Fish pie
TypeSavoury pie
Place of originBritain
Main ingredientsWhite fish, cheddar sauce, prawns, hard-boiled eggs

Fish pie, also known as fisherman's pie, is a traditional British dish.


According to Cook's Illustrated, the dish likely was created as a dish for Lent that made use of fish scraps.[1] John Murrell's 1615 A New Booke of Cookerie contained recipes for eel and carp pies that called for scraps.[1] Jessup Whitehead's 1889 The Steward’s Handbook and Guide to Party Catering instructs the cook to poach the fish, then drain it and cover it in cream before baking.[1]


The pie is usually made with fresh and smoked fish (for example cod, haddock, salmon or halibut) or seafood in a white sauce[1] or cheddar cheese sauce made using the milk the fish was poached in.[citation needed] Hard boiled eggs are a common additional ingredient.[citation needed] Parsley or chives are sometimes added to the sauce. It is oven-baked in a deep dish but is not usually made with the shortcrust or puff pastry casing that is associated with most savoury pies (e.g. steak and kidney pie).[1]

In place of a pastry casing enclosing the pie, a topping of mashed potatoes[1] (sometimes with cheese or vegetables such as onions and leeks added)[2]is used to cover the fish during baking. The dish is sometimes referred to as "fisherman's pie" because the mashed potato topping is similar to that used for shepherd's pie.[1]

Royal fish pie

Gifts of fish pie to the king were a common tradition for various occasions. In a Lenten tradition, the town of Yarmouth was required to bake 100 herrings into two dozen pies and send them to the king.[3][4] The prior of Llanthony, Gloucester, baked eels and carp into a pie as a gift to Henry VIII in 1530.[4] In 1752 one was sent to the Prince of Wales. The tradition was also recorded during the reign of Queen Victoria.[4]


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Dunn, Steve (30 November 2021). "Britain's Coziest Pie". Cook's Illustrated. Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  2. ^ Morelli, Olivia (30 April 2020). "Recipe: How to make Richard Corrigan's fish pie at home". Conde Naste Traveller. Condé Nast Britain. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  3. ^ Chambers Book of Days - February 24th, FISH AND FISH PIES IN LENT
  4. ^ a b c Snodgrass, Mary Ellen (2004). Encyclopedia of Kitchen History. Routledge. p. 381. ISBN 978-1-135-45572-9.