Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Jan

Primal Scotch Eggs

Although its reputation is improving, British food isn’t exactly known for being haute cuisine. Unpretentious comfort food is more like it. Some might argue that it’s a little bit too unpretentious – would a few more spices and a color scheme that wasn’t brown or beige really be so wrong? However, the lack of pretension is exactly what some find so charming about British food. This might explain why a traditional dish like Scotch Eggs is suddenly enjoying a new burst of popularity. It might also just be that a hardboiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and deep-fried until crispy is pure genius.

Really, what could be better for breakfast or an afternoon snack than a Scotch Egg? Let’s rephrase that…what could be better for breakfast or an afternoon snack than a Primal Scotch Egg? The difference is slight – a Primal Scotch Egg doesn’t roll around in flour and breadcrumbs before being fried. The result is an egg that’s slightly less crunchy on the outside but no less delicious because the ingredients that really matter – a creamy, smooth hardboiled egg and seasoned meat that’s cooked until crisp – are still intact.

If there’s a brand of store-bought sausage you love and trust, this recipe is even easier. If not, make your own sausage meat and season it how you like.
As for the frying, you can go all the way and deep-fry the egg into an extra-crispy golden nugget or instead, just pan-fry in a generous amount of oil. Pan-frying the Scotch Egg is the easier route since it involves less mess, although you might have to finish the egg off in the oven to make sure the sausage is cooked through.

With this recipe the Scotch egg, once just a staple of pubs and the lunchboxes of British schoolchildren, can now be a part of a Primal lifestyle, too.

Servings: 4 Scotch Eggs


  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 pound sausage meat
  • Oil for frying


To hard boil the eggs, place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling rapidly, turn the heat off and cover the pot with a lid for 10 minutes.

Then transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When cooled, peel the eggs.

Divide the sausage met into 4 equal portions.

Use your hands to form each portion of meat into a flat pancake a few inches wide. Wrap the meat around an egg, gently shaping it so there are no cracks and the egg is completely hidden.

For pan-frying, preheat the oven to 375. Then, pour just enough oil/fat into a deep pan to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat for 2-3 minutes over high heat on the stove until the oil is shimmering.

Cook two eggs at time. Roll the eggs around every few minutes in the oil so all sides of the meat become nicely browned. Cook each egg for about 8 minutes total.

Transfer to the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes more until the sausage is cooked through.

Eat the eggs warm or cold. Serve alone or with pickles, mayonnaise or hot sauce.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. That’s funny, I just saw bar b q scotch eggs on tv last night.

    You know, store-bought sausage is all full of sugar and grains.

    K wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Not always. Here in CO, we have a local brand, Boulder Sausage, that’s sold in all the regular grocery stores (even Target!) and is made of just pork, spices, and a very small amount of sugar(less than 1 gram of carbs).

      DenverD wrote on January 21st, 2012
      • ^^^^ I was thinking of going & buying some Boulder Sausage as soon as I saw this post :-) I can even get that where I live. WIN!

        Peggy wrote on January 21st, 2012
        • Here in the UK they have premium sausages which are 85%+ meat. Have to agree with Mark about British food tending towards beige though! Things are changing and a new Paleo/Primal website has just emerged Paleoworks which reads very similarly to Marks daily Apple. They’re right on the ball ad do a prodigeous amount of tweeting too.

          Paul wrote on January 25th, 2012
        • Does the Boulder sausage have a website?

          Debbie wrote on September 12th, 2013
    • I buy those 8 packs of the little Farmer John brefkast suasages at the 99 cent store, there’s only like 6 ingredients in them, no wheat or grains, antibiotics etc. very clean high quality product IMO, YMMV.

      cancerclasses wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • love the scotch eggs i coat the outside with grated parmasan cheese gives it an even crispier texture

      kim wrote on January 25th, 2013
  2. Hi Mark,

    I am a real British lady who tries to eat paleo/primal food. I’m a bit offended by your comments though, British people don’t really eat bland food, we have been crazy about spices for hundreds of years so the reputation is unfounded. They say Queen Victoria loved a good curry!

