When the thought of cooking on a hot day makes you wilt, make Smoked Trout Rillettes instead. Versatile and delicious, this dish comes together in a flash, no stove required.

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I get a commission if you take advantage of the offer (thank you!).

Bleurgh. It’s hot

Goodness, it’s hot. As rainy and bitter as it was last weekend, this weekend must have us close to record temperatures here. New England, it certainly isn’t boring.

I’ll confess that unless I can go swimming, I really don’t like the heat, so I’m picnicking inside this weekend, singing love songs to my air conditioner. Castle Island will need to wait until either I adapt to the heat or things cool down.

Fire Escape Herb Garden
My little fire escape herb garden. Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

Smoked Trout Rillettes, a perfect dish for when you just can’t turn on the oven

When the mercury soars and I just can’t abide turning my oven on, I make Smoked Trout Rillettes. I used dill, chives, and parsley from my little fire escape herb garden (confession: I augmented the parsley and dill with some store-bought, as I just planted my garden last weekend).  I first made this for a party (remember those) several years ago, tweaking a recipe for sardine rillettes, thinking that my smoked trout would be more palatable for more people (I love sardines; not all my friends do). My friends ate it up, and I’ve made it ever since, and not just for parties. It’s become another back pocket recipe, and uses staple ingredients.

Versatile, delicious, and fast

Mayo-free, Smoked Trout Rillettes works for picnics (have an ice pack in your picnic basket to keep it cool before serving), and sometimes I even use it for sandwiches, with a little lettuce. No judgement if you just snack on it, standing in front of the refrigerator, fanning yourself.

This comes together as quickly as you can mince your herbs, but do chill it in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors develop. You can adjust everything to suit your taste. I invariably have extra herbs, and I just use them, along with the juice from the other half of the lemon to make salad dressing.

Stay cool, friends! Recipe and video below.

Smoked trout rillettes

Smoked Trout Rillettes

This delicious, smoky, herby spread is perfect for when the temperatures soar and the last thing you feel like doing is cooking. I've taken it on picnics (just make sure to have an ice pack in your basket), served it at parties, and even put it in a sandwich. It's also good in the winter!
Smoked Trout Rillettes come together in seconds (you don't even have to bring the cream cheese to room temperature, but it helps with mixing), but you do want to give it at least an hour or so in the fridge to let the flavors come together.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Resting in the refrigerator 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 4 (makes about 3/4 of a cup)


  • 1 tin smoked trout, packed in oil, drained remove any bones (the kind I get doesn't have any, but I understand that some brands have them)
  • a little less than 2 ounces cream cheese, softened you can adjust this up or down, as you want
  • 1 tsp finely minced shallots chives serve as a good substitute
  • 1 handful finely minced herbs (I use parsley, chives, and dill) if you don't have dill, then some minced dill pickles can work
  • ½ lemon, juiced this is to taste, and take care not to make the dip too runny
  • 1 tiny pinch Piment d'Espelette optional. You can use cayenne pepper as a substitute
  • crackers, crostini, etc. for serving


  • Add the softened cream cheese to a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients. Using a fork, mash it a bit to help with mixing
  • Making sure that the smoked trout is drained, add it to the cream cheese, and mix thoroughly to combine
  • Add the herbs, lemon, and Piment d'Espelette. Mix to combine. Taste it for seasoning, noting that the flavors will develop more in the fridge
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving
  • Serve with crackers or crostini. Garnishing with a sprig of dill is always a nice touch



I almost always have leftover herbs and lemon juice after making this. I use it to make an herby vinaigrette. 
Keyword cream cheese, dill, lemon, parsley, shallots, smoked fish spread, smoked trout
Tried this recipe?Let me know what you think!

For more information on affiliate links, please see the Disclosure Statement.