A recipe for perfect Orkney Patties

For visitors to Orkney, a culinary experience we’d recommend is trying a Pattie supper in a local chip shop. This is mince, tattie and onion mixed together, battered and deep-fried and it is delicious!

A culinary experience we’d recommend is trying a Pattie supper in a local chip shop. This is mince, tattie and onion mixed together, battered and deep-fried.

At NorthLink Ferries we’re lucky enough to know George o’Neill, who is the Sous Chef on MV Hamnavoe, and an expert pattie maker. He was kind enough to lend us his recipe and has provided top tips to make approximately 12 perfect Orkney Patties in your own kitchen! Please note: a deep fat fryer is required.


  • 500g Beef Mince
  • 1 Onion
  • 750g Potatoes
  • 1 Beef Stock Cube
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 500g Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Power
  • 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 25ml Malt Vinegar
  • Aprox 1 litre Cold Water
  • 1 Egg Yolk


For the Pattie Mix

1. Peel and cut the potatoes in half. Boil them in a pan, seasoning the water with salt.

2. Once the potatoes are soft, drain with a colander. Then return the potatoes to the pan, covering with a lid for a few minutes (this removes excess water from the potatoes)

3. Mash the potatoes but don’t add milk or butter; it’s important to keep the potatoes as dry as possible.

Mince and tatties
Mince and tatties photo © Copyright Magnus Dixon

4. Fry the mince in another pan with some vegetable oil. Season the mince with salt and black pepper to taste.

5. Once the mince is the right colour, dice a large onion and add it, along with a crushed beef stock cube to the pot, and mix it all together. (Adding a stock cube gives the mince a depth of flavour.) Cook until the onion is slightly softened.

6. Spoon the mince out onto a baking tray and place in the oven at 180°C for 5 minutes to bake the mince (which slightly removes excess fat and gives the patties a better texture)

Orkney pattie mix
Orkney pattie mix photo © Copyright Magnus Dixon

7. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the mince into the mashed potatoes, leaving behind any excess fat on the baking tray. Mix the mince and potatoes together with a wooden spoon.

8. Allow the pattie mix to cool and once cool enough to handle, use all the mix to make roughly 12 balls. Press down with the palm of your hand to create the shape. (A small ramekin or cup can be used to ensure all your patties are the same size!) Lay the patties flat on a plate and put in the fridge to set.

Orkney Patties, batter to be added
Orkney Patties, batter to be added photo © Copyright Magnus Dixon

For the Batter Mix

1. In a large bowl, sieve in the flour then make a well in the centre. Add the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to the well and then add the malt vinegar; this will activate the powder, resulting in a crispy batter.

2. Using a whisk, add the egg yolk then the cold water a bit at a time, whisking vigorously until the batter mix is the consistency of double cream (you may not need to use all of the water to achieve this). Cover the batter and chill in the fridge.

Orkney patties and the batter mix
Orkney patties and the batter mix photo © Copyright Magnus Dixon

3. Preheat your fryer to 180°C

4. Remove your patties and batter from the fridge. Give the batter a final whisk and dust the patties individually with flour. Dip a pattie in the batter mix and drop in the fryer gently, being extremely careful!

An Orkney pattie supper
An Orkney pattie supper photo © Copyright Magnus Dixon

5. Cook the patties in batches until golden in colour. Remove them from the fryer and put them on a baking tray in the oven (set to 180°C) until piping hot.

George O'NeillBy George O’Neill
Chef from Aberdeen who considers himself very lucky to live and work in the beautiful Orkney islands. When on leave from the ship, George enjoys cooking for family and friends and hanging out with his wonderful daughter, Eva.

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Header image: How to make a delicious homemade Orkney pattie supper photo © Copyright Magnus Dixon