This garlic butter salmon pasta is quick, easy, and uses only a handful of ingredients. Perfect for dinner on a busy weeknight!
I've made this pasta a couple of times now, and I love how fast it comes together. If you're looking for a simple sauce for salmon, butter and garlic make a fabulous combo. I will always stand by that. 😛 Add in the pasta and you've got yourself one tasty meal.
The sauce is easily made while the pasta is cooking. I suggest waiting until the water's boiling before starting the sauce because it doesn't take much time at all.
If you're looking for another super quick weeknight pasta, try my popular tuna garlic pasta.
The chicken broth reduces a lot and adds a delicious savory flavor to this dish. This isn't really a super "saucy" pasta per se, but it's perfectly buttery, and the lemon juice adds a bit of freshness. The olive oil stops the butter from burning while you're searing the salmon.
A couple notes on the salmon:
- I used a piece of fresh sockeye salmon that weighed around half a pound. Anything around that quantity will work. You can buy either skin-on or skin-off salmon. The skin is fine to eat, but some people don’t like it. If you buy a piece with the skin on but don’t want to eat it, I suggest peeling the skin off on the step where you’ve taken the salmon out of the pan - it should peel off easily.
- You could use leftover salmon (like from grilling or if you happen to have cooked salmon on hand), but I suggest cooking it for even less time. Just let it warm through.
You can use any kind of pasta in this recipe. I've made it with penne and spaghetti, and it's good either way.
More salmon pasta recipes to try:
- Salmon Pesto Pasta
- Lemon Dill Salmon Pasta
- Salmon Pasta with a Creamy Garlic Sauce
- Creamy Lemon and Fresh Tomato Salmon Pasta
- Cajun Salmon Pasta
I hope you'll give this easy salmon recipe a try!
Questions? Let me know in the comments below.
Garlic Butter Salmon Pasta
- 1/2 pound fresh salmon
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Flour for dredging
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- Optional garnish: fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese
- 4 ounces uncooked pasta
- Boil a salted pot of water for your pasta. Cook it al dente according to package directions. I suggest starting the sauce once the water's boiling.
- Sprinkle the salmon with salt & pepper and coat it in the flour.
- Add the oil and butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the salmon and cook it for 2 minutes/side, then take the fish out of the pan and set it aside (if you bought salmon with skin and don't want to eat it, you can easily peel the skin off at this point if you wish).
- Add the chicken broth, garlic, and lemon juice to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for about a minute.
- Add the salmon back into the pan and break it up with your spoon into bite-size pieces. Cook it for a few more minutes until it's cooked through and the sauce has reduced a fair bit.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet (you can add a little pasta water if you wish). Toss it & serve immediately with parsley, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese if desired.
- 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.
This was simple and outstanding. One of the secrets is to use a reasonably thick portion of salmon and do NOT overcook it. TOO may restaurants do that, where it's a hard flake with that white stuff around the edges. Give it a good crust but the inside should be tender. Even if it is not yet ready, the final cooking will get it to the perfect point.
I finished this off with some super high quality EVOO. A nice finish to an excellent dish!
Agreed! Glad you enjoyed it!
This was a big hit tonight! I added peas for some vegetables. Everyone liked it and it was really quick. We're a bit lactose intolerant, so it was nice to find a salmon pasta recipe without the heavy cream.
Hey! So keen to try! Looks gorgeous! Might swop out some of the dairy and gluten options! But looks divine.
Just wondering can I freeze this meal?
Hi! I hope you enjoy it, Abs! In general, I don't like freezing cooked fish as it can really dry out once you've thawed it. I also am not sure you'd be left with much sauce since it's just a buttery sauce.
I have to say that I’ve never left a review on a recipe before but wow this one truly deserves it. I didn’t have a lot of faith in it at first because usually this type of sauce tends to leave you with a dry pasta but it’s definitely not the case with this one. My whole family absolutely loved it (even my 19-month old!). I followed the recipe as best as I could. I only added baby spinach at the end right before adding the cooked pasta. I topped it with Parmesan - and omg, just delicious, light, and healthy!! Loved it. Will probably make every other week.
Also thank you for the website’s feature that lets you add more servings and the recipe automatically alters the ingredients quantity.
I'm so happy it was a hit!! I appreciate your review. 😀
Loved this recipe! I had linguine, so I used that. I may add a few capers next time. I squeezed a half a lemon into the sauce which worked out wonderfully!
Thank you so much!!
Susanne Romo says
This was divine! I added dried dill
To it with the Parmesan cheese. It’s going into the dinner rotation! So simple but flavorful
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
So happy it's a new favorite, Susanne! Thank you for letting us know. 🙂
If you use leftover salmon, should you still do the step with flour?
