Christmas/ Dessert/ Recipes/ Snack

4 Ingredient Scottish Tablet Recipe

13/12/2022

The next best thing since sliced fudge! Homemade Scottish tablet is a simple recipe with only 4 ingredients. Golden crumbly goodness, learn how to make this traditional sweet today.

A stack of 4 pieces of Scottish tablet.

Why We Love This

Scottish Tablet is the ultimate old fashioned treat for sweet-tooths. It has a deliciously crumbly, sugary texture that is 100% moreish and we are 100% okay with that.

As it’s so long lasting, it makes a great edible gift. Whether it’s for Christmas or as wedding favours, they can be sure to sweeten things up!

Related: Caramilk Christmas Slice / Scottish Square Sausage

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Pieces of crumbly Scottish tablet on a tray, ready to eat.

What is Scottish Tablet?

Scottish Tablet is a popular confectionary treat from Scotland, made from a base of sugar, milk, butter and condensed milk that is softly boiled, beaten then left to crystallise into a deliciously sweet treat – emphasis on sweet!

It may look like fudge, but that’s where the similarities end. Softer than candy but firmer than fudge, it’s best known for it’s rather fine grainy texture, which is somehow coarse and crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth all at the same time.

The original tablet tastes like caramel, though you can add other flavourings to mix it up – see more ideas below. If you’re looking for a chocolate slice with that crunchy crumbly texture, check out chocolate concrete or Aussie crunch!

This recipe is super popular over November and December during the holiday season.

Where We Learned This

After tasting tablet at a local sweet shop in Scotland, we visited a rundown antiques shop and stumbled across an old Glasgow recipe book, put together by the community. It was here we found our original recipe for tablet and adapted it from there to be a little simpler to follow and swapped out the evaporated milk for condensed milk, which is more common these days.

What You’ll Need

  • Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar – We recommend caster sugar which is finer and easier to dissolve than regular white or granulated sugar. You can use golden caster sugar for even more caramel-y flavour. This will also help with a finer grain finish at the end.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – This speeds up the cooking process. You can sub with coconut based condensed milk if you prefer. Traditionally, evaporated milk can also be used, however this will extend your cooking time by around an extra 10-20 minutes.
  • Butter – We recommend salted butter to give it that extra depth of flavour at the end. Unsalted butter works just as well.
  • Milk – Whole, full fat milk is essential here. It helps to give that real caramel finish to the tablet.

Optional Ingredients

  • Vanilla Extract / Vanilla Essence – This rounds out the flavour and is a nice addition at the end. Can use other flavours, such as peppermint essence at Christmas time.
  • Golden Syrup – Helps to deepen the golden colour if you want, and add a little extra caramel tone to the flavour. Sub with molasses or maple syrup.
Ingredients laid out ready to make Scottish tablet.

How to Make Scottish Tablet

First, gather your ingredients: See recipe card below for measurements.

  1. Line or grease a baking tray (around 37.5 x 25.5cm / 14.75 x 10 in), ready to set your tablet.
  2. Pour your caster sugar / superfine sugarbutter and whole milk into a large, heavy pot over low heat. Stir slowly and continuously with a wooden spoon or spatula until you feel all the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, around 15 – 20 minutes. Note: The mixture will double in size as it heats up.
  3. Now add in the sweetened condensed milk and turn up the heat to medium high and allow the mix to come to a gentle boil – not full boiling, but higher than a simmer. Keep stirring continuously at this stage to avoid the sugar sticking and burning on the bottom. Note: Burnt sugar on the bottom will show up as little brown bits if the heat gets too high. Don’t worry, it’s fine if it happens. Just turn the heat down and keep stirring and scraping the bottom.
  1. Continue gently boiling for 20 minutes until it reaches “soft ball temperature”, around 116 C / 240 F which you can check with a candy thermometer. Note: Higher than sea level? Reduce by 1 C / 34F every 300 m / 1000 ft above sea level.
  2. Time for the Soft Ball Test: Once you think the mixture has reached 116 C / 240 F or cooked for around 20 minutes at a low boil, carefully scoop up a teaspoon of mixture into a glass of water. Leave for 5 seconds, then pour out the water and grab the tablet out. It should be soft and pliable, not too runny or too hard like toffee. Once the mixture reaches soft ball stage, remove from the heat and place a lid on the top. Allow to sit for a minute or two and let the sugar crystals soften.
  1. Remove the lid, add optional vanilla extract and golden syrup and stir through.
  2. Start beating fast either the traditional way with a wooden spoon or spatula, or by using hand beaters if you want to cheat! Continue beating for 3-6 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken.
  3. Once the mixture really starts to thicken, quickly pour into your pre-prepared tin and smooth out the top.
  4. Once poured, wait 30 minutes to semi-set then pre-score the top of the tablet, ready for cutting later. Now allow to cool for a further 1 – 2 hours, or overnight then cut and store in a container on the kitchen bench or fridge.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Use a ThermometerIf you have a candy thermometer you can use it to confirm when the tablet is ready to set. It needs to reach 116˚C / 240˚F. If you don’t have a thermometer just use the water test in the below recipe.
  • Be Careful – As tablet needs to get really hot (116˚C / 240˚F) to set properly. Always take extra care when handling the pot while cooking – you might like to wear heat-proof gloves and use a wooden spatula that won’t overheat.
  • Use a BIG Saucepan – Tablet will bubble up to double the initial size, so to prevent overspills pick a pot double the size of what you think you need.
  • Neat & Small Squares – Score the tablet before letting it cool completely – it’s much harder to slice neatly when it’s fully set. Since tablet is so sweet, you might like to slice it up into smaller cubes so you don’t overwhelm your sweet tooth. OR you might prefer to throw that idea out the window and chop it up into nice big chunks! Win win either way in our books!
  • Save Time – Fill your sink with cold water, and at the beating stage, you can place the pot in the water to reduce the time required to thicken the mixture.

