I am missing the East Coast! We’ve just returned from three weeks in Nova Scotia feeling rested, relaxed and craving oatcakes!

We indulged in this quintessential Nova Scotia treat several times when we were home – they’re perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, or a big glass of milk.

Oatcakes originated in Scotland and history suggests that Scottish Highlanders carried a little bag of oats in a pouch worn around their waist. They would mix the oats with water and cook it over an open fire.

These traditional biscuits are so popular in Nova Scotia that you can even buy them at Tim Horton’s and Starbucks. But, here in Alberta, we are out of luck. I asked the barista at a Calgary Starbucks the other day if they ever carried oatcakes and he had no clue what I was talking about.

So, I decided it was time to dig out a recipe my mom had shared with me a few years back. Beside the recipe, my mom writes, “These taste just like Tim Horton’s.” She also instructs me to “double the batch.”


Oatcakes are fairly simple, consisting mainly of oats, water, sugar and baking soda. However, I really like this recipe because there is extra fibre that comes from a cup of bran flakes. (Shh…don’t tell my kids!) I whipped these up one morning while the kids were still sleeping, so they were warm out of the oven by the time the kids woke up. They loved them and my youngest even thought they were better than the ones we’d had in Nova Scotia!

A traditional oat cake is usually very thin, flat and crispy. But, I like them a little thicker and softer so I didn’t roll mine out.

Here’s the recipe, and remember, you might want to double the batch!

Nova Scotia Oatcakes

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup bran flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons shortening

Add soda to the boiling water and let cool. Combine the dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add soda and water mixture to the dry ingredients. Roll thin and cut to desired size. Bake at 400 F for 8-10 minutes. For thicker oatcakes, just press into a pan and pat with fork. Cut into squares 10 minutes after taking them out of the oven.

I think you will enjoy these as is, but you can really take these oatcakes over the top by dipping them in chocolate. You can also add 1/2 cup of dried fruit if you wish!


I’m not going to say these are the healthiest snack around, but I do believe the oats and bran flakes make these healthier than most other pastries and cookies.


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Author Michelle

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