What is the Difference Between Hot Smoked Salmon and Cold Smoked Salmon?

Hot smoked salmon versus cold smoked salmon

Hot Smoked Salmon vs. Cold Smoked Salmon

When it comes to smoked salmon, there are plenty of options to choose from. From scottish-style smoked salmon, to nova smoked salmon, to gravlax, there are plenty of options for the smoked salmon connoisseur to choose from! However, one of the biggest debates among smoked salmon aficionado’s is which is better; cold smoked salmon or hot smoked salmon. While ultimately, the debate is as much regional relevance as it is taste preference, our team is here to weigh in and break down the differences between the two for you!

What is Cold Smoked Salmon

Acme cold smoked salmon

The most commonly seen smoked salmon variety is cold smoked. Cold smoking requires an oven temperature of no more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is maintained over several hours. This leaves the fish with a smoky flavor, but maintains the silky texture of the salmon. Cold smoked salmon is far more popular and common on the east coast, where the tradition has been handed down over generations

One common question that we get from interested customers is whether or not cold smoked salmon is raw? The fish never reaches a fully-cooked temperature, so while it is technically raw, it is typically salt-cured before cold smoking, which results in a cured fish that is safe to eat at the conclusion of the smoking process.

What is Hot Smoked Salmon

Acme hot smoked salmon

Hot smoked salmon, on the other hand, is prepared by smoking it at a temperature of around 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This cooks the fish more thoroughly than cold-smoking it, giving it a much smokier flavor and creating a flaky texture as opposed to the silkier, raw texture of cold smoked salmon.  While cold smoked salmon is generally known for being an East Coast favorite, hot smoked salmon is more popular on the West Coast.

How To Serve Cold Smoked Salmon

Acme cold smoked salmon bagel

While we encourage you to get creative with your cold smoked salmon and create a dish that speaks to you, sometimes there are indisputable classics, and Acme’s Finest is a recipe for our own spin on a New York favorite. 

However, if you don’t want to serve your cold smoked salmon on a bagel, there are plenty of other options. You could turn it into a dip or an appetizer plate for entertaining guests, put it over leafy greens to make a quick salad, or even grab nori and turn it into a sushi roll! The possibilities truly are endless, don’t be afraid to try something out of the box!

How To Serve Hot Smoked Salmon

Acme hot smoked salmon bagel

Just as with cold smoked salmon, there are plenty of options for serving your hot smoked salmon, but it’s hard to beat hot smoked salmon with cream cheese on a bagel. Check out our Hot Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Sandwich for a smoky & flaky take on a deli classic!

In addition to a bagel sandwich, hot smoked salmon can be used in a variety of dishes, including with pasta, served in a chowder, on eggs benedict or with scrambled eggs, or whipped into an appetizer dip! You can’t go wrong putting hot smoked salmon in just about any dish, but these are few of our recommendations.

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last?

Lastly, we’ve arrived at the most important & melancholic question for any salmon lover: how long does smoked salmon last? While it has a reasonable shelf life, especially with all of the preservative qualities of salt & smoke, you’re going to want to use your smoked salmon (hot or cold) within about a week after opening. If you freeze your smoked salmon, it can last for up to six months in the fridge before it begins to lose quality, after which you’ll likely want to discard it.

Where Can I Buy Smoked Salmon

Finally, if you’re interested in purchasing smoked salmon to try with one of our recipes or a concoction of your own, our team is happy to offer our online store with a variety of smoked salmon options, as well as our Fish Friday events at our Brooklyn location, where you can purchase fish at wholesale prices! We look forward to assisting you with all of your smoked fish needs!

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  1. mae newcombe
    September 7, 2022 12:39 pm

    where does your salmon come from? The only reference I found was Alaska. Is that the source of all your salmon or do you source from Chile and Denmark as well or maybe Scotland. I really liked your Ruby Bay smoked salmon that I just had recently for the first time. It is the only smoked salmon that compares to Scottish salmon which holds the gold standard for me – but maybe now it’s a tie.

    I really want to know where your salmon comes from. Thanks.

    1. Acme Smoked Fish
      September 12, 2022 9:21 pm

      Thank you for your inquiry. We source our salmon from a variety of locations including Alaska, Chile, Scotland, Norway, and the Faroe Islands.

  2. Derick Huseman
    February 16, 2023 5:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a great helping infomation.

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