Traditional Scottish Stovies

Traditional Scottish Stovies - The ultimate comfort food, Scottish Stovies are loved by a nation for good reason. So simple to make and really delicious |

So this could be a highly contentious post. I once read that if you asked one hundred Scots folk how to make stovies, you’d get one hundred different recipes. This is so very true. Stovies are a dish that probably every Scottish person recognises. It’s a national dish, but one that gets less international attention than the likes of haggis or battered mars bars. You get stovies served at parties; at weddings; basically any Scottish social gathering. They’re that awesome.

Traditional Scottish Stovies - The ultimate comfort food, Scottish Stovies are loved by a nation for good reason. So simple to make and really delicious |

I always think of stovies as the perfect comfort food. It’s a potato based dish, to which you can add pretty much any type of meat, although mince or corned beef are most popular. My recipe is not traditional. But it uses what I tend to have to hand in the cupboard, and is pretty bloody tasty (if I do say so myself). The kids lap it up and it always results in empty plates. So it’s a staple meal in the HC house. Just please don’t lynch me because its not ‘how mummy used to make it’ (it’s not even how my mum makes stovies, it’s just how I’ve come to make them).

Traditional Scottish Stovies - The ultimate comfort food, Scottish Stovies are loved by a nation for good reason. So simple to make and really delicious |

potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 beef stock cube / stock pot
1 beef oxo cube
1 tin of corned beef, cubed
salt & pepper

I’ve not given a quantity for the potatoes as I tend to go by how many I’m cooking for. I’ll assign a small potato each to the kids, then a couple for every adult, plus an extra couple to be safe. If I’m just cooking for the kids I’ll only need half an onion and half a tin of corned beef. You can freeze corned beef. If there’s leftovers (not including what I eat whilst I’m dishing out) then that’s a billy-bonus.

1. Heat your oil in a large pan then add the onion, and cook it really well so that it gets nicely browned. It’s important you add lots of flavour to your onion so don’t be afraid to overcook it.


2. Add the sliced potato, the stock cube, the oxo cube and about 300ml of water. Give a good stir.

Note: Traditional stovies are made using beef dripping. This isn’t something I normally have to hand, so I’ve had to add the meaty taste from elsewhere. I find the stock pots really good for this (either the normal beef one or the rich beef – both are good), but a regular beef stock cube would also work. The oxo cube adds colour and extra flavour – I add beef oxo cubes to pretty much everything meaty, it’s kind of my secret ingredient (just not that secret). I love them and think they add a lovely rich flavour to any kind of meat dish (bolognese; stew; I even add them to chicken gravy!). They always feature in my cupboard supplies.


3. Put the lid of the pan on and let it simmer. Every so often give it a good stir. The potatoes will start to stick to the bottom, so with every stir, scrape the bottom of the pan. This is good, it all adds flavour. As you stir, the potatoes will begin to break up which is what you want.


4. Once the potatoes have softened and absorbed most of the stock, add your meat. Give it a good stir so everything is combined and check your seasoning. The corned beef can be quite salty, so it’s best to check the seasoning once it’s been added. Season as required.


This is not a pretty dish. Indeed, I’m sure some out there could be quite inventive in describing just what it looks like. But it’s tasty. It truly is. And its simple. If you like potatoes and corned beef, do give this a go. And let me know how you get on – I love hearing when folk have made anything from the blog! 😀

Traditional Scottish Stovies - The ultimate comfort food, Scottish Stovies are loved by a nation for good reason. So simple to make and really delicious |


Oh and serve it with a good splodge of ketchup.

Happy cooking!

Traditional Scottish Stovies - The ultimate comfort food, Scottish Stovies are loved by a nation for good reason. So simple to make and really delicious |

Author: Sarah Margetts

Busy mum of four, cooking up a storm.

75 thoughts on “Traditional Scottish Stovies”

  1. Iv tryed to cook stovies a few times with limited success saw this recipe went and got all the ingredients and followed your instructions. Turned out great thanks for sharing

    1. Try making this dish with Scottish square sausage. Just lay them on top of the partly cooked potato mixture, ( leave out the corned beef).Yes, the potato does stick to the bottom of the pan, however, this is required, it gives you the right amount of chewy bits at the bottom. Just keep checking the liquid in case it becomes completely dry.

  2. Even my 18 year old, hates trying new food, step son devoured this! Love this recipe and will definitely cook it again! 🙂

  3. I keep coming back to your recipe every time i make stovies…yours is definately one of the best! x

  4. I love cooking, but for some reason had never made stovies – until tonight. Your recipe tastes just like the great stovies I had at family new year parties as a child. I made double the quantity in your recipe and added a wee bit more water to loosen it and although it was already lovely, I added a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce (that’s my own not so secret ingredient to lots of stew type dishes!) for an extra kick. Thank you for the recipe Sarah, it was spot on and I’ll save it for future use!

