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Cranachan - A Traditional Scottish Dessert for Burns Night


Traditional Scottish Cranachan dessert

Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert made from traditional Scottish ingredients. Oats, cream, raspberries and honey combine for a simple, superb taste of Scotland. True Scots ( adults only of course) would add a "wee dram" of whisky, preferably malt whisky, to this simple yet fabulous dessert. On Burns' Night on Saturday, celebrate Scotland's most famous poet with a great Scottish dessert. On any party night Cranachan is a fabulous dessert to offer you guests.

Cranachan makes a great dessert for any celebrations. Make it in advance. No Hassle.

Make Cranachan for any party - it's easy to make, you can make it in advance, it's a little unusual and it tastes great.

Cranachan is traditionally served on Burns Night, 25 January, a night for all things Scottish. Wednesday 25 January 2017 is the next Burns Night. In Scotland that's an excuse to celebrate all the way through to the weekend!

In years gone by Cranachan would have been a popular late summer or autumn dessert, using the raspberries which grow so well in Scotland, and cream which was plentiful in summer. In winter, bottled and preserved raspberries would be used. Today you can use frozen raspberries out of season for the best flavor.

Cranachan is a simple, tasty, historic dessert . Cranachan is easy to make, requires no cooking, and with it's sweet, creamy flavor, with a hint of fruit and whisky, it's the perfect celebration of Scotland's heritage.

Why not add Cranachan to your menu for the Christmas and New Year holidays this year?

Photo catchpenny and flickr creative commons



Cranachan is not a "posh" recipe, though you can present it very elegantly, as in the photos. Traditionally, Scots would use their local oats, their local raspberries in summer and fall, their local cream when available, and honey or sugar as they had it, to make this tasty treat. Whisky is also considered essential in Scotland for this dish. If no cream was available, a traditional cream cheese called Crowdie was used.

All measurements are subject to taste, and vary depending on who is making it. Find the best Cranachan for your tastes by experimenting a little. Here are my guidelines for my Cranachan recipe, handed down from my Scottish ancestors.

I've given links below to lots of other variations on this traditional Scottish Dish.

Cranachan is a Gaelic word and"Slainte" means "Cheers- your good health" in Gaelic, so "Slainte- enjoy!"

Photo thanks to catchpenny and flickr creative commons commercial use

Prep timeReady inYields

30 min

30 min



  • 2 cups of oats. Traditionally use fine oatmeal. Porridge oats are OK (Not Instant oats)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (light brown is best but fine white is OK)
  • 3 Tablespoons honey (heather honey is traditional)
  • About 500 ml or 3/4 pint whipping cream
  • About 250g or 9oz or large punnet fresh raspberries. Frozen are fine too.Or canned!
  • Whisky to taste-about 3 tablespoons if you like!


  1. 1.Turn the grill to high, spread the oats on a baking tray, sprinkle the sugar over and toast for about 3 minutes till crisp (but not burnt) Watch it carefully and catch it before the sugar burns.
  2. You are aiming for crunchy, sweet oats. Leave the mixture to cool a little.
  3. (You can do this stage in the oven or a frying pan if you prefer)
  4. 2. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Add a little of the whisky and honey and beat in gently. Add a little at a time and check the taste. Add more of either if you wish.
  5. 3. Fold 2/3 of the toasted oats into the mixture , and 2/3 of the raspberries
  6. 4. Divide the oat mixture between 4 pretty glasses. Top with the remaining raspberries and sprinkle the remaining toasted oats over the top.
  7. 5. Eat and enjoy- Slainte!

Here's a lovely way to serve Cranachan - Served with whisky and shortbread.


Here, Cranachan has been turned out onto a plate and garnished with traditional Scottish shortbread- served with another wee dram of Scotch Whisky.

Scroll to Continue

Photo thanks to Flickr and brianholsclaw, creative commons commercial use

There are many variations on the Cranachan recipe - Take a look at other Cranachan variations.

Chefs and cooks have their own favorite Cranachan recipes, and their own ways of presenting the dish. Click through these links for tips and photos of Cranachan.

Cranachan goes upmarket - A selection of Scottish desserts


Cranachan parfait is one of the desserts on this upmarket platter.

Photo thanks to Nick Webb and flickr creative commons commercial use

What's the story on Cranachan - Your vote is requested- just for fun..

Cranachan parfait

Cranachan parfait

Photo thanks to europealacarte and flcikr creative commons

Here are some more examples of Cranachan, plus some Burns Night fun - See Cranachan being made, and enjoy the Burns Night movies!

Cranachan is easy to make- see how Cranachan is made by some of these Cranachan fans.

Also, on Burns Night there is Scottish Country Dancing, and the address to the Haggis. Scottish Tradition- take a look.

Will you be making Cranachan sometime soon?

Giovanna from UK on January 16, 2015:

I love everything to do with Burn's Night. Thanks for this recipe! Sounds delicious.

Sue Dixon (author) from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK on September 19, 2014:

Almost totally calorie free, as are all good Scottish desserts!

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on September 13, 2014:

I can't remember if I have eaten this before or not, if I have it was probably only once. Sounds really good, and just the sort of desert that I like. I could well be tempted to make this. The oats cancel out all the other calories right?

anonymous on April 08, 2013:

I don't know what Google + is, but ill be happy to spread the word. After I try some for myself of course :)

MaggiePowell on January 30, 2013:

Looks simple and yummy.. I will be making it.

lesliesinclair on January 30, 2013:

If someone invited me over to eat the Cranachan they made, I'd be delighted.

