Cullen Skink – A Hearty Winter Warmer

Posted by True Highlands in Scottish Recipes | 9 comments

I’ve been asked to share my recipe for this blog which I’m happy to do.  What you need to remember is that this is mine because I have tweaked the recipe to suit my taste and requirements.  I like a thick, comforting bowl of soup which is filling and warming at the same time.  I like the richness of butter and full fat milk with a little extra cream and serve it with bread; Oatmeal for choice and some more butter.

I think it is worth sourcing undyed smoked haddock from your local fishmonger or supermarket.  The over-dyed, bright yellow, smoked haddock is just not appealing to me.  Floury potatoes are also essential.  I like Roosters but choose your own favourites.

So to begin…



    • An onion diced in smallish pieces
    • 4 fillets of undyed smoked haddock (cut into small pieces, remove any bones and skin)
    • 3 pints of milk
    • 1 oz Butter
    • 4 medium potatoes (part boiled and diced)
    • 2 teaspoons cornflour (mixed with a tablespoon of milk)
    • Cream – Double for preference but single works too.
    • Garnish – Chopped chives or flat leaf parsley.
    • Seasoning- Salt and Pepper


Cook the potatoes in water until cooked. Drain and leave in the pan with the lid on.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook slowly until translucent. Approx. 5 minutes

Add half of the potatoes and half of the milk.  Roughly mash the potatoes and gently heat the milk to a simmer.  Add the fish and simmer for about 10 mins until cooked.

Add the remaining potatoes and milk and bring to a simmer.

Add the cornflour mixed with a tablespoon of milk. Cook for 2 minutes.

Check for seasoning.

The haddock maybe salty to don’t add unless you need to – so remember to taste first.  Add a little white pepper if you like.

Ladle into big soup bowls and pour a little cream over the top.

Garnish with a little greenery as suggested above.


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Comments (9)
  1. Shona Byrne (Simpson says:

    My father, used to make the perfect. Fishing soup(tars what he called it as here was from Portknockie, Buckie

  2. penny averill says:

    hello i’ve just asked you for catherine laing to contact me. but now i find this as well. would like to talk to someone about highland cookery (perhaps catherine is that person), with a view to an article appearing in our magazine, which launches in feb. could you contact me pls.

    penny averill

  3. Pingback: Year of Food & Drink 2015 :: True Highlands

  4. Frankie says:

    the traditional fish for this is Finnian haddock (you buy it on the bone. smoked) which is undyed. poss harder to get outside Scotland.

  5. Mary Hardie. says:

    Please tell me if Finnan haddock is available in Vancouver Canada. Fingers crossed !! Love your recipe.

  6. Billy Hampson , says:

    Whit ,Nae leaks …

  7. Betty Saenz says:

    In my research, I made a list of authentic Scottish dishes to try in Scotland when we visited this Summer (2018). I was able to find this Cullen Skink delicious soup or chowder at a restaurant in Edinburgh. I really enjoyed it! Absolutely loved haggis too! I am hoping to attend Robbie Burns day in Texas to get to enjoy haggis again!

  8. Dee Rush says:

    Are you aware that the Cullen Bay Hotel holds an annual Cullen Skink Championship?

  9. Dorothy says:

    As a Scottish Tasmanian my ( loosely based) Cullen skink recipe is . Home made potato and leek soup, smoked cod,, any white fish,and prawns. Roughly chopped cooked potato.. Cook them all in the microwave then add cream. I call it Cullen skink but it could also be called chowder. Easy and quick.

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