This easy Fish Pie Recipe is perfect for you if you love fish and you are a big fan of a Traditional Cottage Pie or any other pot pie. It is the ultimate British comfort food made with chunky pieces of fish, leeks, peas, and aromatic fresh herbs in a creamy white sauce, topped with fluffy and cheesy mashed potatoes.
Why This Recipe Works?
- My creamy Fish Pie Recipe is very easy to make and is an absolute crowd-pleaser.
- The white sauce has leeks and tarragon that pairs perfectly with the fish.
- And the best part is that you don't need to pre-cook the fish if you use fresh, good-quality ones.
What Fish to Use for Fish Pie?
Although there is no set rule about what type of fish to use, I suggest using an equal amount of 3 different types of fish (usually 1 part of salmon, 1 part of white fish, and 1 part of smoked fish). Add some prawns for a different texture and luxury feel to the dish if you like. For this recipe, I used 200 grams of salmon, 200 grams of cod, 200 grams of smoked haddock, and 150 grams of tuna (to add a bit of extra colour but you can omit tuna with extra salmon or cod). If you don't want to prepare your own fish mixture, you can buy them from your fishmonger or supermarkets.
Ingredients and Substitutes
Ingredients for fish pie filling
- Fish pie mixture - You can buy them from fishmongers or from the fish section of large supermarkets. I prefer using fresh fish but you can use frozen ones if it's more convenient for you. If using frozen fish, thaw it overnight, cook the fish for 5 minutes and then drain it before mixing it with the rest of the filling.
- Leeks - This vegetable pairs perfectly with fish dishes. Make sure you wash them thoroughly before using them.
- Plain Flour - It is also known as all-purpose flour. It is perfect for making cakes, cookies, pastries and thickening sauces.
- Milk - I prefer using full fat or semi-skimmed milk. Add it slowly in small batches to butter and flour mixture for velvety sauce.
- Butter - Use good quality butter and gently melt it before adding the leeks.
- Frozen peas - I use frozen peas because they are convenient but fresh peas would be great in this recipe. If using fresh peas, make sure you cook them before adding to filling.
- Herbs - Dill and tarragon are great for dish fishes but you can make your own mixture of fresh herbs you like.
Ingredients for the mashed potato topping
- Potatoes - I prefer using floury potatoes such as Maris Piper, red russets, desire or King Edward.
- Cheddar Cheese - Mature or extra mature cheddar adds a bit of kick to the sauce. You can substitute it with gruyere or gouda.
- Double cream - It is very similar to heavy cream. You can substitute it with whipping cream or a mixture of milk and butter.
This hearty fish pie recipe is very easy to make with a little preparation. To achieve the best results, you need to follow a few tips and simple steps:
- Cook the potatoes - Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. The best choice of potatoes is floury potatoes such as Maris Piper, red russets, desire or King Edward. Place the potatoes in a large pan and fill tehm with enough cold water to cover them. Bring the potatoes to a boil on high heat then lower the heat. Gently simmer for 20-25 minutes or until soft in the middle. Always start cooking the potatoes from cold water. Otherwise the outside will be mashy and start to flake while the core is still uncooked. Start preparing the fish pie sauce while the potatoes are cooking.
- Prepare the fish pie sauce - Place a pan on medium heat and melt the butter. Add the leeks and sauté until soft. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to combine. Cook for a minute and whisk in a little of the warm milk at a time. Stir continuously until you have a smooth and velvety mixture and cook for a few minutes to thicken it.
Add the fish mixture, dill, tarragon, peas, freshly ground black pepper, and salt.
Give the mixture a good stir and remove from the heat. Spoon the mixture into a pie dish size of 25 cm diameter (or similar size of rectangular or oval oven dish) making sure there is some space left for the mashed potatoes.
- Prepare the cheesy mashed potatoes - Preheat the fan oven to 180 °C and start preparing the mashed potatoes. When potatoes are soft in the middle, drain well and return them back to the pan. Put the pan back on low heat and then let all the water evaporate for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat then add the double cream, butter and salt. Mash with using a masher or a ricer until smooth and stir in the grated cheddar cheese.
- Assemble the Fish Pie - Spoon the mashed potato on top of the fish mixture and spread it out evenly using a fork or pallet knife. Give it a lined pattern to help the mash crisping up. Place the dish in the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling.
For more savoury pie recipes why not try:
The main reason to have a watery fish pie is the use of frozen fish. Use good quality fresh fish if possible. If you want to use frozen fish, make sure you thaw them in the fridge overnight and poach them for 5 to 6 minutes before adding them to the fish pie sauce.
Yes, you can reheat the fish pie in the microwave for a couple of minutes or in the preheated oven (180 °C fan oven) for 15 to 20 minutes. Cover the fish pie with tin foil before putting it in the oven.
You can freeze the fish pie only if you made it with fresh fish. Let the leftover fish pie cool down for a few hours and put it in an airtight container before freezing. You can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating and make sure it is piping hot before eating!
Top Tip From the Chef
Use a good quality & fresh fish pie mixture to avoid watery fish pie.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this delicious Fish Pie as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Fish Pie Recipe
Fish Pie Mixture
- 50 g butter
- 1 large leek (sliced and washed thoroughly)
- 50 g all-purpose flour
- 500 ml semi-skimmed or full-fat milk
- 750 g fish pie mixture
- 150 g frozen peas
- 2 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)
- ½ tablespoon fresh tarragon or ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon (chopped)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tablespoon salt
Mashed Potato Topping
- 850 g potato (floury potatoes such as Maris Piper, red russets,desire or King Edward)
- 120 ml double cream (warm)
- 30 g butter (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 80 g grated cheddar cheese (or any of your favorite hard cheese)
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Place in a large pan and fill with enough cold water to cover the potatoes.
- Put the pan on high heat, bring to a boil and turn the heat down to the simmering point. Gently simmer for 20-25 minutes or until soft in the middle.
- Start your fish pie filling while the potatoes are cooking.
- Place a pan on medium heat and melt the butter. Add the leeks and saute until soft.
- Sprinkle on the flour and stir to combine. Cook for a minute and whisk in a little of the warm milk at a time, stirring continuously until you have a smooth and velvety mixture. Cook for a few minutes until the mixture is thickened.
- Add the fish mixture, dill, tarragon, peas, freshly ground black pepper, and salt, give it a good stir, and remove from the heat.
- Spoon the mixture into a pie dish size of 25-27 cm diameter (or any similar sized rectangular or oval oven dish).
- Preheat the fan oven to 180 °C and start preparing the mashed potatoes.
- When potatoes are soft in the middle, drain well and return them back to the pan.
- Put the pan back on low heat and let all the water evaporate for 30 seconds then remove from the heat.
- Add the double cream, butter, and salt. Mash with using a masher or a ricer until smooth.
- Stir in the grated cheddar cheese and start assembling the fish pie.
- Spoon the mashed potato on top of the fish mixture and spread it out evenly using a fork or pallet knife. Give it a lined pattern to help the mash crisp up.
- Place the dish in the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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