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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.

canned salmon pasta close-up in a shallow bowl

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

Helpful tips

  • 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.
best canned salmon pasta in two shallow bowls

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.
  • A melamine cooking spoon won’t scratch your cookware when making sauces.
  • For any recipe that calls for minced garlic, I simply use my garlic press to crush the cloves with little effort and no peeling.
  • Leftover garlic? This cute yet functional garlic saver helps keep it fresher for longer.
  • Store dry pasta in your pantry in an airtight spaghetti keeper.

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.

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!

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.
easy canned salmon pasta being twirled by a fork

Questions about this easy canned salmon pasta? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love it if you left a review and a star rating. You can also find me on Instagram.

canned salmon pasta close-up in a shallow bowl
4.77 from 26 votes

Canned Salmon Pasta

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!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 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.


Calories: 438kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 275mg, Potassium: 385mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 89IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 219mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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  1. 5 stars
    So amazing on a cold evening. I only had salmon, onion, Italian seasoning, kale, powdered garlic and a can of diced tomatoes. You gave me the confidence to try it. This dish turned out so delicious and comforting on a cold evening that I packed up the hot leftovers and drove out to try to find an unhoused person to share the warmth with. Thank you.

  2. Now that GMO labeling is required, it can really dent in the food budget trying to avoid them. I love fish and eat it often, but even frozen can strain the budget. So, I’ve been looking for a few simple recipes for canned salmon and tuna to stretch the budget…. and wow you have a bunch that look amazing. I can’t wait to try them.

  3. This was a wonderful starting point for me! I added celery, green pepper, peas, fresh basil & Tzatziki along with the listed ingredients! And used rotini pasta & reggiano parmesan cheese! Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    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.

    1. 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.