Delicious Scotch Broth Soup Recipe for Winter Nights

Picture this: a chilly winter evening, the wind howling outside your window. You’re bundled up on your couch, wrapped in a cozy blanket, feeling famished. What could possibly warm you up from the inside out? A bowl of traditional Scotch Broth Soup.

Growing up in Scotland, I have always had a love affair with this hearty soup. It’s the kind of dish that warms you from head to toe, fills your belly with wholesome ingredients like lamb bones, pearl barley, and root vegetables like rutabaga turnips and carrots. But what is traditional Scotch Broth Soup, you ask?

The Scottish people have been making this delicious soup for centuries. It is known as a “broth” because it typically contains meat and vegetables cooked together for an extended period of time, resulting in a rich, flavorful broth.

This recipe is as traditional as it gets – it harkens back to the way my grandmother used to make it. While there are multiple variations to the recipe, this one stays true to its Scottish roots, relying on ingredients that are readily available and affordable.

There’s something magical about cooking up a pot of soup on a cold day. As the aroma fills your home and the steam rises from the pot, you’ll find yourself transported to warmer days ahead. This dish isn’t just food for your stomach, it’s food for your soul.

So let’s get started on exploring how we can make our own traditional Scotch Broth Soup – trust me when I say it’ll quickly become a staple in your household during those cold winter months.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Delicious Traditional Scotch Broth Soup
Delicious Traditional Scotch Broth Soup

Picture this: a cold, rainy evening in Scotland; the kind of weather that seeps into your bones and chills you to the core. What could possibly warm you up and lift your spirits? A hearty bowl of Traditional Scotch Broth Soup, that’s what.

This recipe is a time-honoured classic, made with love by generations of Scots over the years. It’s a soup that warms your very soul, fills your belly and leaves you feeling satisfied and content. But don’t just take it from me – let me tell you why you’re going to love this recipe.

Firstly, this soup is loaded with wholesome ingredients such as lamb bones, lots of vegetables including leek, rutabaga turnip (swede), pearl barley and split peas. It’s not only delicious but also packed with essential vitamins and minerals that nourish your body.

Secondly, the process of making the soup is something to look forward to in itself. As the soup simmers away on your stove, your entire home is filled with the aroma of the lamb broth and vegetables cooking together harmoniously. The anticipation builds until at last, you ladle out a piping hot bowl of brothy goodness that’s ready to devour.

Thirdly, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being transported back in time to an age-old tradition while eating a bowl of traditional Scottish soup. One bite and you’re transported to rolling hillsides with grazing sheep or sitting around a hearth telling stories with loved ones.

Finally, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can use leftover lamb or lamb shanks if you want to add an extra layer of flavour to your broth or add chicken or beef broth if you prefer a different taste. There’s also an option to use a slow-cooker if time is tight.

Infinite combinations can be made from this humble dish. You can pair it with crusty bread and butter or serve it with a light salad on the side. You can make it ahead of time and store it for future meals.

So why not give Traditional Scotch Broth Soup a try and experience its warmth, comfort and nourishment for yourself? I guarantee that once you do, you’ll be hooked on this traditional dish forever.

Ingredient List

 A bowl of heartiness and warmth: Traditional Scotch Broth Soup
A bowl of heartiness and warmth: Traditional Scotch Broth Soup

Ingredients for Traditional Scotch Broth Soup Recipe

  • Lamb bones (you can use leftover lamb, lamb shanks or a soup mix)
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 rutabaga (turnip swede)
  • 1 small cabbage
  • ½ cup of pearl barley
  • ½ cup of split peas
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 liters of cold water
  • 1 ham bone (optional)

Broth Ingredients

  • Beef broth or chicken broth (optional, and you can also use vegetable broth instead)
  • Vegetable soup mix
  • Bone broth (optional)

Our traditional Scotch broth soup recipe is made with lamb bones or leftover lamb meat, along with lots of vegetables including leek, rutabaga turnip swede, and cabbage. We also add pearl barley and split peas for an extra dose of heartiness. It’s important to note that our recipe uses cold water because this helps extract the rich flavors from the lamb. You can also add beef or chicken broth, vegetable soup mix, or bone broth for added depth of flavor.

