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How to Store, Serve and Eat Smoked Salmon

Albertina Roca
  |   May 31, 2024   |  

There's really no one way to eat smoked salmon, but it can take any meal from bland to fab in almost no time. Since it is already 'cooked', you can eat the succulent slices straight off the package (my personal favorite); put it on toast with cream cheese for a great quick snack; make yourself a smoked salmon sandwich on the go; or prepare a four-course gourmet meal based on the delicate treat. The best way to eat smoked salmon is simply the way you love it the most!

PLEASE NOTE: As with all seafood and perishable products, it is very important to check all the labels before preparing to ensure you are handling and storing it properly.

An example of serving an Atlantic salmon fillet, photo by Gourmet Food Store

How To Store Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon typically comes packaged as a thin side, either whole or already sliced for you. You can also get a slightly fattier 'steak'-like cut like balyk. After it’s fully smoked, it is vacuum-sealed and frozen, then shipped to retailers around the world.

It can be kept under refrigeration for two to three weeks, or one week after opening, but for long term storage, it can also be frozen for up to three months. For best storage, keep in the original package, or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to prevent dryness. If air gets in, and the edges get flaky and dry, just trim with a sharp fillet knife. Do not store with raw food products.

Portion size

1 ounce of smoked salmon roughly equals 1 slice

Typically, 3-4 ounces is sufficient per person

*figure 1lb will be enough for a party of 4-5

Serving: As soon as it arrives, place in the refrigerator (or freeze if for use at a later date).

Smoked Salmon is already cooked, so it typically needs no further cooking. Preparing it is often as simple as pairing it with herbs, bread, wine or other foods and drinks.

How To Serve Smoked Salmon

Wondering how to eat smoked salmon? Smoked salmon pairings are super varied, and offer something for every palate. Here are some of our favorite recipe ideas!

  1. Bagels: A classic combination for breakfast or brunch! Smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, and red onions on a toasted bagel.
  2. Sushi Rolls: Incorporate into sushi rolls with avocado, cucumber, and a touch of wasabi, pairing it with pickled ginger and soy sauce.
  3. Eggs Benedict: Replace traditional ham with smoked salmon in this brunch favorite, topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.
  4. Pasta: Toss with pasta, cream, lemon zest, and fresh dill for a quick and elegant dish.
  5. Salad: Combine with mixed greens, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette, and a poached egg on top for extra richness.
  6. Canapés: Create elegant appetizers with smoked salmon on blinis or crackers, topped with crème fraîche and chives, and go the extra gourmet mile with a small dollop of caviar for an upscale touch.
  7. Quiche: Bake a quiche with smoked salmon, leeks, and gruyère cheese for a savory treat paired with light green salad and a glass of white wine.
  8. Tartare: Dice and mix with shallots, capers, lemon juice, and a bit of olive oil, served with toast points. Chef Eric Ripert adds a touch of horseradish for a spicy kick.
  9. Deviled Eggs: Top classic deviled eggs with a slice of smoked salmon and a sprinkle of dill with a dash of smoked paprika for an extra layer of flavor.
  10. Scrambled Eggs: Stir into creamy scrambled eggs, garnished with fresh chives.

Elaborate Ways To Serve

Ravioli: If you’re ready for more intricate dishes, you could try homemade ravioli filled with a creamy mixture of smoked salmon, ricotta cheese, and fresh herbs, bathed in a light buttery sauce infused with lemon zest and dill. 

Carpaccio: carpaccio-style thinly elegantly arranged on a chilled plate and drizzled with a citrus-infused vinaigrette, garnished with microgreens, edible flowers, or shaved Parmesan cheese, is divine. 

Terrine: For a show-stopping starter, try a luxurious a terrine layered with creamy avocado mousse, tangy crème fraîche, and briny salmon roe. Served with freshly baked brioche or artisanal bread, this is simply divine.

Example of Served smoked salmon on crackers, photo by Gourmet Food Store

Freezing Smoked Salmon

If you’re not planning to consume within 3 weeks, freezing it is a great way to keep it fresh. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Get Your Container Ready: Use an airtight container and place a sheet of parchment paper at the bottom.
  2. Layer the Salmon: Place two slices on the paper. Add another sheet of parchment paper, then add two more slices. Keep layering this way until the container is full.
  3. Seal and Freeze: Close the container with its airtight lid and place it in the freezer.

Smoked salmon can be kept frozen for up to 3 months without losing its quality.

How to Defrost Smoked Salmon

When you’re ready to enjoy:

  1. Move to the Fridge: Take the container out of the freezer and put it in the fridge.
  2. Defrost Gradually: Let thaw slowly in the fridge. This method preserves its flavor and prevents bacteria growth.

Following these steps will ensure it stays delicious and safe to eat even after being frozen.

Best Food Pairings

  • Cream Cheese
  • Breads (bagels, crackers, toast, etc)
  • Crème fraîche
  • Lemon
  • Capers
  • Chives
  • Herbed Dips
  • Smoked Fish Dips
  • Fresh Herbs: parsley, dills, rosemary
  • Caviar

An example of how you can eat salmon fillet with a bun and cream cheese, photo by Gourmet Food Store

Smoked Salmon and Wine Pairings

Smoked salmon wine pairings are relatively straightforward. It works best when paired with a good dry white (although I like a fruity white with some subtly smoked salmon). The most recommended is always a Gewürztraminer, Riesling (for its sweet acidity), Chenin Blank, White Zinfandel, Sancerre (very dry), Moscato D’Asti, always served chilled or very cold.

Popular Questions

Can you freeze smoked salmon?

Yes, you absolutely CAN freeze it! Layer slices between parchment paper and store in an airtight container

Can you eat smoked salmon raw?

Yes, since smoked salmon is previously cooked by smoking, rendering it safe to eat.

Is smoked salmon always served cold?

Not at all! You can cook this delicacy in hot preparations like pastas, quiches, tarts and many other presentations.

How do you properly store smoked salmon?

For best storage, keep in the original package, or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to prevent dryness.


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Albertina Roca

Copywriter & Certified Cheese Addict

Meet Albertina, a seasoned food writing wordsmith and marketing creative split between the sizzling vibes of Miami and the charming streets of Buenos Aires. With a solid 20 years in the traditional and digital advertising world for the gourmet food industry, she’s mastered the art of making words as mouthwatering as the dishes they describe. She’s proudly been part of the Gourmet Food Store family (and its brands) since its very beginnings, and what a fun, flavor-packed journey it has been!


Albertina's journey in copywriting is marked by a passion for creativity and a knack for connecting with audiences. Her expertise spans SEO-driven content that boosts visibility, engaging social media strategies that spark conversations, persuasive advertising campaigns that captivate, and heartfelt storytelling that resonates deeply.


With a diverse portfolio spanning numerous articles, blogs, and captivating content pieces, Albertina has left her mark on the industry. From informative guides to persuasive sales copy, her work not only informs but also inspires action.

Education and Background

Her journey began at Rutgers College, where she studied in History and Political Science, with a minor in English Lit. She honed her craft at The Miami Ad School in South Beach, where creativity and copy collided under the South Florida Sun. From the neon streets of South Beach to the tango beats of Buenos Aires, her pen dances with the rhythm of whatever gastronomic tales she gets to write at the time.

Currently savoring life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she’s bilingual in English and Spanish, an avid reader, and cheese addict.

Her writing? Seasoned with creativity, spiced with experience, and garnished with a dash of wit.

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Questions and Answers

Q:I just received a gift of prepackaged salmon via UPS. a set of 3 individual boxes. Do I need to refrigerate them until I can use them?
A:Yes, smoked salmon needs to be kept refrigerated.
Q:Yes, thank you for this! Helps a LOT with the order I just received recently of smoked salmon, various caviars, Creme Fraiche, and the blini!! I am new to all of it so the more help of HOW to consume these delectable the better :)
A:Thank you for your feedback!
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