How to Host the Perfect Burns Supper

Scottish flag. How to host the perfect Burns supper.

Today we celebrate Burns Night! January 25th is the one day of the year that we celebrate the life and poetry of one of the most famous men to come out of Scotland – Robert Burns. For those who don’t know, food plays a major role in this celebration, with the main event taking the form of the Burns Supper. This supper has a set order and includes the very best in traditional Scottish food. So to help you host the perfect Burns Supper this evening, we’ve put together a fool proof guide Rabbie Burns would be proud of!

Piping in the Guests

As at the start of any party, this is where your guests arrive & start to mingle.

Host’s Speech & The Selkirk Grace

The event is declared open by the host and a short welcome speech is delivered. Before the starter is served, the guests recite The Selkirk Grace, a prayer made famous by Robert Burns. Traditionally, the first course takes the form of a soup, and what could be better than a Scotch Broth?

Nick Nairn’s Scotch Lamb Broth by the Good Food Channel

Piping In the Haggis

Traditionally a piper playing the bagpipes will lead the cook carrying the haggis to the host’s table. The host then recites the Address to a Haggis whilst sharpening his knife and cutting the haggis at the appropriate lines. A whiskey toast is then proposed to the haggis before tucking in!


Dessert is again usually a very traditional Scottish dish. We love this Apple and Bramble Pie recipe from

Apple and Bramble Pie

Speeches & Close

Once coffee is served, one of the guests gives a short speech about Robert Burns. A male guest will then make a Toast to the Lassies, a speech about the speaker’s view on women. A female guest then also then makes a speech –  Reply to the Toast to the Lassies (more humorously known as a Toast to the Laddies), speaking about her view on men. These are normally quite jovial affairs and offensive comments are normally left out!

As many songs by Burns that you can fill an evening with are then sung before the host gives a final few words of thanks. Everyone then stands, links hands and gives a rendition of Auld Lang Syne to finish to the night!

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