Set Currency: My Account (0) Item(s)

Haggis: Ultimate No.1 Cooking Guide

Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 19th January 2015, last updated: 15th January 2021

In anticipation of the fantastic Scottish tradition of Burns Night on the 25th January, we are hoping some of our Lords, Lairds and Ladies out there in the wider world will join us to celebrate. To help you prepare, we are featuring some Burns Night recipes this week.

Haggis” by Bernt Rostad is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What is haggis?

Haggis is a savoury pudding which is made up of sheep’s pluck (otherwise known as heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt. It is mixed with stock, and cooked while traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach, although now it is often in an artificial casing instead.

It is believed that haggis was created, “born of necessity, as a way to utilise the least expensive cuts of meat and the innards as well”.

Despite the slightly unappetising description, haggis is a delicious traditional Scottish dish, particularly popular on special occasions such as New Year’s Eve and Robert Burns Night. It is renown for it’s excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour.

Haggis is traditionally served with neeps and tatties, boiled and mashed separately, and a wee dram of Scotch whisky, especially as the main course of a Burns Supper.

Interesting fact for you: According to one poll, 33 percent of American visitors to Scotland believed haggis to be an animal.

Where can I get haggis?

Throughout Scotland you can buy haggis from the majority of local butchers and also from many of the larger supermarkets. For a reliable haggis, we recommend MacSweens.

Macsween is a third generation family company which was initially established as a butchers shop in Edinburgh back in the 1950’s. They are passionate about making the best quality and best tasting food as well as promoting sustainability.

As well as their delicious everyday haggis, they now also make both vegetarian and gluten free versions, so there really is a haggis for everyone.

Vegetarian haggis was first available commercially in 1984, and now can account for between 25% and 40% of sales. It substitutes various pulses, nuts and vegetables for the meat.

One place that you definitely won’t be able to get traditional haggis is the United States. Since 1971 it has been illegal to import sheep’s lung. Meaning that if you see it on the shelves across the pond, you know it is definitely an imitation and not the real deal!

How to cook haggis:

For a 1 lb (500g) haggis either:

  1. Preheat the oven to fan 180C/conventional 200C/gas 6. Remove the outer packaging from it, then prick all over with a fork, wrap in foil like a baked potato and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  2. Alternatively, you can simmer (but don’t boil) it in a pan of water for about 1 hour per 500g.

To serve, split open the haggis with a sharp knife and spoon the contents over neeps and tatties or serve separately.

The accompaniments: clapshot & whisky sauce

These can be made while the haggis is cooking.



How to make clapshot

Clapshot originated in Orkney, and is a neat way to serve ‘bashed neeps’ and ‘clampit tatties’ (that’s mashed swede and creamed potatoes). It’s very easy to make and takes about 25 minutes. Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 500g/1lb floury potatoes for mashing (Maris Piper or King Edward both mash well)
  • 500g/1lb Swede
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 75ml/2.5fl oz double cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper


  1.  First, peel and chop your potatoes and swede. Place in a pan of boiling salted water and boil separately for about 18 minutes or until soft. Depending on the potatoes, these can sometimes be ready before the swede which is why it’s best to boil separately.
  2.  When both are cooked drain them and mash together. Add butter and cream and mash some more, then stir in the chopped chives and add salt and pepper to taste.
  3.  Serve immediately or keep warm.

How to make whisky sauce


Whisky sauce

That’s whisky without an ‘e’ please, we’re in Scotland now!  This is a very easy sauce to make and takes about 5 minutes.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • Half a pint (300ml) Double (heavy) cream
  • 2 tablespoons Scottish heather honey
  • 2 tablespoons Wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Whisky (Blended. Don’t waste a good malt on cooking, drink it!)


  1. Pour the cream into a small heavy-based saucepan, stir in mustard and honey and bring to just below boiling point stirring continuously. Do not let it boil. Just before serving stir in the whisky and heat for one more minute. Taste the sauce. If you think it needs more whisky then add another spoonful. These things are a matter of personal taste.
  2. If you like your sauces less sweet, then you can leave out the honey and add chives instead.
  3. Now all that’s left to do is serve and enjoy! Mmm.

About the author

Written by: Stewart Borland

Comments on this post

  • james walker
    23/01/15 - 18:33


  • Ann Bennie
    24/01/15 - 01:54

    Oh we so love haggis and I am going to give this whisky sauce a whirl…..sounds so savoury….our kind of eating……thank you for sharing!!

  • Linda Preston
    24/01/15 - 03:13

    OK so this was not how to cook haggis It is how to heat it up! My Grand mother taught me how to cook haggis from scratch!!!

  • Glyn Edwards
    24/01/15 - 10:45

    “Wrap your haggis in silver foil and place in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.” But at what heat, pray, what gas mark? There’s nothing worse than undercooked haggis!

  • Albert Hildebrandt
    24/01/15 - 14:23

    Very nice,had it at St Andrews,it was piped in with all the trimmings,sword and whisky.Great time had by not remember much after the third whisky,bottle that is,took days to come out of it …..

  • joanne
    24/01/15 - 18:58

    you have my mouth watering here just hope my hubby can get me one though its not the same as one from a butchers in SCOTLAND enjoy your BURNS NIGHT WHERE EVER YOU ARE

  • Maria Fionda
    25/01/15 - 00:22

    Aboslutely delicious …. Happy Burns Night

  • Caitlín Matthews
    29/01/15 - 22:52

    I disgorge my haggis from its case and cook it in Forfar Bridies (wee pasties for southerners!) and serve with rumbledethumps (cabbage strewn mash of whatever sorts I have inthe kitchen.) It makes two great meals for two people and is the most economical dish in the world!

