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Herb & Pumpkin Seed Oatcakes

Herb & Pumpkin Seed Oatcakes


I looked in the opposite direction, toward the next table, where Dougal MacKenzie sat, apart from Colum for once.  A bloody Viking, that one.  With his impressive height and those broad, flat cheekbones, I could easily imagine him in command of a dragon ship, deepsunk eyes gleaming with avarice and lust as he peered through the fog at some rocky coastal village.

A large hand, wrist lightly haired with copper, reached past me to take a small loaf of oat-bread from the tray.  Another Norseman, Jamie.  He reminded me of Mrs. Baird’s legends of the race of giants who once walked Scotland and laid their long bones in the earth of the north.

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (Chapter 24 – By the Pricking of My Thumbs)

The MacKenzie family and I share some common Viking ancestry.  I can’t say it shows as obviously in my physical form, although my eyes are definitely blue like Jamie’s.  I’m also rather pale.

And just what does that have to do with oatcakes, you may ask?


Well, I’m headed off on a little trip —  a family reunion, actually — to Denmark.  And while I’m over the moon to be headed off on another adventure, I’m not looking forward to the food on the plane.  After last time, I swore I would never let airline food pass my lips again.

Which means that I’ve been doing some meal planning, as well as packing.   I made a killer lemon loaf that I’m still bragging about to anyone who will listen.  I packaged up some unsalted cashews, bought some Boursin cheese and chorizo.  I also made a batch of oatcakes.


When we were in Scotland this May, I discovered the only oatcakes I’ve ever eaten with any gusto.  Traditional oatcakes are OK, but I wouldn’t step on an old lady’s toes to get the last one.

However, if there’s a few Herb & Pumpkin Seed Oatcakes hanging around, I’d mind your granny.

I couldn’t find these Nairn ones anywhere nearby when we got home, so I created a recipe from the ingredients I found on the side of the box.  They’re a little nutty, a touch herby, and very delicious with cheese and jam, butter and honey, or all by themselves.

(Looking for the oat bread mentioned in the excerpt?  Try this recipe from Voyager.)

oatcakes unbaked

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Pumpkin Seed & Herb Oatcakes

Modern oatcakes with FLAVOUR.  Like most other oatcakes, they are gluten free — but only if the oats you buy are guaranteed gf by the manufacturer.

Yield: (2) 6” Oatcakes – 16 farls

  • Rolled Oats – 1 ½ Cups
  • Pumpkin Seeds (green, hulled) – ¼ Cup
  • Tapioca Starch or Corn Starch – 1 Tble
  • Sugar or Honey – 2 tsp
  • Fresh Thyme, chopped fine – 1 tsp
  • Fresh Rosemary, chopped fine – 1 tsp
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Baking Soda – ½ tsp
  • Butter, melted – 2 Tble
  • Boiling Water – ¼ Cup

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Grind the rolled oats a coffee grinder in small batches, until a coarse meal — about (5) 1 second pulses.  Use the same technique to grind the pumpkin seeds.

Combine the ground oats, pumpkin seeds, starch, sugar, herbs, salt and soda in a large bowl.  Add the melted butter and boiling water and stir well with a wooden spoon to make a stiff dough, adding more water if required.

Working quickly while the dough is still warm, roll the dough out to ¼” thick on a well-floured board.  Use a 6” plate to cut one large circular oatcake.  Transfer to a baking sheet, then use a sharp knife to cut that into eighths, but do not separate.

Cut a second round if you can, or gather up the remaining dough into a bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon boiling water to make it pliable.  Roll out again and repeat for a second large oatcake.  Transfer to the baking sheet, cut into farls and bake for 15-20 minutes, until light golden.

Store in a covered container…enjoy with cheese and jam, butter and honey, or any way you like.

Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)


  • Alternatively, use a 3” biscuit cutter to cut rounds.  Yield equals 18-20
  • To keep them gluten free, grind up 2 extra tablespoons of oats, and use the meal to flour the board.



  1. leighb5197
    July 31, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Dear Theresa:

    I have a food processor (Kitchen Aid), coffee grinder I reserve for hard spices and plan to purchase either the 600 watt Nutribullet or 700 watt Ninja for whole fruit & veggie smoothies. Is it really necessary to use the coffee grinder for the oats and pumpkin seeds? Also, where does one find green pumpkin seeds? And in a pinch, can oat flour from a reputable health food store substitute for grinding the oats? They store it in the cold, bulk products room.

    My palate clearly isn’t as refined as yours, because I can wolf down an entire box of Walker’s oat cakes. I think my shortbread is a tiny bit better, but considering the time and trouble, I’ll take their ginger shortbread with no compaints.

