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Seeded oatcakes

Updated: Fri, 22 April, 2022

Seeded oatcakes with poppy and sesame, my copy of Nairn’s rough oatcakes. Warning: try them with butter and jam at the risk of addiction!

gluten free seeded oatcakes

How I got to love Nairn’s

Nairn’s are not paying me. My love for them is completely selfless, and unreciprocated. Though to be fair, I am only so dedicated to one of their products: rough oatcakes. They can keep their bars, cereals and flatbreads: it’s only and always the oatcakes I’m faithful to.

The relationship started years ago, at a particularly hectic period in my pre-cooking career. I was working in London and had hardly time to grab a lunch bite at my desk, let alone go out to eat.

I’d stock up a filing cabinet drawer with Nairn’s Oatcakes (the best use for a filing cabinet, hope those stupid things are extinct these days) and had them daily for lunch on the hoof, accompanied by an apple if I was lucky.

Not a lavish meal, but it kept me going surprisingly well. And contrary to the expectations of oatcake fatigue, I didn’t get fed up.

Conversely, I recently decided to replicate them, which turned out to be very tricky. Yes, I know – what’s wrong with just BUYING them, woman? But it was the compulsive ‘I wonder if I can do one as good’ cook’s mindset that egged me on. And I also fancied playing with adding seeds to the oatcakes.

replica of nairn's rough oatcakes

How to make oatcakes?

Basically oats and water, it turned out the recipe needed some tweaking and fine tuning. If indeed made from just oats and water, they’d dissolve into a million of crumbs , once the water had evaporated.

The dough needed a cohesive element which I chose to be butter rather than the sunflower and palm oils that the label reveals. Goodbye, vegan-friendly snack, but plant oil simply didn’t work in a non-industrial environment: the fat needed to solidify to make the biscuits set.

I added sesame seeds and poppy seeds: both are delightful in these crackers. But if you prefer experimenting with fancy stuff like chia, or super gut-friendly like linseed, go for it. The recipe below makes a small batch of up to twenty cakes, depending on their size.

homemade seeded oatcakes

How to serve oatcakes?

And now what? What do you do with oatcakes then? Aren't they just what’s miserably left behind on the cheese board?

They may well be but that’s because by the time we order the cheese board as afters, we’re stuffed. Usually, in truth we don’t really even fancy the cheese any more, let alone dry, sweetless biscuits.

They have their firm place as an office desk snack as my story tells, come into their own at home. Grab a few with a couple of pieces of cheese for your supper; stack a pile of them for lunch with a massive mixed salad; or do what I do.

My latest discovery, the best and absolutely, dangerously addictive use of oatcakes is to spread them with butter and a lick of jam.

nairn's oatcakes copycat recipe

My oatcake addiction

I recently had a phase of going through a box of Nairn’s over a couple of days. They are conveniently packed in portions of seven which I quickly understood as a single serve for me, even though perhaps the intention is to serve four with that amount.

I managed to infect The Weather Man with the passion for butter-and-jam oatcakes and we would happily chomp through half a box on a box-set evening.

Which is even more of a reason why I undertook to make my own: if I have to make the effort of baking them myself, it might make the intake a bit more sensible. That’s in view of the fact that, wholesome and gut friendly as they are, they aren’t calorie free. Especially with the butter and the jam.

oatcakes before baking

More oat recipes

You can make delicious biscuits from a combination of oats and blue cheese.

Classic cookies made with oatmeal and raisins are a little healthy due to the fibre content, and A LOT tasty.

And then, of course, we cannot miss out on flapjack when talking about oats. This version is flavoured with orange and ginger.

More seed recipes

The crackers made from seeds and nothing else, are quite unbelievably delicious. Idea borrowed from Simon Rogan of L’Enclume.

Light seeded rye bread is one of my favourites: wonderful for gut health and more tolerable for people sensitive to gluten.

Poppy seed cake is traditional and buttery, made with poppy seeds softened in milk and baked in the comforting Bundt shape.

how to make oatcakes

Seeded oatcakes

Servings: makes 16-20 oatcakesTime: 45 minutes
Rating: (2 reviews)


  • 150g medium oatmeal
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 10g butter, softened
  • 100ml boiling water
  • For the poppy oatcakes:
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • For the sesame oatcakes:
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp honey
  • fine oatmeal, for dusting surface


1. Preheat the oven to 160C (fan if available)/325F/gas 3. Line a large oven tray with parchment.

2. Stir the bicarbonate of soda and salt into the oatmeal. Stir in the poppy seeds and sugar, or the sesame and honey. Add the butter and pour in boiling water, aiming at the butter so it melts. Mix to a soft dough.

3. Let it stand for 10 minutes or so while the oats absorb the water and thicken up to rolling consistency.

4. Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment lightly dusted with fine oatmeal, to about 5mm thickness. Cut oatcakes with a pastry cutter, 7cm/3in, and place on the baking tray. Re-roll the offcuts to use up the dough.

5. Bake the oatcakes for 20 minutes. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

Originally published: Mon, 20 January, 2020

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Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Emma - I'm pleased you've found my recipe useful! You can omit bicarb; all it does is to help the oatcakes spread, counteracting any acid in the oats. You can certainly add a little flour or ground oats to the mix, but if you want to keep them very coarse with plenty of seeds and dried fruit bits, add an egg white instead.
11 months ago
Hi Anna, I've tried quite a few recipes for oat cakes and was pleased with the result with these. A few things to mention though. I could taste the sodium bicarb, can it be omitted? What does it do? Also my oatmeal is quite coarse, almost pinhead oaty, so I added a bit of wholemeal flour and some whizzed up porridge oats to provide some 'paste'. I also added a lot more seeds and some really small pieces of dried fruit.
11 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Eleonore - I hope you'll be pleased with them!
4 years ago
eleonore bilger
Thanks ! Being French , I order them online, but they are quite expensive, what with overseas mailing costs, and exchange rates, and so on. So I'm really looking forward to tasting yours. I'll try them this very afternoon...and let you know ! Thanks again !
4 years ago

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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