How to Make Scottish Cranachan

Updated on January 1, 2020
Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.


Cranachan and the Mystery of the Definitive Recipe

Cranachan is probably the most famous Scottish dessert recipe. It is usually made by combining fresh Scottish raspberries with cream, whisky, oatmeal and even honey. The unusual thing about Cranachan is in the number of incredibly varied and even contradictory recipes that can be found for its preparation. This is one interpretation of Cranachan but you will find included a "Useful Links" section at the bottom of this page, which will hopefully help to demonstrate the inconsistencies and differences of opinion which exist.

Cranachan Ingredients
Cranachan Ingredients

Cranachan Ingredients

  • 12 fresh Scottish raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon single malt whisky (see very important note below)
  • 2 fluid ounces fresh double cream (heavy cream in the USA)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid honey
  • 1 teaspoon medium oatmeal

A Word About the Whisky Used in Cranachan

Very often, Cranachan will be prepared using Drambuie, which is a Scottish whisky liqueur. In this instance, the honey should be omitted from the recipe or at least significantly reduced in quantity as Drambuie already contains honey and other sweeteners.

Where using single malt as in this recipe, avoid using an overly peaty type such as Laphroaig or Ardbeg. A smoother flavoured whisky such as Glenmorangie, or as in this instance, Jura, will make for a much more enjoyable dish.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Raspberries Steeped in Single Malt WhiskyToasting the OatmealHoney and Cream Top the Raspberries
Raspberries Steeped in Single Malt Whisky
Raspberries Steeped in Single Malt Whisky
Toasting the Oatmeal
Toasting the Oatmeal
Honey and Cream Top the Raspberries
Honey and Cream Top the Raspberries

Cranachan Instructions

  1. Although it is not absolutely essential, I like to steep the raspberries in the whisky for around an hour before assembling the cranachan. I simply add the raspberries to a glass bowl, pour over the whisky and stir very gently, so as not to damage the raspberries. I then cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate.
  2. The only cooking required in this Cranachan recipe is the toasting of the oatmeal. A dry frying pan should be brought to fairly high heat and the oatmeal added. It will take five minutes or so to toast and care is required to ensure that it doesn't burn. The pan should be gently shaken at regular intervals to ensure even toasting and should not be left unattended.
  3. Assembling the Cranachan begins with adding the raspberries and the whisky to a small glass serving dish. The honey should then be spooned over the top.
  4. The cream should be whipped to the stage where it starts to form soft peaks.
  5. The oatmeal should then be scattered on top as an effective garnish. If desired, a little more honey can be drizzled lightly and carefully over the oatmeal as a finishing touch.

Ideally, the Cranachan should be served immediately.

Cranachan Ready to Serve
Cranachan Ready to Serve

© 2010 Gordon Hamilton

Have you ever tasted Cranachan? How do you rate your knowledge of real Scottish food and drink?

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    • Gordon Hamilton profile imageAUTHOR

      Gordon Hamilton 

      7 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, Susan. In a traditional sense, you are of course absolutely correct. There are no wild rasps to be found in Scotland in January. As is so often the case in the modern world, however, foodstuffs are available from other climes the whole year round, allowing traditional dishes (of sorts) to be prepared out of season. This means that there are occasions where cranachan will be served at Burns Suppers where it never would have been before. Purists of course will not relent and the dish will be reserved for late summer. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      been told this is not a burns night pudding as they couldn't get raspberrys at this time of the year ?

    • Gordon Hamilton profile imageAUTHOR

      Gordon Hamilton 

      9 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thanks, Japamwellows. Cranachan is indeed made in a great many different ways but can be truly delicious.

    • Japemwellows profile image


      9 years ago from 5ifth Dimensi0n

      Cranachan, I've never heard of it before. I love raspberries though..this recipe sounds great! nice hub Gordon.


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