Recipe for North Staffordshire Oatcake

north staffordshire oatcake

Recipe for North Staffordshire Oatcake sent in by: John Harrison

Ingredients for North Staffordshire Oatcake:

  • 225g fine oatmeal
  • 225g wholewheat or plain flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 15g yeast
  • 450ml warm milk
  • 450ml warm water
  • 1tsp sugar

Method for North Staffordshire Oatcake:

  1. Mix the water and milk together.
  2. Mix the salt to the flour and oatmeal in a large bowl.
  3. Dissolve the yeast with a little warm liquid and add the sugar. Allow the mixture to become frothy.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients with the yeast liquid to make a batter adding the remainder of the warm liquid.
  5. Cover the batter with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for about an hour.
  6. Pour out enough batter on a well-greased griddle to make an oatcake of about 22cm. The surface will be covered in holes as it cooks.
  7. Flip the oatcake after 2-3 minutes when the top side has a dry appearance and the underneath is a golden brown colour and cook for another 2-3 minutes.



Try to use the heaviest frying pan available as this will keep the heat constant which is best for making oatcakes. Great served with fried bacon, mushrooms and cheese as a savoury snack or with butter and jam as a sweet treat.

Oatcakes can be frozen and a microwave is the ideal method of defrosting and reheating them.

History, Secrets and Health

I heard that soldiers returning from India in days gone by tried to duplicate the chapattis they had enjoyed but using local ingredients and the North Staffordshire Oatcake was born.

The exact recipe varies between oatcake shops and was for many years a closely guarded secret. There would be an oatcake shop on nearly every street corner years ago. Not just selling the oatcakes but also hot filled oatcakes. This was fast food prior to the Golden Arches and supersize me.

Being very much a regional dish – indeed, less than a county – oatcakes were always missed by ex-pats from the Potteries. There used to be a hotel in Leamington Spa that sent someone up to Stoke-on-Trent at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning to get supplies.

Being made with oatmeal, they are actually quite high in fibre but filling with melted cheese and fried bacon may reduce the health benefits somewhat.


My favourite is to place under the grill with thin slices of cheese on. When bubbling, add a generous amount of Branston pickle and roll up.

You can buy North Staffordshire oatcakes from some of the major supermarkets in the UK. For those poor souls in far off lands, this is how to make them,

Posted in Breads and Bakes, All Recipes
172 comments on “Recipe for North Staffordshire Oatcake
  1. Maureen says:

    @ALISON: To all you oatcake lovers out there, I missed them too, when I moved to Manchester and my mum now lives in Lytham St. Annes. The good news is that Sainsbury’s, St Annes sells them, as does Booths (a Lancashire supermarket chain.) I have also seen them occasionally in Tesco stores, Greater Manchester and Morrison’s, ditto. They are the genuine article, obviously being delivered regularly, usually found in the bread aisle. Don’t slave over a hot griddle; pester your supermarket manager to stock them! Tip if you’re dieting: try grilling them with a quick spray of Frylight to stop them drying out, or use low fat cheese.

  2. thanks for the recipe, just in the process of making some in sunny Znojmo in the Czech republic

  3. Alex says:

    @Christine U. Lineham:
    my girlfriend can’t eat wheat or milk, and I am constantly on the look out for new alternatives to bread, wraps etc that don’t taste like the cardboard found in the “free from” sections of the supermarket. I gave this recipe a whirl, swapping plain flour for gluten free flour, and milk for rice milk, and they turned out fantastic! I needed a little extra liquid in the mix, plus a bit longer on the griddle, but they weren’t far off the real thing!

  4. mary whitehurst says:

    Cheers for the recipe, we in Scotland love them, all my family can’t wait to taste them.

  5. Anna Mason says:

    I’m from the Manchester area, but now live in Vancouver, Canada. There are two things I crave: The Sunday Times and Staffordshire Oat Cakes. As soon as I land in Manchester, I rush over to the Tesco in Stalybridge and stock up on SOC. I slather them with butter and honey, cut them into four and fold each one over. Mmmmmm, comfort food!!!!

