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This healthy and easy to make salmon bisque recipe has layers of flavor, tons of vegetables, and tender flaky salmon in a thick, hearty broth. It’s rich and creamy with just a little splash of cream!

close up front view of the best salmon bisque in a white mug

Sometimes, the way I remember a particular dish is by what was happening when I made it. In my mind, this will always be the soup of seven phone calls.

It was a chilly day a couple weeks ago (we had a cold front blow in that brought temps in the 50’s and 60’s with it. It sounds strange for this time of year, but it really is par for the course with our crazy Upstate New York weather. And now we’ve had temps in the 80’s/90’s for the past few days!) when I made this soup, start to finish, without a single call.

I set up my styling, plated my creamy salmon soup, and positioned my camera. I was about to take the first picture when the phone rang.

It was someone calling for Marco’s Styling Salon, a hair salon down the street. Their phone number is one digit away from mine and I get wrong numbers from their clients all the time. Ok, that only took a second, back to work.

Not two minutes later the phone rang again. It was a friend who needed life advice. I’m not one to turn away a friend in need, so we talked it out. Once we hung up, about five minutes went by and one of Marco’s clients called again. (Darn it, Marco…I’m about to start scheduling appointments and charging you for secretarial services, lol!)

It went on like this the entire time I was trying to photograph this soup. I got four more calls in the time span of about an hour. And then, of course, once I finished photographing, the phone was silent until the next day.

The salmon soup of seven calls it is, lol!

bowl of salmon bisque topped with flaked salmon and chives

The Best Salmon Bisque Recipe

This velvety smooth salmon soup is a great option if you’re looking for new ways to eat salmon.

One of the things I love about this salmon bisque recipe is that it only uses three tablespoons of cream. Most of its rich, creamy texture comes from pureeing a mix of veggies.

The flavor is brightened with fresh lemon, thyme, and chives. If you have picky eaters who don’t like salmon, this soup is perfect because the soup gets topped with salmon flakes, so just leave it off for people who don’t like it. It’s more for those of us who like salmon, lol. ;)

Salmon Bisque Ingredients

The ingredients are explained in this section. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), please see the recipe card below.

  • Unsalted butter – for richness; this is used in combination with light olive oil to sauté the vegetables
  • Light olive oil – this helps prevent the butter from scorching as the vegetables sauté
  • Onion, carrot, celery – this French trinity is what is known as a “mirepoix”; it provides wonderful depth of flavor for this creamy soup with salmon
  • Garlic – for flavor and aroma
  • Fresh thyme leaves – or use dried thyme instead
  • Bay leaves – don’t worry if you don’t have these on hand
  • Dry white wine – Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite; if you don’t have wine on hand, you can deglaze with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar mixed with 1/4 cup water instead
  • Fish broth – you can substitute with vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
  • Tomato paste – adds volume to the broth, a hint of flavor, and a touch of rosy color
  • Worcestershire sauce – all we need is a little splash of this fermented condiment because it packs a real punch of flavor; did you know Worcestershire contains things like anchovies, molasses, and tamarind?
  • Sweet paprika – or use smoked paprika or hot paprika if you prefer
  • Salt and black pepper – to season the bisque
  • Fresh lemon juice – we add a splash of fresh lemon juice at the end to brighten the flavor of this dish
  • Heavy cream – this adds richness and makes this soup even more velvety smooth; if you prefer, you can use canned unsweetened full-fat coconut milk instead of cream to keep this dairy-free (and use all light olive oil instead of the butter)
  • Wild salmon – or use any type of salmon you have access to
  • Minced fresh chives – we use this as a garnish to add a pop of green color and mild onion flavor

How to Make Salmon Bisque

Step 1: Make the Mirepoix and Add the Aromatics:

Heat the butter and oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook until starting to soften and brown in spots, about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaves and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly.

Step 2: Deglaze, add the Liquid and Seasonings, and Simmer:

Turn the heat up to high, add the wine, and cook until evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer until veggies are very tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and cool slightly. Remove the bay leaves.

