Satisfying & Nutritious Scotch Broth Recipe – A Souperb Choice

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Embark on a journey to the Highlands with our Hearty Highlander Scotch Broth Recipe, a robust and rustic soup that wraps you in warmth and tradition. Tender chunks of lamb mingle with pearl barley, leeks, and a medley of root vegetables, all simmered to perfection in a rich, savory broth. Each spoonful is a comforting embrace, with fresh herbs adding a whisper of the Scottish moors. This time-honored soup is a tribute to simplicity and hearty goodness, promising a taste of tradition in every delicious bite.

There’s a magic hidden in the heart of traditional dishes; they warm our souls and transport us to another time and place. My recipe today, Scotch Broth, hails from the rugged landscapes of Scotland, promising a nourishing, quick, and easy culinary adventure. 

Scotch Broth Recipe

This time-honored recipe pairs the hearty goodness of meat and barley with a vibrant medley of garden-fresh vegetables, creating a savory symphony of flavors. Regardless of your kitchen prowess, this recipe promises simplicity without compromising taste or quality. 

This Scotch Broth is your passport to an age-old Scottish tradition. It is perfect for a cozy family dinner or to impress at your next potluck. So, why wait? Uncover the secrets of this traditional recipe and infuse your meals with the rich tapestry of Scottish gastronomy.

What Is A Scotch Broth Recipe?

Embrace the flavors of traditional Scottish cuisine with this Quick and Easy Scotch Broth recipe, the perfect comfort food for any day. This hearty soup combines tender chunks of lamb or beef with the chewy texture of pearl barley and a nutritious assortment of vegetables.

Here’s a simple way to prepare it: start by simmering the meat with a bouquet of aromatic herbs until it’s meltingly tender. Next, add soaked and drained barley to the broth and let it bubble away, absorbing the meaty flavors. 

While that’s going on, prepare your vegetable medley – typically a rustic combination of carrots, leeks, and cabbage, though feel free to add any other favorites. Add them to the pot and simmer until they are just tender.

Season to taste and serve this Scotch Broth piping hot. Enjoy its rich, warming flavors on a chilly evening or anytime you crave a wholesome meal. Enjoy your gastronomic journey!

Scotch Broth Recipe

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?

One of the joys of cooking is the freedom to adapt and adjust recipes according to specific dietary needs or personal preferences. Here are some ways to modify the Scotch Broth recipe:

  • Keto

For a keto-friendly version, replace the pearl barley with a low-carb substitute like cauliflower rice or chopped zucchini. These will give a similar texture without the carbs.

  • Paleo

To make it Paleo, again, omit the pearl barley and consider adding more varieties of vegetables such as turnips or sweet potatoes. Also, ensure your stock is Paleo-friendly and free from additives.

  • Gluten-Free

Scotch Broth can easily be made gluten-free. Replace the pearl barley with a gluten-free grain like quinoa or rice. Also, please double-check your stock to ensure it’s gluten-free.

  • Whole30

For Whole30 compliance, remove the barley and add more non-starchy veggies or add diced potatoes for a similar texture. Also, check your stock to make sure it complies with Whole30 guidelines.

Scotch Broth Recipe

Recipe Directions

  • Prepare ingredients: Dice onion, chop carrots, and chop thyme leaves. Slice mushrooms and rinse pearl barley.
  • Brown ground lamb in olive oil in a large pot, then remove it.
  • Cook onions and carrots until tender in the same pot.
  • Add pearl barley and thyme, then pour in chicken stock and water.
  • Return lamb to the pot and simmer for 30 minutes to meld flavors.
  • Add sliced mushrooms and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot and enjoy this traditional Scottish delight.
Scotch Broth Recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

The beauty of a traditional Scotch Broth recipe is in its adaptability. You can tweak the recipe based on your preferences, making it a versatile addition to your culinary repertoire. Let’s explore some variations, add-ons, and potential toppings:


  • Meat Variations: Though lamb is traditional, you can substitute it with beef or chicken for a different flavor. For a vegetarian version, omit the meat and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
  • Grain Alternatives: For a gluten-free alternative, you can replace barley with other hearty grains like farro, rice, or even quinoa.
  • Vegetable Medley: Vegetable vegetables can vary based on seasonality and personal preference. Root vegetables like parsnips, turnips, or even diced potatoes work well.


