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30 responses to “Salmon Head Soup”

  1. Peter Raaymakers

    This sounds awesome! I’d definitely like to try it.

    However, at the risk of sounding far too demanding of someone freely sharing such amazing recipes, I do have a request: Photos during the process of cooking would be much appreciated from the perspective of someone who, like me, has never eaten (let alone prepared) fish heads as part of a meal.

    Just an idea, anyway. Thanks for all the work you do on this site, it’s a regular destination for me.

  2. Dan

    I made abalone chowder last night and I used a salmon head to make the fish stock. It came out great!! I am not sure why everywhere I read online says this was a mistake. Any ideas?

  3. Jean

    Is the mirin boiled first, as other wines are?

    The only salmon I have caught this year had the head taken by the science folk for the tag inside it.

    I sure enjoy your site and all the lovely things you put forth.

    Thank you.

  4. Brady


    Why add the Miso into the bowls at the end? My guess is that you would end up with a cloudy broth. If that is the, any reason you couldn’t add it prior to dishing out?

    I know it won’t be the same, but I’ve got a pond that’s full of stunted 10″ LM Bass that have a date with the soup pot…

  5. Cindy

    Hello Henk,
    It is so good to know YOU DO NOT WASTE any part of a fish. And it is so good of you to demonstrate how to prepare the soup/dish.

    I normally would buy salmon heads (other fish heads too but salmon tastes the best IMHO), plus the bones if the fish-stall has any. Boiled, picked the meat out for my cats (and myself TOO), use the stock for soups. AND if you are in Malaysia or Singapore, do go and try our famous Fish-heads curry. Absoulte wonderful.

    I am not a really fish heads person. I think we should not waste any part of an anmial if it can be eaten.

  6. Andy

    Hi Hank,

    Question: Can the broth be made ahead of time, or will that ruin the dish. Not more than a day ahead, but breaking it up over a few days might simplify it a bit for me.


    P.S. I’ve made your green curry with fish now twice, both times with gifted rockfish and it was excellent.

  7. Ed

    Sounds great! How big are the heads? I’m asking because my buddy caught some 25 pounders yesterday. Pretty big heads 🙂

  8. AmandaLp

    I actually made this yesterday, after finding wild salmon heads at the market!

    First, the cheek meat was amazing! I didn’t much care for the rest of the meat, so I just used the broth.

    The reason why “recipes” say to not to use salmon heads for long simmered stock is that the fats can oxidize. But, it is fine for a short simmer.

    Also, adding the miso after the broth has cooled slightly preserves more of the probiotics in traditionally fermented miso. 🙂

  9. Chaz

    This looks awesome. My Dad always made fish head soups growing up, particularly when he commercial fished for a few years.

    I always buy smoked salmon collars and wingtips. Way better than the filet…

  10. Walt


    I’m trying this recipe with a grouper head. I removed the gills and cleaned the fish pretty well, but my broth is still cloudy. Could this from using grouper? or am I doing something else wrong?


  11. Globalization Ramen

    […] soup ingredients will be based on the recipe I found online here. The salmon flavor of the broth should be balanced out from adding mirin, miso, and ginger. […]

  12. think global, cook local « connections | 12

    […] soup ingredients will be based on the recipe I found online here. The salmon flavor of the broth should be balanced out from adding mirin, miso, and ginger. […]

  13. Mariko

    My daughter loved this recipe! She’s an extremely picky eater but she loved this salmon+udon combo which I had never tried before! Thank you, I was able to add one more item to my repertoire of things she really enjoys!

  14. Lani

    I made this awesome recipe with pickerel (aka walleye) for my 81 year old Japanese father and he loved it. We used wonton soup noodles. The fish was caught by my father, which made it taste even better. Thank you.

  15. Alison

    Miso should never be boiled; that’s why it goes in at the end.

  16. Richard Vernon

    Hank, can I ask you something? You say to remove the gills. However, you are an angler: does this mean that all the salmon heads you use were caught in shallow water, and could this be responsible for the gritty taste you describe? The reason I ask is that I live in London and haven’t fished for 45 years, though I can buy farmed salmon heads locally. Do you think it would be safe to leave the gills on? Thanks, Richard.

  17. Richard Vernon

    Thank you very much indeed.

  18. Diane Taylor

    I absolutely love your site, recipes and information. I have a question for you. My father in law just brought two big Steelhead home to me from Oregon, and I cut them up for future use. Having the heads and tails of these beauties, I thought it would be such a waste throwing them out. So onto making a soup with them. Is your favorite way to prepare a stock/soup the above recipe, or is there another one that you would recommend? I know my way around a kitchen and can cook fairly difficult recipes, so fire away!! Thank you for your time in advance. 🙂

  19. Liz

    Thank you for this fabulous recipe! I have a very large salmon head and was at a loss for what to do with it- this is perfect!
    To answer the question of why add the miso at the end, miso is fermented, and is therefore never boiled. To boil it would kill all the friendly little critters that it took so long to grow! They are extremely good for your health. 🙂

  20. Wendy

    I am one of those odd cats that loves eating fish, from head to tail. Not in public, though! Only in the privacy of my home…because it’s quite a messy, though pleasurable, process. This includes deep fried, steamed, poached, roasted, or in soups.
    I was hoping to find a great recipe therefore, for four lovely, fresh salmon heads I bought today at the supermarket. I am one of those sorts who actually enjoy the eyes, the brain, and all edible parts. Maybe you can suggest a recipe for me? This soup sounds nice, but it sounds like the recipe would have one discard much of the parts I would relish.
    Thanks in advance!

  21. Jennie Alice Lillard

    Once again thank you for a great odds-n-ends recipe. I made this tonight using the heads from our friend’s catch and ours. They normally would’ve been tossed in a hole in the backyard to fertilize a garden bed, but this is so much better.

  22. Nourishing Bone Stock for the Soul | Miss Insulin

    […] All Grain. If you’re interested in testing out a fish stock, here’s a yummy Salmon Head Soup courtesy of Honest Food. Another pioneering resource on bone stocks is Sally Fallon’s book […]

  23. Joe Everett

    I bought 5 large heads from an Asian market for around $20, forgot to have them remove the gills, I did it, a messy job.. I used a large stock pot. I didn’t let them boil. I got a large bowl of meat from cheeks and part of the filet they left on behind the head and all the gelatinous goodness from inside the head. I made one mistake—I put mushrooms in the clear broth after, thinking they would be great in the soup. They made the broth bitter and turned it black! They were dark mushrooms, I should have used the lighter colored ones from Safeway. Ate the soup anyway, not bad, just a bit bitter. I could have added mushrooms to the Udon noodles separately. Oh well, live and learn! Joe

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