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 my Mexican street corn salad recipe, 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, 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! 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 recipe 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!
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.
- 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.