I’m Scottish, so if a cooked breakfast (or fry-up, whatever you want to call it) doesn’t involve potato scones I don’t want to know about it.
It’s also a must-have in a breakfast roll – tattie scone, veggie haggis and a fried egg, please and thank you. Back when I was at university the only thing that could set me right the morning after a night out was a tattie scone roll and a can of sugary Irn Bru.
They’re incredibly easy to make and you probably have all four of the necessary ingredients in the cupboard already. Best of all, they can be cooked straight from frozen, meaning you can make a big batch and always have a supply in for breakfasts.
What is a potato scone?
A potato scone, for the uninitiated, is a Scottish unleavened potato flatbread. I see a lot of recipes online specify self-raising flour or baking powder, but it’s really not necessary (although if self-raising is all you have in that’ll still do the job). Part of the beauty of the potato scone, in my opinion, is how simple it is.
What’s the difference between shop-bought and homemade potato scones?
The difference is HUGE! Don’t get me wrong, shop-bought potato scones are okay and tasty enough when fried up, but they just don’t hold a candle to what you can make at home.
The main difference comes down to the potato content. What you can find in the shops will typically use dried or dehydrated potato and you’ll be lucky if that makes up 25% of the ingredients. This means they’re quite dry and floury.
But homemade potato scones actually deliver on the potato front. I make mine using a ratio of 1:4 flour to potato, which makes for a scone that actually tastes like potato. The texture is softer and lighter as well.
Are potato scones Scottish or Irish?
We call them potato scones (or, more often, tattie scones) here in Scotland, while our friends in Ireland call them potato farls. They’re the same thing – I don’t know who made them first though!
How should you cook potato scones?
Potato scones are traditionally cooked on a dry pan or griddle. They can then be reheated by cooking in oil.
When cooking the potatoes keep the skin on and peel after – this will result in fluffier potatoes as less water will be absorbed during cooking. I’d also advise to work with the potato while it’s still warm as you don’t want it to dry out.
What sort of potatoes should you use?
You want to use floury potatoes like Maris Piper or King Edward. Waxy potatoes aren’t ideal as the end result can be gummy and I imagine you would end up needing to use a lot more flour to produce a workable dough.
What should be in a potato scone?
To make potato scones you just need potatoes, plain flour, butter/oil and salt. Egg and milk are unnecessary additions, the dough will come together just fine without them.
But you absolutely CAN add in other flavours to the basic dough. Cheese and spring onion would be my go-to but feel free to experiment. It’s not traditional, but why not?
Some recipes state that potato scones are traditionally made using leftover mashed potato, which I’m not sure is actually true. In an article in The Scotsman, Fraser Wright cites a cookbook from the 1940s that states warm leftover potatoes – not mash – were used for making potato scones. Regardless, I’m always a fan of repurposing leftovers, so if you do have leftover mashed potatoes then use that!
If you make this then please let me know, I’d love to see! You can tag me on Instagram using @glasgowsprout
Scottish Potato Scones
- 400grams potato
- 100grams plain flour
- 1tbsp butter/oil
- 1/2tsp salt
- Add your potatoes (skins still on) to a pot of salted cold water over medium heat. Depending on the size of your potatoes this can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, but just use a knife to check for when they're ready – if it slides through easily then they're done.
- When ready, remove the potatoes and let cool on a chopping board or plate. Once cool enough to handle remove the skins.
- Once peeled use a potato ricer, masher or fork to mash them in a large bowl. If using a masher/fork make sure to get the potato as smooth as possible.
- Add your flour, butter/oil, and salt and mix to combine into a ball. I'll start mixing with a wooden spoon to begin with and then switch to using my hands.
- Flour a clean work surface and place your ball of dough on top. Using a dough scraper or large knife, divide the ball into four equal pieces (three if you're aiming for thicker scones) and roll them into balls. At this point start heating a large frying pan on medium heat.
- Ensuring your work surface stays floured, take each ball of dough and, using your fingers, flatten them out into a circle. It doesn't have to be neat and you can make them thick or thin depending on your preference – but keep in mind if they're too thick you'll have trouble cooking them right through. Once flattened, using your dough scraper or knife divide into four triangles.
- Add four scones at a time to the frying pan and cook on each side for around 3-4 minutes until browned. If you have two frying pans to use that will speed things up!
- When cooked let cool on a cooling rack. These can be kept in an air-tight container for a few days or frozen. To serve, reheat in a frying pan with some oil or pop them in the toaster.