Traditional Nova Scotia Oatcakes


Oatcakes, a sturdy cross between a cookie and a biscuit, are found all over Nova Scotia

Does your area have oatcakes? They’re so ubiquitous here, but yet are allegedly a regional treat. Good coffeeshops in Nova Scotia–at least the ones I tend to frequent on the South Shore and in Halifax, when I’m not juggling a giant stroller–always serve up oatcakes. And an oatcake with an afternoon latte is an amazing treat. I’ve been meaning to make them forever.

The huge fat oatcakes one sees in coffeeshops are often half dipped in chocolate–which, of course, sends them over the top, or incorporating peanut butter or some other such deliciousness. I’m so darn moderate by keeping these ones simply naked. But even unadorned as they are, I really love these simple goodies. They are not too sweet this way, and can even be served with a slice of cheddar cheese, if that’s your thing. The other nice thing about these goodies is that their heartiness makes them great snacks that actually stick to your ribs. They can make a dent in true afternoon hunger and tide you over very well until dinner.

Good old oats.

Good old oats. We got through them so fast in this house, I don't usually have any left over for baking!

I added a few touches to this nicely simple recipe–some sesame seeds and toasted wheat germ–because I always like to mingle a few extra textures and flavours. Feel free to experiment–or even to dip them into melted chocolate.

Traditional Nova Scotia Oatcakes

modified from A Kitchen Addiction
yields about 2 dozen

These sturdy treats are a cross between biscuits and cookies. Lightly sweet, they make for a satisfying snack and can be good either dipped in chocolate, eaten with a slice of cheese, or just left plain (that’s how I like them!) Divine with a mid-afternoon latte.

2 cups large-flake oatmeal
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp toasted wheat germ
3/4 cup butter, chilled
1/4 cup hot water

In a large bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients (from the oats to the wheat germ). Cut in your butter. A popular method is to cube it and cut it in with two butter knives, but this time I tried a trick my Mom told me about–grate your chilled butter. So easy to do, and so much easier to mix in with your dry goods. You might still need to run a few swipes with the butter knife to get it incorporated, but it works so well.

oatcakes how-to

These are simple to make--just like standard biscuits

When your butter is cut in, add your hot water and just stir until it all sticks together.  Divide into two sections and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 min–or until firm enough to handle.

When ready to shape and bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 375 F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Turn one of the halves of dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out your cookies and place them on the lined sheet. Bake at 375 F for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Repeat with the other half of dough.

Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy.

Nutritional info:
per 1 of 25 cookies
140 calories; 7g fat; 18g carb; 2g fibre; 9g sugar; 3g protein.

Oatcakes cooling on the rack.

Oatcakes cooling on the rack.


  1. Best. Oatcakes. Ever. And I would know as they are my favourite baked good!

  2. So glad you liked them, Kata. I knew if they passed your test they’d be the real deal.

  3. Ohhh!! I want to try these!

    • Sarah, you should–they’re really good. I like them even better today then yesterday. Sylvie LOVES them. :)

  4. Mary Ogilvie says:

    These are lovely Zsofi. I find that if you add a little Frangelica to the chocolate topping it adds a very nice touch

    • What a great suggestion, Mary. Next time I make them I might just add the chocolate dipping.

  5. Making oatcakes is today’s fun project. So happy to find a recipe from my home province!

  6. I’m so excited to try making these this weekend! Thanks for the recipe! (and yummy lookingcpictures!)


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