    1. That’s fantastic Michelle, I’m so glad it was a hit! I like Worcestershire sauce in my shepherds pie, I imagine it’s a great addition to Stovies too 😀

  5. Corned beef hash pretending to be stovies. Your chat about 100 Scots and 100 recipes is rubbish pal.

    1. Peter,

      It is what it is.
      Stovies are traditionally Scottish. Many countries have variations using the same, or similar, ingredients. Your comment, although uncalled for, is in partially correct. The style is common but the outcome is different. If you had ever tasted stovies you would realize there is a significant difference. The consistency and flavor are unique. I am Scottish by birth, growing up on the east coast for 32 years before moving Stateside. I have been in the USA for 35 years, (do the math, I’m 67). I know the difference between corned beef hash and stovies.
      Hash is great for breakfast but if you want comfort food on a cold winters night, nothing beats a steaming hot plate of stovies!
      As they say, “Nuff said”.


  6. Hi,

    I actually run a small catering business at events like highland games and, one of my recipies is stovies. Whilst I do hear what you say about many variations, I would also call this corned beef hash but hey ho never mind. Loads of people also say the same.

    My stovies are a wee bit posher and taste great (as does corned beef hash) so, if you have time have a go. Made from beef topside which has a dry rub of brown sugar (1 Cup) and smoked paprika (1 table spoon), leave the joint with the rub in a bag in the fridge for 24hrs. Slow cook the joint in a slow cooked with about 1 pint of water or, in an ovenproof dish in water. To top that off bake a few potatoes then scoop the spudz out, assemble together as explained above with fried onion and use the meat jucies to moisten the mix then…………..enjoy

    1. See this is what I mean about variations 🙂 – to me my recipe is most definitely stovies – corned beef hash is drier, you cook the potatoes separately from any stock, then just mix through with onion and meat. To be honest, your recipe sounds more like hash to me 😉 Sounds good though.

    2. Hmm sounds like pretentious hash to me!
      Stovies are whatever meat is left on your stove hence the name stovies and all thrown into a pot.
      I’m from Aberdeen and make my stovies very similar to this recipe, although I use a pressure cooker and instead of stock/cubes I use gravy salt. Now if that’s not authentic then nothing is as its a recipe that’s been passed down for generations.
      This is a great fool proof recipe and I don’t understand the haters!

  7. Wow Sarah I might be wrong but it sounds like your’e being rounded upon for having the ‘cheek’ to call your dish stovies.
    Having been brought up on said potato onion and meat dish I have found recipes vary door to door…..even family members do it different…….my point being…….yours are stovies….not hash…..what matters more they are fantastic….mon the stovies

      1. There definitely stovies.
        I’m 100℅ Scottish.
        My nan made her stovies the same as u do & that’s from years down the family.

  8. My Dad always made a huge pot of stovies for Hogmany. As for the comments regarding hash: hash browns are drier and the ingredients are cooked all together. Stovies are much wetter, and taste much better. Although the ingredients are similar, the cooking method is different. It would be like saying Frikadeller is the same a meatballs is the same as hamburger. Nationally diverse but integrally similar. Ignore the “hah brown” trolls.

  9. My mum made stovies from left over beef and sausage stew. We always had it with HP sauce not ketchup

  10. Made big pot of tattie soup with about a 700g of beef chuck (stewing/casserole beef). and my soup always needs more liquid added on the second day, but instead I made stovies with it. I just added more boiled tatties, carrots and some sausage came up a treat.

    BTW: I love Italian and French cuisine and have got into the habit of starting off my tattie soup with mirepoix I also use 50/50 beef and chicken liquid stock, non traditional, but richer flavour. I also added some dried thyme with the sausages as they browned, then added some water for them to stew a bit before cutting them up and adding all to the soup/stovies as I start reducing the mix to let them stew a bit. It was yum and today we are having stovies toasties with the leftovers.

  11. Great recipe and simple to make with no fuss ingredients ! Loved every mouthful . Ignore the haters .

  12. One off the easiest dishes to make, been making it for over 20 years, mum makes it as well, i tend to add a bit of turnip in mine, we always make a huge pot full for new year, if we have any left over, we put it in a dish and put puff pastry on top, a nice bit of pickled red cabbage goes nice with it, it’s a staple in our home, even English people love this dish, don’t what I would classed as, been living in Scotland since 1975, I was nearly 2, anyway, do give it a go making it at home,.

  13. Brilliant, first time I’ve ever made stovies and your recipe worked a treat. Thank you for sharing:-)

  14. If you use know stock cubes instead of oxo, this recipe will become gluten free

  15. I found your recipe last night and knew I had to try it today! Even though it’s the middle of summer, Is there ever a wrong time for stovies?! First time I have made stovies with corned beef and I’m converted! Thanks for sharing!

  16. This was really good. I was sceptical something so simple would taste like stovies, but it did. Thanks!

  17. Stovies IS NOT CORNBEEF HASH, Stovies are made with “potatoes, link sausage, onion.
    Please let’s get rid of the cornbeef,

    1. I must admit, I’m Scottish born and bred, but have never heard of stovies being made with link sausage. Mince, yes. Stew, yes. Corned beef, yes. But each to their own 🙂

  18. Just found your blog and made this as my South of England fiance’s introduction to stovies. He is definitely a convert! Thank you – going to try to make your tablet next, but am lactose intolerant so first have to make my own condensed milk with lacto-free stuff!

