Warm creamy kipper pots, a delicious Scottish starter. Great recipe for kippers, although great made with any other smoked fish. Serve with a crunchy French baguette or oatcakes.

fork opening into a mound of creamy fish mousse

Warm Creamy Kipper Pots – an Easy Smoked Fish Starter

As a Scot, you can imagine my surprise and excitement on seeing kippers at our local poissonerie or fish market last week. Did they know Burn’s Night is approaching on 25 January? Apparently it was just a coincidence but it’s great timing to prepare these kipper pots for an alternative Scottish-style starter to the more traditional Cullen Skink (smoked haddock soup/chowder).

I love all kinds of smoked fish (have you tried these smoked haddock fishcakes yet?). As they tend to be on the expensive side, kippers are ideal since they’re much more reasonably priced – even in France!


What Are Kippers?

For those of you unfamiliar with kippers, they’re brined or salted smoked herrings and presented butterflied.  Kippers are normally the kings at the Scottish breakfast table.

To serve kippers for breakfast, they’re just heated through (cook in foil for 10 minutes like in the recipe below). Serve with a knob of melting butter skating on the surface with an accompanying large pot of strong breakfast tea.

warm creamy kipper pots starter recipe

How to Enjoy Kippers

Kippers for breakfast has always been something special, as we didn’t have them often – probably following the rare times that Grandpa had some left from his fish van’s morning rounds on the East Coast, just south of Edinburgh.

The one thing I remembered was picking our way through the number of finicky bones – perhaps that’s why they’re cheaper than the other smoked fish, but small kipper bones are perfectly edible and often regarded as the best part!

Personally, I prefer to take out as many bones as I can find, so it does take a few more minutes to prepare. However, it’s not necessary.  I first discovered this recipe by Christopher Trotter in “Scottish Traditional Recipes”. Although I’ve slightly altered it over the years, it still remains a wonderfully easy dish to prepare.

What Wines Go Well with Strong, Smoked Fish Dishes?

Kippers for breakfast are great with strong breakfast tea. However, with this starter recipe it can be tricky matching strong, smoked fish dishes with wine.

So, from kipper and wine tasting sessions for le blog, I suggest expressive white wine partners from the Alsace. Either Pinot Gris or Riesling, or Pouilly-Fumé, Rully or Petit-Chablis from Bourgogne. I’ve heard that a Fino sherry is great for something different.

Kipper Pots Recipe – How to Cook Kippers

Once the kippers are cooked and deboned of the biggest bones, mash all the ingredients with a fork (no fancy mixer is required). Spoon into buttered ramekin dishes, then cook the kipper pots gently in a warm bath (bain marie) in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can prepare the rest of your meal – like dessert!

How to Make with Smoked Haddock

This starter recipe also works well with smoked haddock or mackerel. If making with smoked haddock, poach it for 10 minutes in milk (covered in a large heavy-based pan) rather than in foil in the oven.

fork opening into a mound of creamy fish mousse

Warm Creamy Kipper Pots

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course : Light Lunch, Appetizer, Starter
Cuisine : Scottish
Keyword : recipes for smoked fish, kipper recipes, smoked fish pots
Servings : 6 people
Calories : 318kcal


A delicious smoked fish starter or appetizer recipe using kippers or smoked haddock, served warm and creamy with a salad and baguette.


  • 3 Kippers @ 200g/7oz each or other smoked fish
  • 250 g (9oz) Cream cheese (full fat)
  • 3 Organic eggs
  • Freshly milled black pepper (3 turns of the peppermill)
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • Chervil, roquette, parsley or beetroot leaves to garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/325°F/Gas 3. Butter 6 ramekin dishes,  place the kippers in foil and bake in a large roasting tin for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the kippers from the foil and leave to cool slightly so it's easier to debone them.  Carefully remove the skin and the underlying main bones (see picture gallery below). Clean the roasting tin for later.
  • Flake the kipper meat into a large bowl.  There will still be tiny bones - don't worry, they're totally edible. Mash with a fork and add the cream cheese, eggs, pepper and lemon juice and stir until well mixed.
  • Spoon the mixture into the ramekin dishes and place them in the large roasting tin.  Pour in some warm water until the level reaches half way up the ramekin dishes to create a 'bain marie'.  Carefully move to the oven and bake for 30 minutes to set.
  • Remove from the water bath and cool for a few minutes. (If planning to serve them later, set them aside and lightly reheat in the microwave). Run a sharp knife around the sides and turn them upside down directly on to serving plates.


Please don't add any salt to the recipe, as kippers are salty enough.
Serve with wedges of lemon and roquette, chervil or beetroot leaves with a good crusty French baguette or Scottish oatcakes.
This starter recipe also works well with smoked haddock or mackerel. If making with smoked haddock, poach it for 10 minutes in milk (covered in a large heavy-based pan) rather than in foil in the oven.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: 318 Calories per 105g serving; 13g protein.

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Comments (5)

Oh my, Jill! This looks so luscious! I have to tell you that I adore smoked fishes of all kinds, but have only had tinned kippers (which I do enjoy, but am not certain would be suitable for this)! My dear, departed mother-in-law would have asked me to make this recipe for her, I’m sure of it! We shared a joy of fish such as this, much to the horror of her children! I am wondering if we have some sort of smoked haddock or the such like here in New England that I could use? I’m willing to do the research to find some suitable fish for this delicious-sounding recipe!

You know, Betty, I’ve not had tinned kippers but I’m sure this would work well. Of course it’s better to have fresh but often it’s a question of finding the best we can locally. I’m sure there must be smoked haddock or mackerel around – good luck on the hunt but at least you can end up with the first option. Enjoy!

Oh! You know what, Jill? I found some really nice looking smoked rainbow trout at Trader Joe’s yesterday, so I’m thinking I will be getting some to try this lovely dish! I’ll let you know how it goes!

Would you believe I’ve never had a kipper? It’s probably because of the Italian on both sides. Mum probably never knew to try them and dad being at the fish and chip shop day in and day out likely never thought to ask for more fish at breakfast! I think I’d like this dish though! Looks delightful, Jill!

Isn’t that funny, Christina? It’s on the same lines as my aunts not liking fish, probably because of Grandpa selling it! I know you’d love it.