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Traditional Scotch Pancakes (Scottish Drop Scones)

An easy recipe for traditional Scottish pancakes. They are also called Scotch pancakes or drop scones and make a very tasty breakfast or dessert.

A stack of Scotch or Scottish Pancakes with maple syrup and slices of banana.

Traditional Scotch Pancakes (Scottish Drop Scones)

Scotch pancakes or Scottish pancakes are also known as girdle scones, drop scones or drop pancakes.

Created long ago in Scotland (Scotch is a slang term for Scottish) these are thick, fluffy and golden brown pancakes that are similar to the larger American-Style pancakes.

They both contain a raising agent, but the Scottish pancakes are usually sweeter, with sugar added, whereas the American pancakes tend to have melted butter added to the pancake batter.

English pancakes are completely different.

They are large and thin like French crepes and contain no raising agent.

So why are they called drop scones?

Scotch pancakes were originally cooked on an iron griddle pan (or girdle) over an open fire.

Thick pancake batter was dropped onto the hot griddle, where it would puff up before being flipped and that's where it got the name drop scones.

As the recipe became popular elsewhere, they became known as Scotch or Scottish pancakes and we call them that in Scotland now too!

Apparently, the late Queen Elizabeth II made them for President Eisenhower when he visited her at Balmoral Castle (in the north of Scotland) in 1959. 

He was then so impressed with them he asked his chef to recreate them for him.

Scottish family recipe

This traditional Scottish recipe for Scottish pancakes is my mum's family recipe, which was passed down in turn from her mum.

They are pretty traditional Scottish pancakes and a very easy recipe,

Other Scotch pancake recipes may vary slightly in quantity, but they will have the same ingredients.

They are all basically flour, sugar, salt, egg and milk.

Some people use plain flour and baking powder, but my family recipe uses self-raising flour.

This may have been tweaked over the years, but they are great for an easy breakfast or a tasty dessert and they are perfect served for afternoon tea with a cup of tea or coffee.

stack of pancakes spread with butter

Can you make vegan Scotch pancakes?

Yes, it's easy to make vegan Scotch pancakes.

Just skip the egg and use a plant-based milk.

Try these vegan banana pancakes, where the egg is replaced with mashed banana.

Can you make gluten-free Scotch pancakes?

Scotch pancakes can be made gluten-free too.

Just whizz some gluten-free oats into flour and add baking powder as a raising agent.

It's as simple as that.

Making Scottish pancakes for Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday)

In Scotland, we make pancakes all year round, but we also make a special effort to whip up some pancake batter and toss some pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras.

It is the day before Lent begins, which is a time of fasting and abstinence in the approximately 6 weeks leading up to Easter to signify the 40 days Jesus was said to have gone into the desert to fast and pray.

Traditionally pancakes were made as all the rich foods, such as eggs and sugar needed to be used up before they were given up for lent.

This practice goes way back to the Middle Ages.

And that's why we make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

Scotch or Scottish Pancakes

What you need to make Scotch pancakes

Easy Scotch pancakes are made with a few simple ingredients. Here's what you need to make Scotch pancake batter (which is a thicker batter than English pancakes, which is more the texture of pouring cream).

  • Self raising flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Milk
You can use plain flour (all-purpose) flour instead and add baking powder to help them rise.

Make the pancakes the standard size, big ones like the American pancakes or little mini pancakes.

The full printable recipe can be found at the end of this page.

Cooking Scottish Pancakes

Scottish pancakes were originally cooked on a hearth stone or girdle which is also known as a griddle.

If you have one, that's great, but these days you are more likely to cook these fluffy pancakes in a large non-stick frying pan. 

However, I have gone all modern and use an electric crepe maker, which is really just a more up-to-date version of a girdle and instead of heating it over a fire, it's electrical and plugged in.

It's great for making crepes, Scotch pancakes, quesadillas and for grilling burritos and wraps.

I highly recommend them.

However, make sure you use a plastic or silicone spatula, fish slice or palette knife to toss your pancakes as a metal one can ruin the surface of any non-stick pan or griddle.

Make a big batch of pancakes and pop them in a clean tea towel to keep warm until you are serving them.

Scotch pancakes cooking on an electric crepe maker.

How do you know when pancakes are ready to flip

There's a wee Scottish tip for knowing when drop pancakes are ready to be flipped and there's no need to time them.

Just wait until the surface of the pancake batter you have added to your hot pan is covered in bubbles.

That tells you it's ready to flip and you will see the first side will be golden brown when flipped.

The second side  will start too rise, but doesn't take quite as long to cook and is usually a bit paler than the top of the pancake.

How to serve Scotch pancakes

In Scotland, drop pancakes are often just served with butter or with butter and jam.

However, they are sometimes served for breakfast with maple syrup or for dessert with maple syrup and ice cream.

I love them with just butter, butter and jam or maple syrup and slices of banana.

