You’ve got to try our Smoked Salmon Mousse recipe. It’s full of flavors that blend to perfection, with no overpowering tastes. Plus, it’s surprisingly light and has a tangy kick with just a hint of smokiness. So versatile, too. Enjoy it as a spread with crackers, an elegant two-bite appetizer piped into pastry puffs, or served on cucumber slices. Trust me, it’s a breeze to make, and you don’t even need gelatin. So, don’t miss out on this creamy, flavorful delight!

Table of Contents
  1. Why This Salmon Mousse Recipe Works
  2. Smoked Salmon Mousse Recipe ingredients
  3. Salmon Mousse Recipe substitutions and variations
  4. How to Make Salmon Mousse
  5. Best Salmon Mousse Recipe tips
  6. How to serve Smoked Salmon Mousse
  7. Smoked Salmon Mousse Recipe storage
  8. Salmon Mousse Appetizer FAQs
  9. Salmon Mousse Appetizer

This recipe, originally from my Aunt Bobbie, was passed down to her from friends in Alaska, who definitely know their way around cooking with salmon! The best part about this salmon mousse? It strikes the perfect balance – not too fishy, not too smoky, and not too rich. It’s incredibly light and creamy, making it an instant favorite in our household.

Why This Salmon Mousse Recipe Works

Here’s how this recipe magically delivers a palate-pleasing Smoked Salmon Mousse appetizer:

  • Smooth and creamy texture is achieved by blending in a food processor or blender, with the addition of cream cheese.
  • Depth of flavor is achieved by harmoniously combining all the ingredients, including dill, along with small amounts of fish sauce and liquid smoke.
  • Careful selection of ingredients, such as using the liquid from the caper jar instead of the capers themselves, avoids any overpowering flavors. And, including milder ground white pepper instead of black pepper maintains a perfectly balanced taste.
  • Ingredients that add depth are used in moderation, also ensuring a well-balanced flavor profile.
  • The acid in lemon juice adds balance, delivers a bright, fresh taste, and prevents any single flavor from dominating the dish.
blue bowl holding Smoked Salmon Mouse on a platter that's also holding crackers

Smoked Salmon Mousse Recipe ingredients

What is salmon mousse made of?

Here’s an overview of what you’ll need to create this amazing recipe for salmon mousse (details, including quantities, are in the recipe card below):

  • Smoked salmon – There are five main forms of smoked salmon, and they vary in terms of both appearance and flavor, stemming from the different curing processes used. I recommend using Cold Smoked Salmon or Nova Lox for a milder smoky flavor, and Hot Smoked Salmon for more smokiness. If you want very little smoke, then use Lox.
  • Cream cheese – I prefer Philadelphia brand, and the flavor of regular, but you can also use low-fat (Neufchatel).
  • Liquid smoke (Mesquite or Hickory)Liquid Smoke is made from condensed smoke from burned hardwood chips, that is then distilled and filtered. The ingredients in many brands are just smoke and water (e.g., Wrights), while others (e.g., Colgin) add molasses and/or caramel flavor. Use sparingly, starting with a small amount and then adding more as needed. If you use too much, the mousse can take on a slight chemical taste (even though there are no chemicals in liquid smoke).
  • Caper liquid (from a jar of capers) – Capers are typically brined in salt water and then stored in either brine or vinegar (or a mixture of both). Either way, the capers imbue the brine/vinegar with subtle flavor.
  • Fish sauceFish Sauce is made from anchovies (or other fish) that have been salted and fermented in barrels for anywhere from 2 months to 2 years. It’s another umami ingredient that adds both flavor and balance to a dish.
  • Fresh dill – Dill adds an herbaceous, grassy flavor that complements the salmon. Can substitute dried if needed.
  • Juice from small lemon – The acid in the juice ensures all the flavors are well balanced and no one taste dominates. Also adds brightness and freshness.
  • Ground white pepper – white pepper is the inner core (or seed) of black pepper, with the outer layer removed. It has a milder flavor, blending better with the other ingredients.

What’s the best salmon to use in this recipe for Salmon Mousse?

Any type of smoked salmon will work, it’s really personal preference. I used to use milder Lox; now I prefer either Cold or Hot Smoked.

Salmon Mousse Recipe substitutions and variations

While this smoked salmon appetizer is good as is, here are a few ways to make it your own:

  • Add chopped red or green onion
  • Add chopped chives
  • Substitute lime juice for lemon juice
  • Instead of fish sauce, use Worcestershire sauce, or 1/2 soy sauce and 1/2 rice or white wine vinegar
  • For a mousse with more texture, mix the ingredients by hand, first combining all ingredients except the salmon and then folding in chopped salmon.

Can I use canned salmon in this mousse recipe?

