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Cranachan - A Traditional Scottish Dessert for Burns Night

Updated on September 28, 2017

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 time: 30 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • Yields: 4


  • 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!
5 stars from 1 rating of Cranachan- a traditional Scottish Dessert

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.

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

What's you view on Cranachan?

See results

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?

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    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from Perth UK

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

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 3 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

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

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 3 years ago from Southampton, UK

      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?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 4 years ago

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

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

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

    • DirtnapJoe LM profile image

      DirtnapJoe LM 4 years ago

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

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      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!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

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

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      And my vote for the big four. :)

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      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.

    • graphite75 profile image

      Tom 4 years ago

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

    • montanatravel52 profile image

      montanatravel52 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      Gordon N Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      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!

    • profile image

      CocaColaCollectibles 4 years ago

      Sounds yummy and will have to try it someday!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Sounds very good! What fun.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 4 years ago from southwestern Virginia

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

    • asiliveandbreathe profile image

      asiliveandbreathe 4 years ago

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

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 4 years ago from Vancouver

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

    • profile image

      juzzviv 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

      I will probably ask my wife, LOL

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      This looks so good.

    • profile image

      moonlitta 4 years ago

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

    • Glenda Motsavage profile image

      Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

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

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 4 years ago

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

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      I have made it often.

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 4 years ago

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

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      Cranachan looks like it will definitely stick to your ribs.

    • kcsantos profile image

      kcsantos 4 years ago

      This looks yummy! Thanks for sharing.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts

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

    • LaughingLady LM profile image

      Helen Phillips Cockrell 4 years ago from Virginia

      It looks delicious!

    • knitstricken profile image

      knitstricken 4 years ago

      Looks like something deliciously worthwhile to make and enjoy!

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 4 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      sybil watson 4 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      looks good

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 5 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

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

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 5 years ago from Perth UK

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

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      cleanyoucar 5 years ago

      This look yummy! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      JumpinJake 5 years ago

      enjoyed reviewing your food blog this morning.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 5 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

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

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

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

    • Kaellyn profile image

      Kaellyn 5 years ago

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

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      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

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

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

    • profile image

      Geeve 5 years ago

      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.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

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