Cullen Skink

The first time I enjoyed Cullen skink was a day we were touristing in Windsor, England. Windsor castle and its beautiful grounds truly are worth a day’s visit, and it’s only a short train ride from London. At lunch time we walked the quaint town of Windsor, and found a gorgeous and seemingly non-touristy pub. That’s when I saw Cullen skink on their menu and had to try it. It was delicious!

Cullen skink is a Scottish creamy fish soup, traditionally made with smoked haddock. Cullen is a town in Scotland from whence this dish originated.

Smoked haddock is known as finnan haddie. But while doing some online research, I discovered Arbroath smokies offered by Scottish Gourmet USA. The haddock are salt-dried and hot-smoked, and are highly recommended for a variety of dishes, including Cullen skink. The smokies are fished and smoked in Arbroath, Scotland, which explains the name.

I got the basic cullen skink recipe from BBC Good food, but adapted it somewhat. All I can say is I’m buying Arbroath smokies again! The soup is outstanding.

Cullen Skink

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion
15 ounces cooked medium potatoes, peeled if necessary
10 ounces smoked haddock, or 2 Arbroath smokies
12 ounces 1/2 & 1/2
Parley and chives, finely chopped, to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion. Sauté gently until translucent.

Chop half of the cooked potatoes, and mash the other half; set aside.

Pull pieces of the haddock after removing the skin from the fish, avoiding the bones.

Put the haddock pieces in the pan with the sautéed onions and cover with 1/2 & 1/2. Cook for 5 mins. Add the chopped and mashed potatoes. Heat through.

To serve, sprinkle with parsley and chives.

Serve with crusty bread, if desired.

Here is more interesting information regarding Arbroath smokies from the Scottish Gourmet USA website.

By Published On: February 14th, 202240 Comments on Cullen Skink

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Bernadette February 14, 2022 at 6:16 AM - Reply

    Thanks Mimi for the recipe and the story. The soup looks delicious.

    • Chef Mimi February 14, 2022 at 7:59 AM - Reply

      It’s just smoked fish soup, but wow it’s good!

  2. Travel Gourmet February 14, 2022 at 6:56 AM - Reply

    This looks delicious! I’m slightly ashamed to say I’ve never eaten Cullen Skink as it’s quite a classic here and I’ve certainly heard of it. I must follow your example! :)

    • Chef Mimi February 14, 2022 at 7:58 AM - Reply

      Well one can certainly live a life fulfilled without having eaten Cullen skink, but it’s damn good!

  3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen February 14, 2022 at 7:37 AM - Reply

    This is my kind of dish Mimi, simple and filled with flavor! I love finnan haddie, and get a variety here in New England from Maine. The Arbroath smokies sound and look delicious. I will have to check it out.

    • Chef Mimi February 14, 2022 at 7:58 AM - Reply

      Oh fun! I love New England!

  4. February 14, 2022 at 8:41 AM - Reply

    I consider myself to be extremely fortunate here. My parents live in Dundee, just 15 miles from Arbroath. So whenever I visit my parents I request Arbroath smokies in some form or other and my mum goes and gets them fresh from Arbroath. Sometimes we have them as cullen skink, sometimes we have them just on their own with a light salad. All in all they are beautiful! Love your adapted recipe!

    • Chef Mimi February 14, 2022 at 11:03 AM - Reply

      Oh how lucky you are! I was so impressed with the smokies. Magnificent flavor.

  5. Molly Pisula February 14, 2022 at 8:46 PM - Reply

    Such an unappetizing name, but this dish looks so delicious! Thanks for introducing me to it.

    • Chef Mimi February 15, 2022 at 12:49 PM - Reply

      Unappetizing, or just a weird name!!!

  6. Tandy | Lavender and Lime February 14, 2022 at 9:59 PM - Reply

    When Dave and I were in Scotland we drove through Arbroath and bought smokies from a local fisherman who smoked them at his house. They are amazing and we always buy them in Scotland to have for breakfast. Such a pity that the airline has put their fees up so much! No wonder things are costing so much more in the US.

    • Chef Mimi February 15, 2022 at 12:48 PM - Reply

      Oh how wonderful! What an amazing experience that must have been.

  7. Cynthia M Woodman February 14, 2022 at 10:28 PM - Reply

    this is my kind of soup! So delicious!

    • Chef Mimi February 15, 2022 at 12:48 PM - Reply

      Thanks, Cynthia!

  8. Gerlinde February 14, 2022 at 10:44 PM - Reply

    I like smoked fish but have never heard of Abroath before. Mimi, you are certainly finding interesting recipes and ingredients.

    • Chef Mimi February 15, 2022 at 12:47 PM - Reply

      It’s one of my greatest culinary-related pleasures!

