Elizabeth Beaton's Oatcakes - with special cutting tin

Elizabeth Beaton’s Oatcakes

Elizabeth Beaton's Oatcakes - top view

Elizabeth Beaton’s Oatcakes were something I enjoyed for many years without ever having to make them. You see, her daughter Janice had a wonderful cheese shop in Calgary. And, Mrs. Beaton would faithfully make oatcakes each week and mail them from Mabou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to Calgary, Alberta where Janice’s cheese shop was.

The minute those oatcakes arrived at Janice Beaton Fine Cheese they’d be gone. If I was lucky enough to be there when they arrived, I’d always buy a few packages. And, I often couldn’t wait until I got home to open them. My son and I would have a little nibble in the car and then finish them at home with tea and a bit of cheddar. Occasionally, when I had REAL discipline, I’d save them for entertaining. I’d treat my friends to a cheese board with THE oatcakes on it. I must have really liked those people.

The beloved Recipe for Elizabeth Beaton’s Oatcakes

Recently, Janice’s sister sent her a video of their Mom at work making the oatcakes. Janice shared the video with me and between Janice and I, we worked out the recipe. I tested it and now, I’m sharing it with you.

It’s a bit different than the version called Glencoe Mills Oatcakes (also by Mrs. Beaton) our dear lately departed friend Anita Stewart published in her iconic Anita Stewart’s Canada. But, both versions are, as Anita said, “laced with love.”

I hope when you make your batch, you’ll remember that lacing with love is the most important ingredient in any recipe. If you do, you’ll be paying a tribute to Elizabeth Beaton and to Anita too. Because Anita was the first to share this recipe and she said they were, “the finest biscuits I’ve ever had with cheese.” I wholeheartedly agree.

Special thanks to Janice Beaton, her Mom Elizabeth and sister Geraldine for sharing this treasured bit of Cape Breton heritage. It will definitely help me and my family savour it all.


Elizabeth Beaton’s Oatcakes

Elizabeth Beaton's Oatcakes - close up
  • Author: Karen Anderson
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 – 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 31 minute
  • Yield: 3 to 4 dozen 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Scottish-Canadian



2 cups Scottich oatmeal 

1 cup steel cut oats (plus more to sprinkle on top)

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

⅓ cup brown sugar

1¼ cups cold butter (I cut it into small cubes)

1 teaspoon baking soda

⅓ cup boiling water


  1. Preheat the oven to 380℉ and line the baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Stir together the Scottish oatmeal, steel cut oats, flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Use a pastry blender or a couple of knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly.
  4. Dissolve the soda in the boiling water and stir it into the oat mixture; combining with a fork until all the liquid is incorporated.
  5. Use your hands to gather the dough, gently, into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Tip: I divided it into two balls and rolled them separately.
  6. Use a rolling pin – with light strokes – to roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness. Try for a rectangular or square shape. Cut the dough into desired shapes (I used a corned beef tin like Mrs. Beaton does!). Tip: Take the leftover bits of dough, reform a ball, reroll and recut to use it all up.
  7. Transfer the cut oatcakes to the parchment paper lined baking sheets, sprinkle the tops with more steel cut oats and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pans. Once cool, store in an airtight container.
  9. Enjoy with a cuppa or as part of a cheese platter.


Keywords: Elizabeth Beaton’s Oatcakes


  1. homecookexplorer

    Definitely going to try these. I’ve got a couple of other oatcake recipes. I’m curious about the boiling water & putting the soda in it. What does that do? Also assuming the oatmeal=regular oats.

    1. Karen Anderson

      Thanks so much for commenting. Glad you’ll give them a try. Search out Scottish oatmeal for the oatmeal part. It’s finer and will make a difference.
      Dissolving the baking soda before adding it to dough helps prevent the cookies from spreading too much and also helps to evenly incorporate it into your dough.
      Hope that helps!

  2. supersu

    I absolutely LOVE Oatcakes – and this recipe seems ‘do-able’, even for me a non baker. AND I love the corned beef can biscuit cutter – perfect size….what did you do with the corned beef???

    Gold Forest Grains beauty oats will make these a true #eatalbertafirst treat!


  3. homecookexplorer

    This has become one of my go to cracker recipes. Thank you so much. As I was crumbling the butter into the dough, and contemplating how little water it takes to make it come together, I had a little bit of an insight. This recipe is essentially a pie crust. No wonder its so delish. Being so, I see lots of possibilities if its actually used as a pie crust.

Leave a Reply