The Recipe How-To

 Savor the flavors of Scotland in every spoonful of this soup.
Savor the flavors of Scotland in every spoonful of this soup.

Now, it’s time to get cooking! This traditional Scotch Broth Soup recipe is a bit time-consuming, but the result is a hearty and warming soup that’s perfect for cold days.


  • 1 pound lamb bones and lots of vegetables
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 turnip (rutabaga) diced
  • 50g cabbage thinly sliced
  • 50 g pearl barley
  • 50 g split peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Start by placing the lamb bones in a large soup pot over high heat with enough cold water to cover them.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Skim any impurities that rise to the top.
  3. After an hour of simmering, add all of the chopped vegetables (leek, onion, carrots, turnip, and cabbage) along with pearl barley and split peas into the pot.
  4. Bring everything back up to a boil, then reduce the heat again and simmer for another hour or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, according to your liking. Serve hot.

This is the basic recipe for Scotch Broth Soup, but you can easily customize it to suit your tastes. Add or subtract any vegetables you like or swap in different meat stocks like chicken or beef stock as per your preference. Also, you can opt for leftover lamb or lamb shanks instead of using lamb bones if available in your fridge.

You can make this soup ahead of time and reheat it when needed. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or freeze them for later use.

So there you have it – a deliciously hearty soup that’s rich in protein and fibers. This soup’s flavorful broth recipe is what sets it apart from other soups, made by simmering bones and lots of vegetables in water. A winter warmer that is sure to become a new family favorite.

Substitutions and Variations

 The perfect comfort food for chilly nights: Scotch Broth Soup.
The perfect comfort food for chilly nights: Scotch Broth Soup.

Scotch Broth is a hearty soup that originated from Scotland. While the traditional recipe calls for lamb as its main ingredient, there are a number of substitutions and variations you can make to this warming soup recipe.

Firstly, if you don’t have lamb or prefer not to use it, you can substitute it with beef or chicken stock. You can also use leftover lamb or lamb shanks to make the broth. If you prefer a vegetarian version, you can replace the meat broth with vegetable broth or even water.

Another substitution that you can make is for pearl barley. Although pearl barley is a staple ingredient in Scotch broth, you can replace it with other grains such as wheat berries or bulgur. These grains will provide a nuttier flavor and have a similar texture which pairs well with the vegetables and meat.

For people who don’t like rutabaga turnip (swede), you can substitute it with other vegetables like parsnips, sweet potatoes or celery root (celeriac).

Adding small amounts of diced cabbage or green beans to your soup will not only give your soup additional fiber but also provide an extra freshness that pairs well with the warm and hearty broth.

Finally, you can customize the soup to your liking by adding spices to it like thyme, bay leaves, and parsley. This will enhance its flavor profile and make it more vibrant.

With these substitutions and variations here are many different types of soup mixes one could use to create different versions of classic Scotch broth!

Serving and Pairing

 Filled with a rainbow of vegetables and flavors.
Filled with a rainbow of vegetables and flavors.

When it comes to serving and pairing this traditional Scotch broth soup, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, this dish is a hearty soup that is meant to be enjoyed on a cold day or as an appetizer at a dinner party. Serve it up piping hot straight from the pot for maximum indulgence.

In terms of pairing, this warming soup is versatile and can go well with quite a few things. You could serve it on its own with some crusty bread for dipping, or pair it with a salad or sandwich for a more substantial meal. Some other sides that work particularly well with Scotch broth soup include savoury biscuits, crackers or even grilled cheese sandwiches.

If you want to stick with a traditional Scottish theme, pair your soup with some oatcakes and Scottish cheese. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, serving Scotch broth alongside haggis and neeps (turnips) would be incredibly fitting.

