Smoked Salmon Chowder Recipe (2024)

Recipe from

Adapted by Sam Sifton

Updated Oct. 25, 2023

Total Time
1 hour 10 minutes
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There is a recipe for lox chowder in Mark Russ Federman’s charming memoir of his family's appetizing business on the Lower East Side of Manhattan: “Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes From the House That Herring Built.” I put a version of it into The Times in 2013. The soup tastes best made with the store's smoked salmon trimmings, which offer a lot of fatty, flavorful bits from up around the fish’s collar (and cheap, too!), but a number of test runs using supermarket smoked salmon offered evidence that the soup is still terrific when made outside the five boroughs of New York City, with a fantastic smokiness tempered by the sweet flavors of potato and leek. —Sam Sifton

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Yield:4 to 6 servings

  • 1tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1medium leek, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1rib celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1large, starchy potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼cup all-purpose flour
  • ½cup dry white wine
  • cups chicken stock, either homemade or low-sodium
  • 1bay leaf
  • 2cups whole milk
  • 4ounces smoked salmon, flaked
  • ¾cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh chives, minced, for garnish

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

311 calories; 19 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 8 grams sugars; 10 grams protein; 275 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Smoked Salmon Chowder Recipe (1)


  1. Melt the butter with the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot set over medium heat. Add leek, carrot and celery, and cook until the vegetables have softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, potato and thyme, and cook until the garlic is fragrant, an additional 2 or 3 minutes.

  2. Step


    Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture and stir to combine, then cook, stirring often, for approximately 5 minutes, making sure not to scorch the bottom of the pan.

  3. Step


    Add the wine, chicken stock and bay leaf, and bring mixture to a simmer. After 10 minutes or so, stir in the milk, and return to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, approximately 25 minutes. Add the salmon and stir gently, allowing the fish to warm but making sure that the mixture does not boil.

  4. Step


    Remove the bay leaf and discard. Add the cream, then stir to combine and heat through. Season to taste with pepper. Garnish with minced chives.



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Cooking Notes

Carey Larsen

I served this recipe at a New Years soup party this year. This is a ruthlessly competitive annual event, where a bunch of friends spend all year secretly planning what they'll submit. My soup was "Bagels and Lox," this recipe for salmon chowder served with roasted caper-pumpernickel croutons. Came home with lots of hardware - medals for seafood, chowder, most original, and trophy for #2 best overall soup. Thanks, Sam!

Sherry Gerstein

Ummmm, this can't be marked kosher because it calls for cream and chicken broth. Will vegetable stock work well as a substitute?


Lacking a few ingredients but inspired by Chopped, I substituted half of a large chopped onion for the leek; a chopped parsnip for the carrot; 2 ribs of celery instead of one; seafood broth instead of chicken; and leftover grilled salmon in lieu of lox. Oh, and leftover mashed potatoes instead of a raw one.I also sprinkled some packaged mashed potato flakes to thicken a bit more. Added more salt and pepper and herbs. Delicious!

Douglas Branch

This recipe is really delicious. It, and a little salad with a simple vinaigrette with pears and gorgonzola on the side, makes for a perfect meal. And it pairs beautifully with chardonnay. But, and this is a biggie: Old Bay seasoning. It brings everything together really well. Night one: no Old Bay, and it was delicious comfort food. Night two: reheated, added some Old Bay, and it was pretty spectacular.


Osem and Telma make a parve chicken soup powder which may give a heartier flavor than a vegetable stock.


this is a variation of Cullen Skink with lox subbing for smoked haddock.


I added extra potato (because I'm Irish) and an extra cup of chicken stock. I let it simmer beyond the 25 mins because of the extra stock and to make sure the potatoes were cooked through. Then I added extra smoked salmon. The only disappointment was there were no left overs.


I haven't tried this, but the large quantity of potato (about 2 cups diced if using one large potato) probably means you could make the vegetable base using 1 1/2 cups water plus the wine, instead of stock. Cook this in the same way a little longer, until the potato pieces are fork tender. Then you could continue with the recipe adding the dairy and fish, and season accordingly. Hope this helps. This dish would then become a kind of salmon vichyssoise with extra veggies.


That's what I thought! And it's why I will be making this soon.


Suggest doubling. Second time, I added fresh oregano, coriander, an extra bay leaf and a lot of pepper which made it much more flavorful. Forgot the cream once, and didn’t notice one bit as whole milk and the butter make it so rich.Works beautifully with pan seared salmon fillet in place of lox (any chowdery seafood would likely be great) and a head of torn kale. Chopped pea shoot on top are out of this world.This garners the coveted “it tastes like it’s from a restaurant”

Sarah J

Wow... this was amazingly good! I had no idea chowder was so easy. Added some leftover salmon. So good!


