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Slow Cooker Scottish Stovies (vegan recipe)

A traditional Scottish recipe for stovies, which are a tatties (potatoes) and mince stew with a delicious rich gravy. This recipe is made with veggie mince which is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Slow Cooker Scottish Stovies (vegan) in a black slow cooker pan

Autumn is here and my slow cooker is back out again doing it's stuff. 

Today I'm sharing a comforting stew that is easy to make, tastes delicious and is super comforting. It's a traditional Scottish recipe that has stood the test of time and is still popular today.

Scroll down for the ultimate guide to stovies which will answer all your questions, step-by-step photos and a printable recipe.

I do hope you try them.

What are stovies?

Stovies are an old-fashioned, slow cooked Scottish stew made with mince, onions and potatoes in a delicious, rich gravy.

The original meat-based stovies were and still are made with beef. lamb or sausages (lard is often added too), but vegetarian or vegan stovies are made with veggie mince or veggie sausages.

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

close up of potatoes

Potatoes in stovies

The main focus of the stew are the potatoes.

Some people make stovies with just potatoes in a gravy, however this is less common.

When stovies are made without meat (or the vegetarian or vegan alternative) they are sometimes called barfit or a barfit broth. Which translated from Scots into English means barefoot broth or soup.

What is the sauce in stovies?

When stovies were first made, water and salt would have been added and the sauce or gravy would have developed with the slow cook.

Today people usually add vegetable stock or gravy granules for extra flavour.

You can also add a splosh of Worcestershire sauce (or a veggie version) or a brown sauce to perk up the flavour too.

What else can be added to stovies?

Garlic can be added with the onions for extra flavour and some people like to add carrots or carrots and leeks to bulk out the stew, but stovies are generally made the traditional way with the tatties, mince and onions.

Slow Cooker Scottish Stovies - finished stovies in slow cooker pan

Why are they called stovies?

Stovies have different names around Scotland. They are also known as stoved potatoes, stovy tatties, stovocks or stovers.

They are called stovies as the phrase 'to stove' in Scotland means 'to stew'

People often think it is because they are cooked on a stove, but this phrase is not often used in Scotland. People will refer to a cooker or oven rather than a stove.

History of stovies

This hearty stew would originally have been made in a pot over a fire in crofts in Scotland with meat when there was some and otherwise just with potatoes and whatever else they had to throw in along with some water and salt.

It was a peasant dish that was cheap to make and could stretch ingredients further by using potatoes as the main focus of the dish.

Potatoes are a staple Scottish crop and always a cheap option.

How are stovies cooked?

Stovies are a slow cooked stew which can be cooked on the cooker top in a pot, in a casserole dish or in a slow cooker.

They are not a good dish for a pressure cooker or instant pot as the flavour and texture develops when cooked slow.

Overhead shot of Scottish Stovies in slow cooker pan

How do you serve stovies?


Stovies are commonly served with oatcakes and a glass of milk.

Oatcakes are a flat biscuit made with oats, which are another staple crop in Scotland.

Scottish crofts had a porridge drawer were they would make up a big batch of porridge in the morning and some of it would be pressed and baked into biscuits and served with stews like stovies.

Crusty bread

They are also served as they are, with crusty bread or with vegetables on this side, although none of these are Scottish way.

Serve yourself

Stovies are so popular in Scotland, they are often served at weddings and Hogmannay (New Year) parties in a pot with a ladle and bowls so guests can help themselves.

Vegetarian and vegan stovies

The only difference when making stovies for vegetarians or vegans is the mince.

Soya mince

Most veggie mince is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. It is a soya based product that can be bought dried, chilled and frozen.

The dried veggie mince is often called soya mince and the frozen can be called vegetarian mince, meat-free mince or plant-based mince.

Green or Brown Lentils

If you don't want to use soya mince or can't get hold of any, you can use lentils instead. Don't use red as they will turn to mush, but green or brown lentils would work and hold their shape and texture.

Stock cubes or gravy

You may use fresh or homemade stock in stovies, but check the ingredients and make sure the stock cubes or gravy is suitable for vegetarians or/and vegans.

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is an optional ingredient, but if you are adding it, be careful. 

The original Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies (fish), so it isn't suitable for vegetarians or vegans. There are however vegetarian and gluten free versions which are suitable for both veggies and vegans.

