my Goodness!!! This is now my new favorite!! Who needs chocolate fudge!!
There’s always space for chocolate fudge!
Thank you for this recipe! I’m teaching a group of teenage girls about connecting with their ancestors and having Scottish ancestors myself, thought it would be fun to bring a little treat representing that part of my family history. Although I’ve been to Scotland, I’ve never tried Tablet before but figured you really can not go wrong with butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk!
It is absolutely addictive! It came out well for my first go. I live in Arizona, USA and we are really dry here. It took almost 25 minutes boiling on my gas stove to get to temperature. I did cheat and use an electric mixer at the end but watched it closely, checking the shine and thickness often. My pan was too big, so the finished product was a bit thin, but it cooled faster that way.
Scoring lines was critical for creating squares. It wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
Your tips were so helpful! I used powdered (confectioners) sugar, dissolving in the microwave and it worked beautifully. Thank you!
We’re so glad you like our recipe; it’s actually a family one. What a great thing to teach people, we hope that goers as well as your tablet making!
Can you tell me how long tablet will last as I’d like to make batches as wedding favours. If it were just for me it wouldn’t last long as I’d eat it well before it went off!
If it’s kept in an airtight container, then we would say it would keep well for at least 10 -14 days. It is mainly sugar, after all, which is a preservative.