  • Stephen Engel
    04/02/15 - 01:01

    no better Haggis than McSweens! I used to do the “messages” for my grandmother in Morningside Edinburgh as a child and always included a Haggis from the McSweens shop I. Church Street. What a treat!

    • Thursa Wilde
      04/02/15 - 13:57

      ‘Do the messages’ is old Scottish slang for going shopping, for those who might be wondering! Thanks for sharing that Stephen 🙂

  • Dennis B. Cutter
    06/02/15 - 15:41

    Us poor people here in the US have to settle for a somewhat toned down version of Haggis as some of the ingredients are not allowed here. I did find a place in Bangor, ME that sold a version that comes in a case like sausage I assume and no sheep’s lungs so it’s not 100%. Ah it’s tough to live in the boonies, lol

  • Derek Henderson
    06/02/15 - 15:59

    I have haggis several times a month, every month of the year. Too good to only have it on Burns night. I de-skin it, cut it into chunks and microwave it on medium for six minutes. No difference in taste from conventional methods of cooking.

  • Derek Henderson
    06/02/15 - 16:08

    Haggis are born left or right handed. The left handed ones have longer legs on their left so they run around the Scottish mountains clockwise (to the left). Right handed ones run anticlockwise. Easiest way to catch one is to hide behind a rock until one runs by. Then pick it up and turn it round. With its shorter legs now on the downhill side it will roll down to the bottom of the mountain to be picked up by the gillies.

  • Lionel W. Bell
    06/02/15 - 16:18

    I once made a Haggis myself after forcing a German butcher to get the meaty ingredients for it. He did, to include the sheep’s stomach, but did not quite understand the religious fanaticism here involved!

    But this unhappily is not the recipe I’d hope to find here and I really don’t think that “Wrap your haggis in silver foil and place in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.” will be at all successful, unless somebody thinks of turning the heat on …

  • Hally Hardie
    06/02/15 - 17:31

    For something in excess of 30 years now I have cooked my haggis (from Macdonalds of Pitlochry) in the microwave, pricked natural skin (not plastic) in a covered Pyrex dish. For a 1.5 lb haggis this usually means 4-5 mins @ full power, stand for 2-3 mins, then maybe a further 2 mins depending on how it’s gone. Just ensure it’s been cooked – piping hot – right through. This is much quicker, much easier, and just as good as the traditional and very lengthy alternatives. OK you may well finish up with a split skin rather than a complete body, but it’s worth it for the time saved. My parents used to steam them for 2 – 3 hours minimum.

  • Stephen Cooper
    06/02/15 - 22:54

    I belong to a Masonic Lodge in Waterloo County, in Ontario, Canada, and for years now our lodge has had a Burns Luncheon and we have done exactly what is Burns Dinners protocol. Everyone who attends loves it and even those who are sceptical leave having enjoyed the haggis. My wife and I enjoy haggis four or five times a year. Single Malt is enjoyed all year.

  • Ken Platt
    07/02/15 - 07:10

    Being Scots born,Ayr,but living in England since I was a child, I can now feel close to my roots by owning,all be it a small piece, of my homeland. I now feel honoured to being able to do this and thank Highland Titles for making this possible.
    We are now planning a long overdue trip to visit my plot and my birth place and sample the many delights I know Scotland has to offer.
    I can’t wait.:-)

  • peuterey pronuncia
    05/06/15 - 11:02

    I love McSweens haggis

  • Chibueze
    23/09/15 - 13:28

    I ve heard of people using muslin squares instead of a stomach pouch or artificial casing, but I ve not seen the results of that and have no idea how well it would work. Put the haggis in the stomach pouch into a big pan with cold water and add the water the meat was cooked in.

  • boxfon
    27/10/15 - 16:24

    But it works here and the taste is virtually the same. My heart s in the Highlands is the title of another of Burns poems so the heart-shape and the title seemed fitting.

  • Kat Lakie
    21/01/16 - 01:54

    I live in Australia from Scottish ancestor Cpt. Charles Lakie from Abroath….I haven’t heard the expression ‘do the messages’ since I was a little girl, some 60 odd years ago, but that was what ‘doing the shopping’ was called back then in my home. Thank you for sharing and bringing me a long forgotten part of my past.

  • Lord Hally and Lady Lin
    14/02/18 - 17:39

    I’ve been buying my Haggis from MacDonalds of Pitlochry for over 30 years now, and have never had anything but praise for their product. I also microwave my Haggis, a 1lb Haggis needing maybe 8 mins in 3 bursts of 2 to 3 mins. 750W.

    For a special dish try stuffing Haggis into a Chicken or Turkey breast, cook as desired, and serve with preferred veg. and cheese sauce laced with Whisky. My Christmas Turkey normally gets a Haggis stuffing, as well as oatmeal or chestnut.

  • Julia Price-Kent
    27/02/18 - 06:16

    I was hoping to see a recipe on HOW TO COOK HAGGIS not how to buy pre-made haggis. Missed the mark on this one.

  • ThomasWat
    11/03/18 - 07:01

    Living in France is one thing desired by many individuals. If you want to live in France then you have to get French property. You can read the advertisement section of the newspapers which has the section of houses for sale in France. After making a suitable choice, you should research about the properties for sale in France. French property is now a days very much wanted also.

    If you want to live in France and spend your life there you should select a proper house. French property is not cheap and you need to make a major investment. You must also know about the properties for sale in France at various locations. The houses for sale in France come in different prices depending on the location

  • MartinFar
    13/04/18 - 01:26

    Hi All im noob here. Good article! Thx! Love your stories!

Got something to say? Leave a comment