Here are a few ideas for Scotch pancake toppings.
  • butter
  • butter and jam
  • butter and marmalade
  • chocolate spread
  • golden syrup
  • peanut butter and slices of banana
  • maple syrup and slices of banana
  • fresh berries, maple syrup and whipped cream
  • chocolate syrup and ice cream

For more Scottish recipes have a look at my recipe index of Scottish Recipes for Vegans and Vegetarians

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A simple recipe for traditional Scottish pancakes. They are called Scotch pancakes or drop scones and make a very tasty breakfast or dessert. #scotchpancakes #dropscones #Scottishpancakes #easypancakerecipe #easypancakes #pancakes #breakfast #brunch

How long will homemade pancakes keep?

Pancakes are always best when they are freshly made and at their fluffiest, but you can store them in the fridge to enjoy later.

Once cool, stack them in an airtight container with baking paper between them and keep them in the fridge for 2-3 days.

You can serve them cold or reheat them by popping them in the microwave, in a toaster, under the grill (broiler) or in the oven for a few seconds to warm them through.

Can you freeze Scotch pancakes?

Yes, you can freeze homemade or shop-bought Scotch pancakes.

Pop them in a freezer bag or an airtight container, separated with layers of baking paper and freeze for 2-3 months.

They don't take long to defrost once they are out of the freezer and can be warmed through in a toaster or under a grill (broiler).

More pancake recipes

Here are a few more pancake recipes for you to try.

If you are looking for a luxury pancake recipe try my chocolate and lemon curd pancakes or my homemade fluff pancakes with melted chocolate

They are divine.

If you are looking for a healthier option try my chocolate banana pancakes or my vegan chocolate chip pancakes.

For a savoury pancake try my yeasted Staffordshire oatcakes.
Scotch pancakes, Scottish pancakes, gridle cakes, girdle scones, drop scones, drop pancakes
breakfast, dessert
Yield: 12
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Traditional Scotch Pancakes (Scottish Drop Scones)

Traditional Scotch Pancakes (Scottish Drop Scones)

An easy recipe for traditional Scottish pancakes. They are also called Scotch pancakes or drop scones and make a very tasty breakfast or dessert.
Prep time: 2 MinCook time: 9 MinTotal time: 11 Min


  • 120g (1 cup) self-raising four
  • 30g (2 tablespoons) caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ pint (150 ml or ½ cup) milk


  1. Rub your frying pan with a little oil and heat on a medium heat until the pan is really hot (if you are using a non-stick crepe maker, you don't need to oil it, just heat it).
  2. Sift your flour into a large bowl, then pour in the sugar and salt and gently mix together.
  3. Whisk your milk and egg together in a jug or bowl. Make a well in the middle of your flour and pour the egg mixture in. Whisk the flour into the egg until well combined.
  4. Drop a teaspoon full of your batter in your frying pan, to test if the pan is hot enough. It should bubble up in less than a minute, then cook on the other side for just a few seconds. You should have a teeny golden pancake.
  5. Now cook off the rest of your batter. Each pancake is made from a tablespoon of batter. They will take about 2-3 minutes each. Turn them when they start to bubble.
  6. You can have a sneak peek underneath using a palette knife to check if they are ready to turn. If you are cooking a few at once, make sure there is room between them.
  7. Pop the freshly cooked pancakes in a clean, warm tea towel to keep them warm until you serve them.
  8. Serve the pancakes with your favourite toppings. I love maple syrup and bananas with mine.
  9. Enjoy!


  • Flour - you can use plain flour (all purpose flour) instead of self-raising flour, just add 1 teaspoon of baking powder as a raising agent.
  • Size - I make 12 medium sized pancakes with this mixture, but you can make them as big or small as you like. The bigger ones will take a little longer to cook through.
  • Storing - once cool, stack any leftover pancakes in an airtight container with baking paper between them and keep them in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  • Freezing - Pop them in a freezer bag or an airtight container, separated with layers of baking paper and freeze for 2-3 months.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

0.89 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.33 g

Carbs (grams)

10.24 g

Fiber (grams)

0.24 g

Net carbs

10 g

Sugar (grams)

0.52 g

Protein (grams)

2.05 g

Sodium (milligrams)

13.1 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

16.68 mg


  1. No matter what we call them we can each celebrate pancake day in our own way!!! I am looking forward to Tuesday!

    1. Me too Val, it is a great excuse to make pancakes again :)

  2. Peanut butter, bananas and syrup is a great way to enjoy pancakes!

    1. Never tried that Madge, but it does sound like a good plan :)

  3. Lovely photos, especially the top one with the maple syrup drizzle - fantastic! and I love those sorts of pancakes - my mum always made them small - I usually do but have made a few bigger because one big one is easier to flip and amuse Sylvia :-)

    1. I am afraid I don't flip this kind, even to amuse Cooper. I fear it might be really amusing, but not in a good way :D

  4. I love these - especially with crispy bacon and maple syrup :)

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. (I don't think anyone puts bacon on top of the pancake, that's a side sort of thing. I think. You can't get five people to agree in fifty states on what to do with pancakes.) I will say, though, that we ate what you might consider to be Scotch Pancakes all the time, but they were called Silver Dollar Pancakes, and the trick was simply to pour the batter on the griddle to roughly the size of a silver dollar. It would spread, of course, but they were much smaller.

