Everything to know about Buying Costco Smoked Salmon in 2024

Do you love smoked salmon? Isn’t it delicious, especially when you pair it with cream cheese? As smoked salmon is a brunch delicacy, you must be looking for some if you’re hosting a large party; you’re in luck because Costco Smoked Salmon is tasty and value for money!

Costco Smoked Salmon is the best choice, even if you just want some smoked salmon for yourself without spending hours smoking it. 

Read on below to learn why Costco Smoked Salmon is loved so much.

Smoked Salmon at Costco: What Options Do you Get?

Costco carries smoked salmon not only by its brand (Kirkland signature) but also by Foppen, and you may find hot-smoked and cold-smoked salmon at your local Costco. You can also choose between wild-caught salmon and farm-raised salmon.

The different products are below.

Regal Smoked New Zealand King salmon

The highest quality salmon available at Costco is the King salmon, imported from New Zealand, where they raise it on cold water farms. This results in large size and exceptional marbling. This fish is called “seafood Wagyu” for a reason.

Manuka wood from the New Zealand Tea Tree is used to smoke this salmon, giving it a rich flavor and beautiful smoking. They have high natural oil content and vitamins, which are super healthy. 

The texture is light and creamy with a slight sweetness, like an umami flavor; no wonder it’s so sought after everywhere! You won’t like any other salmon after you’ve had this smoked salmon.

All the taste… Heavy on the pocket?

Sadly, the King salmon is super tasty and the best out there, but that also makes it expensive. It can fetch up to $70 per pound retail! Costco sells it cheaper, though; they sell at wholesale prices, so you can count on them.

Costco sells the Smoked New Zealand King salmon at about $55 per pound! That’s still expensive! 

But you know what? I’d always go for this if I had the money; it’s worth it if you can splurge!

Kirkland Signature Cold Smoked Salmon

This is the most common salmon type you’ll find at Costco (at CostcoBusiness Delivery) and most grocery stores, but in a much larger quantity, 1.5 pounds! If you have a lot of people at home or are set to host a big gathering, this Costco smoked salmon is perfect!

It comes in two packages and is pre-chilled, so you better put it in the freezer as soon as you go home! Cold-smoked salmon can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator once you open it too. 

This smoked salmon is farm-raised and imported from Chile, and if you don’t prefer farm-raised fish, you should check out the wild-caught sockeye salmon instead!

Costco smokes this fish in a simple salt and natural hardwood smoke, making it delicious and healthy!

Is it worth the money?

The Kirkland Signature Cold smoked salmon costs about $27.19 for 1.5 lbs, and that’s a fantastic price compared to other grocery stores. In addition, it has a silky-smooth texture, making it a delight to dig into.

Although it’s farm-raised, it’s still pretty high-quality thanks to the controlled feed, and you know precisely where they raised it, so you don’t have to worry about polluted water.

Kirkland Signature Smoked Sockeye Salmon

Costco Kirkland’s signature smoked sockeye salmon is made from the sockeye salmon that’s been wild-caught off the shore of Alaska. It’s frozen, which preserves the freshness and quality well. The Sockeye salmon is also Cold-smoked using minimal ingredients.

Sockeye salmon not only has low toxicity levels, but they fish it sustainably, making it a great choice.

Coming to the delicious taste, it doesn’t have the “fishy” taste, which is released when ammonia builds up in the fish when they don’t kill it properly. It’s super rich in flavor and has flakiness. It doesn’t get all mushy or fall apart when you eat it.

Costco cooks the Kirkland Signature smoked salmon using minimal ingredients so that your taste buds aren’t ruined, and they use salt and brown sugar while smoking it with natural wood smoke for the delicious aroma.

How much does it cost?

As it’s caught in the wild and fished sustainably, there is a shortage of sockeye salmon; this results in high demand, whereas the production is low, which leads to the Sockeye smoked salmon being a little pricey compared to its counterpart.

The Kirkland Signature Sockeye salmon at $14 per pound (price is subject to store and delivery location). You might think it’s super pricey, but it’s also one of the best-tasting fish out there, so I wouldn’t pass it up if I were you! The color, taste, and smell are all perfect. It’s also kosher!

Foppen Norwegian Smoked Salmon

Are you looking for a change from the regular Kirkland smoked salmon? Costco has a whole line of smoked salmon, which can help you do that! Costco offers perfectly sliced and portioned smoked Norwegian salmon slices.

It also comes with a packet of honey mustard sauce to enjoy your fish further! The Foppen smoked salmon is also raised on a farm in Norway’s cold waters, making them more delicious. 

They smoke this salmon on oak and beech wood, giving it a more refined flavor with a delicate smokey taste that works wonders in your mouth. The sauce is a great addition when you want to serve the salmon on a cracker or a bagel. 

The ingredients for this smoked salmon aren’t simple like the Kirkland. It contains salt, vinegar, distilled vinegar powder, fish gelatin, transglutaminase, paprika, smoke, pepper, and a little color. This means that it’s not natural and not gluten-free.

What’s the price point?

Foppen Norwegian smoked salmon is cheaper compared to the Kirkland signature smoked salmon. Although it’s not natural and contains additives, if you’re on a budget but still want fish, I’d recommend this at only $14.99 for a 12oz pack. The price has increased slightly in 2023.

I’d still recommend the Kirkland signature salmon even if you have to go for the Atlantic salmon because it’s much tastier and healthier.

Foppen Hot smoked salmon

Avaible via Instacart, this Costco smoked salmon differs from the previous ones, as it’s the only “hot smoked” salmon available at Costco. It’s fully cooked, so you must take it out of the packet and heat it for a quick meal.

