Cullen Skink

386_Cullen skink

Cullen skink is a thick Scottish soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. An authentic Cullen skink will use finnan haddie, but it may be prepared with any other undyed smoked haddock.

This soup is a local speciality, from the town of Cullen in Moray, on the north-east coast of Scotland. The soup is often served as a starter at formal Scottish dinners. Cullen skink is widely served as an everyday dish across the northeast of Scotland.

Local recipes for Cullen skink have several slight variations, such as the use of milk instead of water or the addition of single cream. Cullen skink was traditionally served with bread.

It has been described as “smokier and more assertive than American chowder, heartier than classical French bisque.

Cullen skink appears in many traditional Scottish cookery books and appears in numerous restaurants and hotel menus throughout Scotland, the UK, and internationally. In 2012 a Guardian columnist described the dish as “the milky fish soup which has surely replaced your haggises and porridges as Scotland’s signature dish”.

450 g (1 lb) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
25 g (1 oz) Butter
1 Onion, finely chopped
450 g (1 lb) undyed smoked haddock, skinned
300 ml ( ½ pt) boiling water
425 ml ( ¾ pt) milk
3 x 15ml spn (3 tblspn) double cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh chives to serve


[1] Cook the potatoes in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender, drain and set aside.

[2] Meanwhile melt the butter in a large pan and gently fry the onion until soft.

[3] Add the fish and the water to the pan and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes.

[4] Using a slotted spoon remove the fish (reserving the cooking liquor), break into large chunks, discarding any bones and keep warm.

[5] Mash the potatoes then whisk into the reserved cooking liquor and gradually add the milk.

[6] Return to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes to heat through.

[7] Stir in the fish and the cream, season to taste and serve immediately, garnished with chives.