The Best Creamy Salmon Pasta
This Creamy Salmon Pasta recipe is a simple yet impressive dish for date night at home. Roasted salmon, spinach and capers are tossed with pasta and a creamy white wine sauce.
This is it! The most popular recipe in the history of Foxes Love Lemons. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re here after Googling “salmon pasta” or “pasta with salmon” or some combination of those words.
Welcome! I hope that this recipe is everything you’re looking for and more. And I hope you’ll stick around for some of my other popular recipes, including elote corn salad, potato cakes and crock pot beef stroganoff.
But, are you ready to see what all the fuss about this creamy salmon pasta recipe is about? I’ll let some of the 1100+ reviews (averaging 4.5 stars) speak for themselves:
Jeri Lynn says “This recipe was delicious! It’s something you would be impressed with if you ordered it at a nice restaurant and it’s quick and easy to make at home. This is now in my favorite recipe collection.”
Holly declares “This recipe worked so well, and I say this as a timing challenged person. I would make this again and again, not just with salmon, but with shrimp, scallops or even shredded chicken.”
Kimberly reports “This was relatively simple and easy while delicious. My family ate every bite.”
And Rachel and her child loved it, too: “This was so easy, fast and delicious! My toddler and myself devoured it. My toddler was able to help me make dinner and we were able to cook everything in under 20 minutes. Winner winner! Thank you for such a great weeknight recipe!”
This creamy salmon pasta is perfect for a special meal or date night at home, but fast and easy enough for a weeknight, too!
This creamy salmon pasta recipe is perfect for a “date night” or a special dinner at home (my husband and I will often make some version of this, or pesto salmon, for Valentine’s Day).
In fact, blast from the past that I was recently thinking about: whenever my parents would take me out to dinner when I was in college, my order was always either a steak (is there anything better than a perfect grilled flat iron steak?), or some sort of seafood (usually seafood pasta, which seemed to be a popular menu item at the time).
Because, I was living in the dorms, and it’s not like the cafeterias were known for their stellar crab stuffed salmon or Cajun salmon pasta. And let’s face it: whatever they attempted, the pasta was ALWAYS overcooked.
So when I had a chance to go out to a restaurant for a special meal, I was sure to order either a steak or seafood. Even now, seafood pasta like salmon alfredo is one of my top “luxury” meals, whether it’s at a restaurant or eaten at home.
This creamy salmon pasta always seems like a decadent indulgence, even when I’m sneaking a whole box of spinach into it. Big chunks of roasted salmon and capers are tossed with pasta and a creamy sauce flavored with white wine and lemons.
This pasta with salmon seems pretty fancy, but trust me, it’s just cooking pasta + making a simple cream sauce + roasting a piece of salmon (or if it’s a warm day, you could make instant pot salmon or grilled sockeye salmon if you prefer not to turn on the oven).
You can do this, and on a weeknight, even!
The ingredients for this salmon pasta recipe are easy to find:
- salmon – you will need 3/4 pound of salmon for this salmon pasta recipe. Two 6 ounce fillets will work, or one large fillet is fine, too. More on this below!
- linguine – this is my noodle of choice for this pasta with salmon (and also for lemon caper pasta), but fettuccine or spaghetti work just as well.
- butter – unsalted butter forms the base of the sauce. If you only have salted butter on hand, just cut back on the added salt later in the recipe.
- garlic – 3 minced garlic cloves add lots of flavor to the sauce. Want to add more? Measure with your heart.
- heavy cream – it’s not creamy salmon pasta without, well, cream (also the star of my creme brulee recipes)! Heavy cream results in the best sauce texture, and if you substitute something else, your sauce may curdle and not turn out properly.
- white wine – something like pinot grigio will add a bright acidity to the cream sauce. If you’d prefer not to use wine, feel free to substitute a bit of chicken broth and a squeeze of lemon juice here.
- lemon zest – adds more bright acidity to the cream sauce! Buy extra lemons for lemon margaritas or lemon creme brulee.
- spinach – since spinach wilts down to practically nothing when it’s cooked, I used an entire 5 ounce box of baby spinach in this salmon linguine! I also pack a surprising amount of spinach into my vegetarian quiche. Want to use kale instead? Go for it, baby.
- capers – the salty, briny flavor of capers can’t be beat, specially when paired with seafood. See also: salmon piccata. But if you’re not a fan of capers, it’s fine to leave them out.
How to buy the best fish for creamy salmon pasta:
While for recipes like salmon sandwiches, I purchase thick, individual fillets of salmon (so, 4 separate (usually center cut) fillets for 4 servings), I love the ease of roasting a larger fillets of salmon for things like salmon and spinach pasta, since I’m just going to break it into chunks anyway.
