Scottish Oat and Walnut Biscuits

Scottish Oat and Walnut Biscuits ~ these unassuming little oatcakes are the hottest things in upscale markets and cheese shops these days. They’re called oatcakes or biscuits in Scotland; we Americans would call them crackers.

But they’re not like any crackers we’re used to. They’re rustic, earthy, and a little shaggy around the edges. They’ve been favorites in the British Isles for centuries where they eat them with tea, or cheese and other savory toppings. They’re amazing with a sharp crumbly English cheddar or a creamy soft blue cheese and a dab of honey. Or even a thick layer of peanut butter. Best of all they’re quick and easy to make. The simple naturally gluten free dough is made from ground oats and oat flour, mixed with buttermilk, and a little melted butter to form a flat ‘cake’, and then baked till crisp. A touch of brown sugar adds a hint of sweetness, and the walnuts add great flavor.

Making these reminds me that the whole concept of flavor is in transition right now. I’ve been really horrified by the ‘flavor overload’ in commercial food these days. Have you seen the ads for ‘water enhancer’? It turns your plain water a neon color of your choice, and flavors it with god knows what. They have the same basic concept for canned frosting, too. Even Crayola has gotten into the act with their own line of vividly colored liquid  ‘juice alternatives’.

I don’t know where all that leaves plain old simple pleasures like these oatcakes. You have to pause and let them linger on your tongue for a moment to appreciate their subtle oatiness, their delicate crumbly texture, and the faint hint of brown sugar and walnuts. But the time is well spent. And once you add a chunk of English cheddar you’ll really ‘get’ these crackers.

You can pay a lot of money for the priviledge of having someone else bake and import these rustic cakes for you, or you can just whip them up yourself and spend the money on a nice bottle of wine. Or a few extra bottles of Guinness.

3.49 from 127 votes

Scottish Oat and Walnut Biscuits

Scottish Oat and Walnut Biscuits ~ these little oatcakes make the perfect homemade crackers for all kinds of cheese.
Course Appetizer, cracker
Cuisine Scottish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Yield 2 dozen
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter


  • Preheat your oven to 350F
  • Put the oats and the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground
  • Add in the oat flour, sugar, salt and soda and pulse to combine.
  • Pour in the buttermilk and melted butter and pulse until the dough comes together.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and bring the dough together.  If it feels wet, knead in a little more flour.
  • Roll out the dough to about 3/8 inch thick.  Cut with a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter.   You can prick the crackers with the tines of a fork if you like the look, but it's not necessary, the dough doesn't rise or puff up.
  • Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Cool on a rack.  Store in an airtight container.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Scottish Oat and Walnut Biscuits pin

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    January 24, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! They’re everything I was hoping for. I’m hoping my gluten-free daughter will enjoy them too!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2022 at 11:24 am

    5 stars
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I doubled the batch and used coconut sugar instead and added course chopped dried cranberries.

  • Reply
    Kirsten Berwick
    April 17, 2021 at 5:30 am

    5 stars
    Do you think black walnuts would be too strong for this recipe??
    Also, I have powdered goat’s milk, in my quarantine pantry. Butter milk sub? Or too tangy?? Thanks so much for the wonderful recipes that you develop ?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 17, 2021 at 6:24 am

      Hi Kirsten ~ I have to admit I have limited experience with black walnuts, but if you love them, I’d say use them. I think the goat’s milk would work fine as well. Let me know 🙂

  • Reply
    March 9, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Hi! Could I make the dough into a log, chill, then slice rather than roll out? Love your recipes! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 9, 2021 at 6:04 am

      I haven’t tried so I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think so Tanya. It’s a crumbly type dough and I’m not sure it would hold together for that. You could try and if it doesn’t work you can always roll it out.

  • Reply
    Tamara Pohley
    October 31, 2020 at 11:27 am

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe and I liked it, so I tried it again . This time I did add 2 more table spoons of brown sugar. It is a keeper and I loved eating them with my tea.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    5 stars
    These are amazing! My husband and I were in Scotland last August saw them if a few shops and were going to pick up a package but always forgot. Now I am totally upset we didnt try them. I will be making them often!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Making for a Scottish themed wedding, how long can I store. Or can I freeze cakes

    • Reply
      February 1, 2020 at 9:08 am

      Definitely these will freeze well if you need longer storage than a week. Otherwise I’d keep them in an airtight container.

  • Reply
    December 29, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    I haven’t made these yet, but I’m planning on making them tomorrow. I don’t have rolled oats, just quick oats, would I need to make any changes to the recipe when using quick oats?

    • Reply
      December 29, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      No, you can use them interchangeably.

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