Salmon Spread

5 from 8 votes

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Made with fresh and smoked salmon, this rich and beautiful spread is a great appetizer to pair with cocktails.

Bowl of Salmon Spread on a table.

This pretty pink spread is a terrific way to start a meal. It’s made from a mix of poached salmon and smoked salmon for the perfect balance of flavors. It’s salty and rich, creamy from the addition of mayonnaise, satisfying, and very elegant. Definitely save this recipe for the next time you have any extra simply cooked salmon on hand, like poached salmon or baked salmon. Serve this with slices of baguette, crackers, toast, or pita chips.

There is definitely something about a pale pink dip or spread that is very happy-making. It’s like spring in a bowl, or like a bridal shower is about to spontaneously burst into existence.

Fork in a bowl of Salmon Spread.

Salmon Spread: Made with fresh and smoked salmon, this rich and beautiful spread and is a great appetizer to pair with cocktails.

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Salmon Spread With Fresh and Smoked Salmon

What’s delicious and different about this easy salmon spread is that it’s not just based on smoked salmon or fresh salmon but a combo of both. I was inspired by the salmon rillettes I had the thrill of enjoying at Eric Ripert’s famous, award-winning NY seafood restaurant Le Bernardin. It is offered at the beginning of the meal there to guests, and it’s one of the best things I have ever eaten. This is my version.


  • Fresh salmon – If you have leftover poached salmon or baked salmon, you can use that instead of cooking the salmon as directed.
  • Shallots – You can sub in the same amount of onion if you prefer.
  • Mayonnaise – Adds richness and creaminess.
  • Scallions – Provides flavor and attractive little flecks of green.
  • Lemon juice and finely grated lemon zest
  • Smoked salmon – Get the good stuff!
  • Baguette slices, crostini, or endive leaves – To serve.
Woman holding a slice of bread topped with Salmon Spread.


  • Salmon Dip: If you want to turn this into a dip, just drizzle in a bit of milk or cream as you give it the final mix until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Herbed Salmon Spread: I would also think about adding a few big pinches of minced fresh dill, basil, tarragon, or thyme to this dip. Pink AND green…old-school preppy.

How to Serve Salmon Spread

You could serve this already dolloped and spread on crostini or sliced baguettes, or let people assemble their own. My favorite way to serve it is with thick crusty slices of baguette or another long, crispy loaf. Try sliced ciabatta as well. You can also scoop it into endive leaves for a sophisticated appetizer.

Bowl of Salmon Spread on a table with bread and glasses.

How to Make Salmon Spread

  1. Poach the salmon: Remove from the liquid and cool completely. Use your fingers to flake it into small chunks.
  2. Make the base: Combine the mayonnaise, scallions, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper stirring until fairly smooth.
Scallions and lemon zest in a glass bowl.
  1. Add the salmon: Add the flaked cooked salmon and the diced smoked salmon and stir until well combined.
Woman stirring a glass bowl of Salmon Spread.
  1. Chill: Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to one day to chill.
  2. Serve: Serve the spread in a small bowl, surrounded by baguette slices, crostini, and/or endive leaves.
Woman using a butter knife to put Salmon Spread on bread.

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5 from 8 votes

Salmon Spread

Made with fresh and smoked salmon, this rich and beautiful spread is a great appetizer to pair with cocktails.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cooling time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings


  • 1 pound fresh salmon
  • 2 shallots or 1 onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  • cup mayonnaise
  • 2 scallions (trimmed and minced; white and green parts)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 3 ounces smoked salmon (diced or roughly chopped)
  • Baguette slices or crostini (see Note; or endive leaves)


  • Place the salmon in a pot, add cold water to cover, plus the shallots or onions, 1 teaspoon of salt, cover the pot, and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and leave it in the covered pot for 5 minutes. Remove from the liquid and cool completely. Remove the skin if necessary, and use your fingers to flake it into small chunks.
  • Place the mayonnaise, scallions, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Stir to combine everything well, until fairly smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add the flaked cooked salmon and the diced smoked salmon to the bowl, and gently fold everything together until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to one day to chill.
  • Serve the spread in a small bowl, surrounded by crostini and/or endive leaves.


To make basic crostini:
  • 1 baguette, sliced 1/3-inch thick (about 20 slices)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Brush each of the baguette slices with the olive oil and place them side by side on the baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  3. Bake for about 5 minutes until the edges are lightly brown. Remember that they will harden as they cool, so take them out before they get too crisp.


Calories: 78kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 338mg, Potassium: 162mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 184IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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  1. I made this recipe to use it as a spread in sandwiches and for rick crackers. Delish! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. I had a huge chunk of wild salmon left over about to be cat food. I found this recipe. The only changes I made were to add capers and a few red pepper flakes. It was a huge hit. Il the ladies preferred the lettuce, the guys all devoured the garlic toast smeared. I caught one guy licking his fingers. A good sign. I thought I’d add eggs and panko to make Pattie’s but the bowl was so clean there wasn’t a scrap left. Awesome.