This recipe for Ukha (Russian fish soup) is light, herby, and full of tender salmon. It’s so simple and made in one pot!
This recipe for Russian fish soup, or ukha, is true comfort. There’s nothing like the contrast of the herby broth with the tender chunks of salmon, carrots, and potatoes. The kicker? You don’t have to deal with any fish bones like you would with more traditional white fish ukha.
Whether you’re looking for a warm bowl of soup to lift your spirits or watching your waistline, uhka is a great dish to add to your regular rotation. It’s healthy, affordable, and super simple to make. In this one-pot recipe, you’ll learn everything you need to know to make it just like a Russian grandmother.
What is Ukha?
Ukha (Russian: “Уха”) is an extremely popular Russian fish soup. Throughout the country, you’ll find different variations of it, with many restaurants serving it the traditional way with fish heads. Below, find an overview of the flavor, texture, and cooking time of this ukha made with boneless salmon.
- Flavor: Ukha is light, herby, and full of fresh fish flavor.
- Texture: The texture of ukha consists of sliky broth, tender salmon, and chunky veggies. Consider it the chicken noodle soup of fish soup!
- Time: From start to finish, the soup takes about 50 minutes to make.
How to Make Ukha
Making Russian fish soup only requires a few wholesome ingredients and one pot. Below, find a quick overview of the recipe before you dive in.
- Prep the Veggies: Slice up the onions, carrots, and potatoes.
- Cook the Veggies & Rice: In a large soup pot, bring water to boil. Then, add in the rice and season with salt, followed by the carrots and onions. Turn the soup down to a simmer.
- Add Salmon & Potatoes: Add in the salmon and diced potatoes and simmer until cooked through.
- Top with Herbs & Serve: Finally, add the fresh herbs and immediately remove the soup from heat. Serve hot and enjoy!
Love making soups? If so, you need a solid soup pot. I love my Staub. It has a sturdy lid, can fit a ton of soup, and doubles as a Dutch oven.
Tips for Making the Best Ukha
Below, find some pro tips to help you make the best Russian fish soup.
- Use fresh fish versus frozen fish. Ukha tastes best when made with fresh fish. If you must use frozen, increase the salt accordingly to compensate for the moisture the frozen fish will release as it cooks.
- Opt for fresh herbs over dried herbs. Fresh herbs really elevate this soup. Dried herbs just don’t compare!
- Experiment with different fish. If salmon isn’t your favorite, feel free to use any other fish you love. Rainbow trout, snapper, and bass are all great options.
- Use different cuts of fish. You can make ukha with filets, fish heads, or even an entire fish. Experiment with what cuts you like best or mix a couple different kinds together. Remember, this soup is really forgiving!
- Use homemade fish stock for extra flavor. If you have homemade fish stock on hand, swap it in for the water for an extra punch of flavor.
You can serve ukha for lunch or dinner as a healthy, low-calorie meal all on its own. If you want to be ultra traditional, serve it alongside a chunk of buttery rye or wheat bread, or with a platter of fresh potato pierogi (tiny cheese and potato filled boiled dumplings).
- Refrigerator: Store leftover ukha in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep for up to 3 days. The kicker? The flavors continue to develop as it marinates in itself, making for killer leftovers!
- Freezer: Not recommended. Ukha contains potatoes, which typically don’t freeze and thaw very well.
How do I cook ukha?
You cook ukha by placing the ingredients in a large soup pot in batches. First, you’ll cook the onions, carrots, and rice in boiling water. Next, you’ll add in the fish pieces and potatoes. Once all the ingredients are cooked, you’ll remove the soup from heat and top it with fresh herbs.
What does ukha taste like?
Ukha tastes very similar to an American-style chicken noodle soup, but with fish instead of chicken. It’s light, herby, and full of plump salmon.
What kind of fish is ukha traditionally served with?
Traditional Russian ukha is served with white fish, such as pike. Typically, it’s made with fish heads which carry a ton of flavor and marrow.
What is fish head soup good for?
Fish head soup is eaten in many countries throughout the world for its healing benefits. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals and often eaten to fend off the common cold and flu.
Other Traditional Russian Soups to Try
- Russian Red Borscht Recipe – Beet and bone-in beef soup
- Cabbage Soup Recipe – Healthy cabbage soup
- Russian Split Pea Soup – My grandma’s recipe!
- Cabbage Roll Soup – Cabbage rolls in soup form
- 1 lb salmon filets
- 1/4 cup rice
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 onion
- 2 small potatoes
- 1/3 cup parsley chopped
- 1/3 cup dill chopped
- 1 tbsp salt adjust to taste
- 1 tsp ground black pepper adjust to taste
- Dice the onions. Slice the carrot into half rings and the potatoes into small cubes. Cut salmon into bite-size pieces.
- Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large soup pot.
- Add in the rice and season the water with salt. Add in the carrots and onions. Let the soup simmer until the rice is cooked and the veggies are easily pierced with a fork.
