Champit Tatties With Skirlie

"This recipe is from Scotland; in Aberdeenshire it is traditionally served on Saturdays. In other parts of Scotland the skirlie part of this dish is served as an accompaniment to mince or used as a stuffing for chicken, game or lamb. Carniverous cooks can use 1 1/2 ounces of good quality beef dripping instead of butter for frying the skirlie, if they wish. I've not tried this recipe yet (which comes from an old Sainsbury's magazine), but the Zaar World Tour 2005 provides the perfect opportunity to post it. NB this recipe measures in UK fluid ounces, which is slightly different to the USA fluid ounce."
photo by Kaarin photo by Kaarin
photo by Kaarin
Ready In:


  • 3 12 ounces butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (choose potatoes for mashing)
  • 2 ounces oatmeal (or whole rolled porridge oats)
  • nutmeg
  • 7 fluid ounces milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • To make the skirlie, melt 1 1/2 ounces of butter in a medium frying pan, add the onion and fry very gently for 15 minutes until soft and browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile put the potatoes for the champit tatties in a large pan of salted water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until they are tender.
  • When the onions are cooked, mix in the oats, increase the heat slightly and fry, stirring often, until well toasted and golden: remove from heat and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper: set aside.
  • Towards the end of the cooking time for the potatoes, heat the milk over a low heat (don't boil it).
  • Drain the potatoes and mash them well potatoes then slowly beat in the hot milk and remaining butter at the same: season and spoon into a warm serving dish.
  • To serve, reheat the skirlie if necessary, stir in the parsley then scatter over the tatties.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Skirlie should only ever be made using fine or medium oatmeal NOT oats. Thanks for posting this recipe.
  2. For some reason, I thought this recipe would take me a long time to make, but actually it was very easy and required little effort. The result is a well seasoned crunchy topping for very creamy mashed potatoes. A delicious recipe I will make again. Thanks Caroline!


I live with my husband and 2 cats in Worcester Park; a quiet typical 1930s suburb (which no one has ever heard of!) about 12 miles South West of London. I'm a fair weather gardener and as my husband is a vegetarian I grow a few easy vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, mainly in containers. My husband loves growing flowers, the brighter the better, and we have a pretty garden as a result. Our cats, Araminta and Purrl, like it too! I do a lot of cooking and try to keep our diet as healthy and varied as possible. Although I work full time, I use very little in the way of pre-prepared foods. This is partly because of the limited choice of vegetarian meals, which I think are overpriced anyway; but mainly because I like to know what goes in my food! I love using the Internet for all the great ideas it gives me. Last year I participated in the Zaar World Tour (under my previous public name Caroline Blakey), which was great. Mr B and I tried lots of new foods and discovered new favourite meals. Researching recipes for the Tour was really interesting, however as I didn't have time to try them all, some were posted untested. I'm still working my way very slowly through them. To make matters worse I keep seeing other recipes I want to save and have also participated in Zaar world Tour II. So many recipes, so little time to make them! <img src=""> My 'rules' for posting recipes are a) if I wouldn't make a particular recipe, I won't post it and b) if my husband wouldn't eat it, I won't post it. This means that all my recipes are vegetarian friendly. As you will see from the number of recipes saved in my cookbooks, I particularly enjoy making jams and chutneys; I'd say it was one of my favourite hobbies. We always have a good supply of home preserves; my friends and work colleagues are well supplied too. If we won the lottery (say £5m, as a good number) we'd like to give up work, move to the country and buy a place with a bit of land. In my dreams this would be a manor house or old vicarage, with a walled garden, an orchard where I could keep hens, a vegetable garden, etc, etc, etc! In my more realistic moments (the £1m win perhaps) I would like to run a B&B, perhaps offering Vegetarian taster weekends. Luckily it costs nothing to dream.......I’d also love more time to read, do embroidery, learn a language, see more of the countryside; and of course play on Zaar.
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