While the soup is simmering, I like to cook the salmon (see below for different cooking methods for salmon).

Step 3: Blend:

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth, or use a regular blender and work in batches. Then pour the soup back into the saucepan.

If you use a regular blender, take out the cap in the center of the lid and place a kitchen towel over the hole so steam can escape as you puree the soup.

Step 4: Add the Finishing Touches:

Stir in the lemon juice and heavy cream. Cook a couple minutes over low heat until warm throughout, stirring constantly (do not let it boil).

Step 5: Serve:

Transfer the soup to serving bowls. Top with the flaked salmon and chives, and serve immediately.

bowl of creamy salmon soup

How to Cook Salmon So it’s Flaky and Tender

For this dish, you can cook the salmon any way you like. Grilling, poaching, pan-searing, broiling, or baking all work fine. Typically, I pan-sear or poach the salmon for this recipe, so I’ll give instructions for both.

How to Pan Sear Salmon

I like to pan-sear the fish because it’s quick and gives it bit of color on the outside.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lightly coat the bottom of a nonstick skillet with olive oil and heat the skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add the salmon to the skillet when the oil ripples.
  3. Cook the fish until golden on both sides, flipping once (about 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending how big your fillets are).
  4. Put a lid on the skillet, turn off the heat, and leave it for 3 minutes to steam the inside of the fish.
  5. Flake it with a fork, and serve.

How to Poach Salmon

Poaching the salmon for this seafood bisque also works great because it yields tender, flaky fish. Additionally, you can add flavor if you add seasonings and aromatics to the poaching liquid!

To poach salmon:

  1. Add 2 inches of water to a large skillet. You can add aromatics and seasonings like sliced onion, garlic cloves, fresh herbs (such as dill, thyme, parsley, etc.), bay leaves, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Bring the water up to a boil.
  3. Add the salmon and turn the heat down to a simmer.
  4. Cover the skillet and cook until the salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 5 minutes, being careful not to overcook.
  5. Transfer the salmon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the water.
  6. Flake it with a fork, and serve.
easy salmon bisque recipe

Salmon Bisque Recipe FAQs

What’s the Difference Between Chowder and Bisque?

Typically, bisque has a smooth, creamy texture and chowder has a chunky texture.

Note that if you prefer, you can skip pureeing the vegetables in this recipe and make salmon chowder instead of bisque!

What Can I Use to Deglaze the Pan Instead of White Wine?

If you don’t have wine on hand or just want to use something else, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of white wine vinegar dissolved in 1/4 cup of water instead.

Is This Salmon Bisque Special Diet Friendly?

Gluten Free: To make this soup gluten free, make sure you use gluten free Worcestershire sauce.

Dairy Free: To make this bisque dairy free, omit the butter and use all olive oil. Also, use canned full-fat coconut milk instead of the heavy cream.

Low Carb and Keto Friendly: Each serving of this salmon soup only has 7g net carbs, which makes it easy to fit into a low carb diet or keto meal plan.

More Salmon Recipes to Try

best salmon bisque with flaked salmon

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Salmon Bisque Recipe

4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
This healthy and easy to make salmon bisque recipe has layers of flavor, tons of vegetables, and tender flaky salmon in a thick, hearty broth. It’s rich and creamy with just a little splash of cream!

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Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 medium-large onion chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine my favorite is Sauvignon Blanc
  • 5 cups fish broth or vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 pound wild salmon fillets cooked and flaked
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives for garnish
  • Fresh lemon wedges for serving (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Heat the butter and oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook until starting to soften and brown in spots, about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaves and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
  • Turn the heat up to high, add the wine, and cook until evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer until veggies are very tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and cool slightly. Remove the bay leaves.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth, or use a regular blender and work in batches. Then pour the soup back into the saucepan. (If you use a regular blender, take out the cap in the center of the lid and place a kitchen towel over the hole so steam can escape as you puree the soup.)
  • Stir in the lemon juice and heavy cream. Cook a couple minutes over low heat until warm throughout, stirring constantly (do not let it boil).
  • Transfer the soup to serving bowls; top with the flaked salmon and chives, and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Net Carbs: 7g per serving
  • White Wine Substitute for Deglazing: If you don’t have wine on hand or just want to use something else, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of white wine vinegar dissolved in 1/4 cup of water instead.

