What is haggis? How to make Scotland’s national dish.

What is haggis? I knew it was some meat dish made with a bunch of animal parts, but what actually is it? Is it weird? Or perhaps delicious? Can you get veggie haggis? What’s a sheep’s pluck? I had so many questions, and thankfully while I was in Edinburgh, the owner of Haggis Hostels invited me over to learn to make it. And by learn to make it, I mean I sipped whisky, and he did all the work.

What is haggis? An overview video

I decided I was too weirded out to try haggis without learning more. Here’s the best of my lesson in making the confirmed-delicious dish!

What is haggis and what’s haggis made of?

Haggis is Scotland’s national dish; the word haggis generally refers to the whole dish, as well as the meat. The meat is “offal” (not awful!), or sheep’s pluck, meaning its heart, liver and lungs. When purchased, it is spiced and stuffed in the sheep’s stomach (where it will remain during cooking).

what is haggis learn to make haggis

To make haggis the dish, the haggis meat (offal) is combined with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) and best served dressed with a homemade gravy.

what is haggis homemade haggis recipe

Possibly the most important “ingredient” for haggis is whisky. It doesn’t actually go in the dish, but it helps to sip some as you cook. And some more as you eat.

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what is haggis whisky

Is there vegetarian haggis?

Yes! You can get vegetarian haggis. We even made some. I would say the meat version is tastier, but I’m sure my heart would appreciate the veggie haggis much more! It is sold already spiced and, of course, not in a sheep’s stomach.

what is haggis vegetarian haggis

Addressing the haggis and Burns suppers

Have you heard of a Burns supper and wondered what it is? Robert Burns wrote a poem, Address to a Haggis, which forever linked him to his homeland’s dish. Burns suppers (or night) are held near the poet’s birthday (January 25) and include bagpipes, a reading of the poem and lots of haggis.

what is haggis learn to make haggis

Homemade haggis recipe

If you want to dare to try making it yourself, here is Chris’s homemade haggis recipe. I certainly vouch for the recipe, but wouldn’t trust myself to make it!

what is haggis made of

Resources for visiting Scotland

Want to head to Scotland to try haggis for yourself? Scotland is by far and away one of my favorite countries and I can’t recommend visiting there more.

Where to stay: I stayed at Haggis Hostels (and if you’ve never used Booking.com, here’s $20 for your first booking).

Tour operators: If you’re looking for someone to show you around the country while you’re there, I can also recommend Haggis Adventures.

what is haggis visit scotland

Pin it to tell the world what haggis is!

Wondering what is haggis, actually? Is it as "offal" as it sounds? The owner of Haggis Hostels showed me his recipe and here's the verdict.

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Founder of How Dare She, Jessica is on a mission to visit every country in the world, and bring you along with through photos, video and stories. 6 continents and 104 countries in. She has a BA in journalism and Master's in innovation and change, but her real skill is plugging in a USB in 2 or less tries (most of the time). She believes daring isn't about being fearless, but choosing to opt in, in spite of fear. She dares to see, taste, experience and meet the world as she goes.

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9 thoughts on “What is haggis? How to make Scotland’s national dish.”

    • The veggie version seemed like it needed pan frying or something to make it less mushy and give it more texture. But it was really tasty.

  1. I was just in Scotland in May and I wasn’t brave enough to try Haggis! My husband had a Haggis burger and said it was delicious. I would love to try the vegetarian version!

  2. Ha! I love haggis… and all other offal, will admit! Agree, it is best consumed with much whisky on the side. Guess you can’t get much more Scottish than that!

  3. I won’t lie, the thought of haggis really weird-ed me out for a long time. When I was in Edinburgh last year and finally tasted it, I was gutted that I’d missed out for so long! It’s amazing!!

  4. I love haggis so much! When I left Scotland I really missed it haha. Luckily I’m back on another visa now! There’s a restaurant near me that does haggis nachos and they’re soooo good!

  5. I was surprised I actually loved Haggis. I was a bit scared to try it, but so glad I did. I don’t think I will try making it though, will just have to wait til the next time I am in Scotland to try more.

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