We put branded products to the test so you know the ones to look out for. This month, we tried different types of smoked salmon to see which came out on top.
Looking for the best smoked salmon to buy? Read on to find the results of our smoked salmon taste test. Looking for salmon recipes? Try our best smoked salmon recipes.
What is smoked salmon?
Salmon sides are cured (using either a wet or dry brine), then smoked at a low temperature to prevent ‘cooking’ the fish through and losing the delicate texture. By using an indirect heat and hanging the salmon in the passing smoke for a long period of time, you get the classic flavour and texture of smoked salmon. You can also get hot smoked salmon (which uses direct heat and smoke) but for this test we focused on cold smoked.
How we tested
We tried each smoked salmon on its own to determine its texture and flavour, looking out for any signs of fat or sinew, smoke levels, the thickness of the slices and the packaging it came in.
The results of the best smoked salmon taste test
This salmon ticks all our boxes: smooth, silky slices with pleasing firmness, proper wood smoke flavour that doesn’t overpower the fish and a nice level of saltiness. It’s very moreish. No visible fat markings, greasiness or chewiness. We also like that the slices aren’t between plastic sheets. We’d serve this salmon for breakfast, lunch and dinner – it’s that good.
A visible smoke bark on the salmon, with a real fire smoke hit, reminiscent of Bonfire Night. Saltiness that doesn’t overpower the fish and a firm texture, with no oiliness to the slices. This is a great smoked salmon if you prefer it on the firmer side, especially for bagels and sandwiches rather than cooking.
There’s a lovely smoke balance to this firm-textured salmon. We like the hint of beech and subtle smoke that doesn’t overpower the fish. A good all-rounder, this would work well in bagels and sarnies or stirred through pasta.
While this is trimmed quite close to the skin and some darker salmon is attached, this can be forgiven for the thick-cut slices and smooth, delicate fish. It’s not overly smoky, and the fish is high-welfare and rich. The soft, melting texture would be perfect stirred into pasta dishes or served with scrambled eggs for breakfast.
We love the delicacy of this salmon, with its soft, buttery texture and lovely fine slices. The smoke is the most subtle of all the salmon we tried but would pair well with soft cheese and buck’s fizz for breakfast. Stuff this into croissants with scrambled eggs and snipped chives for a decadent brunch.
Other expert taste tests from the olive cookery team:
Tinned tomatoes taste test
Marmalade taste test
Anchovies taste test
White miso taste test
Salted butter taste test
Strawberry jam taste test
Hummus taste test
Dried spaghetti taste test
Oat milk taste test
Pesto taste test