Traditional Scottish Cullen Skink Recipe

Ratings (68)
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
377 Calories
18g Fat
23g Carbs
30g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 4
Amount per serving
Calories 377
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 123mg 41%
Sodium 462mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 30g
Calcium 255mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cullen Skink is a hearty soup that is traditionally made with smoked haddock, and for me a great way to use smoked fish. The name of this soup originates from Cullen, a small town in North East of Scotland and also the home of this soup, one of Scotland's most famous dishes.

In this version of the famous recipe,  mashed potatoes are stirred into the soup creating thickness and flavor. In some recipes, however,  instead of mash, scrubbed, new potatoes or potato chunks are added. The best potatoes for this would be waxier rather than the ones used for mash and Jersey Royals work very well.

This Cullen Skink recipe is also known as Smoked Haddock Chowder in other parts of Britain as the recipe really is very similar.​


  • 1 1/4 pints milk
  • Small handful flat leaf parsley (leaves and stalks separated)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound smoked haddock fillet (not dyed)
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 8 ounces mashed potato (leftover or cooked fresh)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the milk, parsley stalks, bay leaf, and haddock into a large, roomy saucepan.

  3. Finely chop the parsley leaves and keep to one side. 

  4. Bring the milk to a gentle boil and simmer for 3 minutes.

  5. Remove the pan from the heat and leave for 5 minutes for the herbs to infuse their flavor into the milk.

  6. Remove the haddock from the milk with a slotted spoon and put to one side.

  7. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and reserve the herb-infused milk.

  8. Heat the butter in another, smaller saucepan. Add the onions and cook gently until translucent - about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.

  9. Add the milk and the potato to the onions and stir until incorporated and a thick, creamy consistency.

  10. Flake the smoked haddock into meaty chunks, taking care to remove any bones you may find and add to the soup.

  11. Add the chopped parsley leaves to the soup and bring to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 4 to 5 minutes. Do not over stir. If over stirred then you will break up the fish too much.

  12. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed. Be careful with the salt, as the fish will impart quite a salty flavor all on its own.

  13. Garnish the soup with more chopped parsley or a little extra pepper as is your taste.

  14. Serve hot with crusty bread.

Serving Suggestions

  • Sometimes Cullen Skink is served with a softly poached hen's egg on top for an even more, filling soup.

  • Or, lightly poached quails eggs dropped into the soup before serving, add a touch of sophistication if you are serving the soup on a more formal occasion.

  • You can also add a cup of cooked or warmed, canned sweet corn before serving but this is not usual for a traditional for Cullen Skink, but occasionally it is fun to ring the changes.