FAQs

Why won’t my tablet set?

You may not have boiled it for long enough or at a high enough temperature for it to set properly. Tablet needs to be boiled for at least 20 minutes until it reaches “soft ball” stage, or around 116˚C / 240˚F. If you pour it out into the tray and it doesn’t set, you can always pop it back into the saucepan and boil for longer.

What’s the best way to store tablet?

Store tablet in a container, biscuit tin or cookie jar in cool dry conditions. Don’t worry about keeping it airtight, it’s actually best not to be completely sealed as that can increase moisture levels. 

How long does it last?

Once set, tablet will last for around 10 days in the pantry, around three weeks if stored in the fridge and 1-2 months in the freezer.

What’s the brown bits in my tablet?

It’s just slightly burnt sugar that’s caught on the bottom. Keep stirring and it’ll be fine, just lower the heat and make sure you’re scraping across the whole base of the pot. Using a heavier set pot helps to avoid this too. As you can see in our video – it happens to the best of us!

Variations

  • Add Extra Flavour – Flavours that pair well with caramel would work best, for example peppermint, ginger, or even a splash of Scottish whisky or few tablespoons of Baileys! Add a few drops of any of these when adding the vanilla extract, or omit the vanilla extract if you prefer.
  • Add Texture – Try adding chopped nuts like almond, walnut or pecan, or toasted shredded coconut.
  • Make it Vegan – Swap the butter for vegan spread, the milk for coconut milk and the condensed milk for coconut condensed milk.
  • Spice it Up! – Add speculaas spice mix to tablet when you add in the vanilla extract for an extra festive treat.
A golden pieces of Scottish tablet, surrounded of crumbs.

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★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Golden slices of Scottish tablet on a baking tray.

4 Ingredient Scottish Tablet Recipe

The next best thing since sliced fudge! Homemade Scottish tablet is a simple recipe with only 4 ingredients. Golden crumbly goodness, learn how to make this traditional sweet today.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Scottish
Servings: 30 pieces
Calories: 224kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • heavy based, large pot helps to avoid the sugar burning on the bottom
  • wooden spoon or spatula wooden utensils work best with candy, don't use a metal spoon!
  • candy thermometer makes your job way easier, or just gently boil for 20 minutes
  • hand beaters optional, for beating it until thickened at the end

Ingredients

Optional

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla essence, sub with other flavours like peppermint
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup for a richer colour, sub molasses or brown sugar

Instructions

  • Make sure you’ve read through the equipment, this will help you succeed first try!
  • Line or grease a baking tray (around 37.5 x 25.5cm / 14.75 x 10 in), ready to set your tablet.
  • Pour your caster sugar / superfine sugar, butter and whole milk into a large, heavy pot over low heat. Stir slowly and continuously with a wooden spoon or spatula until you feel all the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, around 15 – 20 minutes. Note: The mixture will double in size as it heats up.
    1 kg caster sugar / superfine sugar, 125 g butter, 1 cup whole milk
  • Now add in the sweetened condensed milk and turn up the heat to medium high and allow the mix to come to a gentle boil – not full boiling, but higher than a simmer. Keep stirring continuously at this stage to avoid the sugar sticking and burning on the bottom. Note: Burnt sugar on the bottom will show up as little brown bits if the heat gets too high. Don’t worry, it’s fine if it happens. Just turn the heat down and keep stirring and scraping the bottom.
    400 ml sweetened condensed milk
  • Continue gently boiling for 20 minutes until it reaches “soft ball temperature”, around 116 C / 240 F which you can check with a candy thermometer. Note: Higher than sea level? Reduce by 1 C / 34F every 300 m / 1000 ft above sea level.
  • Time for the Soft Ball Test: Once you think the mixture has reached 116 C / 240 F or cooked for around 20 minutes at a low boil, carefully scoop up a teaspoon of mixture into a glass of water. Leave for 5 seconds, then pour out the water and grab the tablet out. It should be soft and pliable, not too runny or too hard like toffee.
  • Once the mixture reaches soft ball stage, remove from the heat and place a lid on the top. Allow to sit for a minute or two and let the sugar crystals soften.
  • Remove the lid, add optional vanilla extract and golden syrup and stir through. Start beating fast either the traditional way with a wooden spoon or spatula, or by using hand beaters if you want to cheat! Continue beating for 3-6 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken. Once the mixture really starts to thicken, quickly pour into your pre-prepared tin and smooth out the top.
    2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • Once poured, wait 30 minutes to semi-set then pre-score the top of the tablet, ready for cutting later. Now allow to cool for a further 1 – 2 hours, or overnight then cut and store in a container on the kitchen bench or fridge.