At the grocery store, butcher, or seafood market, ask them for a fillet of salmon with the skin on, about 3/4 of a pound to a pound (or 2 fillets that equal about that weight).
You can use any variety of salmon you like best for this creamy salmon pasta, whether that’s Atlantic salmon, sockeye salmon, or something else.
Food & Wine’s Guide to Every Type of Salmon You Can Buy will help you learn the differences before you’re ready to make this recipe.
How to make this pasta with salmon recipe:
So, you’re going to be cooking three things at once (fish, pasta, sauce) in this salmon pasta recipe, but trust me: you can do this. I promise.
First, get your oven preheated and a big pot of water boiling on the stove.
Once both of those things are ready, get your salmon into the oven. All you’re doing here is putting the fish on a pan and seasoning it with salt and pepper (or try my best rib rub recipe for an extra flavor boost), and popping it into the oven (you can also start with my baked sockeye salmon recipe that includes lemon and herbs, or even bourbon glazed salmon for extra flavor). Set a timer and forget about it for awhile.
Next, get your pasta going: salt the pot of boiling water, and then dump the linguine into the pot. Again: set it and forget it (well, maybe give it a stir or two if you remember).
The “home chef” part of this salmon linguine comes in with your sauce (just like the sauce is the star of my rigatoni bolognese).
You’ll start the creamy salmon pasta sauce by cooking some garlic in butter, and then adding cream, white wine, lemon zest, salt and pepper. You’ll cook this mixture about 5 minutes or until it thickens into a, well, sauce!
By now, your pasta should be done cooking. Drain it well, pour it into the skillet with the sauce, add some capers and spinach, and give everything a good stir until the spinach is wilted.
By now, your salmon should be done cooking, too! Take that out of the oven, break it into big chunks and put it on top of your pasta. That’s it!
Can this be reheated or frozen?
While I love recipes where leftovers can be reheated for lunch the next day or are even freezer friendly (like my lasagna with cottage cheese, vegetable lasagna and Greek lasagna), this salmon pasta recipe is one that is best eaten immediately.
Seafood never reheats that well, and cream sauce tends to break when reheating. I also don’t recommend freezing this pasta with salmon.
So, while this creamy salmon pasta recipe as written below would serve a family of four (or a double date at home!), if you’re serving just two people for date night, I’d recommend cutting the recipe in half.
But, if you have a bit of leftovers and you MUST reheat them, the easiest way to reheat is to microwave at 50% power (this will help prevent the creamy sauce from breaking). I recommend this method for any creamy pasta.
What to serve with salmon with pasta in cream sauce:
Since I’ve already packed an entire box of spinach into this salmon pasta recipe, you may decide you don’t need a side dish at all. I totally understand!
But, if you’d like another helping of fiber-rich veggies on your plate with your salmon pasta, I suggest either my balsamic green beans or balsamic asparagus.
If you’d like a fresh green salad with your pasta, I recommends some simple mixed greens tossed with citrus vinaigrette.
Or, if you’re the type that can’t have pasta night without a side of garlic bread, pop a batch of homemade garlic bread into the oven to serve alongside your pasta with salmon.
More great pasta recipes:
Sometimes you just need a big bowl of carb-y goodness. The recipes below are some of my favorites for when the noodle craving strikes!
The Best Creamy Salmon Pasta
This Creamy Salmon Pasta recipe is a simple yet impressive dish for date night at home. Roasted salmon, spinach and capers are tossed with pasta and a creamy white wine sauce.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 salmon fillets (about 3/4 pound) (1 large fillet is also fine)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for pasta water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 12 ounces linguine
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 box (5 ounces) baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons capers
- Lemon wedges, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and heat large pot of water to boiling on stove. Spray small rimmed baking pan with nonstick spray. Place salmon, skin side down, on prepared pan and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to oven and bake 14 to 16 minutes or until salmon is almost opaque throughout and internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, add large pinch of salt to pot of boiling water and cook linguine according to package instructions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat butter in large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add cream, wine, lemon zest and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until mixture is thickened to a thin sauce consistency, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low.
- Add spinach and capers to skillet. Drain pasta and add to skillet on top of spinach. Cook over low heat 1 to 2 minutes, tossing frequently, or until spinach is just wilted.
- Remove salmon from oven. Slip spatula between salmon skin and flesh to remove skin; discard skin and break salmon into large chunks over pasta. Serve garnished with lemon wedges for squeezing over pasta, if desired.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 651Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 153mgSodium: 519mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 27g
This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
this looks amazing. I am dairy free so what can I use instead of heavy cream?