Yes, you can use quality, wild-caught canned salmon in this recipe, just keep in mind it may be salty and contain bits of skin and/or bones.

blue bowl holding Smoked Salmon Mouse on a platter that's also holding crackers

How to Make Salmon Mousse

Here’s all you have to do to create this amazing appetizer:

  1. Prep salmon.
    Break or chop salmon into coarse pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor or blender.
  2. Process all ingredients.
    Cut cream cheese into 1-inch cubes and add to salmon, along with liquid smoke, caper liquid, fish sauce, dill, and lemon juice. Pulse just until ingredients are chopped and well blended.
  3. Season; cover and refrigerate.
    Season with ground white pepper to taste. Add more lemon, if needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
overhead shot of cubed cream cheese and chopped salmon in food processor

Best Salmon Mousse Recipe tips

Here are my tips for ensuring your mousse comes out perfectly every time:

  • Select the type of salmon based on the degree of smokiness desired. I recommend using Cold Smoked Salmon or Nova Lox for a milder smoky flavor, and Hot Smoked Salmon for more smokiness. If you want very little smoke, then use Lox.
  • Adjust the amount of liquid smoke based on the type of salmon used: with Hot Smoked Salmon, start with 1/2 teaspoon, taste and add more as needed.
  • Cut the cream cheese block into 1-inch squares and roughly chop the salmon and dill before adding to the processor/blender, to ensure even blending of the ingredients (see photo below).
  • Cover and refrigerate the prepared mousse for at least 1 hour, to allow the flavors to blend.
Close up shot of Smoked Salmon Mousse in a blue bowl, with a cracker with mousse on it to the side and more crackers in the back

How to serve Smoked Salmon Mousse

This mousse is incredibly versatile and can be served in a number of ways, from casual to elegant:

  1. Spoon into a small bowl and serve as a spread, with crackers or toast points.
  2. Pipe into poppy seed puffs (small hollow shells made from Choux Pastry – recipe in my cookbook Fresh Tastes) – see photo below.
  3. Pipe or spoon into purchased phyllo shells.
  4. Pipe or spoon onto cucumber rounds.
  5. Pipe or spoon onto toasted bread rounds or stars.

Smoked Salmon Mousse Recipe storage

How long does smoked salmon mousse last in the fridge?

Covered and refrigerated, this mousse will last up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Can you freeze salmon mousse?

Yes, you can definitely freeze this mousse. Place it in an airtight container, refrigerate until cold, and then freeze.  It will last for up to 2 months.

blue plate holding 6 poppy seed puffs stuffed with smoked salmon mousse
(Photo of Smoked Salmon Mousse in Poppy Seed Puffs by Rick Souders)

Salmon Mousse Appetizer FAQs

Can I use canned salmon in this mousse recipe?

Yes, you can use quality, wild-caught canned salmon in this recipe, just keep in mind it may be salty and contain bits of skin and/or bones.

Print
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Close up shot of Smoked Salmon Mousse in a blue bowl, with a cracker with mousse on it to the side and more crackers in the back

Salmon Mousse Appetizer

You’ve got to try our Smoked Salmon Mousse recipe! It’s full of flavors that blend to perfection, with no overpowering tastes. Plus, it’s surprisingly light and has a tangy kick with just a hint of smokiness. So versatile too! Enjoy it as a spread with crackers, an elegant two-bite appetizer piped into pastry puffs, or served on cucumber slices. Trust me, it’s a breeze to make, and you don’t even need gelatin. So, don’t miss out on this creamy, flavorful delight!

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Refrigeration Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: Around 2 cups or 32 (2-tablespoon) servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon (see post for recommended types to use)
  • 12 ounces cream cheese (regular or low fat), softened
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (Mesquite or Hickory flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon caper liquid (from a jar of capers)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Juice from 1/2 small lemon, or more to taste
  • Ground white pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Break or chop salmon into coarse pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Cut cream cheese into 1-inch cubes and add to salmon, along with liquid smoke, caper liquid, fish sauce, dill, and lemon juice. Pulse just until ingredients are chopped and well blended.
  3. Season with ground white pepper to taste. Add more lemon, if needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  4. See serving suggestions in Notes below.

Notes

Make ahead: Mousse can be made up to 24 hours ahead, covered, and refrigerated. 
 
Serving suggestions: This mousse is incredibly versatile and can be served in a number of ways, from casual to elegant:
1. Spoon into a small bowl and serve as a spread, with crackers or toast points.
2. Pipe into poppy seed puffs (small hollow shells made from Choux Pastry – recipe in my cookbook Fresh Tastes).
3. Pipe or spoon into purchased phyllo shells.
4. Pipe or spoon onto cucumber rounds.
5. Pipe or spoon onto toasted bread rounds or stars

  • Author: From “Fresh Tastes” by Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Quick & easy

More Appetizer Recipes to Try

Close up shot of Smoked Salmon Mousse in a blue bowl, with a cracker with mousse on it to the side and more crackers in the back

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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