    When I eat one (often two) for breakfast, I am full for most of the day!
    What is it that makes them so moorish?
    I make sure that I pack as much as my luggage holds on my way back to Vancouver
    Thank you for the recipe; will try them asap.

  6. macc lad says:

    Fantastic recipe. Thank you brought back lots of fond memories of Saturday mornings. Now get to eat again in Santander Northern Spain. My ozzie girlfriend just tried them with bacon and cheddar cheese and loved them.

  7. Johnboy says:

    I live in Germany but originally come from Burslem,over the years I´ve tried and tried but could never get oatcakes right. Then I bought the right pan, a heavy bottomed Crepe Pan and with this recipe I’ve managed to master it after two goes. As the Mercians formerly the Staffords are stationed here and I play darts with a couple of them, I now make oatcakes for my mates on a regular basis and they reckon they are second to none.
    With a statement like that I must be doing it right, only thing is the pan is 26 cm which makes them very large. Still bigger the better where oatcakes are concerned.

  8. Patricia byers says:

    Nice one I love stoke oatcakes and can’t wait to have a crack at them myself sorry but don’t enjoy the supermarket ones

  9. Kelvin Burke says:

    Not a ‘real’ Potter?? I was born and bred in N-U-L too (Clayton), and I certainly class meself as a Potter…..been in Oz since 1972, and still miss oatcakes…..I’ll try the recipe asap

  10. Kelvin Burke says:

    @Jacky Hall:

    I used to go out with a Jacki (Jackie/Jacqui) Hall many years ago…..she lived in Clayton near the Newcastle Rugby Club ground….it’s not YOU, is it??

  11. Alice says:


    I’m a UK journalist writing a feature on Staffordshire Oatcakes and would love to hear from ex-pats who are fond of the oatcakes, have memories of eating them when they lived in Stoke. How do you do now get your oatcake ‘kick’!? Do you import them?

    I’d be most grateful if you can email me at with your thoughts. My deadline is Monday.


  12. Patrick says:

    They are such a treat.There is nothing that beats the smell of fresh oatcakes. I remember getting up early every Sunday and queing for fresh oatcakes from the shop down the road. Then coming home to have them with our bacon and eggs after going to mass at the Sacred Heart Tunstall.

  13. Rich says:

    So I am in Budapest right now, and was in a restaurant talking to my girlfriend about oatcakes (as I’ve been in Burslem two years or so). The Hungarian waiter overheard me mention oatcakes and asked me for the recipe as he was working in Hanley for a year. Haha. I said I have no idea, but that’s how I have found this site! Expect the Hungarians to be eating oatcakes very soon when I give him this link.

  14. beverley says:

    I made these once and they worked perfectly but now I am having real issues with them. The batter does not rise even when I follow the recipe exactly and, when I try to cook them, they just stick and go gooey. I am using fine oatmeal and dried active yeast. Thought that I was using too much liquid to mix with yeast but have tried different variations and it still doesn’t work. Please help, we live in NZ and are not able to buy them here.

  15. Kenny says:

    I hope these observations, noted since my first few failed attempts, will give you something to consider, and maybe you can avoid another “gooey mess”
    My initial attempts all failed because I was using a thin aluminium pan which cooled the mix unevenly as it was poured, creating hot and cold spots – cooking temperatures were all over the place. Even where parts of the underside were deep brown, there were still clinging gooey patches that I couldn’t turn over: Changing to an iron “Le Creuset”pan, in the middle of this batter pouring, gave me instant success.
    The reason a heavy iron pan is so important is because it’s slow to react to temperature changes, absorbing them and distributing as a common all over heat across the cooking surface, (think of a burger bar hotplate).
    Ensure the heat source / hob surface you’re using has a diameter big enough to cover the whole area under the cooking surface and allow it to heat right up (I set my electric hob to around mark 3 or 4).
    Before pouring the mix, I rub around the pan with a minimal amount of cooking oil or Ghee – (clarified butter, as used in Indian restaurants when making Paratha’s), and mop up any excess oil with kitchen roll before pouring in the batter mix.
    Another factor I found in reaching the first cooked thru’ turn over point was when using a 23cm diameter pan, that a 150ml cupful of mix was just the right amount to use to give the optimum thickness / cooking time. (BTW use warm milk if you need to thin mixture not water).
    John Harrison’s recipe doesn’t specify whether to use full cream milk, however I’ve used the semi-skimmed variety, along with a mix of rolled oats that has been put thru’ a blender with an hour allowed for the dried yeast to do its business.
    I also keep the mix warm and whisk in the yeast bubbles between pours, but I don’t know if this is really necessary, I just continue doing what worked for me the first time. Good Luck

