Scottish recipe: Cullen Skink soup

Full-flavoured, hearty, and comfortingly creamy, Cullen Skink is possibly the world’s finest fish soup. Stuffed full of warming ingredients like smoked fish, silky potatoes and rich milk or cream, it never fails to cheer you even when you’ve had four seasons in one day. Never is there a better time to enjoy simple, full flavoured comforting Scottish food.

Baxters Cullen Skink soup

Baxter’s Cullen Skink is the tastiest tinned version of this traditional Scottish soup and to spread the love, we include it in many of our luxury Scottish hampers. But since you love food as much as we do, we thought you might like a few of our favourite home made recipes too. And one of our featured recipes includes Scottish salmon too.

Oh yes, and since you’re wondering the about the name: Cullen is, of course, a Scottish fishing town on the Moray Firth, an inlet popular with haddock. “Kkink” has a more puzzling history. The New York Times claims it comes from the Middle High German word for a weak beer, which seems to make some of sense for a thin soup, but the Oxford Companion to Food counters that it’s a variation of the German “schinke”, or ham, denoting a shin specifically: “so the archetypal skink is a soup made from shin of beef”.

Only one way to find out – order some Cullen Skink soup with one of our hampers or make one of these recipes.


Cullen skink © Sumayya Usmani
Cullen skink | © Sumayya Usmani

Traditional cullen skink soup
Scottish food experts Graeme Taylor and Sumayya Usmani prepare Cullen Skink the traditional way and provide an in-depth look in the history of this famous soup dish.

Cullen Skink the Lavendar and Lovage way…….with Smoked Whiting
Cullen Skink – the Lavendar and Lovage way- with Smoked Whiting

Cullen Skink with smoked whiting
Freelance writer and recipe developer, Karen describes her twist on this smoked chowder in her delicious blog, Lavendar and Lovage. If her cullen skink recipe does not have you salivating, the gorgeous photos on her site will.

Cullen Skink by Sophie Maulevrier
Cullen Skink by Sophie Maulevrier

Cullen skink with double cream and quail eggs
French food lover Sophie tasted Cullen Skink for the first time during her travels around Scotland. Her version of the recipe includes lashings of double cream if you are feeling decadent.

Whichever Cullen Skink you decide to try, remember it is best devoured for lunch along  with crusty baguette and butter.


Lee and the Scottish Food and Hampers team

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