I would skip that step. Hope you enjoy the recipe, Elly! 🙂
Good flavor and easy
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Appreciate the review, Richard! Glad to hear it 🙂
Princess K says
Simple & delicious, freezes well. A new favorite in our home.
I'm so glad it's a hit for you guys!
I'll admit, I questioned this recipe all the way through, but wow, was I wrong to do that! It was so freakin' tasty. I added onions and mushrooms to it and also cooked up some shrimp with the salmon. And I only used oil to cook the shrimp and salmon and reserved the butter to mix in with the chicken broth. Lastly, I omitted the flour just 'cause I didn't have any on-hand. Will definitely be making this again.
So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
I made this recipe this morning. It was quick, easy and delicious.
Fantastic!! 😀 Thanks for your review, Charmaine!
Wendy Harris says
We loved it! I doubled the recipe, added mushrooms, onions & spinich. It was fantabulas!!! 😋
Excellent! Love those additions, Wendy!
I’ve made this many times without any changes and it’s absolutely delicious! Last night I didn’t have any salmon, but I did have tilapia, so I used that instead, and it was still absolutely delicious!! Thanks for the great recipe!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
You're welcome, Julie! We're thrilled it worked with tilapia as well 🙂
Josslyen Zimmer says
I added more lemon juice as I like the tang and I added mixed veggies for more food groups but I loved it and it was so fast so easy and no mess to cook, also perfect for someone who lives alone or in my case is making a meal for me, and a different meal for the family
So pleased you enjoyed it!!
I just made this dish for my husband and me. Quick easy and delicious. I did add a few extras: mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. Yum! We are both full and happy! Thanks
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Fantastic! Glad you and your husband enjoyed it, Leeda 🙂
Can you replace the chicken broth for something vegetarian?
Mary Jacobs says
This recipe is delicious! I served it with homemade pasta. I used a little more garlic and fresh basil- because I didn't have parsley. I will make this again sometime! My husband loved it too. Thanks for tips about starting the sauce and fish after the pasta sauce is boiling.
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, Mary! 🙂 You're welcome!
Quick to do and absolutely delicious.
Thank you!! So glad you liked it, Pat!
Thanks I enjoyed the dish and it was quite easy to make.
Emily Thompson says
Made this from an ingredient search- penne and salmon- and it was terrific ! I used frozen salmon ( cooked from frozen so 4 minutes each side) but other than that followed the recipe (doubled) to a t and it was lovely !
Wonderful! I'm so happy you enjoyed it, Emily! 🙂
Vicki Oedy says
I tried this recipe for my first time today. I didn't change anything and it is delicious. Your suggestion to not start the sauce until the water boils is very helpful. I especially like that I had all of the ingredients which are in most kitchens. Highly recommend .
I'm so glad you found the recipe easy to follow and enjoyed it! Thank you!
This recipe is a refreshing and yummy change to the typical cream sauce recipes-delightful! We used up some salmon that was less than perfect (i.e. dark, fishy-tasting bloodlines). The flavor of the sauce nicely covered and complemented our fish. My husband loves it, too, and we can't wait to have it again with some better quality salmon. (I followed the recipe exactly.)
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it!! 🙂 That's great... I hope you enjoy it with a better piece of fish next time. 🙂
Jackie Bell says
Loved this! I have issues with milk but the Parmesan was just enough. Skipped the read crumbs and used olive oil instead of butter cause I was starving! It was delicious! Thank you for sharing ❤️
I'm so happy you liked it! 🙂
Bonnie L. says
Can this be made ahead and then reheated?
Hi! It's not ideal to be reheated (salmon can dry out and the sauce may reduce too much), but if you do try, I'd do it slowly on a low heat.
Estella Widner says
Up up up, good
Jo C says
Loved this tonight! The butter/oil after cooking the salmon was a little brown so I cooked/melted some fresh butter and oil (around half) in another pan before adding the rest of the sauce ingredients. I liked keeping the salmon separate as didn't want to overcook it and it gave me a chance to cook the sauce down a bit. Stirred through a little black pepper and pecorino cheese before serving. Can't believe there's no cream in it. Tasted far nicer than our usual creamy salmon pasta recipe!
I'm so happy you enjoyed it! 🙂 You're welcome, Jo!
I made this using Alaskan salmon fillet and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Awesome to the chicken broth because I am celebrating lent and cannot eat any type of meat. But God damn is the best recipe I've had in a long time. And normally I hate it with a passion, but because it's meant I had to eat some sort of protein and this recipe did not disappoint. Folks definitely try this out for yourself. And I still used day old cooked penne pasta. I can only imagine how much better it would taste with fresh pasta. And definitely add the pepper flakes because it gives it a bit of a spicy zest.
