Sussex Smokie Bake Recipe

A twist on the Sussex Smokie Recipe. Usually served as a starter, this alternative Sussex Smokie Bake makes a filling family main meal.

I fell in love with a traditional Sussex Smokie when I had it for a starter for lunch in a lovely country pub, so I figured why not make it at home and turn it into a main meal.

Sussex Smokie is a traditional British meal made with smoked haddock in a creamy cheese based sauce and is usually served in ramekins as a starter. You will find it on many British pub menus in the South of the UK and variations of the recipe dates back to the 1800’s.

example of the filling

Sussex Smokie Inspiration

A while ago, I enjoyed a lovely meal at a country pub on our way back from Hampshire. I wanted to give Sussex Smokie a go since it was a locally created dish and sounded fab!

It really was amazing and at the end I longed for more of it. I really wanted to turn it into a main dish and make it a meal the whole family could enjoy. So, that’s exactly what I’ve done and man, it’s so good! It’s a budget friendly meal, that’s filling and full of nutrients and goodness. This twist on the original fish starter is a winner all around.

sussex smokie before baking

Nugget is totally obsessed with shoes, in fact, he’s actually more in love with shoes than I am and believe me, that’s saying something! He wants to wear them constantly. He’ll sleep in them, carry them around and god help you, should you try to remove them.

Now, we’re talking one specific pair of shoes here which would be fine had he not vastly outgrown them! I even tried to fool him with exactly the same model in the correct size. But, such a monumental tantrum ensued (and, predictably, in front of a lovely couple whose children were behaving like angels) that I decided to throw in the towel and come home.

So, as I sat at home, feeling a little defeated and imagining Nugget soon to be bursting out of his shoes. I devised a plan! We would make (other) shoes so totally exciting that he simply wouldn’t be able to resist. I began with a pair of Bam Bam’s first pair of slippers, which were now conveniently just the right size.

After a few days of singing and dancing and celebrating just how amazing these slippers were, it finally worked…. Off came his little blue shoes and on went the little red slippers, yay!

However, I clearly hadn’t thought my plan out to the conclusion. Since I now have a child who will happily wear his little red slippers but should I wish us to leave the house, outdoor shoes are complete no go!

I should have just stuck with the small shoes!

Nugget Loved this Sussex smokie recipe, polishing off a huge bowl whilst wearing his trusty little red slippers!

How to Make Sussex Smokie

You need only simple ingredients to turn this delicious traditional Sussex appetizer into a comforting main course. Smoked fish is a must since it gives this cheesy fish pie it’s flavour. Haddock is the best fish to use and you can usually buy it dyed or undyed.

You poach the haddock in a milk and cream mixture with a bay leaf. This serves to cook the smoked haddock and also adds flavour to the milk which is then used in the creamy cheese sauce.

There are various separate steps when making a fish pie like this. But when you put it altogether at the end, you can see that having a few extra pots and pans to wash was totally worth it for the result you get!

By adding potatoes and crispy crunchy topping, it’s like a simple fish pie recipe, packed full of goodness and flavour.

overhead view of the smokie bake with a spoon inside

Sussex Smokie is Great for the Whole Family

By serving it with steamed vegetables and some fresh bread and you’ll have yourself a delicious, comforting and family friendly meal.

Freezable Family Meal

You can even freeze this smoked haddock recipe pre-baking. Simply assemble the recipe in an oven proof dish, allow it to cool and cover the dish before placing it in the freezer. This is a good option if you would like to make this haddock recipe into smaller portions.

Recipe Tips and Guidance

I recommend using whole milk and double cream for the most creamy fish pie you can get. A strong tasting mature cheddar is also a must as it pairs very well with the smokey fish.

Keep your potato cubes small and ensure that they are soft all the way through when you boil them. Don’t overdo it and turn them into mashed potato but keeping a close eye on them whilst they are boiling ensures that you don’t have under or over cooked potatoes in your smokey haddock fish pie.

Trying adding some grated parmesan to the crunchy topping to step it up a level.

Check your haddock fillets for bones after you have poached them in the milk, no one wants to find a bone in their fish pie!

If your smoked haddock comes with the skin still attached, remove the skin from the fish before poaching. It is much easier to remove this way.

Recipe FAQ

Can I make this ahead and freeze?

Yes you can, this is a great make ahead dish that freezes well. Just prepare the dish and freeze before baking. You can even make it into smaller portions and freeze this way too.

Can I use a different fish?

The best result is when you use smoked haddock but you can also try using smoked cod or smoked pollock if you’d prefer.

At what temperature should I cook my fish pie?

Bake your Sussex Smokie Fish Bake at 200C (392F) for 30-40 minutes until the crispy breadcrumb topping has browned and turned golden.

sussex smokie bake recipe

Sussex Smokie Bake

Author: Becky
A twist on the Sussex Smokie Recipe. Usually served as a starter, this alternative Sussex Smokie Bake makes a filling family main meal.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Servings 4
Calories 645 kcal


  • 220 g Smoked Haddock
  • 300 ml Milk
  • 100 ml Double Cream
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 500 g Potatoes
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 Onion
  • 50 g Butter
  • 20 g Plain Flour
  • Capful White Wine
  • 150 g Cheddar Cheese grated
  • 70 g Breadcrumbs


  • Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan assisted)
  • Peel and chop the potatoes into cubes, place in a pan and cover with water, bring to the boil and cook for a few minutes until the potatoes begin to soften.
  • Drain the potatoes and leave to one side.
  • Place the milk, cream and bay leaf into a pan and gently heat over a low flame.
  • Add the haddock and poach until soft.
  • Whilst the fish is poaching, finely chop the leek and onion and fry with 30g of the butter until soft.
  • Remove the fish from the milk and put to one side. Discard the bay leaf.
  • In a separate pan, mix the flour and the rest of the butter to make a paste.
  • Add a little of the milk to the paste and mix until combined.
  • Slowly add the rest of the milk until it becomes thick and without lumps.
  • Add the wine and 100g of the cheddar and mix thorough until the cheese has melted.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Flake in the haddock and add the potatoes, leek and onion. Mix through and pour into an oven proof dish.
  • Combine the breadcrumbs with the rest of the cheese and sprinkle over the top.
  • Place in a preheated oven at 200 (180oc fan assisted) for 30-40 minutes until the breadcrumbs turn golden and crunchy

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 645kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 32gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 22gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 837mgPotassium: 1032mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1597IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 469mgIron: 4mg
Keyword bake, family friendly, fish, healthy, mid week meal, potatoes
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