What is Burns Night?

Burns Night is widely renowned as a commemoration of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns' birthday. Every year on 25 January, this night is celebrated – and not just in Scotland but in spots around the world – with a feast showcasing the best of traditional Highlands cuisine.


So, whether you're Scottish or not, get ready to raise a wee dram of whisky and serve up a splendid supper with haggis taking pride of place at the table. We've got a great selection of recipes and tips on putting together a Burns Night menu to remember...

For ideas on what to do on Burns Night, we have a useful guide on some classic Burns Night menu ideas which will put you in the mood to celebrate. For alternative recipes and ideas, head to our vegetarian and vegan Burns Night. There's whiskey cocktails and mulled drinks galore in our best ever Burns Night cocktails collection.

Burns Night menu ideas

Starters and mains

Haggis neeps & tatties

Furnish your menu with a cock-a-leekie soup starter, followed by traditional haggis (if you dare) with neeps and tatties. Our haggis neeps and tatties is the most traditional you can get, with creamy potatoes and swede. You could also try serving them as clapshot where the roots are mashed together.

crispy neeps and tatties cake

If haggis isn't your thing, then don't worry. We've got lots of alternatives for a culinary Highland fling like a sort-of Scotch broth, our crispy neeps'n' tatties cake for the main event and this mega Highland beef with pickled walnuts & puff pastry tops.

More like this

See our Burns Night recipe collection for plenty more Scottish delicacies.

Main: All hail the haggis!


If you've never tried haggis, or have a bad memory of eating it, you should give this meat pudding another chance. It is central to a Burns Night celebration and paying a little more for a high-quality product is certainly worth it.

You may wish to carry out the entire customary procedure of playing the bagpipes whilst the haggis is brought in, before addressing it with Burns' elaborate ode Address to Haggis. But we wouldn't blame you for just tucking straight in!

Find out how to cook this classic Burns Night centrepiece in our guide that also answers the question: what is haggis?

See our recipe for baked haggis or try making a vegan haggis.

Burns Night dessert

Raspberry cranachan trifle

End the meal with delightfully creamy raspberry cranachan trifle, a twist on the original cranachan recipe but equally as delicious. Or you could try a comforting clootie dumpling made from fruit and spices and served with warm custard or ice cream.

Celebratory drinks


Following a recital of Address to a Haggis, a whisky toast is traditionally proposed. Wash your banquet down with a glass of Scotch, or if you prefer something less strong, mix drinks from our whisky cocktail collection. This would also be the moment to serve oatcakes with cheese. We especially love seeded oatcakes, although it's a deviation from the traditional, basic recipe – plus, the nutty flavour goes well with the dram.

Whether you're going for a night of high-spirited celebrations or a laid-back evening of conversation and poetry, a sip of whisky in-between won't go amiss. You can also add a splash of this punchy spirit to a variety of sweet and savoury dishes, as demonstrated in our top 10 ways to cook with whisky.

Read a taste test review of the best whisky you can buy to see our bottles of choice. But if whisky isn't your favourite tipple, explore our recipes for cocktails and mocktails.

Finally, round off the night with a wholehearted rendition of Auld Lang Syne before handing out homemade shortbread.

Check out all of our Burns Night recipes for more inspiration.


How will you be celebrating Burns Night this year? Leave a comment below...

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