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 was relatively simple and easy while delicious. My family ate every bite.” – Kimberly
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 pasta (which seemed to be an popular menu item at the time).
So when I had a chance to go out to a restaurant, I was sure to order one of these things.
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.
About this creamy salmon pasta:
This creamy salmon pasta recipe is perfect for a “date night” at home (we’ll often make some version of this, or pesto salmon, for Valentine’s Day).
Big chunks of roasted salmon, spinach 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 (you could even make instant pot salmon or grilled sockeye salmon if you prefer not to turn on the oven).
I’ll walk you through how to do it below!
“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.” – Holly
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).
- 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.
- heavy cream – it’s not creamy salmon pasta without, well, cream (also the star of lemon creme brulee)! 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 here.
- lemon – adds more bright acidity to the cream sauce! Buy extra lemons for a round of lemon margaritas while you cook.
- spinach – since spinach wilts down to practically nothing when it’s cooked, I used an entire 5 ounce box of baby spinach in this this salmon linguine! I also pack a surprising amount of spinach into my vegetarian quiche.
- capers – the salty, briny flavor of capers can’t be beat, specially when paired with seafood. See also: salmon piccata.
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, seasoning it, 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.
Grab a fork, and it’s time to eat this pasta with salmon!
“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!” – Rachel
Can salmon pasta 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 and pastitsio), this salmon pasta recipe is one that is best eaten immediately.
Seafood never reheats 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.
What to serve with this salmon linguine:
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 linguine, I suggest either my beet salad or balsamic asparagus (also perfect side dishes for a salmon sandwich).
And depending on what time of year it is, my Easter salad is a great option throughout the spring and summer seasons, and my Christmas salad is perfect in fall and winter to serve with salmon recipes.
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.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 salmon fillets (about 3/4 pound)
- 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 400 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. Bake 12 minutes or until salmon is almost opaque throughout and internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, salt pot of boiling water and cook linguine according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, 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.
- Drain linguine and add to skillet. Stir in spinach and capers and cook over low heat 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach is just wilted.
- Remove salmon from oven. Slip spatula between salmon skin and flesh to remove skin; break into large chunks over linguine. Serve garnished with lemon wedges, 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.