As far as beverages go, a nice scotch whisky would be an obvious pairing if you’re looking to stay within the theme. If you’re not one for alcohol, a hot cup of tea or coffee would also make for a great accompaniment. Ultimately though, it’s up to personal preference – just make sure whatever you choose complements the hearty flavours of the soup!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A soup that will warm your soul and fill your belly.
A soup that will warm your soul and fill your belly.

One of the great things about traditional Scottish soups, like this scotch broth recipe, is that they are perfect for making ahead of time and reheating. In fact, many people believe that soups like these taste even better after a day or two of resting in the fridge.

To make ahead, simply follow the recipe instructions as normal and then allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to reheat, simply transfer the soup back to a large pot and bring it back up to a gentle simmer over low heat. If you find that the soup has become too thick upon reheating, you can thin it out with a splash of water or broth.

When storing leftover soup, make sure to use an airtight container or cover tightly with plastic wrap. This will prevent any odors from seeping into your soup and help it stay fresh longer. Reheat your leftover soup in the microwave or on the stove, stirring occasionally until heated through.

No matter how you choose to store and reheat your scotch broth soup, you can rest assured that its hearty flavors and warming qualities will remain intact. So go ahead and make a big batch today – you’ll thank yourself later!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Let the rich taste of lamb blend with the juiciness of fresh vegetables in this soup.
Let the rich taste of lamb blend with the juiciness of fresh vegetables in this soup.

For the perfect batch of Traditional Scotch Broth Soup, you need just the right combination of ingredients and careful attention to detail. Here are some tips to help ensure success:

1. Use high-quality ingredients: To make a flavorful pot of soup, use fresh vegetables and top-notch lamb or beef broth. Plus, quality ingredients will take your soup to the next level.

2. Don’t overcook the vegetables: It is essential not to overcook your vegetables; otherwise, they’ll become mushy and lose their flavor. When cooking with root vegetables like carrot and rutabaga, slice them thinly so that they cook faster.

3. Allow time for flavors to blend: Once you have combined all the ingredients in your pot, let it simmer for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld together correctly.

4. Don’t skimp on seasoning: To ensure that your soup is bursting with flavor, be sure to season with ample salt and pepper. This recipe calls for two teaspoons of salt and one teaspoon of black pepper but do adjust accordingly based on taste.

5. Adjust consistency: If your soup is too thick, add more water or broth before it finishes cooking. Conversely, if your soup is too thin, let it simmer a bit longer until it reaches the desired consistency.

6. Use leftover lamb: If you have leftover lamb from a roast dinner or another meal, use it in this recipe instead of starting from scratch. The already cooked meat adds extra flavor to the broth and makes preparation easier.

7. Prepare ahead of time: Traditional Scotch Broth Soup tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge because it allows flavors to continue developing further over time. So consider making this hearty soup ahead of time.

8. Don’t forget the pearl barley: The pearl barley adds a unique texture to the soup that pairs perfectly with hearty vegetables and lamb broth.

By following these tips, you can make sure that your Traditional Scotch Broth Soup turns out beautifully every time!


Now, let’s move on to the FAQ section where I address common questions and concerns about making this delicious Traditional Scotch Broth Soup recipe. To help you achieve the best results with ease, I have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and answered them comprehensively below. Keep reading!

Is Scotch broth soup good for you?

Scotch Broth is an incredibly nutritious soup packed with a plethora of health benefits. With a combination of root vegetables, pearl barley, lamb protein, and cabbage, this soup is a complete package of essential nutrients. Additionally, rutabaga, turnip, and swede present in this soup are excellent sources of antioxidants.

How to make soup broth tastier?

When it comes to making a delicious soup broth, there are some simple yet important techniques that can take your dish to the next level. To start, don’t underestimate the power of herbs and spices, which can impart a tantalizing aroma, bold flavor, and increased depth to your soup. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations of herbs and spices to find your perfect balance.

Another essential element to elevate your soup broth is to add acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice, vinegar, or even diced tomatoes. This acidity can brighten up the flavors in the broth and balance out any richness or heaviness in the dish.