  • Legumes: Adding lentils or split peas can make the soup more hearty and nutritious.
  • Leafy Greens: Stirring in spinach, kale, orchard near the end of cooking time adds a pop of color and extra nutrients.


  • Herbs: A sprinkle of fresh herbs like parsley, dill, or extra thyme can add a fresh and vibrant note to the soup.
  • Cheese: Grating strong cheddar or a crumble of blue cheese can add a depth of flavor.
  • Croutons: Homemade croutons add a delightful crunch and are a great way to use up stale bread.
  • Cream Or Yogurt: A swirl of cream or dollop of yogurt can add a tangy richness that contrasts well with the hearty flavors.
Scotch Broth Recipe

Can I Make Scotch Broth Recipe In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Absolutely, the Scotch Broth recipe can easily be adapted for both a slow cooker and an Instant Pot. These appliances can bring out the deep flavors of the soup, making it even more delicious. Here’s how:

Slow Cooker

  • Start by browning the ground lamb in a skillet over medium heat. Once browned, transfer the lamb to the slow cooker.
  • In the same skillet, sauté the onions and carrots in olive oil until they become tender. Transfer them to the slow cooker.
  • Add the thyme leaves, pearl barley, chicken stock, and water to the slow cooker, stirring to combine all the ingredients.
  • Cook the mixture on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. About 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the sliced mushrooms.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Instant Pot

  • Using the sauté function, brown the lamb in the Instant Pot. Once browned, remove the lamb and set it aside.
  • Still using the sauté function, cook the onions and carrots until tender. Add the browned lamb back to the pot.
  • Add the thyme leaves, pearl barley, chicken stock, and water. Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to the soup setting.
  • Cook the soup on high pressure for about 25 minutes. Then, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure manually.
  • Open the lid, switch to the sauté function, and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Scotch Broth Recipe

Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

The choice between store-bought and homemade broth can depend on several factors, including time, convenience, and personal preference. Let’s break down both options:

Store-Bought Broth

  • This is a convenient and time-saving option. When shopping for store-bought broth, look for low-sodium varieties, which allow you to control the salt content of your soup. Also, consider options that don’t contain artificial preservatives or additives. 
  • In terms of flavor, store-bought broth can be a great base for your Scotch Broth, but it might not offer the same depth and richness as homemade broth.

Homemade Broth

  • Making your broth allows for the customization of flavors. You can add your preferred mix of vegetables, herbs, and spices. It’s a great way to use leftover bones and vegetable scraps, often resulting in a richer, more flavorful broth. The downside is that it requires time, both for the simmering process and for straining and storing the broth afterward.
Scotch Broth Recipe

How To Serve?

  • Bowl Selection: Start by choosing a bowl that complements the hearty nature of Scotch Broth. A deep, wide bowl is ideal for this robust soup, allowing for a generous serving without the risk of spillage.
  • Garnishing: Adding fresh garnishes enhances not only the dish’s aesthetic appeal but also its flavor. Consider topping the broth with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or thyme for a pop of color and a fresh taste. 
    A dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of grated hard cheese like Parmesan can also provide a delightful contrast.
  • Side Dishes: Scotch Broth is often a standalone dish due to its hearty ingredients. However, a side of crusty bread can be an excellent addition, offering a textural contrast and a way to soak up every last drop of the delicious broth. 
    If you want something lighter, a simple side salad with a tangy vinaigrette can balance the soup’s richness.
  • Serving Temperature: Scotch Broth is best served hot, enhancing its comfort. Ensure the soup is heated to the right temperature before serving, but not boiling, to avoid overcooking the vegetables.
  • Presentation: Pay attention to the overall presentation. Using warm colors and rustic table settings can evoke this dish’s comforting and homey nature.
  • Pairing: For a beverage, consider a medium-bodied white wine like a Chardonnay, which pairs nicely with the savory notes of the lamb and the earthiness of the vegetables and barley.

