Easy & Flavorful Salmon Rillettes with Chives and Shallots Recipe

Easy & Flavorful Salmon Rillettes with Chives and Shallots Recipe

Elevate your appetizer game with this elegant French-inspired salmon rillettes, featuring fresh fish and aromatic herbs.

Discover the art of creating a sumptuous spread that will impress your guests and tantalize their taste buds. This salmon rillettes recipe transforms simple ingredients into a sophisticated hors d’oeuvre that’s perfect for any occasion.

Rillettes, pronounced ree-yet, is a French culinary technique traditionally used for pork. However, this salmon version brings a lighter, more refined touch to your table. The silky texture and rich flavor make it an ideal choice for spreading on crisp toasts or crackers.

The key to exceptional salmon rillettes lies in selecting the right fish. Opt for a fatty piece of salmon fillet, preferably farm-raised with a good amount of belly flap included. The higher fat content ensures a luscious, melt-in-your-mouth experience that will leave your guests craving more.

This recipe combines gentle poaching techniques with aromatic ingredients to create a harmonious blend of flavors. The addition of mayo, butter, and spices elevates the salmon, resulting in a spread that’s both indulgent and refreshing.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or looking for a special treat, these salmon rillettes are sure to become a go-to in your culinary repertoire. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating this French-inspired delicacy.

Luxurious Salmon Rillettes with Chives and Shallots


  • 1 1/4 pounds (550g) boneless, skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces (see notes)
  • Cold water
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) juice from 1 lemon, plus juice from 1 lemon, divided (see notes)
  • 1 medium leek or onion (about 6 ounces; 170g), halved (see notes)
  • 1 large stalk celery (about 2 ounces; 55g), cut into large pieces (see notes)
  • 1 bay leaf (see notes)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter (1/2 stick; 55g)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot (about 4 small, 1-ounce/30g shallots)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) minced chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasts or crackers, for serving


  1. Begin by preparing the salmon. In a large saucepan, submerge the salmon pieces in cold water, ensuring they’re covered by 1 inch. Add the juice of 1 lemon, along with the leek or onion, celery, and bay leaf if using. These aromatics will infuse the salmon with subtle flavors during poaching.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the poaching liquid to 170°F (77°C). If you don’t have a thermometer, look for the liquid to reach just below a bare simmer. Maintain this temperature and cook the salmon for about 6 minutes, or until it flakes easily when pressed.
  3. Once cooked, drain the salmon and discard the aromatics. Transfer the fish to a mixing bowl and use your fingers to shred it roughly. This texture will be perfect for creating a spreadable consistency.
  4. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced shallots and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want them softened but not browned, as this will provide a subtle oniony flavor to the rillettes.
  5. Scrape the butter and shallots into the bowl with the salmon. Now, it’s time to add the remaining ingredients that will transform this into a luxurious spread. Mix in the mayonnaise, chives, the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, ground coriander seeds, and a pinch of cayenne for a subtle heat.
  6. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, ensuring all ingredients are thoroughly combined. As you mix, the salmon will break down further, creating a more uniform texture.
  7. Transfer your rillettes to a large ramekin, crock, or decorative container. Use a spoon to press the mixture down, working it into the corners and against the walls. This step is crucial to eliminate any air bubbles that could affect the texture and preservation of your rillettes.
  8. Cover the surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent oxidation. Refrigerate the rillettes for at least 2 hours, or until thoroughly chilled. This resting period allows the flavors to meld and the texture to set perfectly.
  9. Serve your chilled salmon rillettes with an assortment of toasts or crackers. Watch as your guests delight in spreading this creamy, flavorful concoction on their chosen base. Remember, these rillettes can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days, making them an excellent make-ahead appetizer option.


For the best results, choose salmon with a high fat content, which often means selecting farmed salmon. Look for a fillet with a good portion of the belly flap attached, as this area contains the most fat and will contribute to the silky texture of your rillettes.

While the court bouillon (the aromatic poaching liquid) enhances the flavor, you can simplify the recipe by using just water and lemon juice if preferred. If you opt for this method, you can omit the leek/onion, celery, and bay leaf, but ensure you still include the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the final mixture.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
276 Calories
22g Fat
3g Carbs
16g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 276
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 63mg 21%
Sodium 203mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 5mg 24%
Calcium 19mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 292mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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