We have the best-smoked salmon recipe for the smoker—it’s tender, flaky, and oh-so-tasty!

Nothing is more decadent than a home-smoked salmon! Put that Traeger smoker (or other brand pellet smoker or charcoal smoker) to good use for this aromatic and flavorful main course! With just a bit of seasoning, hot smoked salmon recipes are easy!

sliced Smoked Salmon with oranges in the back


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Perfect Smoked Salmon

Add smoked salmon alongside Parmesan roasted broccoli, or serve with breakfast strata. Have it alongside an elegant pesto salad! It’s perfect for an outdoor outing, a celebration, or just taking the “catch o’ the day” and making the best of it! This recipe comes out perfect every time! It’s easy, and is very quick as far as smoking goes!

Smoked Salmon top view with butter and oranges

What is the Difference Between Lox and Smoked Salmon?

Both are interchangeable recipes, but lox has a specific curing process. It’s cured in a salt-sugar brine and then cold smoked. Smoked salmon is a blanket term for all other methods of smoking—especially the hot smoked method.

What’s the Difference Between Hot and Cold Smoked Salmon?

Technically, both methods are still smoked. It’s just the difference in smoking temperatures.

  • Hot smoked salmon recipes are cooked above 120°F and fully cook the salmon.
  • Cold smoking is below temperatures of 90°F and produces a less smoky flavor than its hotter counterpart. Cold smoking is often done using cured fish (as with lox) as the low temperature does not cook the salmon.

top view of Smoked Salmon on a rack

What Temp to Smoke Salmon

For this recipe, we top out the smoker at roughly 225°F. This gives the salmon the maximum smoky flavor with the added maple syrup, bourbon, and apple juice. The bourbon helps tenderize the filet while the maple and apple flavors give it just the right touch of sweetness.

Smoked salmon should reach an internal temperature of 145°F. Monitor the temperature using a digital thermometer. The one that we use monitors both the smoker temperature and the temp of the things you are cooking! We love it.

How to Make Smoked Salmon

Smoking salmon is an easy but gourmet process!

  1. Prepare the glaze and set aside.
  2. Prepare the smoker with wood chips/pellets and fill the tray with water.
  3. Rinse and pat the salmon filet dry. Squeeze lemon juice on and season filet according to recipe below.
  4. Place filet in smoker, skin side down. For the first hour, glaze the salmon every 15 minutes.
  5. For the second hour, no glazing is necessary.

Smoked Salmon on a metal rack

How Long to Smoke Salmon

  • Smoke filet about two hours total, or until tender and flaky and salmon has reached an internal temperature of 145°F.
  • Take care not to overcook. I recommend using a digital thermometer to monitor the salmon’s temp! The thermometer alerts you when the salmon has reached the right temperature!
  • Remove smoked filet from the smoker and let rest about 15 minutes before serving.

Easy Sauce for Smoked Salmon

Here’s an easy sauce for smoked salmon that uses up the leftover glaze!

  1. In a small saucepan, heat remaining glaze until it begins to bubble.
  2. Slowly whisk in heavy whipping cream until the sauce is opaque and cooked to the desired thickness.
  3. To finish sauce, stir in one Tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

Easy, and a perfect complement to the flaky salmon.

Smoked Salmon on white table with oranges and butter beside it

What Goes with Smoked Salmon?

We have so many great ideas for sides to smoked salmon, it’s hard to pick our favorites! We love smoked salmon with whole wheat pasta, rice, salad, or even with scrambled eggs! Try it with kale quinoa salad and oven-roasted beets. The strong flavors complement each other well!

Roasted potatoes will go beautifully with the easy sauce. Add some roasted broccoli to the same pan as the potatoes and you’re all set! While waiting for dinner, how about having a strawberry margarita?

How Long is Smoked Salmon Good For?

Smoked salmon will last up to 10 days in the refrigerator before it starts to get soft. But it’ll be used up a lot sooner than that! There are so many different ways to enjoy it!

slices of Smoked Salmon

How to Store Smoked Salmon

  • Since smoked salmon is essentially cooked and cured, it will keep for a long time in the refrigerator as long as it is tightly sealed in a zippered bag or a container with a tight-fitting lid. 
  • Smoked salmon can be frozen, but won’t be as firm once it is thawed. That makes it perfect to stir into a soup, stew, or made into a dip with cream cheese!
  • Vacuum sealing the cooked salmon works very well for refrigeration and freezing, and keeps your fridge and freezer fresh smelling!
cut piece of Smoked Salmon with oranges in the background
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Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon is tender, flaky, and so flavorful!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Candace


Salmon Glaze

  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 2 ounces bourbon (¼ cup), or whiskey or cognac


  • Whisk together Salmon Glaze ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Pat salmon dry with a paper towel. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the salmon.
  • Season the flesh side of the salmon with salt, pepper, and dried dill.
  • Preheat smoker to 225°F. Fill water tray in smoker with water almost to the top. Place (alder preferred, or other) wood chunks on the coals.
  • Place salmon skin side down on the cooking grate in the smoker.
  • For the first hour of smoking, brush the salmon fillets with Salmon Glaze every 15 minutes.
  • Smoke for a total of approximately 2 hours or until tender and flaky and salmon has reached an internal temperature of 145°F.


Store leftover smoked salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. 
Smoked salmon can be frozen, but won’t be as firm once it is thawed. 
Instead of freezing, try adding to salads, wraps, or making a salmon dip! 
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 166 | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 605mg | Potassium: 315mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 61IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American

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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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