I made this recipe as an hors d’œuvres dish for Thanksgiving when hosting my fish-loving family this year. The dish is only slightly altered from David Lebovitz’s original to use more lemon juice, scallions instead of chives, and kippered (or hot-smoked) salmon instead of fresh. These changes lead to more aggressive lemon, onion, and smoke notes in the final dish, and using kippered salmon (which can be kept in the fridge for days and then flaked directly into the rillettes) helped with Thanksgiving-day logistics, as I did not need to take over a burner to prepare any fresh salmon.

Be forewarned, though, that this recipe makes a truly ludicrous amount of rillettes, which you should aim to eat within a couple days. Unless you’re entertaining, considering freezing half or three quarters of the prepared rillettes. They will keep in the freezer for up to two months and just need to be thawed to room temperature to serve.

Rating: ★★★★☆


  • 250 grams Hot-smoked salmon (Hot-smoked (or kippered) salmon is sold as a thick but flaky fillet.)
  • 125 grams Cold-smoked salmon (Sold in thin slices. Often just called "smoked salmon.")
  • 75 grams butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons scallions (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 0.25 teaspoons smoked paprika


  1. Mash the butter and olive oil together with a fork until very smooth.
  2. Cut the cold-smoked salmon into thin strips, then cut perpendicular to the strips into 2cm pieces.
  3. Stir the lemon juice, scallions, and cold-smoked salmon pieces into the olive oil/butter mixture.
  4. Remove the skin from the hot-smoked (kippered) salmon and flake into mixture.
  5. Add smoked paprika.
  6. Mix until just combined.
  7. Chill rillettes for at least two hours.
  8. Serve at room temperature.