To really maximize the savory, meaty flavor in your soup broth, consider packing in umami-rich ingredients like mushrooms, miso paste, soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce. These ingredients can add a savory, slightly salty flavor that will make your soup irresistible.

Additionally, when making your soup, don’t skip the step of roasting your ingredients first, if possible. This can add a delicious depth of flavor and help bring out the natural sugars in vegetables, making the broth richer and more complex.

Another great tip for achieving a flavorful soup broth is to let it simmer and reduce for a longer period of time. This can help intensify the flavors and create a more concentrated broth. As the soup simmers, be sure to periodically skim off any excess fat or impurities that may rise to the surface. This will help keep your broth clear and flavorful.

What happens if you don’t soak Scotch broth mix?

Forgetting to soak the mix for Scotch Broth can be easily remedied by boiling it in water for 20 minutes and letting it soak for a couple of hours. Neglecting to do so will result in a crunchy soup, which is not the desired texture for this classic and flavorful dish. The key to its appeal lies in its soft and stodgy consistency.

What are the secrets to flavorful soup?

To make a rich and flavorful British-style soup, there are several important cooking tips to keep in mind. Firstly, begin by using a durable pot that can withstand heat without warping or cracking.

Next, sauté aromatic ingredients like onions, garlic, and herbs in oil or butter until they’re fragrant and lightly browned. This will create a savory base for the soup.

For the best flavor, use high-quality broth that’s been homemade or store-bought. Ensure the broth complements the other ingredients you want to include in the soup.

When it comes to vegetables, make sure they’re cut into sizes that are uniform, and proportional to their cooking times. This will ensure that all the vegetables will cook evenly.

Add vegetables in staggered stages, beginning with longer cooking ones like potatoes, and finish with those that are quick-cooking like peas or spinach. This makes the soup more layered in flavor and texture.

Keep liquid at a simmer during the cooking process. This keeps the ingredients cooking steadily, but avoids boiling which can break up the ingredients.

Finally, taste the soup before serving and adjust the seasoning as needed. Don’t forget to garnish with fresh herbs, croutons, or a dollop of cream for added richness.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you are a fan of hearty soups and traditional Scottish cuisine, then this scotch broth soup recipe is definitely worth adding to your menu. The combination of tender lamb meat, vegetables, pearl barley, and flavor-packed broth make for a delicious and warming meal that is perfect for chilly days.

Not only is this soup delicious and comforting, but it also offers nutritional benefits with its high fiber content and protein from the lamb. Plus, with the ability to be made ahead of time and stored for later use or reheated for leftovers, it is also a convenient option for those with busy schedules.

Whether you follow our traditional scotch broth recipe or switch it up with some variations and substitutions, we guarantee that this soup will quickly become a household favorite. So why not give it a try and enjoy a taste of Scotland in your own kitchen?

Delicious Traditional Scotch Broth Soup

Delicious Traditional Scotch Broth Soup Recipe

This is a most wonderful robust-tasting soup, a great warm-up for cold days, definately a meal served with crusty buns. Although this recipe serves 4-6, it may be doubled if desired.
Course Soup
Cuisine Scottish
Keyword < 4 Hours, Lamb/Sheep, Meat, Stove Top
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Calories 142.4kcal


  • 1 lb mutton neck (lamb)
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 2 -3 tablespoons pearl barley, washed
  • 2 tablespoons dry split yellow peas
  • 2 tablespoons dried split green peas
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped large
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced rutabaga
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 small cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon salt, to taste
  • pepper


  • Put the mutton, water, salt and WASHED pearl barley into a large stockpot.
  • Bring to a boil very slowly; skim off fat while boiling.
  • Dice all veggies, wash and shred the cabbage; add the veggies to the pot.
  • Bring the soup back to a boil again, and simmer very gently until the meat is cooked, and the peas are tender (about two hours).
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.


Serving: 470g | Calories: 142.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 30.5g | Protein: 6.2g | Fat: 0.6g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1811.3mg | Fiber: 8.9g | Sugar: 9.2g

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