This canned salmon pasta recipe is fast, fresh, light, and uses a handful of everyday ingredients. It's ready in about 20 minutes and is ridiculously simple to make!
You may also like my Easy Canned Tuna Pasta, which this recipe is based on.
Why you'll love it
If you're wondering what to make with canned salmon, this quick and easy pasta is sure to hit the spot. Canned salmon is inexpensive, healthy, and convenient. I always keep some on hand for when I want a quick meal and don't feel like tuna.
Other than my Canned Salmon Salad Sandwiches, this is one of my favorite canned salmon recipes. You can feel good about since it's got simple yet super flavorful ingredients, and you can throw it together quickly when you don't really feel like cooking. Or grocery shopping, for that matter! It's a satisfying clean-out-the-fridge-and-pantry sorta meal.
What you'll need
- Pasta - absolutely any variety will work here. I used spaghetti since I always have it on hand in my pantry.
- Olive oil - for sautéing
- Garlic - if you really love garlic, feel free to use more than suggested
- Salmon - try a can of pink or sockeye
- Lemon - we're using both fresh lemon juice and zest for so much brightness and to bring out the flavors of the fish
- Parsley - it's a pop of freshness and contrast
- This recipe works best with skinless/boneless canned salmon.
- But bone-in skin-on is fine too. You may need to mash it together a bit more, but the bones are perfectly safe to eat and really nutritious and packed with vitamins and minerals!
- Have leftover Baked Salmon? Feel free to use it.
How to make canned salmon pasta
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta. Meanwhile, in a small pan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil.
- Add in the canned salmon, lemon juice and zest, and the chopped parsley. Let it heat through.
- Then add a couple tablespoons of the starchy hot pasta water, and toss with the drained pasta. Season with salt & pepper. Top it off with freshly grated parmesan if desired. Easy peasy!
Substitutions and variations
- You could add in a chopped tomato or little tomatoes (grape, cherry, etc.) cut in half for some more dimension.
- Capers would go great in here! Plus you'll feel a little fancy when eating this dish.
- Try throwing in a handful of spinach towards the end. Simply let it wilt for a minute or two.
- Add in more fresh herbs if you happen to have some from the garden. Fresh dill would be fantastic.
- If you want to make this creamy, add a splash of heavy cream or a dollop of crème fraîche, sour cream, or cream cheese in towards the end.
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha's favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- I use my handy Microplane grater to easily zest the lemon. It's also great if you want fresh parm on top.
- For any recipe that calls for minced garlic, I simply use my garlic press to crush the cloves with little effort and no peeling.
What to serve with it
- It's great as is, but you could definitely serve it with a slice of crusty bread or a dinner roll to make the meal more substantial.
- Try a side salad with mixed greens, fresh veggies, and this Easy Italian Dressing for a lighter side dish.
Leftovers and storage
- This salmon pasta is best fresh. However, it will keep in the fridge in a covered container for 3-4 days, but I prefer to eat leftover seafood sooner rather than later.
- Simply reheat in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
- I don't recommend freezing leftover pasta.
Questions about this easy canned salmon pasta? Let me know in the comments below! I'd love it if you left a review. You can also find me on Instagram.
Canned Salmon Pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 (5 ounce) can salmon (pink or sockeye, boneless/skinless)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice + zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 ounces uncooked pasta (I used spaghetti)
- Boil a salted pot of water for your pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions. Prep your other ingredients while it cooks.
- When the pasta is close to being ready, add the oil to a small pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook it for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the salmon (break it up with your fork/flake it, and if you wish, add in the juices from the can for more flavor), the lemon juice + zest, and parsley. Let it heat through.
- Once the pasta is done, add some of the pasta water (a couple tablespoons) to the sauce and then drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Season with salt & pepper as needed. Grate some parmesan on top if you wish.
- See blog post for more suggestions for add-ins/variations.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
The first time I make a recipe I make it as written. It is unfair to judge a recipe if I have adjusted the ingredients. I made this exactly as shown and it was delicious. The only change I will make the next time is to sauté a small amount of chopped green peppers or celery, for colour.
I'm thrilled you enjoyed it, Taylor! Also, I wish everyone took your approach lol.
Roberta LC says
Why use so muc fresh garlic won't it over power the taste of salmon?
You're welcome to use less garlic if you think the recipe calls for too much. I don't consider it a lot, and others have enjoyed the recipe as written too.
This recipe is easy but lacked taste. Waste of ingredients.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
I think you're the first one to dislike this recipe. Sorry it wasn't up to your standards. Did you add enough salt?
