Tattie Scones

A fried tattle scone as part of a full Scottish breakfast.

potato scone or tattie scone (tottie scone in some parts of Scotland) is a regional variant of the savoury griddle scone which is especially popular in Scotland. Many variations of the recipe exist. They generally include liberal quantities of boiled potatoes, butter and salt.


Potato (“tattle” in Scottish dialect) scones are a popular breakfast item in Scotland. The story is that they were invented as a good way to use up leftover mashed potatoes, but nearly every recipe I looked at said that for best results they should be made with freshly cooked, hot, potatoes, and that the extra milk or cream usually added to mashed potatoes isn’t desirable.

The ingredients are quite basic- potato, butter, salt, flour. I’ve included baking powder, although I think that they are most often left unleavened. On there own I didn’t find them to have a lot of flavor, but fried up in some bacon grease they were delicious.

In Scotland you will most often find them on the plate with a full Scottish breakfast, but they are also served as the filling in a breakfast sandwich with sausage, egg, etc, or just warm with butter and jam.

I think the trickiest part of making these is deciding how much flour you need to add. I added several handfuls beyond my measured 4 oz, although I think I had several extra ounces of potato as well. (Aparently American baking potatoes are significanly larger than “large”- I only used two and was still well over 1 lb.) As you start to work the flour into the potato you’ll feel the consistency change. I would describe the point I stopped adding flour as when it started to feel more like dough than mashed potato. Obviously we’re not talking high gluten, elastic bread dough, but something softer. Play-dough maybe.

One of the posts I read about these talked about having problems with the dough sticking while rolling it out. I didn’t have that problem. I also followed instructions from several recipes that called for letting the dough cool for a few minutes before rolling it, and I kept everything generously floured while working with the dough. In actuality I found it easier to just pat the scone out by hand, rather than using the rolling pin. Since there’s not much gluten, the dough is easy to manipulate and it only took a few seconds to flatten my ball of dough to the appropriate size. I found that using the rolling pin made it super easy to roll the dough too thin.

These were cooked in a cast iron skillet with no grease. This was probably the biggest point of difference between the recipes I reviewed- some said to cook on a dry griddle, while others called for a very light coating of oil. I had no problems with sticking. I did find that flipping the scone several times during the cooking process worked better than leaving it on the same side for the whole time. My first couple turned out very dark, and tasted slightly of scorched flour, while the third one turned out much nicer. I’m not sure if grease would help or just wind up infusing the burnt flour flavor into the whole scone. My feeling is that if you’re cooking them to eat fresh a little grease would help the flavor, but if you’re going to be cooling them and reheating later (which seems to be the common way to eat them) you don’t want the extra grease now.

Tattie Scones

Yield: 12
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 Hour
Total: about 1 ½ hours

4 large baking potatoes (about 1 lb)
1 ½ oz. butter (3 Tablespoons), room temperature
½ teaspoon salt

4 oz flour plus additional as needed. 
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
 4 oz self rising flour

1 Egg
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Scrub potatoes and place in a sauce pan. Cover with water and boil until fork tender, 15-20 minutes. Do not over cook. Drain potatoes, peel and return to pan over low heat for a minute or two to dry. 

Run potatoes through a ricer or food mill, or mash thoroughly. Add butter and salt and mix until butter is melted and thoroughly mixed in. 

Mix flour and baking powder and begin to mix into potatoes until a stiff dough forms. You may need more flour to get the right consistency. 

Divide your dough into three balls and place on a floured surface. Leave to cool for few minutes, until no longer hot. 

Work each pile into a disk about ¼ – ½ inch thick. You can either use a floured rolling pin, or pat with your hands. Keep your hands, rolling pin and work surface dusted with flour and flip the dough frequently to prevent sticking. If you like, use a side plate as a template to trim your dough into a perfect circle. Prick all over with a fork, and score the dough into quarters. 

Heat a griddle or large, heavy, flat bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Transfer the scones to the griddle and cook 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy and cooked through. Adjust heat as needed so they don’t brown too fast. 

Serve warm with butter and jam, or reheat by frying in a little butter and bacon fat.

To freeze, allow scones to cool to room temperature, then lay out in an single layer and freeze. Once frozen they can be stacked and stored in a freezer bag for quick access to just the right number. 

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