  19. The recipe above is cornbeef hash and not stovies! Stovies are made with square sausages…..everyone knows that surely??

  20. I have never tried anything with canned meat. I am very curious about my heritage and what they at. OMG this is so good. My 5 yr old asked for seconds. She never does that.

  21. I call that cornbeef hash,mum made it alot when I was young as it was cheap and there were 6 children to feed.

  22. Loved stovies growing up and have had it multiple ways and “Real Stovies” simply use any meat as that is the point…

    I use a similar recipe to yours BUT also add sausage and the ends of pretty much anything I have kicking about LOL (with Corned Beef)

    I use Chicken Stock cube too and the whole combination works great with a wee bit lea & perrins…

    The only thing you are missing is a wee whisky to wash my big pile of meat down.

  23. That is corn beef hash stovies are made with square sausage tatties onions if you like them and gravy.

  24. Stovies in the 1940s in the East of Glasgow were always made with corned beef and regarded as a “staple”.

    Inhabitants of Corstorphine and Bearsden or Milngavie probably had access to posher meats in the 1940s!

  25. i always layered sliced potatoes ,fried onions ,and slice sausage or left over mince .put a layer of lard in the bottom of the pot then your layers. Next dissolve a beef stock cube in enough water to come 3/4. Up the pot cover the pot with wax paper then the lid on top ,this makes a good seal,,bring to a boil then turn down to low heat and let it steam for a couple of hours you will get a nice crunchie bottom layer

  26. This is so close to my mum’s recipe it’s untrue!! It’s been a traditional dish every Christmas Eve in our house, as long as I can remember (37 years) and I’m making it tonight for my kids. Thanks for the recipe and probably saving my sanity!

  27. Thanks Sarah,
    I love stovies….I did not have any oxo cubes on hand but…The wife had just made bone broth so i used that instead……..WOW…..And i am from Scotland…….nothing like corned beef hash…which i also like.

  28. This recipe worked out amazing, I doubled up the ingredients to make them for my husbands work colleagues on Christmas Eve they were very impressed. Thank you for sharing it xx

  29. You are dead right! Atasty quick meal so handy right now with shops running out of everything. It is freezing outside, toads are icy, but we sit in front of the fire in our cosy room eating Stovies. Perfect!!!

  30. Terrific recipe. First mouthful, and I was transported back 40+ years to the hearty meal enjoyed when visiting my grandmother.

    (Still can’t understand why every dictionary I check – even the inestimable OED (even the online, and most up-to-date, version) – continues to exclude a word so well-known to generations of the Scots diaspora around the globe.)

  31. Being of Scottish blood, however born and raised in the U.S. I am trying different recipes from Scotland and the UK. Granted I can’t just go out and buy square sausages, thus I used you recipe here, I can only imagine it with something authentic. I do have to substitute a lot of things meat wise, however this recipe is just wonderful. I see why it is a comfort food. I thank you for posting it, and rest assured when we all gather at my house this Friday night I shall have made stovies for everyone and I know already that there won’t be any leftovers. Thank you for sharing.

  32. Thee best Traditional Scottish Stovies ever. Go on, you know you wanna give them a try.

    Thanks HC

  33. Thanks for the recipe for traditional stovies tasted delicious much obliged

  34. As a Scotsman, i’ve been making stovies for near on 40 years, i even converted my English wife! I have 2 variations, but only in the meat, the method is the same. For just a bowl of stovies i use pork sausages cut up into 2-3 pieces. I always quarter my potatoes, diced carrot, onion and turnip (turnip is a must in my own books) and chopped raw bacon then add the meat and seasoning, i tend not to use salt, so i use veg stock pot / cube a spash of water and let it do away at the lowest possible heat. Tend it now and again, cook with lid on till it’s almost ready then layer the top with sliced corned beef and pop the lit on for 15 mins. Come back, add a dolop of butter and stir the corned beef and butter through, season as need be. For occasions and at the right time of year i replace the sausage with mutton, i serve with a slice of grilled black pudding and some buttered crusty bread 🙂 I agree, there are thousands of variations, the sausage version was passed down to me and i’ve made it my own and also added the mutton element. Hope someone makes this version and enjoys. Remember, there’s no quick way to make stovies, the best things in life need tending and take time! Enjoy

  35. Made ur stovies for the first time all I can say is FANTASTIC will be making them likethis from now on thank so so much will get brownie points for this HAHA

  36. 100 different recipes, more than accurate. My mum got her recipe from my gran, who was from forris, Bit posher than the norm she would use mince, second day mince then add corn beef. I have now made it vegetarian, with tatties, onion, quorn mince n sausage. Served with skirlie and extra gravy. Stovies are stovies the world over no matter where you are when you smell em then eat them you think of Scotland 🙂

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