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The Classic and Simple Finnish Salmon Soup

The Finnish salmon soup (lohikeitto, in Finnish) is the perfect soup. It’s like the little black dress of Finnish cuisine.

At the same time, a salmon soup is easy home cooking, super healthy and suitable for any event.

In this household, it’s the go-to recipe for busy weekdays and family parties. This soup was served at a regular Tuesday, my graduation party and our daughter’s christening. It’s the most flexible soup ever invented!

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As pretty much all my cooking directions, this is my granny’s recipe. Word of caution (or relief): this recipe includes no stock preparing. We use, yes, plain old water.

I know, I know, many professionals swear by creating a soup base. But, as my granny had full-time work, two children, and sometimes the whole zoo to watch over (literally, the family lived in the middle of the Helsinki zoo), I understand that she had to cut some corners.

So, according to my granny, for a busy cook, the key to a delicious soup is sautéing the chopped leek and onion. More about that sautéing in the recipe!

Also, another thing. Some people like that a bowl of soup has a lot of stock and only a few ’lumps.’ My family is not those people. A salmon soup must have plenty of salmon and vegetable chunks. If not, it’s a poor man’s soup, like we say in Finland.

Let’s start cooking!

Finnish salmon soup is the perfect meal! Here's how you make this easy and super yummy soup from Finland! #finnishfood #finlandfood

Finnish Salmon Soup

Ingredients for four servings

500 g/1,1 lb salmon, skinned and cut into large chunks
10 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 carrots, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 l water
Salt
Butter
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp allspice
1 bay leaf
2 dl cream (0,8 US cup)
Plenty of fresh dill, finely chopped

Making the Finnish Salmon Soup

Melt a chunk of butter in a small kettle and sauté the thinly sliced leek and onion. They need to become a bit translucent but by no means brown!

Take the soup kettle and boil the water. Add potato and carrot chunks, sautéed leek, onion and spices. Boil for 10-15 minutes.

Add the salmon on top of the boiling vegetables. Sprinkle salt on top. Gently boil the fish ready.

Preheat cream in the small kettle and add it to the soup. Check flavor and add salt if needed. Last, add dill.

The traditional Finnish salmon soup is a mouthwatering dish with clean and fresh flavors! By Her Finland blog #finlandfood #finnishfood

Finnish Salmon Soup as a Party Food

Here are some tips when you are making this soup for a bigger crowd:

  • Put the spices into the boiling water in a cloth bag and take the bag away before adding the cream. You’ll get all the flavors in the soup and the guests don’t have to leave spices on the side of the plate.
  • Estimating the size of the soup: I usually count 2-3 potatoes and z. 125 g/4 oz salmon per person.
    For example, for 15 people, I use 3 kg/6,6 lbs of potatoes, 4 liters/1 gallon of water, 1 liter/0,3 gallon of cream and 2 kg/4,4 lbs of salmon.

Another popular dish for family gatherings is Karelian stew. Here’s my granny’s Karelian stew recipe for you. 

Will you try making this Finnish salmon soup recipe? What Finnish recipe would you like to know? Comment below!

Looking for more Finnish recipes? Check out some of my other Finnish food posts:

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About Varpu
I’m the founder of Her Finland. I love cultural tidbits, aha moments, Finnish folklore, and cinnamon buns. My newest interest is learning bird songs. Read more about me..

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Andrea Juutilainen

Thursday 11th of November 2021

Hei Varpu, I just made this soup. I have never tried it before. I keep seeing this posted on a FB Finnish group site so I decided to try it. Its wonderful! I love the flavours. I'm serving it with riisi piirakka and munavoi. My husband is half Finnish and I like to cook him Finnish food. Kiitos for an easy to follow recipe :)

Varpu

Saturday 20th of November 2021

Hei Andrea! I'm so happy to hear this, thank you so much for your comment. <3

Theo Kamis

Wednesday 7th of April 2021

A Finnish friend shared his version of this on Facebook, also showing his daughter smiling joyously eating it.

I asked on his post what was the recipe, and he instant messaged me the recipe, but omitting some of the quantities. Fortunately, his picture gave me sufficient information to fill in some of the gaps, and I tried guessing the rest. The only major differences between his recipe and yours were that he spiced with only salt and pepper, and he said that he used either pollock or salmon.

Of course, when I tried making it, I used both pollock and salmon, just because I happened to have both on hand, and because of course I would! And it turned out very nicely, thank you, Jan K.! (The next day, I did add a locally produced salt-free spice blend called "Mural of Flavor" when reheating the soup, and that was very good too!)

I am going to the shop to get a few ingredients soon, so I will make this recipe next week, when the cooler air returns, because I can taste this already.

Jane Staples

Saturday 2nd of October 2021

Hei, Varpu, kiitos! I tried lohikeitto when I visited Helsinki and loved it. We have lots of salmon here in Canada, too, so I will surprise my husband soon and make this. He is half Finnish will be delighted to taste this soup again.

Varpu

Saturday 24th of April 2021

Wow, thank you so much for sharing! I really appreciate it! The salmon soup is sooo good!

Ruth and Gary

Sunday 2nd of August 2020

Varpu, What type of cream do you use in the salmon soup?

Varpu Pöyry

Friday 21st of August 2020

Hei Ruth and Gary! Thank you so much for your question. I use double cream, the fat % is 35. I hope this helps and let me know if you have anything <3

Hilkka

Wednesday 12th of February 2020

Too much potato and carrot, too little salmon and leak and dill. Base should be a mix of fish stock and cream. Portions not to the Finnish Karelian soup I still cook where ever I am.

Varpu Pöyry

Wednesday 12th of February 2020

Hei Hilkka, thank you so much for letting me know about your family recipe. It sounds super delicious too. :)

Kath

Wednesday 20th of November 2019

Hello: On a recent, short visit to Helsinki I ordered this soup four times, sampling it everywhere I went. It seems to me that the type of potato is important. They were so good! What type of potato to use? Or is it just that Finnish potatoes are that good. ;-)

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