Every year on 25 January, Scotland raises a glass in patriotic celebration of national bard, Robert Burns. In addition to poetry readings, dancing and piped music, central to the revelry is a hearty supper.
Here, we show you traditional recipes, plus some alternative suggestions, that are ideal for celebrating Burns Night at home.
Burns Night menu ideas
Starter: Cullen skink
Let everyone warm up with a bowl of cullen skink. This traditional soup originates from the Scottish town of Cullen and combines haddock, potatoes, milk, onion and parsley to make a comforting, yet relatively light, starter. Top with chopped chives and serve with crusty bread, if you like.
Main course: Haggis, neeps and tatties
Love it or loathe it, haggis is the dish at the heart of Burns Night. Try this simple recipe for haggis, neeps and tatties and follow our guide to buying and cooking the perfect haggis. If you’re not lucky enough to live near a traditional Scottish butcher, you can get your hands on good-quality haggis online. It can be baked or boiled, and there are different versions, from vegetarian to venison. Discover more about this famed meat pudding in our guide on what is haggis?.
Our haggis is served alongside its traditional side dishes ‘neeps and tatties’, otherwise known as mashed potatoes and swede (though turnips are used interchangeably with swede). If you prefer a slightly coarser finish, then try our alternative neeps and tatties recipe. This recipe involves roasting the potatoes as well as boiling them, resulting in a more chunky mash.
Finally, round off the dish with a silky smooth whisky cream sauce for that extra dose of decadence.
Side dish: Buttered leeks
Add some indulgent greenery to your plate with our buttered leeks. You need just three ingredients to create this delicious, buttery side dish. Cooking the leeks slowly and gently in their own juices, with a few thyme sprigs, brings out their subtle, onion-like taste. The simplest recipes are often the best, and it doesn’t get simpler than this.
Dessert: Raspberry cranachan trifle
No Burns Night supper would be complete without a light and creamy bowlful of cranachan. We’ve upgraded this simple recipe and turned it into an epic cranachan trifle. It serves 10, so you'll have plenty left to enjoy the following days. More whisky is called for in this traditional dessert of cream, fruit and oatmeal. Layer up crunchy flapjack-style toasted oats, smooth mascarpone and fresh raspberries for a tasty twist on the traditional. Alternatively, if you want to make the classic, then check out our cranachan recipe.
Burns Night drinks
Make sure you have a respectable dram to help you celebrate, with our guides to the best Scotch, 10 best whiskies from around the world and top craft whiskies. Whether you’re after something peated and smoky or a delicate fruity flavour, we have something for everyone.
Don’t fancy straight spirits? Break out the bartending kit and mix up one of our best ever whisky cocktail recipes. Sip a sophisticated old fashioned with a twist of orange or a simple whisky highball with a touch of mint.
Burns Night alternative menu ideas
Not keen on haggis? We've got plenty of other ideas for your Burns Night centrepiece, along with suggestions for starters, sides and desserts. Also check out our vegan Burns Night menu and vegetarian Burns Night menu for meat-free inspiration.
For veggies, try our ridiculously smooth neeps & tatties soup, made with swede and potato – just leave off the haggis topping or swap for a veggie version. This is truly Burns Night in a bowl.
If the meaty version isn’t for you, try our delicious vegan haggis, filled with savoury lentils, mushrooms and plenty of seasoning. Serve with a heaped spoonful of neeps & tatties.
For an indulgent meaty main, try our take on Scotch broth. January is prime stew season, so this rich, slow-cooked saucy option is perfect.
If you fancy breaking with convention, try our crispy neeps ‘n’ tatties cake, which is a take on a potato rosti that’s served in wedges. For traditionalists, try our skirlie mash recipe. The added oatmeal (or ‘skirlie’) provides a unique texture, and the onions and parsley make it not dissimilar to champ.
Fill your bowl with something warm and fruity in the form of our clootie dumpling. This traditional steamed pudding is packed full of dried fruit and plenty of ginger, cinnamon and our favourite wintry spices. Serve with your favourite dram and custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Enjoyed these menu suggestions? Check out our other guides to entertaining...
Do you celebrate Burns Night? What do you like to serve up? For more inspiration, take a look through our recipe collection.