How to Pan Sear Salmon

For this recipe, I like to pan-sear the fish since it’s quick and gives it bit of color on the outside. Here’s how to do it:
  1. Lightly coat the bottom of a nonstick skillet with olive oil and heat the skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add the salmon to the skillet when the oil ripples.
  3. Cook the fish until golden on both sides, flipping once (about 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending how big your fillets are).
  4. Put a lid on the skillet, turn off the heat, and leave it for 3 minutes to steam the inside of the fish.
  5. Flake it with a fork, and serve.

How to Poach Salmon

Poaching the salmon for this recipe also works great because it yields tender, flaky fish. Additionally, you can add flavor if you add seasonings and aromatics to the poaching liquid! To poach salmon:
  1. Add 2 inches of water to a large skillet. You can add aromatics and seasonings like sliced onion, garlic cloves, fresh herbs (such as dill, thyme, parsley, etc.), bay leaves, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Bring the water up to a boil.
  3. Add the salmon and turn the heat down to a simmer.
  4. Cover the skillet and cook until the salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 5 minutes, being careful not to overcook.
  5. Transfer the salmon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the water.
  6. Flake it with a fork, and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 482mg | Potassium: 903mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 6093IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Creamy Salmon Soup, Salmon Bisque, Salmon Bisque Recipe, Salmon Soup

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salmon bisque recipe pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on June 21, 2012. It was updated on May 10, 2023.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating




35 Comments

  1. Lia Finney says:

    4 stars
    This is an excellent recipe to riff on, depending on your taste and ingredient availability. I had homemade shrimp stock in the freezer; I used 4 cups of that and added 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, per husband’s request. I was short on carrots, so used diced red bell pepper. We had grilled a small salmon fillet (slightly undercooked), so I added some of that to pot to simmer before using immersion blender, then added rest of salmon and a little more cream than called for, and let it simmer a few more minutes. No lemon juice, so used red wine vinegar and topped with a swirl of lemon flavored EVOO and chives. Served with crusty bread and a red wine-excellent dinner. Will definitely make again

  2. 5 stars
    I love this salmon bisque! Serving the flaked salmon on top makes sure you can get some in every bit, and it doesn’t just disintegrate into the soup – perfection! And boy can I relate to seven phone calls while I’m trying to get some thing done lol!

  3. I improvised a little, adding red pepper and an extra carrot to try and make it sweeter for my daughter, and after I started I realized I was out of salmon, so I used mahi. I pureed half the fish into the soup and half as chunks for the adults. My husband and I loved it, but my daughter wasn’t sold. I am determined to get her to eat fish somehow! Thanks for the great recipe.

  4. Hi Faith. I hope you get comments sent to your inbox because I know it’s been a few years since you’ve created this recipe. I am thinking of making it in the next couple days — hoping to get by 16 month old to love seafood like her parents do! She won’t eat it on its own, but I think pureed with sweet veggies she would. Two quick questions – 1. Have you tried actually pureeing the salmon with the soup? She won’t eat the chunks! 2. Could I use whole milk instead of cream? Not sure what I would do with the rest of the container if I’m only using 3 Tbsp.

    Thanks so much, this looks fantastic!

    1. Andrea, I hope you and your little one enjoy this recipe! I haven’t tried pureeing the salmon because I like the texture, but I think it should work fine. Yes, you can use whole milk instead of cream. Enjoy! :)

  5. This is the best Salmon Bisque. Made just like the recipe said. Since living in Alaska, we have a freezer full of salmon, so I added a huge amount of cooked salmon add the end. Very excellent.

