Traditionally known as, ‘cullen skink’, in Scotland. This warm, thick, creamy, smokey bowl of deliciousness, is comfort food to the max. For extra bonus points it is very easy to make.

This famous Scottish dish is thought to have originated in the 1800’s in the small seaside village Cullen, on the northeast coast. The word, ‘skink’, refers to beef shin that was traditionally used in stews and soups. Due to abundance of smoked haddock production in Cullen, the beef was swapped out for fish.

This dish is so comforting and nutritious, that throughout Scotland, if one is feeling unwell, Cullen skink is eaten to aid recovery, much like chicken broth is eaten throughout much of the rest of the world. In my opinion, it really does make you feel better!

Black bowl filled with smoked haddock, poato and leek chowder topped with pasley

Smoked haddock, potato and leek chowder

Traditionally known as, 'cullen skink', in Scotland. This warm, thick, creamy, smokey bowl of deliciousness, is comfort food to the max, and very easy to make.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine British
Servings 4 people
Calories 428 kcal


  • Saucepan
  • Blender (for an optional step)


  • 500 g smoked haddock, undyed
  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 2 -3 leeks, washed and cut into 1 cm slices (about 250 g in total)
  • 2 – 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes (about 250 g in total)
  • 300 ml water


  • Place the fish in a large saucepan with the bayleaf, peppercorns and milk. Cover and bring the milk to the boil. Once the fish is white rather than pink or transparent it is cooked. Remove from the heat and cool. Reserve both the milk and the fish for later use.
  • Saute the leeks in a knob of butter for 8 – 10 minutes, until they begin to fall apart.
  • Add potatoes and 300 ml of water. Bring to the boil and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are nice and soft.
  • Skin the fish and break the flesh into small pieces.
  • Add the flaked fish and reserved milk back to the pan and give it a good stir to mix everything.
  • This is an optional step but in my opinion makes the soup luxuriously silky with still bites of texture. Reserve two ladels of leeks, potato and fish whilst you blend the rest of the soup with an immersion blender or a food processor. Once pureed, return the reserved ladles back into the blended soup.
  • When ready to serve, warm the soup and top with a few herbs (clives or parsley are both great additions here)


Calories: 428kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 41gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 1029mgPotassium: 1807mgFiber: 6gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 316IUVitamin C: 52mgCalcium: 238mgIron: 4mg
Keyword leek, milk, potato, Smoked haddock
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!