  16. Paul says:

    Must try this recipe. I used to have them when visiting relatives in Congleton and they were always bought locally and I’m sure at the co-op where my sister-in-law used to work.

    She did make her own as well.

  17. I lived near Hanley as a child & then Cobridge… Many moons ago.
    Now living in Spain & hoping I can get the ingredients to make my own oatcakes & show my wife what I´m talking about!!!

  18. @debbie woodward: Where abouts in Spain??

  19. @Nick: I also went to Stanfield Tech!!!

  20. Margaret Callaghan says:

    I am living in Newark, Nottinghamshire, I was born in Bignall End, Audley, Stoke on Trent, I was brought up on Staffordshire oatcakes, and have often thought about them over the years, we ate them with various foods, but, as a child, my favourite treat was oatcake with butter and golden syrup, I am practicing making them, so far yum yum. Thank you for sharing it with us

  21. Ken says:

    @john holmes:

    I am at present 22/01/2012 living in Pattaya Thailand.
    I would very much appreciate the name and address of the Restaraunt.

  22. Brian Robson says:

    As a native of the north east I moved from Newcastle upon Tyne to Newcastle under Lyme when I went to college in the early 70s. I missed the stottie cakes and great fish and chips but was soon hooked on oatcakes. Now in Calgary Alberta and came across this recipe…… ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC…. as one or two have stated it needs thinning with a little extra milk but they still look and taste as good as those from the oatcake shop in Porthill. I’m sure I will soon have some converts here…. we do have a slight problem…. Canadian bacon and sausage isn’t as good!

  23. Brian Robson says:

    just grind up Quaker oats

  24. Carol says:

    So excited about this recipe as I really missed them when I moved to Glasgow, my Nanna had a oatcake bakery at the end of the street In Macclesfiled. Since moving to York, Tesco has them occasionally but this is great, thank you.

  25. William says:

    I’ve just been taken to an Ethiopian restaurant, where the bread served, ijera, reminded me of Staffs oatcakes – far more so than chapatis.. Checking the recipes for both, the methods are similar, although ijera uses sourdough yeasts, and oatcakes brewer’s yeast. Perhaps the soldiers had been stationed in the Horn of Africa rather than the Indian subcontinent.

  26. Paul Jenkins says:

    Thanks for the recipe, already dined the feast of Kings this morning!! Could have done with the recipe when stationed in Hong Kong (or elsewhere) in the 80s. A fellow Sergeants Mess member once had the last of a batch brought over from home, it had a bit of mould but he bellowed, I dont care, took it off and walked down the street sniffing away, mouth watering and apparently, bacon and cheese under the grill awaiting his arrival with a singleton oatcake. Good to see Stokies out and about, we are so very proud to be Potters.

  27. Joy Solomon says:

    I live in Sydney Australia although born in The Potteries and I have an Edwardian, limited edition, china platter entitled Ode to the Staffordshire Oatcake..The Saga of the Sickly Lad – “me father owned an oatcake shop at the bottom of o ar strate, Ay opened up at crack o dawn , cause the folks thee cudna weet….” by Marjorie Peak Milton. I would like to give it to some one who would appreciate it (recipient pays postage and handling).

  28. Yvonne says:

    We buy them every Sunday freshly made before your very eyes, from Zocco market, near Quesada, Costa Blanca, Spain. Lovely!!