    If you ever find yourself in NYC, do take a side trip to Brooklyn Heights. While it’s lost a lot of its charm since the chain stores moved in (my friend refers to it as Brooklyn’s Upper East Side), three places (assuming they’re still there) are worth the trip. First, on Remsen Street off Court Street, Perelandra is the health food store I mentioned. Then, backtracking to Court Street, walk south to Atlantic Avenue and turn right. In the middle of the block is Sahadi’s, not just the best of all the Middle Eastern shops, but a place where you can buy virtually everything! They have cheeses from all over the world, for excellent prices, wonderful hummous, babaganoush, and other dishes made by the wife and daughter of the owner, many different kinds of olives — and the list goes on. I used to play a game I called “Stump Sahadi’s”, asking for the most esoteric ingredient I could think of, and I always lost. Until Cammareri’s bakery (made famous by the movie Moonstruck, filmed mostly in the neighborhood) further south on Henry Street shut down, they also carried their fresh indescribably delicious semolina Italian bread. Last, continue west along Atlantic Ave. to Clinton Street. Just across the street there’s a small store (still, I hope), called “Two for the Pot”. The owner’s name is John (you can tell him Leigh with the headaches sent you). John sells coffee beans, which he’ll grind for you, many different teas, both brands like Twinings and loose, nearly every spice imaginable, and many other hard to find items. He’s such a great guy that if he knows Sahadi’s sells it for less, he’ll refer you there. I’ve seen many famous chefs and cookbook authors shopping there. It’s one of the places I missed most when I moved away. I hope it’s still there.

    Theresa, thanks for all you do. I look forward to your reply about the ingredients for the oatcakes, and to finding a new home very soon so I can take my belongings out of storage and bake some! Blessed be, Leigh

    • Theresa
      July 31, 2013 at 6:15 am

      If you have something else to grind the oats and seeds up, by all means use it, Leigh. Alternatively, if you want to buy oat meal (already ground) go for it. You’ll find pumpkin seeds at the same health store, in a bulk food store, or in Safeway. Best of luck!

    • Toni
      September 7, 2014 at 1:03 am

      Hi Theresa,

      as a fellow foody/cook/Outlander fan I cannot thank you enough for you sharing your recipes in this way!

      Ages ago I saw a website that took recipes out of some famous books and actually made them (Mainly from things like Jane Eyre and that time period, etc….) I absolutely loved the site, as it gave me a real feel for the era, and the ‘taste’ of the food. So for you to do this for ‘Outlander’ is a real treat for me 😉

      When I found your site, I got really excited because this is exactly the kind of thing I love. I have recently moved countries (again – I move around a lot), and I am now in Singapore, a place which has a wider range of ingredients available to the discerning shopper. I am dying to get cracking and trying to make some of the recipes you have shared! I have people coming over for Sunday lunch next weekend and I will be trying out some of the things you have posted.

      Thanks again Theresa! Combining cooking the recipes and ‘Outlander’ was a stroke of genius. Well done you!


  2. Tracey
    July 31, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Love the Nairn oatcakes – will have to look out for this variety, in the meantime will have to have a go at these – always wondered lol

    • Theresa
      July 31, 2013 at 6:12 am

      Please try them, Tracey…and let me know what you think! 🙂

    • susan
      September 4, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Just recently found the Nairn oatcakes available from Vitacost (for when you don’t have time to cook)

  3. Janet Mc.
    July 31, 2013 at 5:46 am

    These look AWESOME! What temperature would you recommend baking them at?

    • Theresa
      July 31, 2013 at 6:04 am

      oops! Temp added. 🙂 375 F

  4. Yvette
    July 31, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Yay -we are on a cheese and fruit for dinner kick – I am SO making these tonight so I do not have to jealously watch my husband and daughter enjoy theirs with ciabatta that I cannot eat!

    • Theresa
      July 31, 2013 at 8:15 am

      That`s the kind of comment that makes me smile. Enjoy, and Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)

    • Yvette
      August 6, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Wow, Theresa – these were sooooooo yummy and perfect with all the delicious ripe summer stone fruits and farmers market cheese! I buy the organic certified gf oats from gf harvest. I got a yummy treat that my husband was stealing over his ciabatta :-). I will definitely be making these often instead of buying those so-so rice crackers at whole foods!

    • Theresa
      August 6, 2013 at 9:52 am

      yay, yay, yay! That was exactly my reaction when I tried them the first time in Scotland! “I could eat these, forever…”

  5. lindsck
    July 31, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Nairn is also the name of a wolfhound that Jamie had when he was little . He was Bran’s da. 🙂

    • Theresa
      July 31, 2013 at 8:14 am

      of course! how did I miss that! 🙂

  6. Debbie
    April 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Hellooooo… and thank you. I have made these twice this week, I increased the honey a tad bit and I use a biscuit cutter to make small rounds. Love them…. I am having a heck of a time getting them thin enough, I think…. and they do brown up rather quickly at least in my oven. I had to decrease the heat to 350. My real question is are they supposed to be dry like a cracker, or should they retain a bit of a chew. I have never had anything like these, but I do love them.

