Vegan Scottish Skirlie

Vegan Scottish Skirlie

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Vegan Scottish Skirlie pinVegan Scottish Traditional Skirlie

Vegan Scottish Skirlie
Give your dishes a flavour and nutrition boost! Perfect for keeping hungry kids filled up for longer!

My Vegan Scottish Traditional Skirlie is an adapted plant-based version of the classic Skirlie that my fellow Scots have been enjoying for hundreds of years.

Traditional Skirlie is made with cooking onions in beef dripping before adding pinhead oatmeal and toasting in the frying pan until crisp and golden.

My recipe replaces the beef dripping with some vegetable stock. I have been reducing the oil in my family’s diet and have been using stock to sauté onions, vegetables, etc.  When I have oily foods it seems to annoy my digestive system and I can get bloated and develop heartburn. My daughter also seems to get heartburn whenever she eats a shop-bought product that has added oil. So it is just working out better for us as a family to reduce our oil intake.

However, feel free to prepare my Vegan Scottish Skirlie recipe with a tablespoon of your choice of oil especially if you are used to cooking with oil.

I have also added two teaspoons of nutritional yeast to the vegetable stock as an extra flavour boost. I had to add some umami to compensate for the lack of fat! If you use oil then you can always miss out the nutritional yeast or even mix it through the finished Skirlie as a seasoning if liked.

Its claimed that Skirlie gets its name from the noise the oatmeal gives as it cooks in the fat and is stirred around. Scottish folk would traditionally use a wooden spurtle to stir the Skirlie but a wooden spoon will do fine!

Skirlie can be served as a topping for soups and stews, as a side-dish along with your dinner, and as a stuffing. Its particularly tasty with some gravy and mashed potatoes.

Vegan Scottish Skirlie
Plant-based ‘Beef’ Stew topped with Vegan Scottish Skirlie

Traditionally Skirlie has been used to stuff poultry.

Try stuffing little pumpkins, bell peppers, courgettes, aubergines, large mushrooms, or large tomatoes with a mix of Skirlie, vegetables, grains, and your choice of sauce. A vegan cheese sauce will be likely welcomed by kids.

Or sprinkle the Skirlie on top of your stuffed vegetable dish and toast in the oven for an even more delicious crisp Skirlie.

Try sprinkling over a vegan Macaroni Cheese before baking in the oven.

Vegan Scottish Skirlie is also a yummy, tasty, and textural addition to your favourite salad. Just scatter some on top and munch!

A doze of Vegan Scottish Skirlie will give your dishes a flavour and nutrition boost.

Also it will help keep you fuller for longer which is not a bad thing seeing as vegan and plant-based dishes tend to be quite low in calories!

Or simply enjoy a spoonful of cold Skirlie straight from the fridge as a tasty, fortifying snack. Which is what I like to do! Coupled with a glass of oat milk to drink. Yum!

My son is always hungry, but adding oatmeal to meals has helped keep him satisfied for a little while longer!

Even better is that a batch of Skirlie will cost pennies to prepare.

For this Vegan Traditional Scottish Skirlie recipe the type of oats that you need is pinhead oatmeal, Irish Oatmeal, or otherwise known as Steel cut oats.

Scottish pinhead oatmeal
Scottish Pinhead Oatmeal

Vegan Scottish Skirlie Recipe

Vegan Scottish Skirlie

Vegan Scottish Skirlie

A traditional Scottish dish that has been enjoyed by Scots for hundreds of years.
Tasty as a side-dish, stuffing, or use in place of a haggis accompanied by mashed 'neeps and tatties' (turnip (swede) and potatoes) and a generous serving of gravy.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine British, Scottish
Servings 4


  • Fry/sauté pan


  • 150 grams Scottish pinhead oatmeal or about 1 and 1/4 cup
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast, optional
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs, or dried thyme
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, made with water and a 1/4 of a vegan stock cube. or 250 ml. Or replace with 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable/olive oil.
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • If using oil sauté the onion and dried mixed herbs in a tablespoon of oil, for around 8 minutes until soft.
    If using vegetable stock, heat the stock to boiling and add the onion, nutritional yeast and mixed herbs.
    Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until onion is soft and stock evaporated. If the water dries up too quick add a splash extra.
  • Add the oatmeal to the onions. Mix.
    If using oil you may need to add an extra tablespoon to cook the oatmeal in. Also if using oil, then add the nutritional yeast at this stage.
  • Over a medium heat, toast the oatmeal for around 10-15 minutes until it is golden and crisp.
    While toasting you need to almost continuously stir the oatmeal around to avoid burning or sticking.
    And to ensure its all evenly toasting.
  • Check the seasoning once off the heat and add salt and pepper if necessary. Add extra nutritional yeast if desired.
  • Serve at once, or cool and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
    Reheat, using the same pan and method of cooking, until piping hot.
    Skirlie can also be frozen until required, defrosted, and then reheated until piping hot.
Keyword Highlands, Plant-based, Scotland, Scottish, skirlie, traditional, Vegan, Vegetarian


Looking for more budget-friendly, nutritious and delicious family meal ideas?

Try my Vegan Traditional ‘Beef’ Stew and serve topped with my Skirlie recipe:

Vegan 'Beef' Stew pin


Or my tasty quick midweek meal Vegan Vegetable Curry recipeVegan Vegetable Curry pin

Enjoyed my recipe?

I would appreciate it so much if you would consider sharing, liking, or pinning on social media/Pinterest.

I welcome all comments and feedback.

Stay Safe and Many Thanks!

Vegan Scottish SkirlieVegan Scottish Skirlie pin


  1. 5 stars
    I love seeing how people take traditional dishes like this one and make them vegan friendly. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Aww thanks for your comment. Glad you like my recipe. I love this Skirlie though I need to stop myself from eating a spoonful each time I pass my fridge!

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