Recognition of previously encountered stimuli and their associated spatial and temporal information depends on neural activity within a brain-wide network in which the CA1 region of the hippocampus, nucleus reuniens of the thalamus (NRe) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) are key nodes. However, the pathways crucial for coordinating activity during memory encoding and/or retrieval phases have been little explored. Here we opto- or chemo associative recognition memory. We discovered that encoding, but not retrieval depended on the CA1 to mPFC and NRe to mPFC projections. In contrast, retrieval depended on the mPFC to NRe projection. Interestingly the NRe to CA1 pathway was required for both memory phases. Our findings therefore reveal that encoding and retrieval engage dissociable sub-networks within a hippocampal-thalamo-cortical recognition memory circuit in order to enable binding of recent and related information, whilst ensuring a separation of processing.