Fish pie

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By: Rick Stein From: Rick Stein's Seafood Lovers Guide

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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.39 / 5 (293 votes)

Prep time:
25 min
Cook time:
2 hrs

For great comfort cooking, you'll return to Rick Stein's classic fish pie recipe time and time again.

More comfort food recipes


1. Stud a couple of the onion slices with the cloves. Put the onion slices in a large pan with the bay leaf, 450ml of the milk, the cream, cod and smoked cod. Bring just to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes. Lift the fish out on to a plate and strain the cooking liquor into a jug. When the fish is cool enough to handle, break it into large flakes, discarding the skin and bones. Sprinkle it over the base of a shallow 1.75 litre (3 pint) ovenproof dish.

2. Hard-boil the eggs for just 8 minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Peel and cut them into chunky slices and arrange on top of the fish.

3. Melt 50 g of the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the reserved cooking liquor. Return it to the heat and bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time. Leave it to simmer gently for 10 minutes to cook out the flour. Remove from the heat once more, stir in the parsley and season with nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and leave to cool. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

4. Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes. Drain, mash and add the rest of the butter and the egg yolk. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Beat in enough of the remaining milk to form a soft, spreadable mash.

5. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Spoon the potato over the filling and mark the surface with a fork. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until piping hot and golden brown.


  • 1 small onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 600 ml milk
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 450 g unskinned cod fillets
  • 225 g undyed smoked cod fillets
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 g butter
  • 45 g plain flour
  • 5 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • pinches freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1.25 kg peeled floury potatoes, such as King Edwards or Maris Piper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • sea salt and freshly ground freshly ground white pepper

Tips and suggestions

Roast Cod with Celeriac and Potato Mash, Garlic and Ceps
Try making this fish pie with haddock and smoked haddock or, if you live in Australia, substitute flat-head for the unsmoked fish.

The secret to freezing fish pie successfully is to put the mash on top leaving space between each spoonful. This helps it defrost and reheat efficiently. Do not bake the pie before freezing – instead let it cool completely then freeze uncovered until solid. Once solid, cover with plastic and heavy duty foil for storage, but try to consume the pie within two weeks of making for best results.

Let the fish pie defrost overnight in the fridge, removing the plastic and foil and instead covering it loosely with a fresh sheet of cling film. Bake as directed at left.

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Latest Comment


Amazing. Uncomplicated and tasty. Subtle flavours complimenting the fish. No need to adapt, simple clean French cuisine at its best.Thank you Rick, I love the way you cook

tinou tinou  Posted 23 Apr 2012 5:16 PM

Irenef. If you do adapt it, don't expect it to taste so good!

bargeemike bargeemike  Posted 03 Apr 2012 5:38 AM

I love this recipe. I didn't have cloves for the onions or a bay leaf and it still turned out fantastic. I also used a few king prawns and added a few baby spinach leaves. I baked in the oven with some parmesan on top. Great recipe, not very healthy but nice once in a while!!

SuzanneY27082 SuzanneY27082  Posted 21 Mar 2012 10:57 AM

Is really necessary to use 4 eggs and cream. Perhaps we could adapt it so it is not quite so fattening.

IRENEF30357 IRENEF30357 Posted 20 Sep 2011 11:38 AM

YUM! It was soooo good! We made it with Sweet Potato Mash with Parmesan on top instead delish!

DeanG93928 DeanG93928 Posted 19 Jun 2011 9:16 PM

Classic fish pie - always tastes good. For variety, I substitute 120gms of smoked cod with salmon. Haddock also works well in this recipe. I've used sweet potatoes as the topping, boiled as usual and mashed with butter and pepper. Sprinkle the top with fresh breadcrumbs and flash under a very hot grill for a crispy topping

Paul7rhg Paul7rhg Posted 10 Feb 2011 8:29 PM

Glad you like the recipe mrs wilko, I hope your next attempt goes more smoothly.

Celia Good Food Celia Good Food Posted 09 Nov 2010 10:46 AM

lovely recipe but i made some silly mistakes on my first attempt!! i cut the fish into chuncks before simmering in the white milk! as you can imagine the fish came out very mushy! i also ran out of time and didnt allow it to chill in the fridge for an hour. this meant that the potato topping sunk into the fish base! despite all this it still tasted amazing so going to make the recipe again tomorrow.

mrs wilko mrs wilko Posted 08 Nov 2010 6:19 PM

brilliant recipe very easy to follow and absolutly delicious

RichardR69376 RichardR69376 Posted 04 Nov 2010 3:14 PM

doubled the quantity, lots of baby veg on the side and served 10 friends, they all loved it and want the recipe. huge success.

marnieB68383 marnieB68383 Posted 18 Aug 2010 4:01 PM

My hubby made this for me a couple of weeks - it was soooooo tasty - well worth the time to make it!!

Gypsybelle Gypsybelle Posted 10 Aug 2010 1:46 PM

Cooked it for a dinner party and my guests loved it. I now cook it on a regular basis.

Periodt Periodt Posted 06 Feb 2010 9:09 AM

I've cooked this wonderful recipe several times. It never fails and is full of flavour. I have substituted 200gms fresh salmon fillet for the same amount of cod fillet, it works well for me.

Paul7rhg Paul7rhg Posted 21 Jan 2010 12:42 PM

Imade this last week and it was absolutely brill. Not even enough left for dog and cat

Spik30 Spik30 Posted 18 Jul 2009 1:04 PM

Will certainly make this dish again, real comfort and family food.
Italian Mama

VeBe VeBe Posted 08 Jul 2009 8:40 PM

This has to be the best fish pie recipe ever. Dont ignore the addition of the egg as it makes such a difference. I add salmon fillet and prawns for a more luxury dish. Make this so often that i no longer need the recipe in front of me. Rock on Rick!

dudus dudus Posted 19 May 2009 3:07 PM

I have made this twice now, and the family love it. I have used cod loin instead of fillet to make sure there are no bones and, added some raw prawns. Finish with some grated cheese on top. Brilliaqnt recipe from the master.

Radarman Radarman Posted 10 Feb 2009 2:56 PM

i am hoping this will work brilliant ly and i know it will delicious

BethanP51820 BethanP51820 Posted 06 Feb 2009 12:03 PM