How to make traditional oatcakes, aka savory oat crackers, to serve with cheese boards, cured salmon, dips and spreads.
- Go straight to the Recipe Card or
- Read on for relevant tips and step-by-step pictures (1 min)
In the British, Irish and Scottish culinary traditions an oatcake is a flat cracker or biscuit, with some versions using yeast and resembling pancakes. They are prepared with oatmeal as the primary ingredient and usually include a bit of flour as well. Traditionally baked in the oven (or cooked on a griddle when yeasted) oatcakes are a simple and delicious treat to have on hand.
This recipe is a modern version of classic Irish oatcakes in that it uses Irish butter and rolled oats, but it also omits sugar and replaces it with walnuts to create a savory, nuttier flavor and better texture. The oat crackers are rolled in sesame seeds (optional) for yet another layer of flavor. We include the classic Irish version too, but highly recommend the nuttier variant showcased in this post. The resulting oatcakes are buttery, rich and crunchy. They pair so well with Guinness stout, Black and Tan and Irish cheese!
- Rolled oats. The backbone for these savory crackers. Do not use instant oats or steel cut oats.
- Whole wheat flour. If you do not have whole wheat flour on hand you can use oats flour instead or even all-purpose as a last resort.
- Butter. The better quality the butter, the better the oatcakes will taste. To that end use Irish butter (or other European butter as a substitute). Its all about the richness.
- Walnuts. Raw walnuts, very finely chopped or ground (pulse in a food processor a few times). For a full-bodied texture and nutty flavor. If you want to omit them, add extra oats in the same amount.
- Egg. To bind the ingredients together. Traditional oatcakes using only oatmeal sometimes call for hot water or melted butter, but here we add ground walnuts and an egg is used for both its binding properties and for moisture.
- Salt and dried thyme. To season the crackers.
- Sesame seeds. To roll the oatcakes in before you bake them. Completely optional.
Step by Step Process
- Make the dough. Grate the butter, then add the rolled oats and whole wheat flour and press them together with your hands until well combined. Add the walnuts, thyme and salt and press to combine. Finally add and incorporate the beaten egg.
- Shape and bake the oatcakes. Using a tablespoon measure out and form about a dozen balls of dough. Roll them in sesame seeds as shown below, then arrange onto a parchment paper sheet and lightly press them with a rolling pin to flatten them out. Carefully transfer to a baking sheet, then bake for 12 to 14 minutes at 350 F. You will see the butter getting all bubbly on top as the dough darkens. Transfer to a wire rack and allow the oat crackers to cool down completely.
Ways to Enjoy Oatcakes
- Perhaps the most quintessential way to savor an oatcake is to slather it with some quality Irish butter.
- Different preserves and chutneys go well with the oat crackers as well as various cheeses and cheese spreads. We typically bake oatcakes to use as part of cheese boards, especially Irish themed ones like this one.
- Savory dips such as this smoked trout dip or cured salmon, thinly sliced and with a bit of cream cheese are another way to enjoy the savory oat crackers.
You Might Also Like
- 7 tbsp Irish butter
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 3 tbsp whole wheat (or oat flour)*
- 1/3 cup ground (finely chopped) raw walnuts**
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional, to roll the oatcakes in)
1. Heat oven to 350 F and chill butter in freezer for 10 minutes.
2. In a bowl grate the chilled butter, add the rolled oats and flour and press with your hands until all three are well combined.
3. Add the walnuts, thyme and salt and press again to incorporate. Add the beaten egg and work in into the dough.
4. Measure out about a dozen 1 tbsp dough pieces and roll them into balls. If using sesame, place the seeds onto a plate and roll each dough ball evenly with seeds. Arrange balls onto 2 separate parchment papers, gently press each ball with a dough roller to flatten. Holding onto the parchment paper sides transfer onto 2 baking sheets.
5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the oat crackers darken and the butter is bubbly on top. Once out of the oven transfer to a wire rack and allow oatcakes to cool down completely.
*To impart a nuttier flavor. You can substitute with all purpose flour.
**Alternatively you can pulse them a few times in food processor.
If you'd rather make classic Irish oatcakes, use this old-fashioned variant of the recipe which is on the sweeter side:
Mix 2 cups rolled oats, 6 tbsp sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. Melt 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter and combine it with the dry ingredients. Roll out the mixture to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out cakes using a ring cutter. Combine dough scraps and roll out again to use fully. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 157mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g