Salmon Mousse


Be the hit of the party with this salmon mousse! Perfect for spreading on crackers and crudite dips.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Remember those retro fish molds?

I have two of them, both of which I have used to make this salmon mousse over the years. But try as I may, it’s almost impossible to make salmon mousse in a fish mold look good.

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These days I take the easy way and just pour the mousse mixture into serving bowls, chill until set, and serve. This doesn’t mean the fish molds are retired, I just have to be up for a decorating challenge if I use them again.

In any case, this is an easy-to-make, delicious salmon mousse, not too rich, and quite flavorful.

The recipe comes from my friend Tina Seelig’s book The Epicurean Laboratory, now long out of print (but a great book if you can get a hold of a used copy.)

This mousse was presented to a flock of teenagers who hungrily ate it up with loud exclamations of “This is GREAT!”

Salmon Mousse Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Chilling time: 6 hours
  • Yield: Serves 12 as an appetizer

You can either pour the salmon mousse mixture into a mold, and then chill it and un-mold it when set, or you can pour the salmon mousse mixture into crocks, tureens, or attractive bowls and serve it as is.


  • 1 lb freshly cooked or canned boneless salmon
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese
  • 1 can concentrated tomato soup or 8 ounces of puréed tomato sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 4 teaspoons (2 envelopes) unflavored, unsweetened gelatin
  • One greased or stick-free 6 cup mold, or a few serving bowls.


1 In a bowl, mix salmon, celery, green pepper, onion, dill, mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice.

salmon mousse ingredients mix together salmon mousse ingredients

2 Make the tomato sauce cream cheese base: In a sauce pan, melt the cream cheese. Add the tomato soup or tomato sauce and continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add several dashes of Tabasco sauce. Pour the cream cheese and tomato soup mixture into the salmon mixture and mix thoroughly.

mix tomato sauce and cream cheese mix cream cheese base with salmon mousse ingredients

3 Prepare the gelatin: Pour the cold water into a small pot and stir in the gelatin. Be sure to use cold water. Gelatin needs this to disperse properly. Slowly heat the water and gelatin just until the gelatin dissolves. Do not boil the gelatin or it will not gel properly.

add gelatin to water for salmon mousse heat gelatin and water for salmon mousse

4 Add the dissolved gelatin to the salmon mixture and mix well.

5 Chill: Pour the mixture into a decorative mold or into serving bowls and refrigerate for 6 hours, or until firm.

6 Un-mold:  If using a decorative mold, un-mold the salmon mousse by placing the bottom of the mold in hot water for a few seconds and turn the mold over onto a large serving dish to release the mousse. The surface of the mousse may appear a bit ragged. If you cover with plastic wrap and re-chill in the refrigerator, it should become more smooth.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve salmon mousse with sliced avocados, celery sticks, lettuce leaves, tomatoes, olives, slices of baguette, and/or crackers.

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Recipe adapted from The Epicurean Laboratory.


Salmon mousse vintage recipe card

how to make salmon mousse

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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22 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Joan DeTrou

    Ok Elise. I’ve been following your recipes for a while. All pretty good. But as long as you have the guts to throw are recipe out there using canned tomato soup, I have a question for you. Years ago, when I lived in Sacramento (grew up Carmichael) my friend and I hosted a bridal shower. She said we would make lobster bisque. I said we couldn’t afford that. Well, she threw together canned lobster and tomato soup and vermouth and I don’t know what else. It was outstanding!! She’s is gone now, unfortunately passed away. Would you have this recipe? Thanks, and enjoy Sacramento. Lots of great people there!

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  2. Kelly

    This was really good. In fact, I was tempted to just offer it up as dip before the gelatin stage.

    Due to corona virus limitations and personal preferences, I made some substitutions.

    Sautéed the vegetables
    Substituted a little thyme, basil and lemongrass as I did not have any dill

    Next time I might either add a little cayenne or a jalapeño to spice it up.

  3. Mark Hinchman

    I’ve made it 3 times, twice as written. I served it once for lunch, and once as an appetizer to a heartier meal that followed. As an appetizer, I made melba toast using Pepperidge Farm thin white bread on which to spread the mousse. This last time, I decided to up the vegetable content, and added 1/2 cup of diced zucchini and fresh parsley. And my experience is, use any type of pepper you wish. I think a combo of yellow, orange and green peppers would look lovely.


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  4. Victoria

    Hi. I really enjoy this recipe and have made it twice. I also looked at the original recipe, and it calls for 2 teaspoons of gelatin. Does the mousse unmold poorly with the lesser amount?

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Gloria

    I’ve made this recipe several times and took it to parties. We have potluck functions frequently. When I ask, what shall I bring? They all say, you know what to bring. I did not have yogurt so I used sour cream. I used the food processor and I’ve used the hand blender, both do a great job making the consistency right. I didn’t use green pepper. I added a tbsp. Worcestershire sauce. I use a beautiful fish mold.


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