I had a bit of smoked salmon left and no bagels/cream cheese, nor a desire for salmon hash. A quick search took me to this recipe. What a fantastic chowder! It's perfect for frigid winter days. I made without modification and served with crusty rolls for sopping.


Delicious! The only deviation from the recipe was that I doubled it and salted as the dish was coming together; seasoning with salt as you go would be my one recommendation. The recipe doubled without issue, the cooking time was right about where the recipe said it would be, and the family has leftovers for at least a couple nights -- or maybe a lunch and dinner!The body was medium -- not especially thin, not especially thick, but about right in the middle.


This was really delicious! I added about another cup of chicken stock. It seemed not liquidy enough. I also added the zest of 1/2 a lemon. It made a big diffference to cut the ricnness of the broth and fish. I also had smoked a steelhead trout, so that is what I used instead of salmon. Absolutely scrumptious!!

Tommy Weir

This is very good indeed.- Used veggie stock with a dash of soy sauce instead of chicken stock and wine. Yes, the non-alcoholic vegetarian version still tastes great.- had no thyme, used dried sage.- ditched the cream, man, two cups of whole milk is quite enough.- had a pretty wimpy leek, so added two small onions and doubled the garlic.A keeper. I’ve never used smoked salmon in my chowder before, smoked haddock for sure but this made it a lunchtime midweek special, quick to make.


I used fish stock and leftover grilled salmon. I did not have any milk so I used more stock and more cream. I also added corn. Fairly quick and delicious.


Altered the recipe to add an onion and baked 1 pound Sockeye Salmon. Fabulous. So simple and so tasty.


On a cold fall evening I wanted to make a warming soup and realized I had smoked salmon at home. So, I made this bisque but the recipe seemed not enough for four people so I doubled it, exchanged the milk and heavy creme for half&half, added small steamed florets of broccoli for color and texture. Served it with baguette and the pear and gorgonzola salad someone here suggested and it was just delicious! But even though I doubled the recipe it still was just enough with absolutely no leftovers.


I let the soffritto go for a good long time. Simmered the wine for a while before adding stock. Skipped the half-n-half, just used more stock and a little more cream. Added a few dashes of Franks Redhot at the end! This is a great no-bacon chowder. Would probably be fine with a regular onion instead of leek.


Wow! This is great. As commented below, it’s basically Cullen skink with smoked salmon, but easier to prepare. I subbed a Vidalia onion for the leek, added a quarter teaspoon of Old Bay and found that half-and-half was plenty rich (and less pricey) for the finishing touch. Outstanding recipe and easy!

Beth Van den Berg

What a satisfying soup. It lends itself to variation - I used onion instead of leek and didn't have celery. I used milk and half/half. It was delicious. I did add salt, which isn't called for, and it wasn't too much. This is a quick and delicious soup. Loved it.


Suggest doubling. Second time, I added fresh oregano, coriander, an extra bay leaf and a lot of pepper which made it much more flavorful. Forgot the cream once, and didn’t notice one bit as whole milk and the butter make it so rich.Works beautifully with pan seared salmon fillet in place of lox (any chowdery seafood would likely be great) and a head of torn kale. Chopped pea shoot on top are out of this world.This garners the coveted “it tastes like it’s from a restaurant”


This went perfectly with my CSA share and leftover salmon I had on hand this week. Delicious!


Used russet potatoes chopped into in small cubes. It took an extra 15 minutes plus replacing some of the liquid that had cooked away with added water to get the potatoes sufficiently tender to serve. Next time I will parboil the cubed potatoes in advance of adding them to the pot.One change I made was to add the juice of 1/2 small lemon. This did not make the soup taste lemony, but it cut the bitterness of the veg.


Delicious; definitely a keeper. Don't be daunted when, prior to the addition of the smoked salmon, the soup is bland. The lox immediately transforms the soup into ambrosia.

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Smoked Salmon Chowder Recipe (2024)


What pairs well with smoked salmon? ›

Easy Pairings for Smoked Salmon

Tossed into a green salad with a lemony dressing. Stirred into hot pasta with a light tomato sauce, green onions, fresh parsley and extra-virgin olive oil. As deconstructed sushi: Eat it with steamed short-grain rice, avocado, cucumber, and seaweed strips for folding up the bites.

