Derbyshire Oatcakes


In the 1970’s my parents bought a weekend cottage in Over Haddon in Derbyshire which became our home after my father’s death. These oatcakes are a local specialty sold in butchers’ shops rather than the bakers’. They are totally different from the little, crispy oatcakes beloved by the Scots. They are the size of dinner plates and make terrific trenchers for a typical British eggy breakfast. They are equally good slathered in butter and marmalade. For me they are a great nostalgia food that waft me back forty years to the time I lived in that magical part of the world.


In some ways, oatcakes are similar to pancakes and can be served with savoury fillings and accompaniments or sweet ones.

This recipe makes four Derbyshire oatcakes or 12 Staffordshire oatcakes.

The recipe is the same you just use more mixture to make Derbyshire ones – also you can reduce the water/milk mixture to a pint for the Derbyshire variety which makes them thicker too.


8 oz fine oatmeal,
8 oz whole-wheat or plain flour,
1 tsp salt,
1/2 oz fresh yeast,
1 1/2 pints warm milk and water, mixed half and half
1 tsp sugar

1. Add salt to flour and oatmeal.
2. Dissolve yeast with a little warm liquid and add sugar. Allow to become frothy.
3. Mix dry ingredients with yeast and rest of warm liquid to make a batter.
4. Cover with clean cloth and leave in warm place for 1 hour.
5. Bake on well-greased griddle. Put enough batter onto griddle to produce an oatcake to a diameter of your choice. Derbyshire Oatcakes can be around 6 or 7 inches, Staffordshire Oatcakes are more like 9 inches in diameter.
6. Turn oatcake after 2-3 minutes when upperside appears dry and underside is golden brown, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Eat as soon as possible.

Note: Oatcakes freeze well.

The McGegan house (middle) was the Old Post Office in Over Haddon Derbyshire.

The McGegan house (middle) was the Old Post Office in Over Haddon Derbyshire.

McGegan house, 1949

McGegan house, 1949

Nicholas McGegan