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

Slow Cooker Scottish Stovies slightly mashed up

How to make Slow Cooker Stovies (vegetarian and vegan)

Step-by-step photos showing how to make vegetarian or vegan stovies in a slow cooker. Slow cooker pots come in different sizes and shapes, but the method below will suit all styles.

If you are making these on the cooker top in a pot you will need to add more liquid. Try a third more and check on it as it cooks. You will cook it for an hour to an hour and a half on a low to medium heat.

Step 1 - Onions

uncooked onions in white ceramic casserole pan

You can throw all the ingredients in the pot with no cooking, but I like to start the onions in a pan and give the soya mince a bit of extra flavour before adding it all to the slow cooker. I think it really makes a difference, so a few more minutes work is worth it.

If you are taking the extra time, first saute the onions and garlic in olive oil.

Note - chuck it all in method

If you are making this before heading out to work, don't worry just throw it all in and it will come out fine. Skip to step 6 with no pre-cooking of the onions and mince.

Step 2 - Soft onions

fried onions in white casserole pan

I just cook my onions until they are soft, but you can cook them longer if you prefer until they are a bit more brown.

Step 3- Veggie Mince

onions and veggie mince in white cast iron casserole pan

Next add the veggie mince, either dried, chilled or frozen. 

Frozen veggie mince can go straight in, it doesn't need to be defrosted first.

Step 4 - Flavourings

veggie mince with seasonings added in white ceramic casserole pan

Now you need to add the flavourings and seasoning for the mince. In this recipe I add a crumbled stock cube, brown sauce, salt and pepper.

Step 5 - Cook for a few minutes

cooked veggie mince in white ceramic casserole pan

Give it all a good mix and cook for three or four minutes to give the flavours a chance to absorb into the mince,

Step 6 - Potatoes

potatoes in slow cooker pan

Add your peeled potatoes to your slow cooker pan. 

These should be halved or if they are smaller left whole. It can be quite good to have different sizes as it varies the texture. Some bigger pieces will remain whole and smaller pieces will turn to mash.

Step 7 - Next layer

Potatoes and veggie mince in slow cooker pan

Add all the onion and mince to the pan and give it a good mix.

Step 8 - Gravy

potatoes, veggie mince and gravy in a sloe cooker pan

Add the gravy and mix well, then pop the slow cooker pan into the slow cooker, add the lid and set to high for 6 hours and hit start. That's it.


Don't keep looking at it. Each time you open the lid, you reduce the temperature and the water from the lid runs into the stew making it watery.


I will allow you to check it once, twice at most and only of you are worried about it. 

Have a quick look and stir, then wipe the inside of the lid quickly with a clean kitchen towel to remove the water and pop it back on, so no more unwanted water is introduced into your stovies.

Don't you dare go back in for a second or third look if you don't really need to!

Believe me!

Step 9 - Finished dish

slow cooker Scottish stovies in slow cooker

When the stovies are cooked some of the potato will be so soft it will break up when you give it a stir and other bigger pieces will be soft but whole. 

It will have taken on all the wonderful flavours.

Step 10 - How they are usually served

mashed slow cooker Scottish stovies

Stovies are usually served with a bit more of a mashed texture, even more so than above. 

If you keep mixing or break some of the potatoes up with a fork and stir again you will be closer to the most popular way of serving them.

No matter which way you prefer them, tuck in and enjoy them.

Leftover potatoes? Try these Indian-spiced potato scones

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A traditional Scottish recipe for stovies, which are a tatties (potatoes) and mince stew with a delicious rich gravy. This recipe is made with veggie mince which is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. #slowcookerstovies #veganstovies #stovies #vegetarianstovies #slowcookerstew #veganstew #vegancasserole #vegetarianstew #vegetariancasserole #veganslowcookerrecipes #vegetarianslowcookerrecipes #crockpotstew #crockpotcasserole #crockpotstovies #scottishrecipes

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Slow cooker recipes

If you like the look of these slow cooker stovies, you might also like to try my Slow Cooker Vegan Irish Stew and my Slow Cooker Sausage Birra.

For more slow cooker recipes, check out my page Easy Vegetarian and Vegan Slow Cooker Recipes. Did I mention Slow Cooker Pizza Potatoes and pasta that can be thrown in to cook with the other ingredients? It's a game-changer. GO LOOK!