Perfect Side Dishes

  • Crusty Bread: Perhaps the most traditional side dish for any soup, a good loaf of crusty bread, such as sourdough or baguette, can be perfect for dipping into the broth and enjoying the rich flavors of the soup. Consider serving the bread warm for an extra touch of comfort.
  • Cheese Scones: A classic British side dish, cheese scones can bring a delightful, cheesy contrast to the Scotch Broth. They’re also great for dipping!
  • Roasted Vegetables: While the soup already contains vegetables, a side of roasted root vegetables like parsnips, sweet potatoes, or beetroot could complement the hearty flavors of the broth. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of these vegetables, providing a nice counterpoint to the savory soup.
  • Green Salad: A light, fresh green salad can offer a refreshing contrast to the rich Scotch Broth. Opt for a tangy vinaigrette to cut through the richness of the soup. Add seasonal fruits, nuts, or cheese to make the salad exciting.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Turn your meal into a comforting feast by pairing your Scotch Broth with a classic grilled cheese sandwich. The crispy, cheesy sandwich dipped into the hot soup is an indulgence worth trying.
  • Quinoa Salad: Consider a colorful quinoa salad for a healthy and hearty side. Loaded with vegetables and tossed in a light dressing, this side dish can provide a textural contrast and added protein.
  • Pickles Or Chutneys: For a bit of tang and crunch, serve the soup with pickles or chutneys. They can cleanse the palate and enhance the overall flavors of the meal.
Scotch Broth Recipe

Storage And Make Ahead

  • Storage: Once cooled, transfer Scotch broth soup into airtight containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freezing: Scotch broth soup freezes well. Portion it into freezer-safe containers or bags, leaving some space for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: To reheat, thaw frozen soup overnight in the refrigerator. Heat gently on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare Scotch broth soup up to 2 days in advance. Let it cool completely before refrigerating. Reheat when ready to serve, adjusting seasoning as needed.
Scotch Broth Recipe

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

  • Stews and Casseroles: You can easily turn your leftover Scotch Broth into a lamb stew or casserole. Add some extra veggies or legumes, perhaps a can of tomatoes for a different flavor profile, and let it simmer until everything is well incorporated.
  • Grains Cooked in Broth: Use your Scotch Broth as a cooking liquid for grains like rice or quinoa. It will impart a wonderful flavor to the grains, making for a more interesting side dish or base for a grain bowl.
  • Stir-fry Sauce: Reduce your leftover Scotch Broth in a pan until it’s thick and concentrated, and use it as a flavorful sauce for a stir-fry. Add in your favorite veggies and protein for a quick meal.
  • Pie Filling: Why not turn the Scotch Broth into a savory pie filling? Add flour to thicken the broth, then encase it in your favorite pastry. Bake until the crust is golden brown for a comforting and satisfying meal.
  • Pasta Sauce: You can also use your leftover Scotch Broth as a base for pasta sauce. Cook it down until it thickens, add your pasta directly into the pot, and finish it with some grated cheese.


  • Use Pearl Barley: Instead of traditional grains like oats or wheat, try using pearl barley in your Scotch Broth. It adds a wonderful nutty flavor and a pleasant chewy texture to the soup.
  • Roast the Vegetables: Before adding them to the broth, roast your root vegetables like carrots, turnips, and parsnips. This brings out their natural sweetness and adds a depth of flavor to the soup.
  • Incorporate Seared Lamb: Rather than simmering the lamb directly in the broth, sear it in a hot pan until browned before adding it to the soup. This caramelizes the meat and adds a richer taste to the broth.
  • Herbaceous Garnish: Sprinkle freshly chopped herbs like parsley, thyme, or rosemary over the finished soup just before serving. This not only adds a burst of freshness but also elevates the aroma and flavor profile of the dish.
  • Add a Splash of Whisky: For a true Scottish twist, add a splash of whisky to the broth towards the end of cooking. This adds a subtle smokiness and complexity to the soup.
  • Finish with a Dollop of Mustard: Stir in a spoonful of wholegrain mustard or Dijon mustard just before serving to give the soup a tangy kick and a touch of heat.
Satisfying & Nutritious Scotch Broth Recipe - A Souperb Choice