    Chrissie wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • So true! I’ve had beautiful meals all throughout the UK. It’s not all boiled mutton and mushy peas.

      kiss wrote on January 21st, 2012
      • yeah… is there a grainless pork pie?

        Ion Freeman wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Whaaaaat! Brits have been spice mad since the middle ages and even more so since colonial times and probably the most popular dishes today are curries adapted from colonial times. Outdated misconceptions me thinks. If you look at American food then it’s a bastardisation of other nations food, much the same as British food is so to say British food is bland then we’d have to say that American cuisine doesn’t actually exist, but neither is true. Having said all that scotch eggs are mingin, urghh!!!

      greg grok wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Hear hear! I think you’ll agree that us Brits — e.g. Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay — have a thing or two to teach SAD consumers.

      In fact, another star, Heston Blumenthal, beat you to the punch with Scotch Eggs:

      Scott wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • If the Brits ate bland food they would all be thin.

      Johannah wrote on January 21st, 2012
      • lol — excellent response….

        having visited Britain four times, i never had a problem with the food. the stereotype is only as applicable as the one that says American food has to suck.

        tess wrote on January 21st, 2012
        • i don’t like american or most european food – which is probably why i do so well sticking to a primal diet. if i lived in mexico or southeast asia i’d be done for. it’s impossible for me to resist my grandma’s homemade enchiladas and tamales and beans and rice and hot off the griddle tortillas or some big, fat, rubbery rice noodles and bubble tea. having travelled abroad and tasted the difference between american versions of said foods, dude, american food exists.
          as for britain, didn’t the obsession with spices play a significant role in them taking over the world?
          debates aside, i’m just glad to have another way to eat sausage and eggs. 😀

          amy wrote on January 22nd, 2012
      • Not so, unflavored carby starches are very bland.

        cancerclasses wrote on January 21st, 2012
        • And very fattening. To be fair Mark didn’t actually use the word bland, unless it’s been taken out since the piece was posted.

          cancerclasses wrote on January 21st, 2012
      • bland food or not, i’m sure the grog plays a role in thinness. 😀

        amy wrote on January 22nd, 2012
    • I agree,
      Check out Jamie plovers take on British food. A lot of his recipes only need a tweak to be primal, and they are far from dull!

      Heather wrote on January 21st, 2012
      • Ah my iPad is thinking for me! I mean Jamie Oliver lol

        Heather wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Very true but I think he stated that British food has a “reputation” for being bland and colorless. And indeed, that is the reputation it has in most of the world, whether it is earned or not.

      fritzy wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • It seems like the only negative things he said were about the reputation of British food (which we’ve all know). His own words were “It might also just be that a hardboiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and deep-fried until crispy is pure genius.”

      Colin wrote on January 23rd, 2012
    • The best explanation I ever heard for bad British food was from Monty Pyton’s John Cleese to David Letterman. When David asked why the food was so bad his response was,”For God’s sake man, we had an Empire to run!”

      Jon Fagan wrote on September 30th, 2013
    • Curry I believe is Indian. Don’t get your nickers in a wad it wasn’t meant to insult just stating the obvious. Counting other ethnic groups foods that you all have adopted is different.

      brent wrote on October 7th, 2013
  3. It’s so BEAUTIFUL!

    Emily Mekeel wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • I totally agree. What a golden, yummy wonder… I’m sitting here with my nose pressed against the monitor…

      Joy Beer wrote on January 21st, 2012
  4. These sound yummy!

    KentH wrote on January 21st, 2012
  5. I concur, the reputation for british food being bland is without basis. The problem was a loss of cooking skills during the war/ration era’s.

    British cuisine is possibly one of the easiest to translate into primal food. As long as you have some talent/flair in the kitchen it can be devine.

    Roast joints of grass-fed meat (our standard quality meat is far superior and less reliant on grains than american meat) smothered with traditional english herbs such as rosemary and sage, with low starch root veg such as swede, celeriac, carrots and parsnips mashed with english mustard and thick cream and butter, with a serving of green veg!

    Admittedly these things can be screwed up without decent cooking skills, but that is only a recent problem!

    Eating out at decent restaurants with british food makes dining out paleo style easy. No refined oils in sight!