Slow Cooker Scottish Stovies (vegan)

Slow Cooker Scottish Stovies (vegan recipe)
Yield: 4
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 6 hourtotal time: 6 H & 10 M
A traditional Scottish recipe for stovies, which are a tatties (potatoes) and mince stew with a delicious rich gravy. This recipe is made with veggie mince which is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, halved and sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g veggie mince (frozen, chilled  or dried, dried will need a little more gravy)
  • 3 tbsp brown sauce (BBQ sauce or Marmite would work too), optional
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 500ml/2 cups onion gravy (using 3 tbsp granules)
  • 2 kg potatoes


How to cook Slow Cooker Scottish Stovies (vegan)

  1. In a large frying pan, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft.
  2. Add the veggie mince, a crumbled stock cube, the brown sauce, salt and pepper and a generous splosh of water (just to get it moving). Mix well and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Peel and halve the potatoes. If they are smaller leave them whole. Place in the slow cooker bowl.
  4. Top with the veggie mince and the gravy and stir.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Slow cook on high for 6 hours.
  7. Enjoy!


Don't keep opening the lid to check on it, you will reduce the temperature and let water in from the lid which will make it watery.

You may use brown or green lentils instead of veggie mince if you can't get hold of any or don't want to use it.

You can make this in a pot on the cooker top. It will need a third more liquid at least and should be cooked on a low to medium heat for an hour to an hour and a half. Keep an eye on it.
Fat (grams)
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Scottish, slow cooker, vegan
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. My dad is going to LOVE this!! He talks about his Scottish mom making this when he was a child!

    1. Well you must make it then Ashley. I am sure he'd be really pleased.

  2. I've never heard of stovies before! Sounds so delicious!

    1. They are traditional here in Scotland Raia, where potatoes are a staple crop. It's cold weather comfort food.

  3. I have never heard of these before, but they sound simple. Worth getting my crockpot out for. I think my daughter will enjoy them too. I'll ask her tonight if she would like me to make them this weekend. Jill

  4. I love fall when I can break out the slow cooker and eat comfort foods! This did not disappoint for our meatless Monday selection! Delicious!

  5. I love potatoes any way I can get them. I'll have to try these!

    1. Haha me too. Potatoes are never turned down in this house.

  6. I wasn't expecting to find anything when I googled vegan stovies. I am so pleased to find your recipe. I don't have a slow cooker so I am going to try making this in my soup pot. I am pleased to find your website. Barbara B

    1. Excellent Barbara. What good timing! And yes you can make them in a pot, I have included instructions in the post. You will need more liquid. Enjoy!

  7. This looks and sounds so delicious ! I am always looks for some recipes that I can cook in. Y slow cooker.. can't wait to try it.

    1. Yes it is always good to have new ideas for the slow cooker. I hope you try this one!

  8. Wow this looks good - I tend to make heaps of gravy for roast dinners and then have lots of leftovers that I need to use - have some in the fridge right now - am never quite sure what stovies are so this post is a great help

    1. You know what to do with the leftovers now and that scottish husband of yours would love these.

    2. I tried these with a cauliflower and walnut mince (and without a slow cooker) and have posted it on my blog - just love those slow cooked potatoes

    3. Oh nice idea Johanna. I'll go have a look.

  9. Ooh, this is definitely one to throw in my CrockPot! Pinned for later!

  10. What a great name! And it sounds like some real comfort food too. Ideal for a rainy day like today!

  11. Wow! The recipe is really delicious! I made it today and it was amazing! I think I'll make it again and again...Natural, healthy and vegan what can be better? Thank you!!!

    1. I am so glad you made it and enjoyed it so much Joshua.

  12. The recipe sounds great. Unfortunately this is the second time we have attempted it in the instant pot (slow cooker funktion) and just as last time the potatoes are still rock hard after six hours. Any idea why that is?

    1. I know I chatted to you in the local group we are in, but wanted to leave a comment here just in case anyone else thinks of using an instant pot to make these.

      I know it has a slow cooker setting, but I have no experience of using it and can't give advice. It would well cook at a different temperature to a standard slow cooker.

      I have made this a few times as have friends and I've had lots of messages from readers by email, on Facebook and Twitter to say they have made it and it is great. So I am sure it has to be a timing and heat issue with the instant pot.

      Sorry I can't help more.

  13. Made this yesterday. Lovely. Reminded me of my childhood. Many thanks.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

  14. Hi. What quantity of lentils should be used if I'm replacing the mince?

    1. Same amount would be fine but use a bit less stock or thicken it with a bit of flour. The lentils don't soak up the stock the same as the soya mince.

  15. An absolute family favourite. I go back to this again and again. It's so easy and economical too.


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x