Flapjack Recipe (Both Chewy & Crunchy Versions)


A simple to make oaty cake that is sweet, moist & chewy (or caramel flavoured, hard & crunchy).



Chopped rolled (cheap porridge) oats 125 g
Rolled (premium porridge) oats 125 g
Margarine 150 g
Golden syrup 75 g
Sugar 75 g


Oven. Hob & saucepan (or microwave oven with microwaveable bowl). Knife, chopstick, wooden spoon or similar (to mix ingredients with). Pallet knife (to press into cake tin with). Scales & spoons (or just estimate). Square shallow baking tin about 20 cm sided. Baking paper (or reusable equivalent).

Detailed Instructions for Chewy Flapjack

  1. Put the 150 g of margarine, 75 g of sugar & 75 g of golden syrup in saucepan (or microwaveable bowl if using a microwave oven) and heat until it is all liquid.
  2. Meanwhile line the baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Mix all the oats (125 g of chopped rolled & 125 g of rolled) into the liquid.
  4. Put the mixture into the baking tin & press flat.
  5. Bake at 175 °C (Gas Mark 4) for 25 to 30 minutes. Warning: the timing is tolerant but accuracy in temperature is critical.
  6. Slice into 8 fingers (by cutting into half along the perpendicular bisector of two sides and into quarters perpendicular to the first cut) before it sets but leave in place in tin.
  7. Leave to cool and set.


Crunchy Flapjack

The recipe is identical to chewy version but cook at 15 °C (one Gas Mark) hotter. This is 190 °C (Gas Mark 5).

The chewy and brittle versions can be make simultaneously from the same mix by baking them on different shelves in the same oven provided the oven does not have forced temperature equalisation (e.g. a fan oven) by utilising the temperature differences between shelves. In my gas oven, I can bake chewy flapjack on the middle shelve whilst baking brittle flapjack on the top shelf. (Great for the indecisive :-) .)

Fruit Flapjack

The recipe is identical to above but mix in some raisins and/or sultanas before baking (obviously).

All-butter Flapjack

The recipe is identical to above but just use butter instead of the margarine. I thought it was only a relatively a slight improvement to the flavour until a reader told me that it needed to be normal salted butter not unsalted cooking butter, it then gave a noticeable buttery taste to the flapjack. The butter also gives a very distinctive and tempting buttery smell to the flapjack. Furthermore, "all-butter" sounds good in the name!

Jam Flapjack

Replace the golden syrup in the recipe with 100 g of low sugar apricot jam (low sugar jam typically tastes more fruity) and reduce the additional sugar from 75 g to 40 g. The result has a mild apricot flavour instead of a mild golden syrup flavour (and is slightly less sugary).

Golden Syrup: Explanation & Alternatives for Cooks outside the UK

The most frequent questions & suggestions I have had from readers anent my recipes on this website have been from readers from North America as to what 'golden syrup' is & what could be obtained locally as a substitute. Until I started receiving the emails I had mistakenly assumed that golden syrup was a common generic form of liquid sugar worldwide but it seems that it is primarily a UK thing.

'Golden Syrup' is the British English name for a common cheap viscous sugar syrup. It is golden brown, transparent, about 80% sugar & 20% water and made from a cane sugar solution that has been partially 'inverted' (sucrose split into glucose & fructose to make it sweeter). It has a slightly butterscotch taste and is often erroneously called 'treacle' because it, not real treacle, is used with breadcrumbs & shortcrust pastry to make 'treacle tart'; real 'treacle' is much darker, a bit bitter & more molasses-like. Treacle is probably uncommon in the USA because of the USA's high tariff on sugar imports.

The following alternatives are based on advice from readers, what I know from chemistry and what I have found by looking up ingredients on the WWW. Probably most will work but bear in mind that I have not actually tested any (other than the honey) myself:

However, as flapjack was traditionally a cheap cake easy to make cake using ingredients that were to hand and probably dates from late 19th or early 20th century in the UK, golden syrup almost certainly became an ingredient simply because it was the cheapest thick tasty sugar syrup locally available. Therefore it I assume it is perfectly in the tradition of flapjack to substitute whatever the local thick tasty cheap sugar syrup is and to adjust the proportions of ingredients to suit the viscosity of that syrup.



This is a family recipe except for the details. The original recipe was simply "Melt margarine, sugar & golden syrup in the ratio 2:1:1. Add sufficient porridge oats. Bake with whatever else is being cooked." and sometimes produced a chewy cake, sometimes a brittle one. When I came to want to make it for a party, I experimented across different temperatures, times & compositions to remove the chance element to get it reliably chewy. Whilst the experiments were cooking, a friend telephoned and told me she liked flapjack hard so I recorded how to make hard flapjack as well. The rolled oats instead of porridge oats were originally an accident when I bought the wrong type of oats but found they worked well. The jam version was suggested by a reader of this site.