    We also have a rich variety of marine life around our shores, Scotland is famous for it’s salmon, scallops and other shellfish. Plenty of omega-3’s.

    You can hardly scoff at our unpretentious food, burgers and hot dogs are your equivalent of our meat pies and scotch eggs.

    When it comes to puddings you are probably right, unsophisticated and homely, plenty of flour and sugar, but only an occasional treat for me.

    Will wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Every time I go to the UK, I can not WAIT to dive deep into the local cuisine! not all yanks think the food there is bland 😉
      I always have a hard time adjusting back to US food…

      Peggy wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Until we started going to pubs and such we had the same thought of English food. Keep in mind if an American goes to visit and doesn’t know where to eat in MY experience the food was bland. THEN we discovered the pubs and local eateries and it all got better! Also the food was better out of London than in, at least for people on a budget.

      EZ wrote on January 23rd, 2012
  6. very interesting, cant wait to try this one!

    Burn wrote on January 21st, 2012
  7. I’m trying these for sure! sounds delicious!

    Aloka wrote on January 21st, 2012
  8. My mind is blown.

    These look amazing!!!

    pat wrote on January 21st, 2012
  9. Wow! So easy and simple yet I’ve never seen/eaten/made these. Def on my cooking to-do list! Thanks!

    Kathleen wrote on January 21st, 2012
  10. O my goodness, I love Scotch eggs! I think the first time I really “missed” non-Primal food was going to the pub and realizing I couldn’t order them (not because I insist on being strict 100%, but because I’ve discovered I’m really quite intolerant to wheat). Thanks, Mark!

    Erin wrote on January 21st, 2012
  11. I make these all the time. The local coop has some amazing sausage (local, pastured/organic pork and roasted green chile), and real free-range eggs. I don’t fry mine though. I just throw them on a cookie sheet and bake till the sausage is cooked through. Much less mess/effort. I know it doesn’t get quite the crispy quality as frying, but I am not a big fan of frying, too much of a mess.

    Callie wrote on January 21st, 2012
  12. I’ve definitely heard of scotch eggs before but have never given them a shot. I just need some ground sausage from the farmers market!

    Primal Toad wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • …or you could just grind up some pork & spices in a blender! my fave blend is sage, rosemary, thyme and oregano. I mean, you’re a smoothie fiend, I’m sure you have an inventory of processors and vitamixes 😉

      Milla wrote on January 21st, 2012
  13. I’m a Brit here in UK.Scotch eggs are the dog’s b——s, experiment, put chopped chillies, chopped bacon, herbs, rosemary, spices , whatever you fancy in the sausagemeat for loads of variations,gorgeous. British food bland, from the nation that gave us Mcdonalds, Burger King and KFC to name a few, thats a bit rich as we say, apology in order me thinks Mr Sisson !!

    Garyy wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Your tips sound wonderful! Thanks for adding ideas.

      Joy Beer wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Glad you posted. I was just about to say they obviously needed bacon.

      primalzen wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Mark didn’t post this, one of the Worker Bee’s did. Just thought I’d point that out.

      Trav wrote on January 21st, 2012
      • I wondered – there are a lot of typos and that’s not Marks usual style.

        W. J. Purifoy wrote on January 22nd, 2012
  14. This is like an egg-dominated meatloaf!

    Milla wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • If you think that’s cool, google “gala pie”.

      Hey, does anyone have a paleo alternative for pastry / pie crust??

      Scott wrote on January 22nd, 2012
  15. Wow! Why have I never heard of scotch eggs before?!? I am sooo trying this for lunch tomorrow. Looks amazing!

    Jennifer wrote on January 21st, 2012
  16. Melissa’s new cookbook has paleo scotch eggs with ground up pork rinds for the “breading,” which I thought was a wonderful idea…no need to give up the crunch.

