Whether you’re planning a special Christmas Day breakfast, or hoping to serve as canapes, smoked salmon is one ingredient you’ll need on hand throughout the festive season.
We’ve rounded up a fabulous selection, from the traditional to the flavoured, to ensure your festive menu is one to remember.
It’s all about balance – when putting our smoked salmon to the test we were on the lookout for neatly carved slices, imparting subtle smoke and salt in every bite, with a creamy finish.
Perfect atop rich, buttery scrambled eggs or on little blinis, all that’s needed in terms of seasoning is a twist of freshly cracked pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Aside from being utterly delicious, smoked salmon is also high in omega 3, so it’s one of the healthier parts of festivities if you’re watching your waistline.
Nutritionists recommend that we eat three portions of oily fish a week, which sounds like a pretty good excuse to indulge if you ask us. Aim for 50-75g per person if serving as a starter or 100-150g for a main.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
No.1 truffle flavoured smoked salmon 100g
For us, Christmas day just wouldn’t be the same without our traditional smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and bucks fizz. Making this winning combo even more decadent, Waitrose has finished this off with truffle-infused olive oil, and we can’t get enough. You can definitely taste the truffle, but it’s beautifully balanced. An absolute must-have addition to Christmas Day breakfast.
Buy now £5.99, Waitrose & Partners
Secret Smokehouse cure smoked salmon 200g
East London has a rich history of curing and smoking dating back to the 1800s, and Secret Smokehouse founder Max stays true to the traditional techniques. Creamy and fresh, these thick slices of salmon have a firm consistency and just a whiff of smoke. It might be pricey but this sought after fish can be found in some of the country’s finest restaurants, including two-Michelin star Bibendum Oyster Bar in Chelsea. And if it’s good enough for them…
Buy now £14.95, Fortnum & Mason
M&S our best ever smoked salmon 400g
Stock up with this generous 400g serving of smoked salmon from M&S. Woody and buttery, this delicate Scottish salmon is cured with sea salt and smoked over oak and chestnut. It melts in the mouth and would work just as well from breakfast through to dinner.
Buy now £20.00, Marks and Spencer
Heston from Waitrose citrus smoked salmon 100g
You can always rely on Heston to give us a festive twist on an old classic. This time smoked salmon has his attention, which he’s cured with Waitrose citrus sherbet lazy gin. In reality, the citrus element is subtle, but really anymore would be overkill. It’s smoked over oak and finished with a striking gold lustre which would look rather fabulous on blinis.
Buy now £6.99, Waitrose & Partners
Leap wild smoked sockeye salmon 100g
Sockeye is prized for being some of the best smoked salmon in the world, getting its distinctive red hue from the large amount of shellfish it consumes. Sustainably sourced from the cool waters of Alaska, Leap cold-smoke the fillets by hand over a blend of wood and cure with salt and demerara sugar for a tender, buttery mouthfeel and rich taste.
Buy now £7.00, Ocado
Bleikers Yorkshire peat smoked salmon 100g
A family business, Bleikers is the product of a Swiss chef who settled in the Yorkshire Dales. Today it’s run by the next generation, but the mission is the same – to make great quality smoked salmon.
We think they’ve succeeded. This one has been smoked over a blend of natural Yorkshire peat and oak shavings which has imparted a gentle flavour to the smooth, tender fish. There’s also a scotch whisky cured version too if you fancy something different, and it’s suitable for freezing, so you can buy a couple of back up packs (we’re sure you’ll get through it).
Buy now £4.50, Bleikers
Sea smoked oak smoked salmon 100g
Fully responsible and sustainable, from sourcing through to production, Sea Smoked is the UK’s first, 100 per cent plastic-free packaged smoked salmon. Taste-wise we found this fish quite dry (in a good way) and certainly not as oily as some we tried. As such we think this will really appeal to those that sometimes complain of smoked salmon’s “slimy” texture. In addition, 10 per cent of profits go to ocean charities to help keep the sea clean.
Buy now £5.99, Yumbles
The Fish Society ‘fishRjumpin’ smoked society 200g
Each year The Fish Society taste test from a selection of famous smokehouses before selecting one for its own-label “fishRjumpin”. These long ribbons of subtly smoked salmon are nicely marbled and pleasingly oily. It’s great value and we’d be tempted to serve it with nothing more than farmhouse bread and salty butter, along with a glass of festive chablis.
Buy now £7.80, The Fish Society
Loch Fyne bradan orach smoked salmon 200g
Gaelic for “golden salmon” Bradan Orach is a fuller flavoured fish from the head of Loch Fyne in Argyll, Scotland. Dry-cured and cold smoked, this is the same fish Loch Fyne serves in its restaurants. Expect a smooth soft texture, with a bit more depth than your average.
Buy now £8.99, Ocado
H Forman & Son smoked Scottish salmon 100g
Another east London smokehouse, H Forman & Son is said to be the oldest producer of smoked salmon in the world! Carved by hand, it’s still made simply and traditionally using just rock salt and oak smoke and is deliberately subtle – allowing you to concentrate on the buttery texture.
Buy now £5.99, Ocado
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference hebridean kiln dried smoked salmon, 100g
Quite fatty and a little chewy, Sainsbury’s smoked salmon is rich and meaty. Although it’s smoked for 12 hours over a mix of oak and whisky cask chippings, the overall flavour isn’t overpowering. At this price, it’s a no brainer.
Buy now £4.35, Sainsbury’s
The verdict: Smoked salmon
If you can’t indulge in a little decadence at Christmas, when can you? For that reason we’ve awarded our best buy to Waitrose & Partners’ No.1 truffle flavoured smoked salmon. For those that prefer their salmon pure and simple, Marks & Spencer’s is beautifully balanced and melts in the mouth.
Ensure you get the festive season off to a good start by checking out our round-up of the best bottles of prosecco