Thanks Leslie! I haven’t personally tested this with any non-dairy milks or creams, so unfortunately I’m not sure. You might try scanning the comments to see if anybody else has done it. Good luck, and please report back if you do try it out!
Oh my gosh!!! I’m fortunate to live in Alaska, so we have an abundance of Sockeye Salmon in our freezer. Guess where some of the fillets will be going very soon?!?!? Ohhh, yesssss…
I read all of your tips and saw that you said not to substitute anything else for the heavy cream, but I have some half & half in my fridge I’m trying to use up. Understanding the sauce will be slightly thinner, but any chance I can sneak it in without it curdling? I’ve used it successfully in other pasta recipes, but don’t want to chance ruining this dish. Thank you.
Can I just tell you how jealous I am of your abundance of sockeye salmon, Cindy? So very jealous.
So, I totally get it. I’m always trying to use up the stuff in my fridge, too. I don’t think half and half will curdle (that’s mainly a worry for when people try to substitute like, fat free milk for cream). I think your sauce will be a bit thinner but still so delicious. Please report back 🙂
Him Lori, reporting back on the outcome of making this recipe using some half & half I already had on hand and it turned out perfectly!!! A most delicious salmon pasta dish that I will definitely be making again! Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe.
Oh good, thank you so much for reporting back! That’s great to know, Cindy. Because I ALWAYS have half and half on hand but hardly ever cream.
Oh. My, Goddess. Wow. I will definitely be saving this recipe! I made it and had your Basalmic Asparagus as a side.
I am so glad to hear that you liked this so much, Anna!
Yup, this was awesome. So easy and quick to make and my family (esp. my kids!) said this was the best dish. I used asparagus instead of spinach because that’s what I had and it was so awesome. We will be doing this again!
So glad to hear that, Natalie! I love the idea of putting asparagus in there!
WONDERFUL! This is the first time I ever leave a review on a blog. I felt I had to because I was blown away by how much everyone loved this Salmon and Linguine pasta. I do not eat any seafood whatsoever so I made it exactly as written with one exception- I left out the capers because my family does not like them.. I can’t even try anything made with fish or seafood so I just relied on your measurements and they were perfect. No leftovers at all. It all got gobbled up. 10 Stars from me if I could!
I’m so flattered that this was so good you had to leave a comment, Connie. I’m so glad this was such a hit for your family.
Made it! It was delish! I added cheese! Family raved!
Yay! I’m all about adding cheese. Glad it was delish!
So good! We also seasoned our salmon with blackening mix for a bit more flavor. The zest was just the perfect amount of lemon flavor.
Love the blackening mix addition. So glad you liked this, Harmony!
Very good! The pasta bowl was cleaned out tonight. Was a hit with the picky kid even. Had left over smoked salmon to use.
Gotta love when it’s a hit with a picky kid, too. So glad the whole family loved it, Ron!
This was delicious! And so easy – one of the very few recipes I’ve made whose various parts actually come together at the times indicated. This will definitely be part of the regular rotation from now on.
I’m so glad to hear that, Maharani! My goal is always to make recipes that work exactly like they say they will.
Easy, delicious as described. Add red pepper flakes for a kick. Everybody loves this dish
I’m so glad to hear that, Bryan! I add red pepper flakes quite a bit, too.
So so so good! I didn’t have heavy cream so used 3% milk + about 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt to fill up a scant cup, and 1/3-1/2 cup of creamed cheese for the sauce:) I’ll def be making this again! Thank you for a delicious recipe!
Yum! So glad it turned out well, Candice.
I made this recipe for my girlfriend and me. It was great. I did modify the recipe a bit – I added 227 grams of mushrooms with the cream and it added more body and volume to the sauce. We enjoyed it and will certainly make it again.
So glad you liked this, Gary! I’m regretting not adding mushrooms to it the first time around. haha.
I made this for my boyfriend and I tonight. It’s one of the most dimensional dishes I’ve made so far.. I’m not the best cook but it inspired me to get more in touch with flavour combinations. The acidity. The smells were beautiful it was a pleasure to make🥰!!! The wine. The lemon and the garlic just wonderful. I also added a little parsley in the end because I like the herb so much.
I love this review, Olivia! It’s exactly what I was going for! I’m so glad you liked it.
Made this fabulous creamy linguini again but this time, instead of salmon I served it with chicken and mushrooms stirred in , as well as the spinach. So fabulously delicious!