    I am pretty sure that every culture has its pancake, crepe, or frybread... so who cares where they come from.

  7. Lovely fluffy pancakes. Mr CC has stated his intention to make pancakes tomorrow...I'll stand well back!

    1. Well, you do have to give him some time in the kitchen :)

  8. Loving that delicious sandwich which I'm going to have to try (seriously love all those ingredients), your lush pancakes and pics of your cute little boy :):)

    1. Thanks Emma. I seem to be choosing all the right meals food to tempt you this week and it has all been so simple too :)

  9. First time here and love it
    The photos are beautiful, the first shot is stunning and making me drool

    1. Hi Priyanka, nice to meet you. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment :)

  10. When I was a child growing up in Glasgow, my Mum used to make these pancakes for us every week on the day before payday. This used up the last of the jam and syrup in the cupboard and made for a tasty tea...ah, memories as made of such stuff! Your pancake stack looks delicious, can't wait for Tuesday!

    1. Those are good memories Susan. It is nice when you eat something and it takes you right back in time :)

  11. Great recipe, they look more than Hot cakes, the recipe is very similar For the Hot cakes
    6 eggs
    200g self-raising flour
    100ml cream
    2 tbsp honey
    75g butter

    1. Oh lots of eggs, cream and honey too. These must be lovely and rich and a bit of a treat too.

  12. Those photos are pure food porn Mrs :0)

    1. That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me all day, hehe :D

  13. I think pancakes must be the universal food! Everyone has their own version of a flour, egg, milk batter. I grew up on 'Scotch' pancakes, made by both grannys and my mum. They were probably the first thing that I made with my gran, I love the way the bubbles come up through and burst on the top so you know when to turn them. No maple syrup, golden syrup or even jam for me, I like them best, buttered and hot of the girdle - so bad for you but so good. Lovely photos.

    1. Buttered is good too Janice. I quite like them with butter and jam. I love them toasted if they last beyond one day :)

  14. That first photo just looks so delicious - I don't want to wait until tomorrow for pancakes! Still undecided whether to go for this type of the thin crepey ones, but you've definitely swung it in the Scots' favour!

  15. I'm such a sucker for pancakes. All you have to do is show me a pile of fluffy pancakes with syrup drizzled over top and then I'm ready to abandon supper plans to make pancakes.

  16. I love pancakes especially with bananas and maple syrup. The first photo is drool worthy - I've added it to my pinterest board :)

  17. This is a delicious kind of pancake, and cute too.haha. Thanks for the recipe, eh.

    Cathy@Foods that are not Good for Your Heart

  18. of all the foods to deserve a day of recognition, i find pancakes to be one of the most worthy! GORGEOUS images!

    1. It is a fun day Grace. I will be making more pancakes today.

  19. I have made soooooooo many drop scones in the past year, as they are one of the few things my very fussy toddler will eat. They also cook really well on the hot plate of a George Foreman grill (not the ridged kind) or an old fashioned electric frying pan. The maple syrup makes them look so appealing - maybe I'll go and make some now!

    1. For a moment there I thought you meant the ridged kind and I was thinking ohhh, that it interesting, but the thing would be would they lift off the plate?

  20. Heaven! I am having pancakes for dinner tonight.

  21. Noq that's what I call a stack of pancakes.

    1. Graham ate that whole stack by himself, can you believe it?

  22. Fabulous - JUST fabulous and such a wonderful set of photos too Jac!

  23. What about good quality Vermont maple syrup!? ;) Pancakes look great!

  24. I bet that is just as good Jenn, but Lisa sent me some of her dad's maple syrup from Canada and it was the best I have ever tasted.

  25. Bananas = one of your five a day. Maple Syrup, well just because you can!

    Happy Pancake Day!

  26. I em here for the first time , I like your photos and pancakes look so delicious.I have to try your recipe. Thanks for share!

    1. Hi Teo, thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy your pancakes :)

  27. You know ... those just look like American Pancakes, to me. I'm sure that they are, really. Tasty, and now I know that I can ask for "Scottish Pancakes" and be assured that (except for the maple syrup) I'll get the same thing. :)

  28. Hi Jacqueline,
    This looks so yum! Perfect for breakfast.

    1. They are perfect for breakfast Asmita, not with all that maple syrup of course, unless it is a treat :)

  29. That looks absolutely divine!! Yummy!



  30. I love these - especially with crispy bacon and maple syrup :)

  31. mine didnt look as good as the pics but loved making these pancakes as a late night craving for something sweet topped it with bananas and ice cream
    great store cupboard recipe when you havent got much in...

    1. Oh that is just perfect. I love pancakes with banana and ice cream, although I would be looking for a chocolate drizzle too :)

  32. Food porn at its best :-)
    I just LOVE pancakes! Surprisingly easy to make too it seems..


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