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Not setting? You may not have boiled it for long enough or at a high enough temperature for it to set properly. Tablet needs to be boiled for at least 20 minutes until it reaches “soft ball” stage, or around 116˚C / 240˚F. If you pour it out into the tray and it doesn’t set, you can always pop it back into the saucepan and boil for longer.
  • Use a ThermometerIf you have a candy thermometer you can use it to confirm when the tablet is ready to set. It needs to be reach 116˚C / 240˚F. If you don’t have a thermometer just use the water test in the below recipe.
  • Be Careful – As tablet needs to get really hot (116˚C / 240˚F) to set properly. Always take extra care when handling the pot while cooking – you might like to wear heat-proof gloves and use a wooden spatula that won’t overheat.
  • Use a BIG Saucepan – Tablet will bubble up to double the initial size, so to prevent overspills pick a pot double the size of what you think you need.
  • Neat & Small Squares – Score the tablet before letting it cool completely – it’s much harder to slice neatly when it’s fully set. Since tablet is so sweet, you might like to slice it up into smaller cubes so you don’t overwhelm your sweet tooth. OR you might prefer to throw that idea out the window and chop it up into nice big chunks! Win win either way in our books!
  • Save Time – Fill your sink with cold water, and at the beating stage, you can place the pot in the water to reduce the time required to thicken the mixture.
  • Add Extra Flavour – Flavours that pair well with caramel would work best, for example peppermint, ginger, or even a splash of Scottish whisky or few tablespoons of Baileys! Add a few drops of any of these when adding the vanilla extract, or omit the vanilla extractif you prefer.
  • Add Texture – Try adding chopped nuts like almond, walnut or pecan, or toasted shredded coconut.
  • Make it Vegan – Swap the butter for vegan spread, the milk for coconut milk and the condensed milk for coconut condensed milk.
  • Spice it Up! – Add speculaas spice mix to tablet when you add in the vanilla extract for an extra festive treat.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
4 Ingredient Scottish Tablet Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
224
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Trans Fat
 
0.1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
16
mg
5
%
Sodium
 
52
mg
2
%
Potassium
 
78
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
44
g
15
%
Sugar
 
44
g
49
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
Vitamin A
 
163
IU
3
%
Vitamin C
 
0.4
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
60
mg
6
%
Iron
 
0.1
mg
1
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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4 Ingredient Scottish Tablet Recipe

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Valerie Gordon
    12/08/2023 at 2:12 am

    5 stars
    My mom made this for us as kids and I just found out what it was, lol. So now at 67 I’ve started making it myself. Only one complaint…TOOOOOO addictive!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      17/08/2023 at 8:44 pm

      What a discovery! I love it when you find recipes like this for childhood favourites. For us, it was being able to make the coffee scroll biscuits we used to have as kids!

  • Reply
    My mother got me hooked!
    08/08/2023 at 7:10 am

    Thank you for your recipe, I have followed 3 others in the past. Resulting in gross goo, yummy almost fudge and rock hard toffee. Craving to taste again -the real thing- introduced to me by my Scottish mother and aunt, I followed your recipe and even with no thermometer; your instructions led me to success easily. Now I am starting my day off with a smile and can’t wait to send some to my family to get their verdict. Thanks 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      08/08/2023 at 6:01 pm

      Oh wow, what an amazing result. We are SO happy to hear this was what you were after and it turned out so well. Enjoy every nibble, and thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Reply
    2pots2cook
    13/03/2018 at 3:48 am

    5 stars
    So glad to find you ladies 🙂 Thank you for sharing this delicacy !

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      14/03/2018 at 10:30 am

      Very glad you found us! No worries, hope you enjoy making (and eating) these as much as we did!

  • Reply
    Aria
    10/03/2018 at 6:09 pm

    5 stars
    These look so good, quick on the go snack, Thanks for sharing!!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      14/03/2018 at 10:29 am

      Thanks Aria, they really are. It’s great that they don’t have to be refrigerated either.

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