Satisfying & Nutritious Scotch Broth Recipe – A Souperb Choice

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Course: Broth Recipe


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This Quick and Easy Scotch Broth recipe is a soul-warming, traditional Scottish soup packed with hearty flavors. Tender ground lamb, nourishing vegetables, and wholesome pearl barley are simmered in a rich chicken stock, creating a comforting, satisfying meal. 


  • 1/2 lb 1/2 Ground Lamb

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Olive Oil

  • 1 1 Onion, Diced (Medium Sized)

  • 2 2 Small Carrots, Peeled And Finely Diced

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Fresh Thyme Leaves, Roughly Chopped

  • ½ Cup ½ Pearl Barley

  • 32 fl.Ounce 32 Chicken Stock (Homemade Or Store-Bought)

  • 2 Cups 2 Water

  • 8 Oz 8 Mushrooms, Sliced (I like Cremini Or Portobello)

  • Kosher Salt And Fresh Black Pepper (To Taste)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation Of Ingredients
    Start by preparing all the ingredients. Dice the onion, finely chop the carrots, and roughly chop the thyme leaves. Slice the mushrooms and set them aside. Rinse the pearl barley under cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Brown The Lamb
    Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ground lamb and cook until it is browned and cooked through, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon as it cooks.This process should take about 5-7 minutes. Once browned, remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set it aside, leaving the oil and juices in the pot.
  • Cook The Vegetables
    In the same pot, add the diced onions and carrots. Cook them over medium heat until they become tender, and the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  •  Add Barley And Thyme
    Stir in the pearl barley and fresh thyme leaves, ensuring they’re well mixed with the vegetables. This allows the barley to absorb the flavors and the thyme to release its aromatic oils.
  • Add Liquid And Simmer
    Pour the chicken stock and water, then return the browned lamb to the pot. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. This step will allow the barley to become tender and the flavors to meld together.
  • Add The Mushrooms
    After the soup has simmered, add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook the soup for another 10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
  • Season To Taste
    Finally, season your Scotch Broth with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remember to add these seasonings gradually, tasting the soup to ensure it’s perfectly seasoned.
  • Serve Hot
    Ladle the soup into bowls and serve it hot. Enjoy this traditional Scottish delight that is quick and easy to prepare and brimming with flavors that will transport you straight to the Scottish highlands.
  • Ladle
  • Skimmer
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Large Pot Or Dutch Oven
  • Measuring Cups And Spoons
  • Sharp Knife And Cutting Board
  • Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot (Optional)


  • Adjusting Consistency: If your Scotch Broth turns out too thick, you can thin it by adding a bit more chicken stock or water. Conversely, if it’s too thin, allow it to simmer uncovered for a bit longer to reduce, or thicken it with a flour or cornstarch slurry.
  • Seasoning: This recipe allows you to adjust the seasonings to your taste. Always taste the broth before serving and adjust the salt and pepper as needed.
  • Adding Freshness: For a fresh, vibrant touch, consider garnishing the soup with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme just before serving.
  • Ingredient Swaps: This recipe is very adaptable. Feel free to substitute the lamb with beef or chicken, use different vegetables, or add other grains.
  • Slow Cooker/Instant Pot: This recipe can easily be adapted for a slow cooker or Instant Pot, which can be a time saver and helps to develop the flavors even more.
  • Storing And Reheating: The Scotch Broth stores well in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days and can be frozen for longer storage. It may thicken upon standing or chilling due to the barley; add a bit of water or stock when reheating.
  • Health Benefits: This soup is not only comforting but also nutritious, with a good balance of protein, fiber, and vegetables.
  • Dietary Restrictions: This recipe can be modified to fit various nutritional needs, including gluten-free and vegan diets, with a few ingredient swaps.

Nutrition Table


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