What cheese goes with smoked salmon? ›

Cheese to use with smoked salmon

Cream cheese is the classic, obvious choice to pair with lox, but other soft cheeses such as goat cheese, labneh, brie, or feta (my favorite!) could work as well. To make my feta more spreadable, I break it up with the back of a spoon and mix it with some quality extra virgin olive oil.

How long does smoked salmon last in the fridge? ›

Nailing the Fridge Shelf Life:

So, how long can we expect our smoked salmon to dance in the fridge? Well, on average, when stored right, it can strut its stuff for about 3 to 4 days sometime up to a week. But remember, trust your instincts! Give it a good look, a sniff, and a feel to ensure it's still a safe catch.

How do you thicken fish chowder? ›

Flour: Thicken the chowder up with all-purpose flour. Seasonings: Season the fish chowder with Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper. Evaporated milk: Evaporated milk makes the chowder even thicker and richer. Bacon: Top each bowl of fish chowder with crumbled bacon.

What vegetables go well with salmon? ›

The next time you make salmon, pair it with one of these delicious veggie side dishes. Veggies like zucchini, broccoli, cucumber and spinach are perfect sides for summer. Plus, these healthy sides are easy to make, only taking 30 minutes or less to prepare.

What sauce goes with salmon? ›

Creamy Horseradish Dill Sauce

Salmon and dill is a classic flavor combo. Mayo is the base of this creamy dill sauce for salmon. It's transformed into a sauce with basic ingredients like shallots, lemon, and herbs. To make it special, the addition of freshly grated horseradish root adds spice.

What is smoked salmon with cream cheese called? ›

Lox, which is commonly often served on bagels with cream cheese, was traditionally made from the belly of the fish. These days, other parts of the fish can be used.

What kind of crackers go best with smoked salmon? ›

For a subtle and nutty flavor, try pairing smoked salmon with whole-grain crackers. If you're looking for a more traditional option, water crackers are a classic choice that won't overpower the delicate flavor of the fish.

What do Germans typically eat with their smoked salmon? ›

Smoked fish is served cold. Germans typically have it with some white bread or with a side of boiled potatoes.

Can I eat smoked salmon that was left out overnight? ›

You should never store smoked fish at room temperature, so as soon as you're home from the store, pop it right into the fridge. Hosting a brunch or grazing on bagels with friends? Just make sure you open the package when you take it out of the fridge, and never leave it out for more than 3 hours at room temp.

How can you tell if smoked salmon has gone bad? ›

How do you know if smoked salmon has gone bad? Check for a strong, unpleasant odor and any signs of sliminess or a mushy texture to check if your salmon has gone bad. Look for discoloration or the presence of mold. If the taste is off or unpleasant, it is best to discard the smoked salmon.

Can you eat smoked salmon 7 days after opening? ›

Of course, once opened, we recommend consuming within 4 days for maximum freshness but it can likely hold well for at least 7 days. Cold smoked salmon can freeze for up to six months in a sealed container or while vacuumed.

What ingredient does chowder always have? ›

Customarily, chowder included onion, potatoes, and cream. Nowadays, not all chowders adhere to these guidelines.

What are the best potatoes for chowder? ›

Use waxy potatoes, sometimes called boiling potatoes, for potato chowder. These keep their shape the best when cooked in a chowder for a long time, especially in a slow cooker. Yukon Gold potatoes are the recommended option, but red potatoes or russet potatoes will work, too.

What is the most popular chowder? ›

New England Clam Chowder is the most famous and most popular clam chowder. It's been around for centuries, so it's possible its longevity has contributed to its popularity. It's also thick and velvety, making it a comforting palate-pleaser, particularly on cold days.

What do you eat with smoked salmon as an appetizer? ›

I like a combination of cool cucumbers and tomatoes with bold, peppery radish, red onion, and crispy green peppers. Slicing the veggies thinly into rounds makes them easy to stack with the salmon on top of your favorite cracker, bagel or whatever you serve along.

What to eat with Costco smoked salmon? ›

It's best topped over bread with purple onions and cream cheese! However, you'll find it in Eggs Benedict, Sushi Rolls, layered over lox Bagel, tossed into Scrambled Eggs, and found in appetizers like our Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches (Canapés). Smoked salmon makes a delicious lunch sandwich or a fancy breakfast!

How do you serve store bought smoked salmon? ›

Since it is already 'cooked', you can eat the succulent slices straight off the package (my personal favorite); put it on toast with cream cheese for a great quick snack; make yourself a smoked salmon sandwich on the go; or prepare a four-course gourmet meal based on the delicate treat.


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