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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 low-effort meal and am not in the mood for 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 fast. It’s a satisfying clean out the fridge and pantry meal.

What you’ll need

  • Pasta – absolutely any variety will work here. I like 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 lemon zest for brightness and to bring out the flavors of the fish
  • Parsley – it’s a pop of freshness and contrast
ingredients for canned salmon pasta in prep bowls

Pro tip

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 soft 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 with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

sauteing garlic in a saucepan and making sauce for canned salmon pasta

Boil the pasta. Meanwhile, in a small pan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil until fragrant. Add in the canned salmon, lemon juice and zest, and the chopped parsley. Let it heat through.

draining pasta in a colander and adding to a saucepan with canned salmon sauce

Then add a couple of 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.

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, and 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.

What to serve with canned salmon spaghetti

  • 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. Cheesy Garlic Bread always works as well.
  • Try a side salad with mixed greens, fresh veggies, and this Easy Italian Dressing for a lighter side dish. This Creamy Pesto Dressing is another good option.

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.
  • Reheat in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • I don’t recommend freezing leftovers of this pasta.
best canned salmon pasta in two shallow bowls

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
4.79 from 28 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.


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. Janie says:

    1 star
    This recipe is easy but lacked taste. Waste of ingredients.

    1. 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?

    2. Betsy Mordino says:

      Well use your cooking imagination and create your own style 😉

  2. Sarah Layton says:

    5 stars
    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!

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      That’s so nice to hear, Sarah!! Thank you so much for leaving a review. 🙂

  3. Barbara says:

    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!

    1. Natasha says:

      Sounds good to me! I’m so pleased you enjoyed it.

  4. Katya says:

    5 stars
    I made and my kids liked it. I’m going to make it again! So simple and fast!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s awesome!! So glad it was a hit. Thanks for your review!

  5. Toni Chapman says:

    5 stars
    so yummy! so easy! Next time I may figure out a cream sauce .

    1. Natasha says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Toni!

  6. Moira says:

    5 stars
    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.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it!! 🙂 Thanks for your review!

  7. Niecy says:

    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😋

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled you enjoyed it!! 🙂 That makes me so happy!

    2. Janelle says:

      5 stars
      This was really good I used whole wheat spaghetti and a bit of cream cheese to make it saucy yum!

      1. Natasha says:


  8. Emilie D. says:

    5 stars
    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!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy to hear that!! Appreciate you taking the time to write me a review. 🙂

  9. Bill Whipp says:

    4 stars
    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.

    1. Natasha says:

      I like your addition of caramelized onions, Bill! 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed this one and had some fun along the way haha.

  10. 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!!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad it caught your eye. I hope you and your husband enjoy it, Tricia! 🙂 Let me know!

      1. 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.

        1. Natasha says:

          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!

      2. Tricia B. says:

        4 stars
        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☆.

        1. Natasha says:

          No worries. I’m glad that at least you enjoyed it!

          1. 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!😁
            Thanks Natasha.

          2. Natasha says: