Smoked salmon: supermarket Best BuysFind out which salmons topped our taste test

20 October 2016

Smoked salmon and poached eggs on bread

The best smoked salmon is a soft, natural colour – not too dark orange, or too pale pink

Premium smoked salmons from supermarkets including Asda, Aldi, the Co-operative, Tesco and Waitrose were reviewed by experts in our taste test. 

Three did so well that we’ve made them Which? Best Buys. But there were also some which the experts thought quite poor.

Scores ranged from 89% – for a salmon described as 'attractively sliced' and 'clean-smelling' with a 'tasty level of fat' – to 45% - for a 'mushy' fish with an 'old, salty flavour'. 

Find out which was which in our reviews of the best smoked salmon.

Best smoked salmon

We asked a panel of three renowned fish experts to rate and assess each premium supermarket smoked salmon. Our panel members were: 

  • Lance Forman, owner of Britain’s oldest salmon curer, H Forman & Son
  • Paul Trudgian, founder of online seafood purveyor and Cornish family business Fish for Thought
  • Chef Adam Byatt, owner of Trinity restaurant in Clapham and a regular on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen.

The judges assessed each salmon for appearance (which made up 15% of the total score) and aroma (20%), then taste (50%) and texture (15%). 

Our experts had no idea which smoked salmon they were eating, as this was a blind tasting – where we remove all traces of the product's identity before serving it up. 

slices of smoked salmon on a plate

Red-brown chewy edges on your salmon are the pellicle (the skin)

All of the experts tasted each salmon in a different order. The smoked salmons tasted were:

  • Aldi Specially Selected Beechwood Smoked Salmon – £2.49/100g
  • Asda Extra Special Rich and Intense Smoked Salmon – £4/120g
  • The Co-operative Irresistible Beech and Oak Smoked Salmon – £4.79/100g
  • Lidl Deluxe Hickory and Applewood Scottish Smoked Salmon – £2.49/100g
  • Marks & Spencer Smoky and Robust Smoked Salmon – £5/100g
  • Morrisons The Best Scottish Smoked Salmon – £5/120g
  • Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Oak Smoked Salmon – £4.50/120g
  • Tesco Finest Scottish Smoked Salmon – £4/100g
  • Waitrose 1 Peat and Heather Scottish Smoked Salmon – £6.49/140g

Prices correct as of 20 October 2016.

Smoked salmon shopping tips

If your local supermarket doesn't stock one of our Best Buys, here's how to select your salmon to make sure you get the pick of the packs:

  • Good smoked salmon should be a soft, natural colour – not too dark an orange nor too pale a pink. 
  • It shouldn't have many red-brown chewy edges. This is the pellicle (the skin), which good producers will remove. But others leave it on to bolster the salmon's weight. 
  • If the salmon looks quite milky, that suggests it isn't very fresh. Salmon goes milky when the flesh starts to weaken and pull apart at the vein lines. 

Head to our smoked salmon advice page for expert guidance on how to save money when buying smoked salmon, how to store smoked salmon, and which wines make the perfect pairing for smoked salmon. 

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