Hi Jackie! I LOVE your chicken and mushrooms idea. That made my mouth water just thinking about it. Definitely trying that myself next week 🙂
I made this tonight and it was a hit. We didn’t have heavy cream so I used full cream milk instead but reduced the amount to about half and added olive oil so it became kind of a cross between a cream based pasta and an oil based pasta. It had just the right amount of creaminess in the end and was well-balanced. I also added some chili flakes towards the end which added a bit of heat. Thanks for a great recipe, we enjoyed our dinner!
Hi KS! I’m so glad this turned out great for you, and you liked it. I also always add chili flakes to my serving 🙂
AOC made a spinach/lemon/salmon creamy pasta on Instagram. You may have inspired her with this amazing recipe. We love it too.
OMG, this is great! Looks like her video is a few years old, but I had never heard about it until you told me. It certainly does look like a very similar recipe. I’m flattered that she (appears to have) made it, and that you love it, Colleen!
I’d be over the moon if she made one of my recipes – as in I could die happy. Here’s the video where she starts her prep and gets distracted LOL: https://twitter.com/i/status/1337511922011414528
Haha yes, this has totally made my day! Thank you so much for telling me about this, Colleen!
Bit of a late comment but imo lay came across this today. I swapped the cream for vegan cream and cheese, delicious. Lovely recipe with the spinach and wine. Will be using again
I’m so glad you were able to make this recipe work with the right substitutions for you, Amit!
I want to try this, but can’t have dairy. Can I substitute oat milk for the heavy cream? Thanks!
Hi Julia – I haven’t tested it with a non-dairy milk. It might lead to a thinner sauce. But please let me know how it turns out if you do try it!
Very nice recipe. I always get great comments when I make this. Thank you so much for the recipe
I’m so glad you like it, MJ!
I usually don’t comment on recipes, however this recipe is now on my top ten favourites. Thank you.
I am so happy to hear that, Kerry. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great weekend!
I used half and half because I didn’t have heavy cream- the combination with lemon zest curdled the half and half so it was a cheesy consistency rather than creamy. Did this happen to anyone else?
Hi Patty – when acid like lemon juice is added to dairy, it changes the pH of the dairy’s proteins and causes them to bond together (curdle). But the more fat there is in the dairy, the harder it is for the proteins to bond. Which is why lemon juice doesn’t curdle heavy cream, but will often curdle half and half (which is lower fat). I hope you get a chance to try this recipe again next time you have cream on hand!
I wish you had mentioned this in the body of the recip. I used your yogurt and milk recipe which curdled, and started over with half and half and wine which also curdled. Removed the pasta, salmon and spinach and drained. Then, tried to rescue it with red sauce. My bad. Lots of waste here. My lovely salmon.
All our favorite things! Quick and delicious! We will definitely make it again! The timing you laid out made it super easy to follow without guess work on when to do what. Thanks!
I’m so glad to hear that you liked this recipe, and it was easy to follow, Lynn!
Delicious! We grow lemon thyme, so I added a tablespoon of fresh lemon thyme and another of fresh basil to the mixture. The flavor was fantastic! Thanks so much!
Love these additions, Elizabeth. I have regular thyme in my garden, but don’t think I’ve ever tried lemon thyme.
Quite delicious! Added baby portobellos when sautéing the garlic and used artichokes instead of capers for something different. Added a bit more lemon (the pasts really soaks this up) which gave a the pasta a lemony flavor. Garnished with fresh Italian parsley and a dash of parmigiana and left a whole sliver of seasoned salmon on top. Great recipe. Will make this a staple.
Love the addition of mushrooms and artichokes! So glad you liked it, Jerry.
Had this for dinner tonight…yummy
So glad to hear you liked it, Maureen!
What a delicious recipe. Recommended to friends already. I loved it with the salmon!! Followed your tips to a T.
I’m so glad you liked it, Olivia! Thank you for posting about it on IG <3
I absolutely loved this dish and so did my lunch guests. I did leave out the capers because I dont like them. It was so luxuriously creamy. Guests said it was the best pasta dish ever tasted!
It does need to be eaten straight away, and definitely not good to reheat.
I’m so glad you and your guests loved this, Jackie!
Delicious recipe, I made it with the lemon herb sockeye recipe & added fresh diced tomatoes to the sauce rather than the capers. Will be making this a staple recipe in my house from now on!
Love the addition of the tomatoes. Very smart idea! Adds acid the same way capers too, but not that same bite. So glad you liked this, Christi!
What about if we dont have wine or cream
Wine can be omitted. Half and half can be used in place of the cream, but you will have a thinner sauce.
I’m sorry. I didnt realize my original question was incomplete. I was wondering which wine you recommend for this dish. I don’t usually cook with wine.
Thank you for your quick response!