DirtnapJoe LM on January 29, 2013:

I haven't had this dish for a very long time. Brings back such pleasant memories. Thanks for sharing

Stephanie Tietjen from Albuquerque, New Mexico on January 29, 2013:

I love Scottish oatmeal for breakfast--never thought of making anything else with it. Especially with shortbread and whiskey, how could it not be great!

anonymous on January 29, 2013:

I really like the simplicity of the Cranachan recipe. Thank you for sharing.

Rose Jones on January 29, 2013:

And my vote for the big four. :)

Rose Jones on January 29, 2013:

Love your lens - don't know when I will be cooking it, gee I seem to only serve food from that great Scottish cook MacDonalds these days (not really, but it the lottery I am definitely hiring a chef.) However the historical tie ins in your lens made it special. Blessed.

Tom on January 29, 2013:

Wow, that looks really good. And served with some scotch whiskey, sounds even better.

montanatravel52 on January 29, 2013:

I normally always go with chocolate for a dessert, but found this to be so interesting... I really love your presentation, its simplicity w/ability to look posh, possible variations, the story behind it - I will definitely be trying this, thanks and you got my vote :)

Gordon N Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on January 29, 2013:

Very familiar with Cranachan and love it! Interesting take on it as I've never previously heard of sugar being added to the oatmeal before it is toasted or dry fried. This may give it extra appeal to those with a particularly sweet tooth. For me, a fine single malt is essential and ingredient number one on the list! ;) - Good luck!

CocaColaCollectibles on January 29, 2013:

Sounds yummy and will have to try it someday!

RinchenChodron on January 29, 2013:

Sounds very good! What fun.

Georgene Moizuk Bramlage from southwestern Virginia on January 29, 2013:

I am going to try to impress my family as soon as I can obtain some fresh raspberries. Thanks so much for sharing@

asiliveandbreathe on January 29, 2013:

Simple, delicious, easy to make - what's not to like???

GramaBarb from Vancouver on January 29, 2013:

I'm a oats fanatic - don't know how I missed not knowing about this recipe. Thanks for the yummy recipe. Hope you win!!

juzzviv on January 29, 2013:

Since I am a Quaker oats person I am going to try making it. After that I hope to try it with mangoes...

John Dyhouse from UK on January 29, 2013:

I will probably ask my wife, LOL

WriterJanis2 on January 29, 2013:

This looks so good.

moonlitta on January 29, 2013:

Raspberries are not in season but it seems delicious! Loved to learn about Burns night, too!

Glenda Motsavage from The Sunshine State on January 28, 2013:

My husband is Lithuanian and Scottish - a MUST try for him!

lewisgirl on January 28, 2013:

Sounds very good and I love raspberries, so probably I will make it!

rattie lm on January 28, 2013:

I have made it often.

Jo-Jackson on January 28, 2013:

This sounds very tasty. I would love to try some.

Mickie Gee on January 28, 2013:

Cranachan looks like it will definitely stick to your ribs.

kcsantos on January 28, 2013:

This looks yummy! Thanks for sharing.

Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on January 28, 2013:

The recipes looks easy and delicious, and your lens is really well done. Blessed!

Helen Phillips Cockrell from Virginia on January 28, 2013:

It looks delicious!

knitstricken on January 28, 2013:

Looks like something deliciously worthwhile to make and enjoy!

microfarmproject on January 28, 2013:

Looks yummy. I don't think I am going to wait until next year to make this. BTW, Jan 25th is our wedding anniversary, a great day for us. Thanks for the recipe!

sybil watson on January 21, 2013:

This looks like a perfect dessert that uses items that most people have around the house. I'll have to try it with that wee bit of whiskey!

anonymous on January 12, 2013:

looks good

Sue Dixon (author) from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK on January 12, 2013:

@RoadMonkey: You're right. Simple, easy and interesting too.

Giovanna from UK on January 10, 2013:

I haven't had it for ages and had forgotten about it. thanks for the reminder.

RoadMonkey on January 10, 2013:

I'm always happy to find a dessert that uses local ingredients and doesn't need cooking!

cleanyoucar on January 10, 2013:

This look yummy! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Spiderlily321 on January 09, 2013:

Looks good! I'm going to have to try this. Featured this lens on sidebar of my own oatmeal lens called what's in your oiaj? Thanks for sharing!

JumpinJake on January 09, 2013:

enjoyed reviewing your food blog this morning.

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on January 07, 2013:

Well I'm a Burns by marriage, so will have to think about doing this. (also part Scottish)

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on January 06, 2013:

Yes it looks very interesting. Must try it. Thanks for sharing.

Kaellyn on January 06, 2013:

This looks delicious! I'll have to try it.

Lisa Marie Gabriel from United Kingdom on January 05, 2013:

My mum made us some cranachan once and it was gorgeous! I am not sure it would be that good for my waistline, but I am tempted sorely to make some for Burns Night! :D

Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on January 04, 2013:

Sounds very good and not too difficult to make. I might try Cranachan one day.

Geeve on January 04, 2013:

When I read the first sentence in the introduction, I thought there has to be a "wee dram" of whisky included, and sure enough, in the second sentence ... :) I trust that you enjoyed developing the recipe.

The word whisky comes from the Gaelic fuisge beatha, which means water of life, so don't feel guilty LiteraryMind, it is good for the heart.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on January 04, 2013:

This sounds really good. And it has oats and raspberries, so if I ignore the sugar and whiskey, it's really healthy.

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