How to cook haggis

Celebrate Burns Night with our ultimate haggis guide. Learn what exactly haggis is, then discover our recipes for classic side dishes such as neeps and tatties, plus vegetarian haggis options.

Haggis on board with fork

Scotland's best known speciality, haggis, is a mystery to most non-Scots and the focus of lots of jokes about shooting and hunting the wee beastie haggis. It's made from 'sheep's pluck' - the finely chopped liver, heart and lungs, mixed with oatmeal, suet, herbs, spices and seasoning, packed into a natural casing (traditionally sheep intestines), which is not eaten, then boiled.

For the ultimate selection of Scottish-inspired recipes, see our Burns Night collection.

How to cook haggis

To boil: Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the haggis and reduce to a simmer. Time according to weight – McLays recommends boiling a 1kg natural-cased haggis for an hour and 15 minutes. To serve, carefully slit open the casing and tip the filling onto a plate.

To bake: Heat the oven to fan 180C/conventional 200C/gas 6. Remove the outer packaging, prick with a fork and wrap in foil as you would a baked potato then cook in the oven an one hour per 450g. Serve as above. 

Make our traditional baked haggis for Burns Night. Or try our vegan haggis recipe for a veggie-friendly alternative.

Serve with neeps & tatties and our whisky cream sauce. For pudding, try serving our clootie dumpling.

Baked haggis on grey plate

The history of haggis

Its origins are shrouded in obscurity, although it is known to be an ancient dish, as 15th century recipes mention a haggis or haggas pudding. The name may come from the Scandinavian 'hag', meaning to hack or chop, or from the Anglo-Saxon 'haecan' - to hack into pieces. Another explanation is that it comes from the French 'hachis', or the Icelandic 'hoggva', also meaning to hack or chop.

Find the best haggis

The best haggis is moist, firm and flavoursome. Every Scottish butcher has his or her own recipe, made according to the basic recipe, which has remained virtually unchanged for centuries, with the addition of their own exclusive blend of seasonings, herbs and spices.

Burns Night

Haggis is really thrown into the spotlight around Burns Night. Several tons of haggis are exported throughout the world for celebration suppers, including modern variations such as smoked haggis and a vegetarian haggis made with oatmeal, vegetarian suet, lentils, beans, nuts, carrots, onions and other vegetables packed into a synthetic casing. Surprisingly, haggis is very popular in France, where it is served in top Parisian restaurants!

Haggis on plate with crackers

Where to buy haggis

If you don't live near a traditional Scottish butcher, try one of these online alternatives, or alternatively ask at your local supermarket: 

Macsween is one of the biggest haggis brands in Scotland. They have a wealth of options online, including a vegetarian version, haggis canapes and venison haggis, from around £5. Order from the Macsween site.

Glasgow-based butcher McLays make traditional haggis in natural casing. Prices start at £6.50. Order from the McLays site

Ayrshire butcher Pollok Williamson sell a range of haggis from £1.36, including chip shop-friendly haggis sausages specially shaped for deep-frying, should you be feeling particularly decadent. Order from the Pollok Williamson site.

The Blackface Meat Company sell haggis celebration boxes. We like their recommendation of using any leftovers in stuffing. Order from the Blackface site.

Enjoyed these haggis tips? See more Burns Night recipes

Burns Night recipes
Classic Burns Night menu
Everything you need for Burns Night
What is haggis?
Our best ever Burns Night cocktails

Do you love or loathe this Scottish delicacy? Leave a comment below... 

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Michael Alcock's picture
Michael Alcock
28th Dec, 2019
I love haggis and always celebrate New Year with it, also Burns Night. Often also on a cold winter evening. I make my own Venison Haggis as well. New Year's eve 2019 I shall be cooking traditional Haggis for a group of Brexiteers.
25th Jan, 2019
Love haggis and am looking forward to it this evening. Even the kids tuck in. I try and keep a little back to top a lovely bowl of neeps and tatties soup the next day after a long dog walk
24th Jan, 2019
Earlier today, I had haggis, tatties & neeps in my local Wetherspoon's. Not eaten it for ages but really, really scrummy. Though would have preferred have some gravy. Thing being. Can cooked sliced cold haggis be fried? I realise this is not traditional, but could be a great alternative to black pudding in a fry up. Any advice anyone? If you enjoy the above dish & happen to be Scottish, have a great Burn's night
Goats Cheese Freak's picture
Goats Cheese Freak
25th Jan, 2018
My husband and I love Haggis and we are not Scottish either. We have celebrated for many years. Having moved to Scotland last August (nothing to do with Haggis) we shall be celebrating Burns Night we increased gusto with kilts waving and whisky drinking! We got our Haggis from a Scottish butcher in Hawick this year who told us that he had sent over 150 that week to England. We shall be eating our traditionally with neeps and tatties.
24th Jan, 2018
Our family loves Haggis and though not Scottish celebrate Burns Night every year. I serve it over a bed of nachos with the haggis piled on top with cheese grated over. I buy 2 the normal Haggis and the Vegetarian one both are delicious.
Katrina Rigby's picture
Katrina Rigby
24th Jan, 2018
I LOVE haggis especially the stuff you get from my local butchers which also supply a few fast food outlets locally, one of the best things from one of them is a haggis egg and tattie scone roll yumm
20th Jan, 2016
I'm not a big fan of haggis; eating lamb lungs! Ugh. But there are veggies in my family who adore Macsweens veggie haggis. Have tried it myself, very tasty, recommend.
7th Sep, 2015
Personally I love haggis and you can't beat haggis , neeps and tatties for a good comfort meal ! But there is also available - Haggis Pakora , Chicken Balmoral , Haggis and jalapeño Pizza (highly recommended at Munros Glasgow) , baked potato with haggis , Haggis lasagne , Haggis supper , burger with haggis , Haggis bites , Scallops with haggis etc - how can anyone not like it ? !
20th Jan, 2016
I am hosting a burns night in honour of my 95 year old Scott's mum, so all food and drink has to be Scottish , mum has asked if I can get cakes called " snowballs". They are round in shape, made up of two halves held together with jam and covered in coconut, does anyone know of a supplier of these, I would be so delighted if I could find them.
22nd Jan, 2014
Try Steaming your Haggis for approx 1hr & then finish off in the oven Gas mark 6 for 10mins. This is for fresh haggis up to 1lb in weight. Enjoy