Granny Canning’s Finnan Haddie

This rich and smoky soup received top marks in the test kitchen.

Granny Canning’s Finnan Haddie

Origin: Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site
Region: West (British Columbia)
Period: Traditional
Course: Soups and Starters

Woman and child sniffing soup, Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site Woman and child sniffing soup
© Parks Canada

Finnan haddie is a smoked haddock dish that originates in Findon (or Finnan) near Aberdeen, Scotland, where it has been a popular dish since at least the 1640s. Its popularity spread across Canada with the arrival of Scottish immigrants. Today, versions of this dish are commonly served in both Atlantic Canada and British Columbia.

This particular recipe comes from the grandmother of Parks Canada staff member Dave King, who has fond memories of the dish. As for its connection to the Fisgard Lighthouse NHS, he writes: “The scent of smoked fish is in the kitchen at Fisgard Lighthouse, along with the pot of finnan haddie on the stove. It’s an interpretive ‘discovery piece’ that we let visitors stumble upon.”

Granny Canning’s Finnan Haddie


  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb | 450 g smoked haddock fillet
  • 1½ tsp | 7.5 g mustard powder
  • ½ tsp | 2.5 g ground black pepper
  • 2⅔ cups | 650 ml milk
  • 1 finely chopped syboe (green onion)
  • 2 oz | 60 g salted butter
  • 2 tsp |10 g sifted flour
  • 1 bunch finely chopped parsley


  • Spread the thinly-sliced onion onto the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan. Separate the smoked haddock from the bones, flaking or cutting it into small pieces; sprinkle the pieces over the onion slices, covering them. Discard the bones.
  • Carefully stir the pepper and mustard powder into the milk; pour over the flaked haddock and onions. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring slowly to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for six minutes. Uncover, and simmer for another five minutes.
  • Transfer the fish to a warm serving dish with a lid or cover.
  • Simmer the remaining sauce another five minutes. Gently whisk the butter and finely-chopped syboe (green onion) into the sauce; gradually whisk in the flour. Bring the sauce back to a gentle boil, stirring continually until the sauce thickens; remove from the heat.
  • Ladle the sauce over the fish. Garnish with the parsley and serve.


Recipe tested by Chef Sean Edwards, Algonquin College of Hospitality and Tourism

The recipe comes to us from Parks Canada employee Dave King. It was passed down to him from his grandmother Margaret (Maggie) Wiseman Canning.