- Next, add in the salmon and potatoes. Let the soup simmer until the fish and potatoes are fully cooked.
- Add the fresh herbs and remove the soup from heat.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
i made this soup. at first i had my doubts, but pursued.i did exactly as instructed. my son and i had it for dinner and we both thought it was kind of bland. we put the leftovers in the fridge. the next day i had it for lunch and it was absolutely delicious. the flavors all came together and the fish was the star. i am making it today and we will eat it tomorrow. i'm so happy i stuck with it. i always make chinese fish soup. but this is a different breed of soup/ thank you for the recipe
Hi Ray, I am so thrilled that the recipe was a success and you stuck with it! Thank you for leaving such a detailed review. Enjoy!!
We just tried this soup the other day and we LOVED it. So so tasty!
Hi Jennifer, I am so glad you enjoyed the soup, thank you for taking the time to comment!
I've never had fish soup until now! It's absolutely delicious! I will be making it again very soon.
Anna, I am so glad you loved the recipe, thank you for taking the time to comment!
We love a good fish soup/stew in our house. We frequently enjoy Salmon Chowder, Cream of Salmon, or Tomato Saffron Fish Soup. Your Salmon soup is a welcome addition to our delicious fish soup rotation! Love the flavors! So good!
Betsy, those all sound so good and comforting, I am so glad you loved this recipe too, thank you for taking the time to comment!
I love your recipes.. but I think it would be easier for most people if you could write how long you cook food for or how long you boil your ingredients it would be so helpful especially for those that are learning how to cook
This a great tip, I will try to do a better job doing into detail. Thank you!
Wonderful recipes! I’ve been browsing on your blog for a while enjoying them, thank you for so much! I have been reminded of so many great meals I’ve been growing up with! This “Ucha” also looks very interesting even though it is as far from the original ucha as I’m from Siberia :)) please do not take offense but I could not pass this one. Ucha has been invented as fisher’s meal and has always been cooked using all the edible parts of assortment of fishes, not just fillets or just heads. Fishers would just cook whatever they caught in a pot over the fire with any addition they have (potatoes, millet or both, bay leaves and a must - whole black peppercorns). Often a little vodka would be added to the broth. Once the fish is ready, a chopped onion would be thrown in for a minute or too, followed by lots of grated black pepper and that’s the ucha! Super easy, super flavorful and not exactly easy to eat :)) But the home made version Included an extra step to remedy that: the fish was sorted into two groups: fillets and whatever else you’d like to see in your plate would go into one group and everything else (tiny fishes, bones, heads and tails) into another. Then a strong broth would be made from the second group + bay leaves and whole peppercorns. Once the broth is ready, it would be strained, the fish mass discarded and THEN the original recipe followed! This is the classic ucha, it’s still very easy to make, is deeply satisfying and packed with wild flavors (add a drop of liquid smoke for more resemblance to the version made over the open fire). And yes, no parsley, just dill.
I love the frugality of using the whole fish parts! And we know how good those Omega 3s are for us.
Hey Deborah, you can also do that. My kids prefer the boneless versions but my mom use to make one with whole fish parts.
Hey Natalia, thank you for sharing your story about Ucha, this is really interesting. I enjoyed reading it.
Hello again and the best to you and Family ,,happy mothers Day !! ya know Love to live cook and learn ,,been cooking for 70 years ,,I have many great recipes from those years. so many not used by todays your adults ,,,I would love to share some with you ,If you would like ?? this fish soup inspired me today to want to give you a recipe Learned in the Bajamas ,,so so good ,I have commented lately several times ,,on potato sausage ,bread and cabbage soup ,,your kielbasa recipe like my moms ..ya know no one ever uses Swiss chard recipes on line ?? my garden is growing great here inTexas this year ,all Heirloom veggies and a river and lake a short away ,bin here since Dec 2019 workin on dat garden daily ,,live in a 33 foot motor home wit my dog Barlee Rose ,we love it here GOD has blessed me with many gifts ,Prayer is powerful ,Peace be With You. mr. Joseph
Thank you, Joseph. Yes, I did see all your comments. Thank you for stopping by!
That looks lovely, Natalya. Just winter ingredients that I can find locally here in Montréal! I love fish soups. Hope you are enjoying the New Year, in both calendars! I always use the salmon head, which is full of gelatine - you can remove it if it disgusts any of your guests. I even make stock from salmon heads (which are very cheap at the fishmonger's) and freeze the stock for soup.
Yeah my mom uses a head but I like the boneless part. I like the stock idea, thanks for sharing with me.
I haven't had this in a while! My mom made the best version with everything just roughly chopped and placed in a pot to boil. Thanks for reminding me - now I want some
No problem at all 🙂 Ukha has been out of picture for us for the longest time. I am glad to find this recipe 🙂
I can't figure out if ur husband us russian or american?? Lol
He is totally Russian 🙂 from Siberia