Creamy Smoked Fish Pie

The British have, rather unfairly I think, a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to food. Though there are many jokes about British cooking, when it comes to fabulous rib-sticking pub food, they win hands down. I’m talking Beef Wellington with crisp pastry and beautifully rare beef. Sunday Roast with all the trimmings, or today’s recipe: Creamy Smoked Fish Pie.

I lived in London for a few years back in the ’00s, and it was there that I developed a love of real British pub food. Made with a bit of care and attention, these much-maligned recipes can absolutely shine. Yes, smoked fish pie can be truly gruesome if it comes in a microwave packet, but if you make it yourself, with a mixture of smoked fish, white fish and other seafood, it is absolutely dreamy.

This recipe will comfortably feed four people. I like to make it in a big dish and scoop out big, loose spoonfuls, this is the kind of food that you don’t need a knife for after all! If you are serving it for a dinner party and want it to look a bit tidier, use the same filling but make it in individual pie dishes or ramekins. It’s brilliant for preparing in advance, so you can just whack it in the oven when your guests arrive and enjoy a drink with your friends, while the house fills with gloriously inviting aromas.

What’s your favourite guilty-pleasure comfort food? Let me know in the comments below! Take care out there and happy cooking. xJ

Creamy Smoked Fish Pie

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!

Creamy Smoked Fish Pie

Creamy Smoked Fish Pie

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Comforting, warming and utterly delicious Creamy Smoked Fish Pie is a classic of the British kitchen for good reason. Deeply satisfying and full of healthy omega-3 oils, this is real good mood food.


for the topping:

  • 1kg floury potatoes
  • 100ml milk
  • 50g butter

for the filling:

  • 500g firm white fish
  • 250g hot-smoked fish, eg: salmon, mackerel or both
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 75g butter
  • 1 small leek, halved and sliced
  • 50g flour
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 150ml cream
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 200g cooked, peeled prawns
  • small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper


Cook the potatoes in plenty of salted water until tender. Drain, mash, then beat in the milk and butter until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper then set aside. Heat oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6.

Place fish in a saucepan in one layer. Pour over the milk, add the bay leaf, then season with salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat right down to low and simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Strain the fish, reserving the milk. Flake the fish into large chunks. Rinse the saucepan and wipe it dry, then heat 25g of the butter until bubbling. Cook the leek for 2-3 minutes, just until softened, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Melt the remaining butter and flour together in the same saucepan. Allow to cook, stirring all the time, for 3 minutes. Pour in the milk and white wine, beating until smooth. Add the cream and mustard and cook until thick. This will take around 10 minutes, make sure to stir from time to time to prevent the sauce from catching. Season with salt and pepper.

Add fish, prawns and parsley, stir to combine and remove from heat. Pour into the baking dish and spoon over the mashed potato, spreading it out to cover the filling. Place on a baking tray (this is important! Fish pie bubbles over 100% of the time!) and bake in the preheated oven 40-45 minutes until golden and beginning to crisp on the top. Allow to cool for five minutes before serving.


Don't forget to place a tray under the fish pie in the oven! They always bubble over a little and it will catch the sauce so it doesn't burn onto the floor of your oven!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1242Total Fat: 63gSaturated Fat: 30gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 393mgSodium: 1642mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 87g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.


What sort of fish should I use in Creamy Smoked Fish Pie?

I like to use a mixture, some plain white fish fillets such as cod, some hot smoked fish such as salmon, mackerel or both and some other seafood. Prawns are traditional, but scallops are lovely if the budget will stretch that far!

Can I use frozen fish to make fish pie?

Absolutely! In fact, I recommend it! You can use the fish directly from frozen, just poach it as per the recipe in the milk. Check to make sure it flakes easily – if not, you’ll need to simmer it a minute or two longer.

Can I freeze Creamy Smoked Fish Pie?

Yes, though if you are freezing it I would recommend making it in individual dishes or ramekins as it will store better.

Use a good mixture of fish to make Creamy Smoked Fish Pie

Use a mixture of fish for best flavour – today I used cod, mackerel and salmon, as well as prawns.

Creamy Smoked Fish Pie

You can even cook the fish directly from frozen! Cook as per the recipe, then check to see if the fish flakes easily. If not, cook it a minute or two longer.

Creamy Smoked Fish Pie

Creamy Smoked Fish Pie
Creamy Smoked Fish Pie
Creamy Smoked Fish Pie


Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

Articles: 288


  1. Very nice recipe. I used what I had on hand which was the Smoked salmon and shrimp, I subbed parsley with a little dried dill and a shallot instead of leek. Still came out wonderful, thank you.

    • Hi Georgina! Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a lovely comment. I love the sound of using a little dill in there, I bet it tasted delicious with that smoked salmon! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. All the very best for 2022! J.

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