Also known as Fisherman’s Pie, this is a hearty dish to warm you from the inside out and really is the Easiest British Fish Pie. Make with any of your favorite seafood, mix with pearl onions and peas in a delicious, creamy sauce add a mashed potato topping and you have a comforting one pan meal in 45 minutes.

A closeup of the filling of British fish pie showing the green peas

I like to think of this as the seafood version of shepherd’s pie. The traditional recipe uses smoked haddock, but this is hard to find in the U.S., and besides, I like the freedom to use whatever fish looks good the day I buy it.

Fish Pie with or without cheese

This recipe is made without cheese in the béchamel/white sauce. Simply because this is the way mum made it. You can add any of your favorite grated cheese while making the sauce.

What is the best seafood to use for fish pie?

Any firm white fish like cod or haddock and salmon are good options along with shellfish like shrimp/prawns.

Serving a spoonful of fish pie

I have always known this as a dish that originated in England, but, I have also read that Fish Pie originated in Scotland. If you know the history, please feel free to leave a comment below. There are many other countries that have their variations too.

I call it the easiest British fish pie because you use frozen vegetables that cook in one pan with the fish, then all you have to do is thicken the sauce add mash and bake. 

I like to pipe the mashed potato topping to make a pretty presentation. You can also achieve a similar effect by spreading the mash and creating a design with a fork.

British fish pie in an oval dish topped with mashed potato


Whenever I make any dairy-based sauce, I always add a little nutmeg. You can’t tell it’s in there, it just gives a wonderful flavor and slight sweetness to the sauce.

The first step to the Easiest British Fish Pie is to make the fish stock. This involves cooking the fish and onions in the milk along with bay leaves and this is what will make the sauce. Cooking the fish in the milk heightens the seafood flavor of the sauce.

When do you eat fish pie?

Perfect for family meals, Easter and Christmas.

What do you serve with fish pie?

I like carrots, but you don’t need to make any side dishes because there are peas and small onions in the sauce and mashed potato on top. A one pan meal.

A serving of fish pie on a white plate with carrots


There is a lot of butter in this recipe (sorry, no diet food here). If you know my recipes, I always use unsalted butter so I can control where and how much salt I add. If I were to use salted butter in all the steps in this recipe, it could turn out very salty and this I could not control.

More British Recipes:

Yield: 6

The Easiest British Fish Pie

The Easiest British Fish Pie with some mash removed showing the filling

Fish is cooking in a milk broth with onions, peas and flavorings Topped with mashed potato and baked.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • For the mashed potato:
  • 3 pounds (1.3 kg) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (100 ml) milk, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For the filling:
  • 1-pound mixed, firm white fish
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups (255 grams) frozen pearl onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (63 grams) grated cheese of your choice (optional)
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) can/cooked small shrimp (prawns)
  • 1 cup (140 grams) frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Small grating of fresh nutmeg (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Unsalted butter, melted


  1. For the mashed potato:
  2. Add the potatoes to a large pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender when a sharp knife is inserted. Drain and put into a bowl. Add butter, salt and pepper, mash and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. Rub a 12 x 9 x 2-inch (31 x 23 x 6 cm) size casserole dish with butter.
  4. For the filling:
  5. To a large pan add the fish, milk, pearl onions, bay leaf and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow fish to cool in the liquid. Once cooled, strain the milk through a sieve separating the fish and milk. Remove the bay leaf and set the fish and milk aside.
  6. To a pan add the butter over medium heat. When melted and bubbling whisk in the flour. Slowly pour in the milk broth from the fish while whisking, simmer until thickened. Stir in the grated cheese until melted (if using). Add the fish and pearl onions, shrimp, peas, parsley and nutmeg. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
  7. Pour the fish and vegetables into a baking dish. Top with the mashed potato and brush the top of the mash with melted butter. Place on a large baking sheet (in case it bubbles over).
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown. If the top doesn’t brown as much as you want it to, heat under the broiler (grill if you’re in the U.K.), but keep any eye on it until browned.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 422Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 126mgSodium 721mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 2gSugar 6gProtein 24g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.