Finnish Salmon Soup – Lohikeitto

Finnish Salmon Soup - Lohikeitto

Finnish Salmon Soup – Lohikeitto

I had some fresh Salmon in the fridge that was begging to be eaten (and the kids were begging to eat it). Rather than the usual grilled Salmon steak, I decided to pull up a few Salmon recipes and give something different a try. Working my way as I am through Finnish recipes, I decided to try Finnish Salmon Soup, otherwise known as Lohikeitto. It was close to a life-changing experience! (Well, OK, it was reaaaaally delicious and the kids loved it so we have another winner here). Imagine delicious chunks of salmon, and just-right potatoes drenched in creamy soup, with a little butter and a good helping of fresh dill. Serve with rye bread.

In times past, Finnish food was seasonal; in winter there were no easily available green vegetables, etc., as there are now – and the primary purpose for food was to provide energy in the harsh climate. As a result many traditional Finnish recipes are simple dishes consisting of meat (or fish) and easily stored staples such as potatoes. Lohikeitto is one of these traditional dishes – and as a bonus, it’s easy to prepare. As with many Finnish recipes, Dill is used for flavouring (Finns seem to like their Dill).

Finnish Salmon Soup (Lohikeitto) – Ingredients

Finnish Salmon Soup - Lohikeitto

Cubed Fresh Salmon

  1. Tbsp Butter (you can use Olive Oil as an alternative)
  2. 1 Brown or Yellow Onion, finely chopped
  3. 4-5 Potatoes (buy a firm variety as they need to retain their shape through cooking)
  4. 1.25 litres Fish Stock
  5. 1/2 kg Fresh Salmon Fillet, cubed
  6. 100-200 ml Cream (or Milk, if you prefer a thinner soup)
  7. 1 cup Fresh Dill, finely chopped
  8. 5 pieces Bay Leaf
  9. Dash of sea salt
  10. Dash of pepper
  11. Dash of Allspice

Finnish Salmon Soup (Lohikeitto) – Instructions

Finnish Salmon Soup - Lohikeitto

Fresh Dill (Tilli)

  1. Cut the potatoes roughly into 1-inch cubes, and keep in water to prevent discolouration
  2. In a large saucepan, simmer the chopped onions in the butter over medium heat until soft
  3. Add peeled and diced potatoes and then enough water to just cover the potatoes. Turn up the heat to high, cover the saucepan with a lid, bring to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are just soft, adjusting the heat down as necessary
  4. Add the cubed salmon to the pot and cook until it is mostly opaque (this will take about 5 minutes, if that). Do not stir the soup so as not to break up the salmon
  5. If you want to keep the Salmon cubes looking like cubes, once the salmon is cooked, remove from the soup and set aside
  6. Add the fish stock and cream, along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste, with just a dash of Allspice. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
  7. If you prefer a thicker soup, as I do, add cornstarch slurry (mix 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 Tablespoon of water, stir to dissolve the cornstarch) to the soup and simmer until the soup has thickened
  8. Take off the heat and stir in the fresh dill
  9. (If you removed the salmon cubes, transfer the cooked salmon into individual bowls and ladle the soup over
  10. If you want to add a touch of artistry to the presentation, place a small sprig of  dill on top of the contents of each bowl
  11. Serve with rye bread and butter

Finnish Cucumber Salad (Kurkkusalattti) makes a great side-salad to go with this soup.

Hyvää ruohahalua! (Bon Appetit!)…………Nigel

Finnish Salmon Soup - Lohikeitto

Lohikeitto – ready-to-serve

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20 Responses to Finnish Salmon Soup – Lohikeitto

  1. Anne says:


    I am making this soup for a Finnish friend in two weeks. I live in Germany where you can get the whole fish and I won’t come home eith the head and bones. I am American who is world adverse and love everything that other cultures offer.

    My question is this, it’s Winter or Fall but feels like winter. Can this be served as a winter treat?

  2. Jenny says:


    I just made a version of this, as a low fat soup for good digestion. I had it on a visit to Finland a long time ago, and invented my own version when I got home. Your recipe helped me to update it. I really enjoyed it.

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  7. Tracy says:


    Hello, Nigel. You won’t believe how happy I am to have found this recipe. I just returned home after a visit to Scandinavia. By far it was my favorite dish of all and I managed to eat it 3 times in 5 days at the market in Helsinki. I just cooked it like you said and its so good. Kiitos!

  8. Tuula says:


    Thank you soooo much for this recipe — and particularly for the tip for the fish broth!!! We are currently visiting Finland from New Mexico. Last Friday evening we had the best salmon soup of our lives on the patio of Restaurant Sarastro in front of the Savonlinna castle while waiting for the castle tour before an opera performance in that medieval castle. (We saw Tosca with a stupendous cast! If you are ever in Finland in July, break the bank and go!)

    Now I know how to duplicate that scrumptious soup at home! Our handyman Mike frequently brings us part of his trout catch because his wife doesn’t like trout as much as he likes fishing for it. Now I will use the trout carcasses for the broth of a salmon soup! Life is good! 🙂

    • Nigel says:


      Hei, I hope the recipe works out as well as the salmon soup from Restaurant Sarastro! Let me know 🙂 – and the fish broth makes a big difference. The dill and that all important dash of Allspice is what really makes it unique though!

      ………Nigel

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  12. Sergey says:


    Actually you can use any sort of cream, like Beatrice or Lucerne 22-35%. If you prefer low fat, you can use 10% cream.
    Bon Appetite! 🙂

  13. marissa munoz says:


    I was an exchange student in Finland in 2011-2012 and this was my favorite recipe!

    I currently live in the US and was hoping if you knew of a comparable cream ingredient that I could use to make this? We don’t have the same ingredients or brands and I hope you can help!

    • Nigel says:


      I know what you mean about cream. North American cream generally just isn’t in the same league. Best suggestion I have is to try an organic cream, it’s hard to suggest a brand as they differ quite a bit depending on where you live.

      • Paulina says:


        As a Finn, albeit an uprooted one living in the United States for good, I have to point out, that cream is optional. There are as many variations of this recipe, as there are cooks. For example, I wouldn’t make this soup without leek, as that’s a delicious combination with both salmon and potatoes.

        I grew up with this soup made with 2% milk more often than cream. It depends on what you have. I might do whole milk, or half and half. I live in the Pacific Northwest now, and try to eat locally and seasonally, and find that my Finnish foodie roots help with maintaining a wholesome and affordable diet. This soup, the way I grew up making it, is really cheap to make, as the secret to a good soup isn’t the salmon as much as the broth.

        As far as the fish stock goes, if a store sells whole, freshly caught salmon, buy the whole fish. They usually fillet it for you and bag the bones and heads separately. All the flavor is in the bones and fat that gets discarded en masse by the squeamish American consumers.

        The head and bones (which I sometimes ask my fishmonger at the supermarket for specifically. They’re like 20 cents a pound, and to my amusement, and that of the Asian lady at the fish counter, the sticker for them says “bait, not for human consumption”. Both of us love “fish head soup”, as we call it, and both of us are from cultures where many of the bits that may be off-putting to Americans and other English speakers are viewed as a delicacy) are what the fish stock and most of the meat for this soup traditionally come from.

        Hyvää ruokahalua. 😉

      • Nigel says:


        Thx for the suggestion on fish stock Paulina. I usually just buy it but I think next time I make this I’ll try making the fish stock myself and see what difference it makes. As for cream vs milk, I find myself using 2% milk because that’s what I usually have in the fridge and it tastes just fine.

  14. Pablo C. Morales says:


    I miss this food and this beautifull land…!!!!

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