Sarah Layton says
My 4 year old and 2 year old both ate every bite. We really enjoyed this, will make it again! Added sour cream and finely diced onion and bell pepper while cooking garlic. Thanks!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
That's so nice to hear, Sarah!! Thank you so much for leaving a review. 🙂
Simple and delicious! I did use 1/4 cup of cream cheese and topped it with grated Parmesan cheese. I added more than a couple tablespoons of pasta water and I think I could have used more. I served it with cooked broccoli. A great weeknight meal that I will make again. Thanks for the recipe!
Sounds good to me! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it.
I made and my kids liked it. I’m going to make it again! So simple and fast!
That's awesome!! So glad it was a hit. Thanks for your review!
Toni Chapman says
so yummy! so easy! Next time I may figure out a cream sauce .
Glad you enjoyed it, Toni!
So good! I love that I found a delicious and simple way to use up my canned salmon and the lemons in the fridge. Thanks for the yummy and easy recipe! I used angel hair pasta because that is my favorite. sounds like I am in the minority on that one ha.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it!! 🙂 Thanks for your review!
I love salmon and this recipe is so simple yet super flavorful!! This will be my 3rd time making it and it's now one of my favorites😋
I'm thrilled you enjoyed it!! 🙂 That makes me so happy!
This was really good I used whole wheat spaghetti and a bit of cream cheese to make it saucy yum!
Emilie D. says
Made this recipe several times now, with both canned and leftover baked salmon. Each time it is delicious and so easy to make. It is a wonderful weeknight dinner idea!
I'm so happy to hear that!! Appreciate you taking the time to write me a review. 🙂
Bill Whipp says
This was easy and a new experience for me. Rarely make pasta as I am mostly meat and potatoes. But I read the recipe and the time required. I got it. I actually started with carmelized onions and threw in the garlic. and immediately the awesome smell filled the kitchen.... and I felt myself become master chef. lol
added the canned pink salmon....( but wished I had taken out the bones and flaked it first) and little more oil... virgin olive was what I used...I turned the stove top down...added zested lemon, squeezed fresh lemon over all the salmon stirred gently. I even threw in the end piece of lemon to simmer and covered with a meshed top .I watched the pasta and turned it occasionally while I was kept my other eye on the salmon. OMG.. the fresh aroma of carmelized onion and garlic, and the lemon salmon made me drooling. tossed in some sallt and fresh ground pepper ... I noticed why the pasta water was needed... and 20 minutes.... hmmm
I guess it was.... maybe even 15 minutes. lol tested and drained the pasta... added to the simmering concoction. and after plating.... thought I need cheese.. none in fridge... but saw you said creme cheese.
I had some and thought no way.... but I did grate some anyway.... Voila... I am a gourmet chef...hehehehe.
It was the best fastest dinner made. Wish I invited Tricia and her husband. no smell of fish just a lovely dining aroma.. and me drooling to dig in.... I ate it all. Wished I has parsely or rosemary or thyme or other herbs to add.... But I am doing this again... and having friends over.... they dont need to know it was canned... summer here now... so this will become a fresh salmon on the grill episode now. .
Thanks... so very much.... I can still taste and my mind is dreaming of up doing and making it true gourmet menu ....
thanks again.... Billy. not a chef... hardly a coook but love trying.
I like your addition of caramelized onions, Bill! 🙂 I'm so glad you enjoyed this one and had some fun along the way haha.
Tricia B. says
Oooh, Natasha, this is calling my name. I have 2 cans of Wild Planet/Wild Sockeye Salmon in pantry now. I bought these to make Salmon Burgers which I made once before BUT... my husband suggested we try this instead!! So... have everything in pantry to make & it's on menu to do this week for sure!! Love that it is HEALTHY, too!!
I'm so glad it caught your eye. I hope you and your husband enjoy it, Tricia! 🙂 Let me know!
Tricia B. says
Hi Natasha. I'm making this today & noticed I don't have spaghetti pasta but have Rotini & Angel Hair! Which of the two would you think will work better for this recipe as substitute for spaghetti. I'm anxious to try this recipe.
Hi! I think ultimately it doesn't really matter, but I'd probably pick the rotini. I find angel hair pasta a little annoying to work with haha. I hope you enjoy it!
Tricia B. says
Natasha, I just made this today & while I liked it my husband wasnt fond if it. I also added tomatoes & some spinach to the dish. He said the taste was ok - just the fish smell didn't appeal to him. I would make it again BUT only for me!!
Sorry... wish I could give it 5☆.
No worries. I'm glad that at least you enjoyed it!
Tricia B. says
Agree... Angel Hair annoying to work with which is what I chose before getting your reply about uding Rotini instead. I will make again for ME ONLY!😁