  9. Valentina February 15, 2022 at 2:05 PM - Reply

    What an interesting recipe — and information I didn’t know. I love when I get a little culinary lesson when I see a new recipe. And sounds delicious! :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi February 15, 2022 at 4:33 PM - Reply

      It’s a perfect amount of smoke and fish, all in a lovely creamy soup!

  10. Sherry M February 16, 2022 at 5:37 AM - Reply

    oh yum I love this soup! Smoked fish is so tasty. what a shame we can’t buy those arbroath smokies here in australia.

    • Chef Mimi February 16, 2022 at 7:48 AM - Reply

      Oh, that’s too bad. Are you sure you can’t find a source in Australia?

  11. spicedblog February 16, 2022 at 7:25 AM - Reply

    What an interesting soup – I do love smoked fish! I’ve also been there at Windsor Castle, although it was many years ago now. I do need to go back some day. In the meantime, though, I think this recipe will do nicely for warming us up on those cold, cold days!

    • Chef Mimi February 16, 2022 at 7:47 AM - Reply

      There’s an extra smokiness to these smokies – they’re not like smoked salmon or trout. And it’s just perfect. Hope you can get your hands on some!

  12. kitchenriffs February 16, 2022 at 10:00 AM - Reply

    I’ve heard of this dish, but have never had it. And obviously never made it. What a terrific recipe! This looks excellent — thanks.

    • Chef Mimi February 16, 2022 at 5:48 PM - Reply

      There are a lot of smoked foods that I don’t love, but these smokies were just to die for…. Never end a sentence with a preposition.

  13. Raymund February 16, 2022 at 5:25 PM - Reply

    Totally agree with you Mimi, this indeed is good. Was fortuante enough to have made something similar before, really heart warming and comforting. Love your recipe

    • Chef Mimi February 16, 2022 at 5:48 PM - Reply

      Thanks. Making it brought back so many good memories!

  14. Fran @ G'day Souffle February 16, 2022 at 9:15 PM - Reply

    ‘Smokies’ here I come! This soup looks very creamy and delicious. I checked out the Scottish Gourmet USA website but didn’t see any smoked haddock for sale there. Is that where you got yours?

    • Chef Mimi February 17, 2022 at 8:25 AM - Reply

      Yes, they’re on the website. Click on my link and then on fish. Smoked kippers, the arbroath smokies… they all show up!

  15. 2pots2cook February 17, 2022 at 3:13 AM - Reply

    The photos are great and so are the ingredients! Must do !

    • Chef Mimi February 17, 2022 at 8:24 AM - Reply

      Thank you!

  16. terrie gura February 17, 2022 at 8:20 AM - Reply

    Wow, does that ever sound delicious! I love haddock anyway, and the smoky flavor is a huge plus. You’re making me hungry again, Mimi!

    • Chef Mimi February 17, 2022 at 8:24 AM - Reply

      sorry not sorry?! Those smokies were amazing. And so good in the soup.

  17. Greg Henry February 17, 2022 at 10:01 AM - Reply

    Of course I am going to order the Arbroath smokies. I’m totataly into products I’ve never tried (I mean heard of). Now if only soup weather would return to Los Angeles even for a few more days. GREG

    • Chef Mimi February 17, 2022 at 3:12 PM - Reply

      That’s one of the things that keeps me blogging, is learning about new foods and ingredients. I think you could enjoy this soup in warm weather.

  18. Linger February 17, 2022 at 10:28 AM - Reply

    I have never heard of Cullen Skink but, oh my, this looks fantastic. I love all your culinary adventures and the interesstig recipes you find and make. You are very creative, Mimi. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Chef Mimi February 17, 2022 at 3:11 PM - Reply

      Ha! The reason I’ve had so many adventures and eaten so much food? I’m old!!! And I loved every minute of it.

  19. Abbe@This is How I Cook February 17, 2022 at 3:59 PM - Reply

    Fabulously simple. I loved the tour of Windsor Castle we had on Christmas Day! Totally empty and we even saw the Queen’s phone book off to the side! Perhaps she was slurping this!

    • Chef Mimi February 18, 2022 at 9:26 AM - Reply

      Ha! Oh I bet that was fun. Fortunately it wasn’t touristy when we were there, which was surprising since it was summer I’m pretty sure. The roses were beautiful.

  20. David Scott Allen February 20, 2022 at 3:03 PM - Reply

    The soup sounds fabulous! I love soups like this. But the name? It’s so funny to us… Skink. What’s that about?

    • Chef Mimi February 20, 2022 at 3:06 PM - Reply

      no idea….. There’s also a spotted dick…

Leave a Reply. I love 'em!