I’d recommend Pinot Grigio!
Hi. Am going try an make this on Saturday. I don’t know much about cooking. Is there a specific one you can recommend? Thank you in advance.
Hi Jenn – what are you looking for, specifically?
What a great recipe! It’s the sauce that really makes the dish (don’t leave out the capers!)
I used leftover cooked salmon and also added a few peas and soya beans for extra vegetables. You could also add mushrooms or sun dried tomatoes or green beans – probably lots of other things (prawns?) depending on what you have.
This was so delicious!!! I had a little salmon left from yesterday’s lunch so I just used that and halved the pasta portion of this recipe. It was so quick, easy and delicious!
I am so glad that you liked this recipe, Dani!
This turned out delicious! My only changes were to skip the capers (I simply don’t like them) and use low FODMAP garlic replacer (family digestive issues). Thank you for a great recipe that I hope to make again.
I’m so glad this was a hit for you, Airy!
Love this recipe! I have made it so many times. The recipe is great as it is. One thing to note about this recipe is to ensure the wine is boiled before adding the cream, otherwise you will end up having curdled cream. I also like to add lots of Parmigiano Reggiano and some basil in the end to give the flavor a kick.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Betty!
It’s so good and quick to make. Love every bit of my pasta.
I’m so glad you liked it!
I did it almost exactly the way you described, Except that I used some leftover poached salmon, and it was amazingly good.
I’m so glad to hear that, Fiona! This is the perfect way to use leftover salmon.
So easy and soooo good!
I’m so glad you liked it, Tim!
I just made this for dinner and it was easy and delicious!! I didn’t have a lemon do I put a little lemon juice on the filets and added a teaspoon or so to the sauce. I was also out of capers but it tasted amazing anyways so thank you. I will definitely be making it again.
I’m so glad you liked it, Jill!
Such a deliciously tasty, yet simple dish!! Just made it for the first time and my husband, adult son and I all loved it!! I will definitely make it again soon. Thank you.
Yay, I’m so glad the three of you loved it, Anne!
I used this recipe for the first time I ever cooked salmon a few months ago, and it worked so well. I returned to pin it because I want to make it again haha. Amazing recipe, thank you!
I’m so glad to hear that, Devina!
Delicious, But with no heavy cream. Good suggestion to put the past in the sauce and then add spinach…
Glad you liked it, Joan!
Yum, I love any recipe that uses salmon!
Made it last night by chance, had all the ingredients shockingly! We inhaled it! I didn’t care about the guilt of too much pasta and cream, I HAD to go back for a second bowl! (Would have gone for a third if the hubby wasn’t looking!)
I am so glad to hear that, Deborah! Not guilt necessary!
Yumm!!! This recipe is quick and delicious! I used chicken broth instead of the wine. I think this might be good with grilled shrimp too! It’s a keeper!
Hi Tara! So glad to hear you liked it! And yes, it would be awesome with shrimp, too!
Too late I realized I didn’t have any cream, so I used coconut milk and low-fat Greek yogurt (coconut and vanilla flavored). It worked fine. I tried to make half a recipe, but I think I had too much garlic, so be careful there. I would personally increase the lemon zest, but maybe mine was old and not as strong as if fresh. I like the capers, but my husband didn’t. It would be fine without them, I think. But it WAS easy and quick and delicious.
Hi Linda – so glad this recipe worked out for you, based on what you have on hand. Thank you for stopping by!
What an amazing and simple dish to make. I sauted some onion with the garlic and also added peas (I didn’t use capers). It was delicious and my dinner guest loved it.
I am so glad to hear that, Emma!
This was great! I sauteed an onion and sliced mushrooms with the garlic and ended up using less pasta (b/c it was getting crowded in there!) Everyone inhaled it! So good!
I’m so glad to hear that, Colleen!
This dish was delicious! It came together really quickly and was a great way to use leftover salmon (which made it even quicker). It was perfect paired with a glass of the white wine I used in the recipe!
Always a good choice to have a glass of white wine with this pasta. So glad you liked it, Lisa!
I did the same I used shallots instead of onions , lovely recipe thanks to the author .
So glad you liked it, Dave!
YUM!! I would have to use plain salmon, but even so, it should be awesome. It’s not easy getting my husband to eat fish, but I can try…
All we can do is keep trying, right? 🙂
Thank you for the tips! I will try it! Maybe a little bit more sauce!
Thanks for stopping by, Vonda!
Hi from Northern UK in Lockdown again
That was such a special Pasta dish, must try it on the family when we can meet up.
I only had salted capers but soaked them a bit and they were a perfect shot of salt.
I’m so glad it turned out great, Carol!