Love pasta dishes? And salmon dishes? This Easy Creamy Salmon Pasta recipe is sure to become a new favorite. It has so much flavor and only takes 35 minutes!
Impress your guests with this easy but amazing Creamy Salmon Pasta. It’s also great for a date night because it feels fancy and special, but only takes about half an hour to prepare. Perfectly cooked salmon in a creamy sauce with pasta is the dish you want!
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
Video: Making Easy Salmon Pasta
Why Poach The Salmon?
Many of the recipes for salmon pasta that I’ve seen have you either bake the salmon or cook it in a skillet before proceeding with the recipe. What I wanted to do was to instead poach the salmon and get the flavor ingredients for the sauce into the poaching liquid, which will also be flavored with the salmon. Then I could use that flavored liquid as a base for the sauce. I’m very happy to report that it works beautifully!
Note that the recipe also works with canned salmon, so if you scroll down, you’ll see instructions for that as well. If using the canned salmon, you don’t poach it at all, and the recipe comes together even more quickly!
How To Make Creamy Salmon Pasta
For this seafood pasta recipe, I like to use long, thin noodles like linguine, spaghetti, or fettuccine noodles. While you heat up your pasta water and cook the noodles, you’ll be poaching the salmon and then turning that poaching liquid into the sauce. So, to some water in a saucepan you add some lemon wedges, fresh dill, garlic and salt.
Bring that up to a simmer and add in your salmon fillet. Put on the lid, drop the heat to low, and gently cook the salmon in there. It’ll take 6-8 minutes to get it flaky and opaque. The safe temperature for salmon is 145°F, so you can test to see if yours is done, if desired. Then you take the salmon out of the pot, put it on a plate, and cover it with foil to keep warm.
Then, to that flavorful poaching liquid you add some sour cream, cream cheese and black pepper. Melt and simmer that together and then toss it with the hot drained pasta, some more dill, and some capers. Divide the pasta among plates and then flake the salmon over top of the servings.
What Kind Of Salmon To Use
Any variety of salmon, Atlantic or Pacific (including Alaskan), will work wonderfully in this recipe. If you can get your hands on some King salmon, that’s my favorite. But whatever looks best at the fish counter is going to be perfect.
The recipe calls for 1 pound of salmon. You can buy fillets to make up the pound, or one larger piece. If you have a larger piece, you might need to cut it in half or thirds so that the pieces will all fit in your saucepan in a single layer, so that they all poach evenly with the 1 cup of water rising to about halfway up the salmon. You don’t want to use more water or else your sauce will be too watery. If you do end up using more water, you’ll need to discard some of it before you make the sauce.
You can also use salmon steaks or salmon that’s in smaller pieces as well. If the pieces are smaller, they won’t need to poach for as long. Just check them every couple of minutes, and when they’re opaque and flaky right through to the middle, they’re done.
If you like your salmon a bit rarer, you can absolutely cook it for less time. Just be aware that it then doesn’t meet the USDA safe temperature for salmon, which is 145°F.
Using Frozen Salmon In This Recipe
For frozen salmon, you can thaw it first, or you can poach it straight from frozen. You’ll just need to cook it for a few extra minutes in the poaching liquid.
Follow the recipe exactly how it’s written but put your frozen salmon into the simmering poaching liquid, cover the pot, and then keep it at a simmer until the salmon is flaky and opaque throughout. It will be about 10-12 minutes when starting with frozen fish.
You can alternatively cook the salmon from frozen using a different method, if you’d like. Here is how to bake salmon from frozen. If you bake the salmon or use leftover cooked salmon for this recipe, you don’t poach it. Instead, you’ll follow the method for using canned salmon.
Using Canned Salmon In This Recipe
Yes! This recipe is amazing with canned salmon. I especially love it with canned Red Sockeye Salmon, but any kind of canned salmon will work. You just need to adjust the recipe slightly.
Basically, you won’t be poaching the salmon because canned salmon is already cooked. And so, we’ll just make the sauce from the sour cream and cream cheese, along with the flavoring ingredients, and add the canned salmon to that. Also, be sure to scoop some of the cooking water from the pasta pot before you drain the pasta in case you need to thin the sauce out a bit before serving. We don’t have the poaching liquid to use, so that pasta water comes in handy.
Canned Salmon Pasta Recipe
- 12 oz. linguine
- 1/2 cup of sour cream
- 1/2 cup of cream cheese (that’s 4 oz)
- 1/2 cup of chopped dill
- 1/2 of a lemon, cut into 6 wedges
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. salt.
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 (5oz.) cans salmon, undrained
- 2 Tbsp. capers
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, but, just before draining it, scoop out one cup of the cooking water. After draining the pasta, return it to the pot it cooked in and put the lid on it to keep it warm.
- While the pasta is cooking, measure the sour cream and cream cheese into a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Stir often until it has melted and is smooth.
- To the sauce add the dill, two of the lemon wedges, the garlic, salt, and black pepper. Stir well. Then add the two cans of salmon, without draining them first (the liquid has a lot of flavor!). You can remove the bones first, if you’d like. Gently flake the salmon into the sauce.
- Remove and discard the two lemon wedges and then pour the sauce onto the cooked pasta and add the capers. Stir to combine. If the sauce seems too thick, drizzle in a little bit of the pasta water, 2 tablespoons at a time, until thinned enough for you.
- Divide the pasta among plates and serve with the remaining lemon wedges.
More Great Salmon Recipes
- Perfectly Pan-Roasted Salmon
- Hearty Salmon Chowder
- Crispy Skin Salmon Recipe
- Fresh Salmon Burgers
- Best Baked Salmon Dinner
- Smoked Salmon Dip
Podcast Episode About Making Creamy Salmon Pasta
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this pasta, along with some other great tips, by clicking the play button below:
Love pasta dishes? This Easy Creamy Salmon Pasta recipe is sure to become a new favorite. It has so much flavor and only takes 35 minutes!
- 12 oz. linguine noodles
- 1 cup water
- 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped dill, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 lb. salmon (with or without skin)*
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup cream cheese (that’s 4 oz.)
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. capers
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Once drained, return pasta to its cooking pot and cover the pot to keep pasta warm. While the pasta water heats up and while the pasta cooks, proceed with the recipe using the following steps:
- To a medium saucepan (just big enough for the salmon to fit in a single layer), add the water, 4 of the lemon wedges, 1/4 cup of the chopped dill, the garlic, and the salt. Heat to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the salmon and cover the saucepan. Cook until salmon is opaque and flaky throughout, about 6-8 minutes.
- Once the salmon is cooked, transfer the salmon from the liquid to a plate. Cover it with foil to keep warm. Remove and discard the lemon wedges from the saucepan.
- To the ingredients remaining in the saucepan, add the sour cream, cream cheese, and the pepper. Stir over low heat until it has all melted together, and then continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 5 more minutes to blend the flavors and thicken the sauce a bit. Taste and stir in more salt, if desired.
- Use a spatula to scrape the sauce onto the drained pasta in the pot. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of dill and the capers. Stir to combine.
- Divide pasta among plates. Flake the salmon into chunks, removing and discarding any skin. Divide salmon over the servings. Serve with remaining lemon wedges on the side.
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