    Graham wrote on January 21st, 2012
  17. Er sorry, but erm, ‘American’ food isn’t any more sophisticated than British food. In fact, it’s pretty crap – ‘yellow cake’ (wtf?) and casseroles made with canned soup and crumbled crisps on top. I think you’re talking out of your arse. Ever heard of the British East India Company?? Take a look at some medieval recipes online – we spiced foods as part of the preservation process hundreds of years ago to help mask any decomposition aromas but mostly it was a sign of status and wealth, just like in the ancient mediterranian civilisations. It’s the same as any other place in the world if – if you eat crap food in crap places it won’t be very good, no. But real British food eg proper cuts of meat (which is traditionally ‘pastured’ or free range and only in the last 60 years factory farmed), usually bone-in, slow cooked with seasonal vegetables is closer to primal than many other cuisines. Contemporary British cuisine is heavily influenced by the classical french style and Indian food is enormously popular, (of course on any high street you can eat all manner of international dishes of varying standards including MacDonalds if you like that kind of sh*t). Our little island has a wealth of culinary history, rich coastal waters and farming / hunting heritage. Scotch eggs are lovely but they’re hardly the pinnacle of British fayre. If you come to the UK you can come to my house for dinner. I’ll make you some humble primal pie. Bring a big spoon love.

    Charlotte wrote on January 21st, 2012
  18. i make scotch eggs with canned quail eggs — cute little things — make great appetizers.

    tess wrote on January 21st, 2012
  19. Brit TV is wall-to-wall food porn and everybody wants to be a chef, it’s the new rock and roll. I would still avoid the snail porridge. For those unfamiliar with this particular gastro delight check out Heston Blumenthal.

    As for the righteous indignation from my fellow Brits, go easy guys. We deserved it, I remember being served some bloody awful microwave slop in pubs and being charged a fortune for it.

    It will take a bit more than a couple of episodes of Nigella or Jamie O to change that.

    I do see regular appreciation of Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall on MDA which is good.

    Guy wrote on January 21st, 2012
  20. A little twist on this that makes them even more wonderful. When boiling the eggs, put them in the pan with cold water, and as soon as the water starts to boil, remove from the heat. Then put the lid on and leave for 3 minutes exactly. They still cook BUT it leaves the yolk runny! Trust me it’s amazing.
    More importantly this is how the Queen eats her Scotch eggs (probably).

    Andy barge wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • so trying it this way! but I live at 9k ft so might have to experiment with the timing…

      Peggy wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • I do like some ‘run’ in my egg yolks no matter how I’m cooking them. I’ll try your 3-minute method.
      I bet Her Majesty does eat her eggs runny, too. Do you think she reads this blog? Will she answer our curiosity?

      W. J. Purifoy wrote on January 22nd, 2012
  21. So I know everybody is stereotyping English and American food here, but I just wanted to throw out my favorite “American” food. I use that loosely because it’s pretty much seen everywhere in the world. But man oh man, nothing is better to me then Pork spareribs or pork belly or hey even a whole Pig for that matter, cooked over wood low and slow with a great dry rub, coming out of that smoker with a nice black bark and oozing with fat and juices. To make it better, dip in a carolina red sauce….. ok, not real relavant but the thought of american food and sausage (pork) made me think of this!

    Kyle wrote on January 21st, 2012
  22. I’ve got a bit of a chicken egg allergy, but I will use my duck eggs — they’ll make a nice, big Scotch egg. This summer, I’ll definitely try the quail eggs, too, once they are available at the Farmer’s Market. Meanwhile, I think I’ll try my new Chorizo seasoning for the pork sausage — or maybe just Boulder Sausage.

    Diane wrote on January 21st, 2012
  23. Scotch eggs were my favorite travel snack when backpacking thru England back in the 80’s. Sausage rolls, too, but they’re not too primal.

    Moshen wrote on January 21st, 2012
  24. Hmmm does that mean you have to cook it longer or shorter? I can’t remember my school science

    Andy barge wrote on January 21st, 2012
  25. Comments on making these things:
    1. Refrigerated hard boiled eggs keep the sausage from cooking all the way through.
    2. Room temperature sausage is much easier to work with.
    3. Oil your hands like crazy to do the wrapping.
    4. When the sausage cooks, it shrinks. Unless you have a really thick coat of sausage, your egg will show through.
    5. Tastes good to me.

    Chuck wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Thank you–I will use your tips. I’m psyched to try these.