  29. amy says:

    thanks for the recipe 😀 IOVE OAT CAKES

  30. Helen says:

    Husband has been asking me to make these since we moved to Bulgaria a few years ago from Stoke, well he is a Stokie and I am from Newcastle -under-Lyme which apparently doesn’t count according to him. I keep telling him I haven’t got the right pan but I have no excuse now as he has just posted this to my Facebook timeline. 🙂

  31. Jenny says:

    I use my Mum’s recipe (a Leek girl born and bred)….

    2 cups/mugs MEDIUM oatmeal to 1 cup/mug wholemeal, rye or spelt flour + an ounce of fresh yeast. No need for milk either. MUCH oatier and yummier in my mind. If you want to treat yourself (costs 40 quid!), get a traditional griddle/bakestone from the Aga people. Can also find old ones on such as Ebay.

  32. paul kelsall says:

    Thought the day would never come that I would be reading a column about oatcakes but I’m so glad I am!!!! We live outside of Philadelphia USA having moved here in 1980. Used to live on Gilman St. Hanley and had the oatcake shop up near the Potters club. Told my wife about them so many times that she asked for them as soon as we sat down to eat on her first trip to my homeland.The guy in London had no idea what she was talking about! Now I will be able to surprise her with my own creation. Many,many thanks for posting this recipe even though I never thought it would be surrendered.

  33. Dawn Clayton says:

    My mother has just been told to follow a gluten free diet, can we make this with gluten free flour.

  34. Kev Lax says:

    Also now being made and enjoyed by me, ex-Sheffield lad, and my wife’s family. In Keelung Taiwan

  35. John Hellen, Hucknall, Nottingham says:

    You’re a life saver!!! For around five months I was able to buy North Staffs Oatcakes from our local Tescos. Then all of a suddenly, the stupid bread products buyer arbitrarily decided to stop ordering them. Despite several protests both from myself and many other customers. All to no avail! Any roads uppards, keep up the good work. Many thanks for the recipe.

  36. george robinson says:

    I lived in Hanley, Burslem and Kidsgrove in the early 60s and bought them from the shop in Kidsgrove front st, I had them with bacon. I can still taste them so can’t wait to make some.

  37. John Anderson says:

    Thee costna bayt aye lane oatcakes tunsta, fer thee bacon n egg n musheroom chaze n pickle breakfast, bayn a stokie me sen a conner wate fer t wake end t cum kwik enuf.Mmmmmm But im still gonna try this recipe…….

  38. Ron Kinnersley says:

    Can you please tell me where I can purchase the fine oatmeal in the potteries,I’m a castle old geezer but still like my oatcakes. many thanks.

  39. Alan Steele says:

    Hey great to see all the oatcake interest. My Family were the first to bake oatcakes at the Foley and our 90 year old recipe is always Medium oatmeal (we think has more flavour) 2-1 flour to oatmeal is fine for medium oatmeal, the salt is a definite but you don’t need sugar, the mixture will easily activate the yeast. Milk is not needed at all just water. An hour isn’t really enough proving, at least two hours is needed but begins to separate mix after about 8 hours, (this looks horrible like its curdled but you can re-mix it reasonably easily) when you cook use the heaviest pan you have, or flat plate griddle or skillet, have the heat really low and leave on for a long time so that the plate is really hot, just lightly grease, my Mum always has a rolled cloth in a cup or bowl with some lard or trex type of fat in and just wipes the greasy side across the hotplate. I have used a few spots of oil in a bowl and use paper towel rolled in to form a round mushroom top to dip in, wipe and leave a few seconds before pouring to allow the excess oil to burn off. Once the mix goes in cook until the top dries, when its dry on top the steam will be stopped or nearly stopped from rising or they will be soggy in the middle, too high heat under the plate and they curl up at the edges before they are dry inside. but cook slowly and gently, when the second side is cooked lift flip them on to your hand with the backside down on your palm, that was the side that was cooked first and should be cooler, press gently to see if the inside is cooked, if soft on inside the outer cooked skins will travel slightly like moving the surfaces of a gel pad on a mouse mat then pop it back on the plate for a few minutes, I’ve found that if you try and spatula press them down when cooking, it never cooks properly but will balloon like a chapatti. Drop the baked oatcakes to cool on a wire rack and the crispy surface will soften. IMPORTANT, give the plate time to get back up to heat before you pour again, a couple of minutes at least. When cooked if you wrap them the backside which cooked first will stick, break up and leave brown bits of oatcake on everything so turn the bottom one of the pile over so that its frontside is down then pile the others as they sit on the cooling rack. Buying oatmeal, if you’re really stuck you can buy it direct from Mornflake at Crewe Gresty Road just drive past the Alex and keep going, but Lodeys in the Westlands have it and Tesco sell it at their usual inflated mug you for your last penny prices. Oatcakes cooked like this will taste more like High Lane or Annie’s in Fenton than the rubbish that Staffs or Poveys churn out. Good luck be patient, if you get a couple of fails just clean the skillet, heat it up properly and start again.