It’s perfect if you’re holding a gathering where the people don’t want to eat raw fish. The next difference is that you’ll get three flavors in one package! Pepper, traditional, and maple flavor. Visually, they look super appealing, and you can heat them for a tasty feast!

This salmon is great for reheating; they don’t dry up; they remain moist and flaky. You can use it in dips. Even so, the caramel sugar syrup and the flavorings aren’t appetizing for everyone, and I’d instead go for a simple smoked salmon. You can enjoy it moderately, though.

Ingredients for maple flavor

The maple flavor of smoked salmon is sweet; it has sugar, salt, distilled vinegar powder, a smokey flavor, and natural maple. They also add color later on. It’s an indulgence if you want to skip your diet!

Ingredients for pepper flavor

Pepper flavor is spicier than the other kinds, and I like spicy! It contains salt, 1.5% pepper, distilled vinegar powder, caramel sugar syrup, smoke, and color. Thanks to the caramel sugar, it has a sweet and spicy taste, making it delicious.

Ingredients for traditional flavor

It has the least number of additional ingredients, but I would call it ‘traditional.’ It contains salt, vinegar powder, caramel sugar, smoke, and colorings. If you’re looking for something more ‘traditional,’ I’d recommend the Kirkland signature salmon.

How does it fare price-wise?

Compared to Kirkland, it’s cheaper at about $21.14 per pound. I’d say it’s pretty good if you’re going for something affordable. I’d recommend you go to the natural Kirkland smoked salmon.

What types of Smoked Salmon does Costco Sell?

Costco sells various varieties of salmon at reasonable prices, seriously! 

Believe me, when I tell you, you won’t get better prices anywhere! Other than that, they also have various product sizes, ranging from 0.75 pounds up to 1.5 pounds.

The product availability also depends on the location of the Costco store.

Hot Vs. Cold Smoked Salmon at Costco: What’s the Difference?

Costco, being a wholesale store, has smoked salmon at wholesale prices; in addition, there are also two types of smoked salmon, hot smoked and cold smoked. They have different tastes and textures, so let’s examine their differences.

Costco Hot Smoked Salmon

As the name suggests, hot smoked salmon is cooked at a higher temperature of about 120-255 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s fully cooked, and then it’s packaged. The flavor of hot smoked salmon is richer and smokier than cold smoked salmon. 

Hot smoked salmon is flaky compared to its counterpart, and it’s as if they baked it. Hot smoked salmon is cured for a few hours (wet brine), then rinsed and cooked at the required temperature.

Costco Cold smoked salmon

Cold-smoked salmon is smoked at a lower temperature of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes the cold smoked salmon fresher than the hot smoked salmon but has less of a smoky flavor.

Cold smoked salmon is dry-cured and then cooked at the temperature. The texture of the cold smoked salmon is also smoother and silkier than hot smoked salmon. 

An important point to note is that Cold smoked salmon is unpasteurized, which means it’s not safe for Immuno-compromised people.

Should you go for Wild-caught or Farmed Smoked Salmon?

It’s pretty easy to identify if the salmon is wild-caught or farm-raised; you can tell the difference by the color of the flesh. Wild salmon has a beautiful deep-red natural color, whereas farmed salmon has an artificial orange color. 

Naturally, farmed salmon flesh is gray, but the pellets contain dyes that make it orange or pink. The differences in the flesh are also due to the diet, as wild salmon have a diet based on shrimp and krill, making them healthier.

Wild or Farmed smoked salmon Costco, which is better?

It’s unclear whether you should go for wild or farmed Atlantic salmon, as there are many things to consider. Wild-caught salmon is generally more sustainable and don’t have antibiotics or pesticides in their diet.

On the other hand, Atlantic salmon is treated with many pesticides, antimicrobials, and an unhealthy diet, resulting in fewer vitamins and nutrients in their flesh.

Returning to the wild-caught salmon, we don’t know what the water was like or if it was polluted; that makes a massive difference, as polluted water makes wild salmon unhealthy. So you should weigh the benefits and choose one for yourself, as Costco offers both!


Do you need to cook Kirkland smoked salmon?

The Kirkland smoked salmon doesn’t need to be cooked; although they don’t smoke it at a high temperature, it’s cured and frozen, so you can eat it as it is. You can still wear it with some eggs or stir-fry it if you’re conscious about eating raw fish.

Is Costco smoked salmon healthy?

Considering that it’s white meat, Costco smoked salmon is pretty healthy; it has loads of protein and Vitamins. They have healthy fats such as Omega-3 too. Everything has drawbacks, though, as smoked salmon has a high sodium level.

Is Costco smoked salmon raw?

The answer varies if you’re going for cold-smoked or hot-smoked salmon. They smoke Hot-smoked salmon at a higher temperature which cooks it, but that’s not the case for cold-smoked salmon.

Cold-smoked salmon is semi-cooked ‌it has a raw texture, but you don’t need to worry about bacteria because it’s made safe to eat through curing and other processes.

How long can you store smoked salmon after opening the packaging?

If you haven’t opened the packaging, you can refrigerate Costco smoked salmon for as long as it doesn’t expire. If you open it up, you can only store it for 4-5 days in a refrigerator.

Final Thoughts on Buying Costco Salmon

After reading through the smoked salmon guide, we hope you’re well-versed in which smoked salmon you should buy at Costco and know all the pros and cons. Now you can be a salmon-king and shop through Costco with all the necessary knowledge!

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