      Joy Beer wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Great tips. Cheers!

      foxmayan wrote on February 1st, 2012
  26. I come from way down under and scotch eggs were a regular item on our menu. Can’t say I liked them that much, All these years later will try them again. Won’t say how many years later though

    Lachlan wrote on January 21st, 2012
  27. It’s a pity that a primal version of fish and chips seems unlikely.

    Warwick wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • If we could come up with that I could probably convert my SO :-)

      bbuddha wrote on January 21st, 2012
      • We’re going to try primal fish & chips tonight… Light dusting of rice flour (since it is what we have on hand, but I’d use potato flour too) and egg to batter. Hubby’s mom does it just like that (with wheat flour of course) so we’ll see how that goes with the rice flour. Never tried it before, but hubby was craving fish and chips.

        Fries are just cubed home fries since they’re easy, but I suppose you could do long cuts if you were so inclined.

        Jenn wrote on January 21st, 2012
        • as above, try alternate flour to coat, and use sweet potatoes for fries/chips

          Richard wrote on February 2nd, 2012
  28. What kind of oil? Coconut? Lard?

    KentH wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Best oil for chips is Beef fat!

      johnnyv wrote on January 22nd, 2012
  29. For a more colorful egg, pickle it in beet juice first (like the ones sold in bars), then make your meat-wrapped egg. When you cut into it, you’ll now see a pink ring around the yolk.

    For a deep-fried look to your baked egg, roll the meat-mounded egg in tapioca flour and bake–this gives a “fried” look much like fried chicken. I do this to my baked chicken parts, and it looks just like I fried.

    If any of your flour-dipped eggs still show white patches of flour after baking, just drizzle some oil over the white parts and bake again for a short time.

    Someone mentioned a primal version of fish and chips: we have them in plantain form. Peel and cut green plantains in half lengthwise, then in half width-wise, drench in scrambled raw egg, then in spiced tapioca flour, and bake at 350 for 20-30 mins. so the insides get soft. Green plantains aren’t really sweet, and taste more like potatoes than they do bananas–the greener, the better. If you have white flour parts still showing after baking, do as I describe above: drizzle oil over the white parts, and bake again for a short time.

    The chips will be more like wedges, but if you cut them into thin strips, and follow the same directions, you should have something closer to “fries.”

    Wenchypoo wrote on January 21st, 2012
    • Your ideas sound good – I’m going to
      try them.

      At what temp and for how long would you cook the scotch eggs? Like the plantain?

      I put plantain on my grocery list.


      W. J. Purifoy wrote on January 22nd, 2012
  30. Bangers and mash!

    rob wrote on January 21st, 2012
  31. I have ALWAYS wanted to make this, but being PRIMAL, I was wondering how to make it happen. THANK YOU MARK!!

    Meagan wrote on January 21st, 2012
  32. I will be making this in the morning with soft boiled eggs, that way they are a bit gooey when we bit in.

    Mrs O wrote on January 21st, 2012
  33. low carb snack looks yummy! good to share

    liana wrote on January 21st, 2012
  34. Thank you so much for bringing in some primal adaptations of Celtic food. I was starting to miss my pu grub. I look forward to a lot more :).

    Patrick Wilson wrote on January 21st, 2012
  35. Ok this looks soooo good! When I make this I don’t hard boil the eggs the whole way. That way when you fry them and cut them open some of the yolk still runs out and makes this ooey gooeey yummy sauce. Serve it with broccoli so you can soak up all the goodness with the florets!

    Sarah wrote on January 21st, 2012
  36. I’ve been making Primal Scotch eggs for a year or so now – they are great for snacks.

    Have a look at this site for a few ideas on how to spice them up:

    Dave wrote on January 21st, 2012
  37. I tried a ‘primal’ fish and chips the other day using a White fish dipped in a beaten egg and then dipped in almond flour. If you have your oil at the right temperature – hot – it gives you a nice crispy coating. Team up with baked sweet potato ‘fries’ and mushy peas. Boil peas, drain, then put in a knob of butter to melt and some mint. Then blitz.

    Rob wrote on January 22nd, 2012
    • Hey!!!! I “breaded” my fish like that too! Kudos ;D

      It was AWESOME.

      NSWM wrote on January 22nd, 2012

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