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Authentic French Salmon Rillettes Recipe

Authentic French Salmon Rillettes Recipe

Last Updated on 22nd December 2021 by

If you’re looking for new recipes to try out at home, you may want to taste some homemade salmon rillettes.

The Salmon rillettes recipe comes straight from the French cuisine. This spread is a delicious, light snack and appetiser that can brighten up your mood any day. Give yourself a creamy treat with our authentic French salmon rillettes recipe!

What Are French Salmon Rillettes?

The rillettes recipe is a French preservation technique where meat, poultry, or fish are chopped and seasoned. Then, it’s preserved for some time in its fat, another animal’s fat, butter, or olive oil.

This preservation technique is a lot like confit, but one could say that confit is just the cooking method itself. In fact, confit can be used to make rillettes.

A lot of people confuse rillettes with pâtés and terrines. The difference is that pâtés and terrines are usually made of organic meat, unlike rillettes that can be made with different kinds of meat. Pâtés and terrines are also smoother than rillettes.

Rillettes originally started to preserve pork only, since the word “rillettes” is derived from “rille”, which is French for “a strip of pork”. However, over time, salmon rillettes were introduced among other rillettes dishes.

Salmon rillettes dish is basically a creamy spread of salmon fillet, smoked salmon, shallot, chives, white pepper, butter, water, salt, lemon juice, dill, and sour cream or creme fraiche.

One cup of salmon rillettes has an average of 428 calories. It usually consists of 14g of fat, 178g of cholesterol, and 390g of sodium. This varies with any change in the ingredients. While the dish might not be the ideal diet for some people, it’s actually much healthier than many other popular appetisers and snacks like mozzarella sticks or chips.

If you’re hosting a gathering or just know that you might not have the time to cook on a specific day, you might want to prepare your meals beforehand. Don’t worry, you can do that with salmon rillettes.

You can prepare salmon rillettes and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just make sure they’re properly covered inside a crock, or any food container you have.

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Our Authentic French Salmon Rillettes Recipe

You’ll find that our rillettes salmon recipe is easy to follow and ensures a delicious result. Let’s start cooking!


Here are the basic ingredients you need to make 2 cups of salmon rillettes:

  • 250 g of skinless salmon fillet
  • 115 g of skinless smoked salmon
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 2 tbsp of chopped chives
  • White pepper
  • Salt
  • Water
  • 50 g of unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp of sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 2.5 tsp of chopped dill
  • 1.5 tbsp of lemon juice

There are multiple variations of the salmon rillettes recipes. Each one adds a new flavour to the traditional recipe. Here are some of our favourite extra ingredients that’ll give your plate a boost:

  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • Sprinkle of black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Toasted baguette for serving
  • Watercress sprigs for serving


These extra ingredients we suggest are to add more flavour to the dish, but you can do without them. The cooking method won’t change; just follow the same steps and omit those extra ingredients from it.


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How to Cook Salmon Rillettes


  • Add 4 cups of water to a pan along with the peppercorn, bay leaf, and lemon juice, then let the mixture boil. Once it starts boiling, simmer it for about 2-5 minutes.
  • Afterward, add the salmon while simmering. Keep poaching the salmon for about 5-10 minutes. Make sure to turn the salmon over to poach both of its sides equally.
  • When you’re done poaching the salmon, take it away from the heat and cover it. Then, put it in the refrigerator to cool down. Note that it can cool down to room temperature without having to refrigerate it, but it’d take more time.
  • While the salmon is cooling down, start working on the smoked salmon. Get a medium-size bowl and put together the smoked salmon, butter, olive oil, sour cream or creme fraiche, lemon juice, chives, and the shallot. Whisk this mixture well until all the ingredients are combined together perfectly.
  • Back to the salmon. Flake it, and heat it together with a tablespoon of butter and shallot till it’s soft. Then, wait till it’s cool and add it to the mixture you prepared in Step 4. Whisk the mixture enough so that it’s chunky. Afterward, season it with salt, white pepper, and a sprinkle of dill.
  • Your rillettes are now ready to be served. You can serve it on baguettes and top it with the watercress or any other vegetables you like. You can put the rillettes in two glass cups or mugs, and place them along with the side dish on a tray, for some fancy-restaurant vibes.

When to Have Salmon Rillettes?

The good thing about salmon rillettes is that you can serve them almost any time. French restaurants usually serve the dish as an appetiser. This means that they’ll fit well if you’re hosting a gathering and want to add some new appetisers to show off your specialties.
You can also have some salmon rillettes as a snack between meals, instead of going for something a little less healthy.

Most people, though, wouldn’t depend on salmon rillettes as a full-course meal.


If you’re into trying new recipes, I always recommend trying things from the French cuisine. It’s known worldwide for its delicate recipes and excellent tastes.

I believe salmon rillettes will be a fine choice. Though the list of its ingredients is rather a long one, I think you’ll find its cooking to be quite simple.

It’s a light meal, and you can enjoy it while watching a movie at night, rather than going for less healthy snacks. If you don’t often have snacks, it’ll do you well as an appetiser.

Bon appetit!

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I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food!  You can find my Facebook here

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