Smoked Salmon Bisque


Delicious smoked salmon bisque, made with fresh salmon, smoked salmon, onions, leeks, mushrooms, garlic, clam juice, tomatoes, cream, herbs and seasonings.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A little trivia here. What makes a bisque a bisque and not a chowder? Both bisques and chowders are made with seafood and vegetables, with a cream base.

Chowders tend to be more stew-like or chunky, and bisques puréed. Bisques are traditionally made with shellfish, though these days a puréed tomato, cream-based soup can be called a bisque too.

We half-puréed this smoked salmon bisque, which accounts for the photograph. My father made this delicious soup the other day after being inspired by a bisque we had at a local bistro and wine bar. So creamy and good!

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Smoked Salmon Bisque Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 5-6

Hot-smoked salmon has a much stronger smoky flavor than cold-smoked salmon, so I recommend using hot-smoked salmon for this recipe.


  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 cups thinly sliced leeks
  • 1/2 chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 quart (32 oz) clam juice
  • 3/4 pounds salmon fillet, chopped 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 to 4 ounces hot smoked salmon (depending on how strong a smoked flavor you want, and how strongly smoked the salmon is), chopped
  • 2 cups canned whole or stewed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt to taste


1 Cook onions, leeks, mushrooms garlic in butter: Melt butter in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, leeks, mushrooms, garlic and cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms have given up their moisture (7 to 10 minutes).

2 Add the clam juice, smoked salmon, tomatoes (break up tomatoes while putting them in the soup), parsley, cilantro, dill, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and Old Bay seasoning. Cook until heated through.

3 Make a slurry with flour, milk, cream: Put flour into a separate bowl. Slowly add the milk, beating with a wire whisk until smooth. Mix in the cream. Stir cream flour slurry into the soup.

4  Stir in fresh salmon and simmer for 5 more minutes.

5 Purée (optional): If you want, use an immersion blender to purée the soup, or pour some or all of the soup into a standing blender and purée. Salt to taste.

Garnish with fresh dill.

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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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16 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSmoked Salmon Bisque

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Nicole

    I’ve been trying to find ways to get more fish into our diet, and this sounded promising, especially since we had some leftover hot smoked salmon. Although I made some changes based on ingredient availability, it turned really good, especially for those of us who are not fish/seafood lovers.

    I halved the recipe, but accidentally kept the aromatics and spices at the original quantities — which totally worked for us. Also, I used dashi because I didn’t have clam juice and couldn’t find it in my local grocery store in anything other than a tiny, two-ounce jar at a ridiculous price.

    Finally, I realized while prepping that it also called for fresh salmon and I didn’t have any, so I added a can of tuna.

    I know, not really the original recipe, but it was good, and for anyone else wanting or needing to make substitutions, it seems pretty flexible!


  2. Leslie

    Delicious and savory. I added a dash of Worcestershire and it was a great addition to the flavor. Going to add a dollop of sour cream when serving. Yummy!



    When you talk about smoked salmon in the recipe , are you using hot smoked or cold smoked salmon, as they are both quite different?

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Colin Nash

    In my experiences (professionally cooking in seafood restaurants on both coast) bisques are creamy smooth soups that are thickened with rice and/or ground shellfish shells. Chowder is a creamy stew that is thickened with a roux or corn starch slurry.
    And on the price of clams and clam juice, shop at a restaurant supply store. You can get a ten can of both clams and their juice for around 10 bucks. You won’t need all of them, but mix the remainder and freeze for your next use.

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Tracy

    Better than Boullion makes a clam base that is pretty good. It makes soups like this more cost effective and easy to keep the ingredients on hand.

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