Finnish Salmon Soup, or Lohikeitto, is a simple Nordic salmon chowder and a comforting 30 minute meal made with a light cream broth, melt-in-your-mouth chunks of salmon, and tons of fresh dill!
traditional salmon soup is a spring favorite
I’m obsessed with this healthy Finnish soup (in Sweden the soup is called Laxsoppa, in Norway, Fiskesuppe.) It’s utterly simple and so satisfying ~ made with fresh salmon, chunky potatoes, carrots, and leeks. The flavors are unpretentious and clean, with a traditional dill infused broth touched with allspice. I make it in the spring, of course, when wild salmon is in season, but it’s become one of my favorite winter meals, too. It’s healthy comfort food whatever the calendar says.
ingredients for salmon soup
- skin-on salmon ~ wild is best both for flavor and nutritional value. For convenience you can buy it frozen, there’s no loss of nutrients.
- leek ~ this gives a nice mild onion flavor and adds color to the soup. Be sure to remove those tough outer layers before slicing.
- potatoes ~ any type you like: russet potatoes will soften and melt into the soup, while waxy potatoes will remain firmer.
- carrots ~ add color and lots of Vitamins A and C.
- fresh dill ~ you can’t beat this feathery herb ~ fresh dill is nice and mild so you can’t really over do it.
- cream ~ you can lighten up with half and half, either will work.
- allspice ~ unexpected to the American palate, but wonderful!
the key to a great fish soup? it’s the stock!
There’s only one hitch to making a great fish soup, and that’s the stock. Most of us don’t have fabulous fresh fish stock in the fridge, and canned stock isn’t the greatest quality, so we need to get creative.
my secret homemade fish stock hack
I’ve come up with a way to make a pretty good fish stock substitute and it starts with buying salmon with the skin on. I remove it and simmer it in water to make a quick broth. A quick strain and it’s ready to use. The flavor gets even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to develop.
no shortage of delicious salmon recipes on my blog
We love salmon and eat it more than any other type of fish. Did you know that salmon is one of the best sources of vitamin D?
I make my rainbow salmon skewers all the time because they literally take about 15 minutes to throw together. We eat them with couscous or salad.
Another favorite salmon meal is salmon and zucchini burgers, I serve the warm burgers over a fresh green salad ~ heaven!
When I’m feeling the need for some hearty comfort food, I turn to my salmon coconut curry or creamy lemon dill salmon, both are family favorites.
Finnish Salmon Soup – Lohikeitto
- 1 lb skin-on salmon filet
- 4 Tbsp unsaltd butter
- 1 large leek, trimmed, sliced, and well rinsed
- 5 cups water (you can also use fish stock)
- 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 1 cup fresh dill for garnish, finely chopped, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp allspice, use more to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the skin from the salmon and cut into largish chunks. Remove any small pin bones and discard. Reserve the skin.
- Melt the butter in a soup pot and saute the leeks for 10 minutes, or until nice and soft.
- While the leeks are cooking, put 5 cups of water and the reserved fish skin in a saucepan and bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Note: if you are using fish stock you can skip this step.
- Strain the broth and add to the pan with the leeks, along with the potatoes, carrots, and half of the fresh dill. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender.
- Add the salmon chunks to the soup along with the cream and allspice, and gently simmer on low heat until cooked through, just a few minutes. Add the remaining dill, and salt and pepper to taste.
- If you can get your hands on great fish stock, by all means use it! Clam broth can also be used. I’ve sometimes even used clam juice as a base for fish soup.
- I’ve occasionally made this soup with hot smoked salmon (the kind that comes in a chunk) and it gives great flavor.
- Serve this soup with some rustic artisan style bread ~ rye or pumpernickel would be amazing! I have a great recipe for Pumpernickel Biscuits on the blog which would be perfect with this Finnish salmon soup
- Consider doubling the recipe so you can have the leftovers the next day, it gets even better!
Questions and Reviews
Had Lohikeitto when we visited Helsinki, and now that we live here I insisted that this be one of the first Finnish food we made! I have been craving it since I first tried it. And this recipe definitely hit the spot! Definitely will be making it more often!
Loved the recipe! Easy to make. Used fish spice instead of allspice.
Thank you for the easy and authentic recipe!
We just came back from Finland and my daughter mentioned how much she misses this soup. So, at a family lunch I decided to bring Finland to Australia. This soup was an absolute hit and everyone loved it. Easy to make, it will now be a regular dish for us. Our local fish monger even makes his own fish stock so there’s no excuse. Thank you for the wonderful and very authentic recipe.
Thanks Kate, that’s great to hear. When we lived in New England we had a local fish shop and I miss it so much, here in Los Angeles I haven’t found one. I’m glad this soup could help keep your trip memories alive 🙂
Do you have a non-dairy version that is not soy milk? I love this soup, but have become sensitive to dairy products.
I haven’t personally made this with non dairy milk, but you might try something mild like almond milk.
I am a hopeless novice cook. So well documented and absolutely gorgeous. Thanks
I hope you give it a try 🙂
Finland is not a part of Scandinavia. It is a Nordic Country. There is a difference which matters to Finns. Lohikeitto is a great soup, and your recipe closely resembles the soup I frequently enjoyed when living in Finland.
Point taken, I just corrected myself 🙂 Thanks Anne!
I have’nt made this recipe yet but it looks authentic to me…
Hi. I’m from Santa Monica but my husband is Finnish. We live in Helsinki where this soup is a staple. We normally eat it at restaurants but when it’s made at home, it’s my husband who usually is doing the prep. Tonight he was busy with work stuff so I decided to try a recipe with the intent of blowing him away with my own home prepped Lohikeitto. Yes…an LA gal can make the best salmon soup there is. Thankfully I found your great recipe and it had all the right ingredients. The allspice and bay leaves are a must for extra flavor in the stock. Also, fish stock with a splash of veggie stock is essential. Anyhow, this is an absolute winner recipe and I’ve tasted plenty of authentic Finnish salmon soups. I’m so glad I found your site. 🙂 I look forward to trying more.
Love this Ann, and yes, we LA gals can rock salmon soup 😉
I just finished cooking and it’s delicious <3 Thank you for!
I'm thinking to serve it with spied butter & bread 🙂
We bought a whole salmon and filleted it. We boiled the backbone and head and removed the flesh when cold. Then followed the recipe. Great.
Omg that sounds amazing.
Thank you for doing it right!
Thank you! Was great- especially the fish skin broth. I also added one fish fond “du chef” and plenty of salt.
Hi. Would this work without the cream?
It would be fine, although possibly a little less satisfying. You could beef up the veggies.