    Thank You

    • Theresa
      April 7, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Great question, Debbie! Household ovens tend to vary temperature-wise…some run a little hot, some cold. Others have hot spots in certain corners, etc. It sounds like you`ve got yours figured out. 🙂

      To answer your question, these should be like a dry and crisp like a cracker, but a thick cracker. 1/4″ thick is pretty substantial, but by the time they’re baked, all of the chew should be gone. You can always dry them out a bit more by leaving them in the oven when they’re done, turning off the heat and cracking the door open slightly. The handle of a wooden spoon wedged in the door of the oven works well. Let them sit in there for about an hour before cooling completely on a metal rack on the counter.

      Please let me know if these tips help!

  7. Suzanne Lucero
    August 14, 2014 at 9:10 am

    These oatcakes, and the recipe for bannocks that you posted yesterday (13 Aug2014) have me itching to make them. The only problem right now is we won’t have our new oven for 4 days, yet. One of these two recipes will be the first thing I bake as soon as the new unit is hooked up, though. I promise. 🙂

    • Theresa
      August 14, 2014 at 9:50 am

      I’ll hold you to that! LOL Hang in there…

  8. Mary Guido
    August 16, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Just made them. Yum with Scotch!

    (Especially with Outlander too.)


  9. Amy
    August 21, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Made my first batch of Herb and Seed Pumpkin Oat Cakes! I feel very accomplished. I have thyme and rosemary growing, and always have oats, as well as pumpkin seeds (I used toasted and plain green) on hand. The dough stirred up fairly wet—I didn’t quite get the hang of transferring to the baking sheet and it ripped so I balled it up and rolled it out again, but this time directly on one end of the large parchment-lined baking sheet. Dusted the second ball liberally with flour and patted out a bit (to help judge how wet it might still be before rolling on the other end of the baking sheet), and managed fairly well after that. It was fun cutting the “farls” (learned a new word—thanks). And, lucky me, I found a jar of Scottish Raspberry Preserves in the pantry. Yum on all counts. I’ll definitely make these again. Thanks!

    • Theresa
      August 21, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      Sounds like a successful day in the kitchen!

  10. Mary Guido
    August 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I toasted these at a very low temperature for a verra long time, flipping them over and over, until they were cracker/biscotti/hardtack consistency. Then munched on them over a week. So good with Scotch!

    Thank you very munch. 😉

  11. Barbara Sorensen
    September 6, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    I made the Crowdie and these Oatcakes today, wonderful, wonderful recipes! Thank you. I used sunflower seeds and Herbs De Provence for the oatcakes because I had them on hand. I flavored the Crowdie with sea salt, cracked pepper and fresh sage, it’s lovely.

  12. Amy
    September 10, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Theresa,
    Made my 2nd batch—this time baked in the toaster oven (I ruined my large old oven for baking so am trying to find good work-arounds)—success! I cut 2 parchment pieces slightly larger than the approx. 6″ x 9.5″ toaster oven baking pan and patted 1/2 of the dough onto each piece, keeping the shape rectangular and slightly smaller than the pan, and the edges in a smooth line; folded back and tucked under the excess parchment once it was positioned in the pan. I cut one tray into planks and the other into triangles (though not farls, they were still nice shapes). The planks worked well as a base for deli mustard & thin ham slices—I think Ned Gowan might be happier to get “Rent” pigs if he could enjoy ham this way. I also added small slivers of sugared ginger to the top of the ham on a few planks and liked the flavor combinations.
    Thanks again for the recipe!

  13. Molly
    September 11, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Goodness these are delicious! I needed to use up some oat flour so that was a sub as well as having to use dried herbs –but so tasty anyway. With fresh herbs these must be off-the-scale-good. Yummy with crowdie and also with some leftover passata from today’s canning. Thank you for sharing your great recipes.

  14. Trish
    September 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    My crowdie is in the fridge and these oatcakes are in the oven and smell heavenly. Thank you for such great recipes!

  15. Joyce Rankin
    October 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I love the idea of the pumpkin seeds and the herbs, but these would be even better with the use of traditional oatmeal. Unlike rolled oats, oatmeal is not steamed before being ground, (or in the case of the rolled oats, milled).

  16. Dawn
    February 1, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I have to say that thanks to the show we have started to look into are family back ground . Things that keep coming up are things we have seen in the show . Thanks to you I have found that some of my grandmothers recipes have indeed come from Scotland .
    Are oat cakes are not as healthy as yours but they are some thing that has been passed down from family to family .

    • Theresa
      February 2, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Family recipes are the best, for so many reasons.

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