Spicy Scotch Broth Soup

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Scotch broth soup is a traditional hearty Scottish soup, but you now find it all around the globe. It’s not typically spicy, but here we bring it to fiery life with the addition of chili pepper. And it’s pure yum.

Originally this farmhouse soup would be made with lamb. But we think bacon is a much better addition with the spiciness. That saltiness just pairs so well with the chili pepper heat. It gives this soup just the right amount of extra flavor. As another twist, you could try some spicy chorizo sausage instead. Both work equally well.

Spicy Scotch Broth Soup In a pot
Spicy scotch broth soup in the pot

There are lots of vegetables in this Scotch broth soup (potatoes, onions, carrots). We want to also give a special shout-out to the pearl barley. It’s a nutritional powerhouse believed to reduce cholesterol and aid digestion, so feel good both in the head and the heart while cleaning your bowl to the last drop.

As for the red chilies, use whichever type makes the most sense for your heat tolerance. A good call is red jalapeños since they sit at the lower end of medium heat. Plus, that bright jalapeño bite (still present, even with the addition of sweetness from the peppers maturing further on the vine) works really well.

Spicy Scotch broth soup served in a cup with crusty bread
Spicy scotch broth soup served in a cup with crusty bread

If you are looking to ramp up the heat a little further, add one teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper instead of additional chilies or a chili powder. The flavor combination works well, and black pepper gives a better overall result compared to adding something like cayenne or red pepper flakes.

Spicy Scotch broth soup in a pot

Spicy Scotch Broth Soup

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Soup
Servings 6 servings
Calories 238 kcal


  • 6 slices Irish bacon a.k.a British bacon or rashers
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots peeled
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 red chilies Red jalapeños work well, but any red chili pepper will do
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning


  • Place a large soup pan over medium heat.
  • Cut the bacon into small cubes and add to the pan and cook for 3 minutes
  • Finely chop the chili peppers and add to the bacon and stir.
  • Cut the onion, carrots, and potato into small cubes and add to the soup pan. Pour the chicken broth over the vegetables and add the pearl barley to the soup. Simmer over low heat for 40 minutes.
  • Taste the soup and add salt and pepper according to your taste.
  • Serve with some crust bread and butter. Enjoy!


Calories: 238kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 8gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 1749mgPotassium: 541mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 3553IUVitamin C: 45mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Jalapeno Pepper
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on April 30, 2023 to include new content.
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