Traditional Scottish Stovies

Stovies are a delicious, belly-filling and traditional Scottish dish. Comfort food at it's best.

Some ingredients of Traditional Scottish Stovies

It's a simple, one-pot dish, made on the stove-top (maybe that's where the name came from), and the must-have ingredients are potatoes, onions, salt and pepper.

But, one of the special things about this yummy dinner is that there isn't just one set of ingredients, or one way to make them.

Different regions of Scotland, and even individual families, had their own favorite way to prepare them.

Often it would be made on a Monday, using left-over roasted meat and 'dripping' (fat from the Sunday roast).

Our familys' recipe for Stovies uses sausages (preferably with the 'skin' removed) rather than cooked Lamb, Chicken or Beef.

They're simple to prepare and take about 30 - 40 minutes to cook.

My mom remembers this being the family dinner on 'wash days'. 

That was the day my Nana would spend in the communal 'wash-house' doing the family laundry (no handy little washer and dryer in the kitchen back then!) and a quick dinner was sorely needed.

Making Stovies Is Pretty Easy

This is not a complicated dish! 

It takes about 10 minutes to get everything into the pot, and another 40 minutes or so cooking time.

Then, 'voila' (sorry that's French, but it works here!) you have a yummy, and filling, dinner on the table.

Here's how it's done....


3lbs of Potatoes (roughly 4 - 5 large ones)

2 Onions

8 Sausages (or approx. 1/2 lb of cooked meat)

Salt and Pepper to taste

* This makes enough for about four people (and our portions are generally smaller than you're used to in the US), so adjust to suit your own appetites, family size etc.


Peel and slice potatoes (making slices approx. 1/4" thick). Chop onions roughly (not diced or too small).

Mix the potatoes and onions together and season with salt and pepper. Put this mixture into a heavy saucepan with about little cold water in the bottom (maybe about 1/4" deep).

Cut up the sausages and arrange them on top of the potatoes. Put the lid on the pot and heat up slowly. Once heated through, set the heat on 'low-medium' and cook for around 30 minutes.

Stovies are cooked by the 'steaming' method, so you don't want to lift the pot lid more than necessary. We'd suggest opening maybe 2 or 3 times during the cooking process so that you can stir, or mix up, the ingredients - but make it quick!

As always when trying something new, there may be a bit of 'trial and error' before you get your recipe to turn out to your liking.

Some people like them 'juicy' (with some 'gravy'), others (like us) prefer them 'dry'. It's all just down to personal taste.


'Insider Tips' Can Help You Make Perfect Stovies

  • You don't want the potatoes on the bottom to burn, so keep an eye on them and add a tiny bit more water if you think they're drying out too much.

  • You can add many different types of vegetables. Try carrots, turnip (or swede), peas, cauliflower..... whatever you like really!

  • Using stock or broth instead of plain water adds a little extra flavor.

  • If you're using left-over meat, you can also add a couple of tablespoons of the 'dripping' (fat from the meat) and heat it up before adding the potatoes and onions. That way you can fry them a little first.

  • Any left-over Stovies can be frozen, and reheat well in the microwave.

For help with measurement conversions and ingredient 'translation', substitutions and options, check out these pages....
Cooking Measurement Conversions
Glossary of Cooking Terms

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