I'm so happy that you enjoyed it!! 🙂
Delicious!!! I added dill and white wine! Yummy!!!!
Great!! Thank you.
I added heavy cream to the chicken broth and it was delicious 👌. Will be making it again
Wonderful! 🙂 So happy to hear that!
John Cullen says
Just made it, added piccolo tomatoes to pan when I seared the salmon, it was delicious.
Best salmon and pasta recipe I've had in a while and the beauty is in its simplicity.
That's great!! I'm so happy you enjoyed it. Love the addition of the tomatoes.
Simon Welch says
Really lovely! Not sure what chicken broth really is (presumably more of an Americanism?) so substituted with vegetable bouillon. Finished with roasted courgettes and added chilli flakes/Italian herbs, really delicious meal, thank you.
Yes - it's similar to chicken stock or bouillon, so that works out great. So glad you enjoyed it!
I am gf, so would dredging in arrowroot starch work?
I've never cooked with that ingredient before, but you could definitely give it a try! Or skip it for the dredging but add a bit to the sauce if it's got strong thickening power like cornstarch.
Erin Fourier says
Have you ever used smoked salmon in this recipe? My husband smoked some last night and I thought I'd put it in a pasta dish. I found yours and I have everything but not sure if the smoke flavor would go with it or not.
I think it would be delicious!
Loved it. Really easy to make and delicious. Added some green peas on top.🤩
Great!! Thanks for commenting! 🙂
Rose Carrasquillo says
My husband and I liked this recipe. It was fast and easy. I tweaked it a little by adding some Italian herbs.
I was really tired from working all day. It was awesome to make a home cooked meals in under 30 minutes.
I'm so glad that you enjoyed it, Rose! 🙂
Adoro sus recetas, esta es mi segunda con salmón y fue otro éxito! Deliciosa y fácil de seguir.
Muchas gracias, saludos desde Cuenca, Ecuador.
I adore your recipes, this is my second with salmon and it was another success! Delicious and easy to follow.
Thank you very much, greetings from Cuenca, Ecuador.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it (and my recipes in general)!! 🙂 Thank you so much for commenting.
Mark S says
Decent, but the butter in the sauce started to burn after a few minutes of medium-high heat. I suggest reducing heat to medium.
I don't understand why removing the salmon is necessary in the end of step 3, as the salmon is returned to the pain immediately in step 5 after the broth, lemon juice, and garlic are added to the pan. Perhaps there's missing guidance like, "Wait for the sauce to summer, then return the salmon to the pan."
I can see making this as a quick evening meal with leftover salmon bits or canned salmon, but dividing up a salmon fillet seems like a waste of money.
Sorry, just not my cup of tea.
Hmmm sorry it didn't work out, and good point about step 3. I am going to give it some thought and see about updating the wording.
Made this last night to use the up the last of the salmon I had. It was amazing and I didn’t know how well salmon and pasta go together. Thanks for introducing me to this recipe!
Yay!! You're very welcome! 🙂
Made this tonight and it was a hit!!! Thank you!!
Excellent!! 🙂 Thank you!
Added the red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese as suggested. I also added fresh broccoli, which melded with the flavors wonderfully.
That's awesome! So glad it was a hit! 🙂
Renee from Miami says
Hi - just made this - YUMMY !!!
I subbed Panko bread cumbs and lime juice (it's all I had) and I added 4 scallions...
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
Nancy Williams says
I added broccoli - loved it!
Wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to comment, Nancy!
Fabulous! I stumbled upon this today and had everything in the house. I added a little Lawny's salt to my personal taste. The parmesan and fresh parsley really sets it off. I added a crack of Himalayan salt to finish. Mmmmmm.
Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Just made this and it was delicious. Thank you for posting it!
You're welcome! 🙂
Would vegetable broth work ok?
It was excellent and so easy. Using red peppe flakes and good parmesan cheese with fresh pepper made it very flavorful
So glad you enjoyed it!
Thomas Morgan says
This was amazing! My wife and son loved it!
So glad to hear it!
Laurie Metz says
Can you use canned salmon for this recipe?
Hi Laurie! It'll taste different, but you could definitely give it a try.
Jennifer Ann says
Wondering if I could grill or used leftover grilled salmon in this recipe and how the process for the sauce changes!
I would cook the salmon as little as possible, basically, since it's already cooked. Just add it in towards the end. Let me know!
I’ve just tried this - followed the recipe exactly - and it tastes amazing! Thank you!!!
Wonderful! Thanks for letting me know! 🙂
Do you think tuna would also work?
I think you could definitely give it a try!
Virginia Denaro says
Hey! I'm from Italy but I live in Uruguay since 1980.
I think that your recipes are very delicious, but I also think that tune is a little dray to use in these recipe. Bye!