Few things are associated more with Scotland than haggis, yet it somehow remains a bit of a mystery to non-Scots. Ahead of Burns Night next Thursday 25th January, we explore everything that you need to know about this hearty, historical delicacy. 

What is haggis made of? 

Traditionally, haggis is made using a mixture of offal, oats, herbs and spices, which is combined then encased in a natural bung (the cleaned animal’s stomach). Historically, hunters would utilise offal first, as it had a shorter shelf-life, so to speak, than other components of their kill. As a recipe, haggis provided tasty and modest means of ensuring no part of the animal went to waste. 

Nowadays, it is becoming more common for supermarkets to produce ‘novelty’ versions of haggis, using artificial casing. It is even possible to find vegetarian versions of haggis, made using plant based protein. Nothing comes close to the authentic, rich taste of haggis made using the traditional, artisan techniques and ingredients. 

Our skilled team here at Pipers Farm produce a small batch of haggis each year, in time for Burns Night celebrations. We use a blend of both lamb and pork offal, alongside our own unique blend of beautiful, natural herbs and spices, and a natural ox bung casing. The result is a dish that is packed with delicious flavour and pays homage to traditional haggis. 


Handmade Haggis direct from Pipers Farm

What does haggis taste like?

We recommend trying our delicious, handmade haggis to experience the authentic taste of haggis. It is often likened to black pudding and there are certainly similarities, although black pudding has a firmer texture while haggis is slightly crumblier, due to the oats. Haggis carries a negative reputation amongst many, which isn’t deserved; it offers a hearty, flavourful meal and all the nutritional goodness of mineral-packed offal. 


How to cook haggis? 

We provide full cooking instructions for our own handmade haggis. We recommend filling a large pan with cool water, before inserting the haggis and gently bringing the water to a slow simmer. We advise against letting boiling, as this could split the skin of the haggis, impacting the flavour and appearance. Instead, gently cook slowly for 2 hours. 

Cooked Haggis

How to serve haggis? 

Haggis is wonderful versatile but is probably best enjoyed in the most traditional of ways - served with neeps and tatties (mashed, buttery turnips and potato) and a pile of seasonal greens. For the ultimate experience, wash it down with a glue of your favourite tipple - whisky would make an excellent choice! 

Haggis served with Neeps and Tatties and a dram of Whisky

How is haggis linked to Burns Night? 

Whilst haggis could be enjoyed at any time, it is most commonly served around Burns Night. Burns Night is celebrated annually on 25th January to remember the Scottish poet Robert Burns, who famously wrote Address to a Haggis - the reason why haggis remains the meal most heavily associated with Burns Night suppers.


Address to a Haggis, by Robert Burns 


Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 

Great chieftain o' the pudding-race! 

Aboon them a' ye tak your place, 

Painch, tripe, or thairm : 

Weel are ye wordy o'a grace 

As lang's my arm. 


The groaning trencher there ye fill, 

Your hurdies like a distant hill, 

Your pin wad help to mend a mill 

In time o'need, 

While thro' your pores the dews distil 

Like amber bead. 


His knife see rustic Labour dight, 

An' cut you up wi' ready sleight, 

Trenching your gushing entrails bright, 

Like ony ditch; 

And then, O what a glorious sight, 

Warm-reekin', rich! 


Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive: 

Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive, 

Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve 

Are bent like drums; 

Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive, 

Bethankit! hums. 


Is there that owre his French ragout 

Or olio that wad staw a sow, 

Or fricassee wad make her spew 

Wi' perfect sconner, 

Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view 

On sic a dinner? 


Poor devil! see him owre his trash, 

As feckless as wither'd rash, 

His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash; 

His nieve a nit; 

Thro' bloody flood or field to dash, 

O how unfit! 


But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed, 

The trembling earth resounds his tread. 

Clap in his walie nieve a blade, 

He'll mak it whissle; 

An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned, 

Like taps o' thrissle. 


Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care, 

And dish them out their bill o' fare, 

Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware 

That jaups in luggies; 

But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer 

Gie her a haggis! 

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