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
Sue..does the skin not make the stock oily? I want to try this. Another thing you could always do is save the shells from shrimp and freeze them until you need stock and then boil them. I’ve done that before and it worked good. I will be making this!!
You could do it either way Colleen, and no, I don’t find that the skin makes the broth oily. It only simmers for a short time. The butter and cream add fat to the broth, though.
Ok Sue! Thanks..I will put salmon (with skin on) on my list for my next trip to the grocery store. And some dill too! Going to go and look at your pumpernickel biscuits now. They sound quit interesting and a perfect accompaniment to the soup!
Sounds like a yummy meal 🙂
Made this soup and the recent apple cake recipe for our snowy, cold Valentine’s evening meal. What a treat. So delicious.
I’ve just moved to the UK and was craving salmon soup and this turned out so good!! I couldn’t find fish stock so this was perfect as other recipes said to use store bought. Thank you for this yummy recipe!
Thanks Sophie, I’m not a fan of the packaged fish stock either.
Very authentic, just like how my grandmother makes!
Hi Sue nice soup I’m a newbie to this cooking game
Are you from Finland or USA
I’m in the US John.
Wasn’t sure if we would like the salmon/cream combo so I only made half the recipe to try it… Well, that was a mistake! My husband loved it (the same person who gave me a ‘look’ when I mentioned I was going to make it). Will definitely be making this again. The ‘skin’ broth is genius. Makes a wonderful broth.
Lol, maybe he’ll learn never to give you the ‘look’ again 🙂
Oh Sue, this was out of this world! I made the fish stock using the Insta-Pot with a couple of frozen bass my husband had caught a while back. Other than than, followed the recipe exactly and it was divine! Hubs agreed, and even brought the remainder to work the next day. I’m so happy to have found your blog – you cook the way we like to eat!!
Thanks Andi, what a nice comment, and your IP bass stock sounds awesome 🙂
Can I use anchovy broth? Koreans use anchovy stock as a base to many soups.
Or Japanese bonito stock? I have both of those on hand
I don’t see why not, it would have a very different flavor, but might be nice!
When you use clam juice or clam broth, is all of the liquid (5 cups) the juice or broth, or do you use part water and part clam juice or broth? Thanks. I’ve enjoyed salmon soup at many different places in Finland – am looking forward to trying this recipe.
Hi Jane ~ if I were using clam broth I might cut it with some water so it doesn’t overpower.
Thanks for your very quick response.
I made it with 2 cups clam juice and 3 cups water. Very tasty. I need to think of an herb or spice to add to give this soup a bit of zing. I did add a few dashes of Old Bay seasoning already.
PS – I’m trying to rate this a 5-star but can only click as far as 3 stars. Don’t know why!
Thanks Jane, glad this worked out for you, and I don’t know what’s going on with the star rating, I fixed yours, and I appreciate it!
This recipe is an absolute treasure. So simple and yet so tasty.