Traditional Cullen Skink Soup

Cullen skink is a delicious thick and creamy fish soup and we think it is filling enough to be served as a main course. The recipe comes from the town of Cullen in the northeast of Scotland and our easy to make version serves 6, using store cupboard ingredients and two large smoked haddock fillets. We hope you’ll enjoy trying this traditional Scottish treat for yourself!


  • 2 large smoked haddock fillets (naturally smoked)
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 large leek
  • 500g baby new potatoes (these potatoes hold their shape)
  • Good splash of vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. of butter
  • 1 tbsp. of plain flour
  • 1 litre of light vegetable stock
  • 300ml of double cream
  • 1 large lemon
  • 20g chives
  • Sea salt and white pepper (to taste)
Cullen Skink ingredients


  1. Put a heavy bottomed large casserole dish on a low heat with the good splash of vegetable oil.
  2. Chop the 2 onions to a medium dice and add to the casserole dish. Sweat down gently for a few minutes.
  3. Chop the 1 leek to a medium dice and wash really well in a colander under cold running water to remove any dirt.
Chopped ingredients for Cullen Skink
  1. Add the leek to the casserole dish and continue to sweat the vegetables on a low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for another few minutes. You don’t want any colour on the vegetables.
  2. Increase the heat to a medium heat.
  3. Add the butter to the casserole dish and melt into the vegetables.
  4. Once the butter is fully melted, add the plain flour, and stir with a wooden spoon to make a roux. It’s important to cook out the flour for a few minutes.
Starting Cullen Skink soup
  1. Boil the kettle. In a measuring jug, add the vegetable stock cubes, then the boiled water, and stir using a whisk to make a litre of light vegetable stock.
  2. Start very slowly adding the light vegetable stock a bit at a time to the vegetables and the roux, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon in the casserole dish until a soup is achieved. Once all the vegetable stock is used, the soup will have a double cream consistency.
  3. Wash the baby new potatoes really well in a colander under cold running water to remove any dirt. Chop the potatoes to a medium dice then carefully drop into the soup.
  1. Reduce the heat to low, place a lid on the casserole dish and gently simmer the soup, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally until the new baby potatoes are just cooked. This should take about 10-15 minutes of cooking.
  2. Add the double cream to the soup, then increase the heat to a medium heat and continue to stir occasionally.
Chopped smoked haddock
  1. Chop the smoked haddock to a medium dice, and add to the soup carefully, and continue to stir occasionally, being careful not to break up the fish, until the fish is cooked. This should take no more than a few minutes. You don’t want to overcook the fish – you will know the fish is just cooked when it turns opaque in colour.
Chives, lemon juice and sea salt
  1. To finish the soup, chop the chives fine or snip with scissors, add to the soup, squeeze the lemon juice and also add to the soup. Finish with sea salt and white pepper to taste. Be careful with the sea salt as the smoked haddock is naturally salty.
Cullen Skink soup - ready to serve!
  1. Ladle the piping hot soup into warm bowls to serve.


By George O’Neill
Chef from Aberdeen who considers himself very lucky to live and work in the beautiful Orkney islands. When on leave from the ship, George enjoys cooking for family and friends and hanging out with his wonderful daughter, Eva.

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