Lohikeitto, Finland’s national soup

Lohikeitto, Finland’s national soup

Finally I can post a recipe! I know my website is best known for it’s guides (Easter, Christmas.. Ice cream) but I do want to share some of the meals I make at home. Lohikeitto is a soup from Finland, my husband’s native country. It’s a hearty soup of potatoes, carrots and salmon finished with cream.

My first taste of lohikeitto, salmon soup

Not long after I met my husband to be I discovered that Finnish language classes were available right near our home. I’d already been learning some Finnish, mostly food words, through you guessed it – gluten free label reading.

My classes ran late on Wednesday nights so I told my husband he’d need to start cooking for us. Then I had my lightbulb moment. Why not continue the cultural experience by trying typical Finnish dishes after class?

This lasted about four weeks and ended in at least one total disaster. But! Lohikeitto was an absolute success and for over five years he’s continued to cook it for me whenever I ask.

A lot of flexibility around a few core ingredients

If I had to break down lohikeitto, which by the way literally means salmon soup, into three elements it would be

  • potatoes
  • salmon
  • cream

So long as you’ve got these three you’ll be winning.

This salmon soup comes together by boiling potatoes and carrots in a simple broth of vegetable stock flavoured with whole peppercorns and bay leaves. (For gluten free spices I purchase mainly from Spice and Co.)

When the vegetables are almost tender the salmon is added and in the last few minutes of cooking cream is poured in to give it’s beautiful creamy finish.

Variations and alternative ingredients

Most recipes I come across use onion, which of course add a great base flavour to the soup. I don’t use onion as I have a bit of a FODMAP intolerance and it doesn’t agree with me.

If you want to include onion, one small one and finely chopped added in with the stock and bay leaves. Alternatively, you could replace onion with 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, minced.

I’ve also come across versions of lohikeitto without carrot! I honestly couldn’t imagine this, not only does it decrease the nutrients in the soup but you lose the beautiful burst of colour.

I’ve tried this recipe once using fresh fish stock but I found it too strong for my taste. I am not hugely into fish, so I use vegetable stock in any recipe that calls for fish stock. 

Notes for preparation of lohikeitto salmon soup

The main thing when preparing this soup is to think about the size of your vegetable pieces. They should be small enough to cook in a reasonable amount of time. You should take care not to cut them too big, as they will not fit on your spoon! I may have argued with my husband over this once, and had to cut my pieces of soup with the edge of my spoon.

What was he thinking?

How to serve lohikeitto

Like most meals in Finland, lohikeitto will typically be eaten with a side of dark rye bread and perhaps a slice of cheese on top.

If like me you’re gluten free, any bread will do. Over in Finland it is possible to get a dark gluten free bread, but there isn’t really a market for it here in Australia.

It’s also nice to have a bit of a side salad, just some simple leaves, cucumber and tomatoes.

Lohikeitto Finnish Salmon Soup

A hearty soup that's a traditional meal in Finland.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Finnish
Servings 4


  • 1 Large saucepan


  • 400 g salmon fillet
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 stock cube I use vegetable but you can use fish
  • 1 – 2 bay leaves 2 small or 1 large
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 2 carrots
  • 500 g potatoes
  • 200 ml cooking cream
  • Fresh dill optional as a garnish


  • Prep: chop your carrots and potatoes into cubes or small pieces either 1cm or 2cm square. Smaller pieces will result in a quicker cooking time.
  • In a large saucepan boil the water and add the stock cube, bay leaves and pepper.
  • Add the potatoes and carrots to the broth and leave to simmer for 10 minutes or until halfway cooked.
  • Prep the salmon by removing the skin and cutting into 2cm cubed portions.
  • Add the salmon to the soup and simmer until the salmon is cooked and the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the cream, the soup can simmer but do not boil. Season to taste.
  • Portion the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped dill if desired.


Like with any popular dish there are many variations. Some recipes won’t use carrots but I think this is a misstep, it adds a beautiful colour as well as lots of nutrients. 
Most recipes will include an onion. I don’t myself as I have a bit of a FODMAP intolerance when it comes to onions. If you do wish to include onion you’ll need one, finely chopped. Add it in when you put in the stock and bay leaves. 
I’ve tried this recipe once using fresh fish stock but I found it too strong for my taste. I am not hugely into fish, so I use vegetable stock in any recipe that calls for fish stock. 
Depending on the size you cut your potato and carrot the cooking time will be slightly longer or shorter.
Keyword soup

Rather buy your soup? Check out my soup reviews!

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