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salmon rillettes recipe
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5 from 3 votes

Salmon Rillettes

The very best rillettes are a combination of fresh and smoked salmon or trout; this gives the spread a more interesting flavor. If you're lacking one or the other, it's no sin to buy some salmon or trout to make this recipe -- but most salmon and trout anglers I know have a ready supply of both fresh and smoked fish on hand.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: pate, rillettes, salmon
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 91kcal
Author: Hank Shaw


  • 1/2 pound fresh salmon or trout, skin and bones removed
  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon or trout, skin and bones removed
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Finely grated zest of a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives or parsley
  • About 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, or to taste
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Pickled mustard seeds or trout caviar (optional)


  • Bring about a quart of water to a boil. Salt it well. You can add some flavorings if you want, such as bay leaves, herbs or onions, but I rarely do. Slip the fresh salmon into the water and turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let this sit for 15 minutes or so. Remove the salmon and when it is cool enough to handle, flake it into a large bowl.
  • Break up the smoked salmon and add that to the bowl, along with the sour cream, 3 tablespoons of butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and chives. Use a heavy fork to mash everything together. You want a rough spread, not a smooth pate. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter if the rillettes look dry.
  • Add salt, pepper and horseradish to taste. cover the rillettes with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for an hour or so before serving. Spoon over some pickled mustard seeds or caviar when you serve.


Once made, pack the rillettes tightly into jars; try to get as many air pockets out as you can. Once packed, melt some butter over the top of the rillettes, cover and store in the fridge. It will keep for at least a week this way, and up to 2 weeks if you keep resealing the butter cap between each use. You can also freeze the finished rillettes for several months.


Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 241mg | Potassium: 199mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 139IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg