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Finnish Salmon Soup (Lohikeitto)

salmon soup

When it’s getting cold outside, this Finnish Salmon Soup is one of my favorite dishes for dinner. It’s a healthy and nutritious comfort food made with salmon, vegetables, and lots of dill, exactly what I need on a foggy and windy evening in San Francisco.

This Salmon Soup (Lohikeitto) originates in Finland (and other Nordic countries), and it’s similar to a creamy fish chowder. The classic version of Lohikeitto consists of salmon, potatoes, onions, dill, and sometimes carrots. It’s made with fresh salmon, but I also love adding some lightly smoked salmon for an extra hint of smoky taste.

A brief history of Lohikeitto, the traditional Finnish Salmon Soup

Lohikeitto, which translates to “salmon soup” in English, has been a part of Finnish cuisine for centuries.

Finland’s abundance of lakes and rivers has made salmon a significant food source, and using it to prepare a hearty soup was a natural choice. Initially, it was just a simple peasant dish made with readily available ingredients. It was a way for Finnish households to use locally caught salmon, typically made during the fishing season.

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Lohikeitto is often enjoyed during the spring and summer months in Finland because it corresponds with the salmon fishing season and the availability of fresh ingredients like young potatoes and dill.

While the basic recipe for Lohikeitto remains fairly consistent, there can be regional variations in the preparation and serving of the soup. Some variations may include adding vegetables like carrots or leeks, while others might incorporate different herbs or spices.

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1lb fresh salmon;
1 lb lightly smoked salmon;
2 leeks;
2 carrots;
2 big potatoes;
½ celery root (or 2 small pieces of green celery);
4 cups fish stock;
1 cup sour cream;
1 cup fresh dill;
2-3 bay leaves;
½ lemon (optional);
Salt and pepper to taste.


1.  Cut the vegetables (leeks, carrots, potatoes, celery) into bite-sized rounds or cubes.
2. Put the cubed vegetables in a large saucepan and cover with the fish stock (or water). Add salt and pepper.
3. Bring to a boil and cook until the vegetables are soft enough when you try them with a fork (20-25 minutes).
4. Add the salmon cut into bite-sized cubes and the bay leaves. Add fish stock or water if necessary. Boil for another 10 minutes until the salmon is cooked.
5. Add the sour cream and the chopped dill (save some for bowl garnish), and squeeze some lemon juice. Boil for another 2-3 minutes.
6. Serve hot in bowls, garnished with extra dill.

Pofta buna! (Bon appetite!)

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