  40. Alan Steele says:

    By the way, the old bakeries used to sell the fresh oatcakes out of their front window and last window sales oatcake shop closed last year.

  41. elizabeth harris says:

    Hi, my Dad was from Stoke on Trent and I was brought up on oatcakes. My Dad made these and there where the best. Now my grandchildren like them and they keep asking me if I will make some – I tell them I am not as good as their great granddad, but one of my grandsons told me practice makes perfect lol. Can’t beat the Staffordshire oatcakes.

  42. Angela says:

    I lived in Stoke-on-Trent for a while in early 2000 and discovered Staffordshire oatcakes. Needless to say I never forgot the experience. I will now be cooking up a stack in Australia. Thanks!

  43. Simon says:

    Hi, my earliest recollection of anything “food” is Saturday tea, the only meal we were allowed to eat in front of the TV. Living in the Potteries as we did, it was bacon cheese and oatcakes more often than not, or so I recall. I generally salivate on hearing the theme to Dr. Who….. I now live in Yorkshire and have converted many a tyke, including my wife and her kids, to oatcakes. Mind you, I had to show my Mrs (a Yorkshire lass) how to make Yorkshire puddings! Love the recipe, have even knocked some up whilst visiting my sister who lives in Frankfurt, she’s now using it too.

  44. chris swindells says:

    My family owned a hole in the wall in Newcastle under Lyme for years over 100 ago. Although long gone, the recipe still survives and I cook them regularly. Family, friends and casual acquaintances love them. An earlier comment is correct, all recipes varied. This is very true and having tried several of the bigger brands I have to say were that my family recipe I would recant all knowledge of it. Looking at the recipe on here, it is very close to being perfect, but measurements are a little out and missing some vital ingredients. Our family brand is preparing a launch for the end of the year, I am confident in the produce, but let your taste buds decide for yourselves without any outside convincing. They are being launched in a name after the relative that handed it down to my father and the limited company and URL are being secured as we speak. More to follow, I truly hope you will enjoy.

  45. Helen says:

    You can use porridge oats and blitz them to a fine oatmeal consistency in a food processor. Plain flour works if you can’t find whole wheat flour. Hope that helps.

  46. Peter Preston says:

    I have made oatcakes for years. I taught my grandson how to make them he makes them, now he lives in Australia we were over there last year and had to make some so now he has to make his own.

  47. Claudette says:

    I am so happy to have found this recipe – having lived in Stoke on Trent for a few years from 2000 we grew to love them….will be trying them out tonight all the way in Malawi 🙂

  48. Rich says:

    Just wondering what oatmeal you buy in Western Australia. I tried to make some but they didn’t taste right.

  49. Christine Camm says:

    Thank you for recipe. My son-in-law is from Stoke. When visiting his family some years ago, and the first thing I bought, after travelling from Australia, was Oatcakes. Have been addicted ever since. We, sadly, don’t get them in Australia.
    Thanks again, Chris

  50. Oatcake man says:

    This is a good recipe but here’s my tips to improve upon it. I only use a tiny pinch of sugar as I don’t like the sweet taste a teaspoon brings. Slightly more yeast improves it I find, and the important bit – never eat them the same day – the taste and feel / texture is much better the next day and gets better for a few days more when kept in the fridge.

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