  6. Worldsbestmom says:

    I sort of made your bisque tonight. In the middle of it I found out I had no carrots or celery.
    I forgot to add the paprika and thyme. It’s hard to cook while recovery from the flu and entertaining your brother and his best friend. Also, I misread and thought it said a cup and a forth white wine. Oops. It took a long long time to cook down. Ut it did give me a chance to lie down and close my eyes.
    All and all even though I messed up I thought it tasted good. Hubby has been asking for salamon bisque for over a year and I thought we had to eat out to have it. I never thought I could make it. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  7. You can always use an immersion blender instead of having to pour everything into the regular blender. I’m sure it would work like a charm!

  8. This looks GORGEOUS. I love any types of bisques! I might be making this this weekend!! :) question: where did you get those bowls?? Been looking for cute soup bowls. They look like crate & barrel ones..

    1. Thanks so much, Julie! I’m sorry I won’t be very helpful on the bowls – I got them at a local secondhand store and they aren’t marked. But you’re right, they do look similar to Crate & Barrel!

  9. I just made this tonight. I modified it by adding salmon and shrimp before the blender, then adding lots of chopped salmon, shrimp, and crab lastly. My only suggestion is to hold on to the lid of the blender TIGHT! i didn’t and the force of the ingredients shot out the side of my lid, resulting in some minor burns on my arm…and a lot of bisque all over my kitchen, lol! I asn’t able to puree it as much as i wanted but the flavor was still really good.

    1. Laura, Oh no, I hope you’re ok!! Yes, definitely be very careful when you’re pureeing something hot – this is why I recommend pureeing in batches, I find it works much better. I’m happy you enjoyed the bisque though!

  10. I could live on salmon but I generally have it grilled or sautéed ~ love this idea to use it in a bisque!

  11. Magic of Spice says:

    Gorgeous bisque! And that is too funny about the hair salon…you may need to start charging :)

  12. I think you should ask Marco to hire you as his call center to arrange his appointments of course with payment, lol. Although I eat salmon very often I have never thought of making it a soup. I am keeping this to try in colder days because now the weather here has reached 38 degrees C.

  13. That looks delicious and i love salmon!

  14. I love a good rich soup! This looks delicious!

  15. kellie@foodtoglow says:

    You have no idea how much this bisque is speaking to me. It looks so delish. I can practically smell it through the screen – and I have a big stinkin’ cold, so that’s saying something! Immediate bookmarking and pinteresting

  16. Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies says:

    I’ve never heard of Salmon Bisque before…looks wonderful!

  17. Seems like the salmon was no worse for the interruptions! The bisque looks so creamy delicious!

  18. Vicki Bensinger says:

    I have salmon at least once a week and make it umpteen different ways. Yet, never once has it occurred to me to make a soup out of it. This sounds delicious and with just 3 tablespoons of cream isn’t bad. Plus it looks very pretty.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will definitely try this.

  19. Michele | Cooking At Home says:

    I love the color of this soup. Perfect for a chilly summer day.

  20. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    The soup must be very tasty!

  21. That looks amazing! I love salmon, and I love lobster bisque, so I’m not sure why I haven’t thought about combing the two. Also sounds very simple to make. Yum!

  22. Blond Duck says:

    Delish! I love salmon!

  23. Salmon Bisque, seriously brilliant!
    And funny, I totally remember a lot of dishes/recipes by what was going on around me…

  24. Amy (Savory Moments) says:

    I think the only bisque I’ve ever had is lobster. This salmon one looks quite unique and interesting!

  25. ATasteOfMadness says:

    This looks perfect! I have never had bisque before, but this makes me VERY hungry, I should give it a try!

  26. Jenn and Seth (@HomeSkilletCook) says:

    that is one beautiful bisque! looks incredible!

  27. Oh! I never had salmon bisque, this one that you are featuring looks delicious, so creamy and full of flavors. Love it!
    Hope you are enjoying your week Faith :)

  28. YUM! I love that there’s just a hint of cream, but it looks so thick and rich! All those veggies in there…I bet you can trick the veggie haters with this :)

  29. Wonderful! This bisque must taste just heavenly.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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