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Smoked Salmon Pasta: Creamy + Easy

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Swimming in creamy flavor.

An elegant and easy 15-minute dinner, this creamy smoked salmon pasta recipe comes straight from Italy to your kitchen.

smoked salmon pasta on plate

Smoked Salmon Pasta: Meet the Recipe

Until recently, I thought the only thing you could do with smoked salmon was pile thin slices atop a bagel with cream cheese. Was I wrong.

Smoked salmon pasta may not sound as natural as a bagel and lox, but it is no less delicious. Creamy smoked salmon pasta is 15-minute (yes) dinner that tastes amazing: salty, satisfying, and brightened with lemon and chives.

ingredients for salmon pasta linguine lox lemon chives butter

How to Make This Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta Recipe

Buying smoked salmon used to mean using some of it once on a delicious weekend bagel, then letting the rest of the package languish in the refrigerator until I remembered (too late) that I was supposed to use it within a few days after opening. Now I cook this.

I adapted this recipe from a simple pasta dish in The Silver Spoon cookbook. The Silver Spoon is to Italy as The Joy of Cooking is to America: a necessary Bible of home cookery. This recipe involves little more than boiling pasta and adding it to a pan of smoked salmon pieces that have been simmering in a pan of butter and cream.

Smoked salmon is actually a not-unpopular Italian food. Smoked salmon was — and remains — an effective a way of preserving fresh seafood, enjoyed even by the ancient Romans and Greeks.

smoked salmon pasta recipe with cream and chives

Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta: Recipe Notes

Pasta choice. A creamy pasta wants a long, flat noodle, which envelops the sauce just so. Try pasta shapes like:

  • Linguine
  • Fettuccini
  • Tagiatelle, or other ribbon pasta

Often, when the pasta topping is chunky, you would want a chunky pasta. But here, the smoked salmon pieces are small enough to work with a long pasta.

Check the salt. Different brands and types of smoked salmon (lox, nova, and so on) differ in sodium content, but all do have a lot of salt. Thus, this recipe does not call for added salt — you are also boiling the pasta in salted water — but check for seasoning anyway.

Scallions also work really well here. Just like with salmon cream cheese, scallion and smoked salmon make a great flavor combination, with the fresh, mellow allium sharpness of scallions working as a great counterpoint to the salty salmon. I use chives here because they give the dish a great presentation and taste more mild, but scallions are a fine alternative.

Did you make this smoked salmon pasta recipe? What did you think? Share below.

creamy smoked salmon pasta on gray plate with chives

You’ll also like these easy pasta and salmon recipes:

plate of smoked salmon pasta on gray plate with chives

Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta

An elegant, easy 15-minute creamy smoked salmon pasta recipe that is deeply satisfying, brightened with lemon and chives.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American, Chinese, Italian
Keywords:: creamy salmon pasta, dinner, easy, italian, lox, pasta, pescatarian, salmon, seafood, smoked salmon pasta recipe
Servings: 4 people
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound long, flat pasta, such linguine, fettuccini, or tagliatelle
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon, cut into pieces
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives (can substitute 2 tablespoons thinly-sliced scallions)
  • kosher salt

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until just shy of al dente. Drain, reserving some pasta water.
  • While the water is boiling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the salmon, lemon juice, half of the lemon zest, and half of the chives. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cream and cook over low heat (the cream should be at a simmer) for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the drained pasta to the cream mixture. Cook for a few minutes, tossing to coat. Taste for seasoning. If the pasta looks a little dry, add pasta water a tablespoon or two at a time until it is creamy enough.
  • Serve immediately, topped with the remaining chives and lemon zest.

31 comments

  • 5 stars
    Oh my goodness this was easy! It is DELICOUS!

  • This recipe sounds fantastic and I look forward to making it. Do you think it would work with fresh salmon? Are there any adjustments you would make? Thanks!

    • Unpeeled

      Yes, you could certainly do this with fresh salmon! Flake it into small pieces, and proceed as normal. The small salmon pieces will cook just fine. The main difference will be in seasoning since smoked salmon is quite well salted, and has additional, subtle smoky notes. But I think that’s a great substitution!

      • 5 stars
        I just made this with smoked salmon after all and it was over the top delicious! We are fortunate to live near two of the great lakes and a local source for smoked meats and fish, so no excuses! The lemon and scallions were perfect and balanced the richness of the cream and salmon. Can’t wait to make it again!

  • Rhonda Turner

    5 stars
    My husband smoked some wild sockeye salmon for the first time! It was amazing, and I wanted to surpirse him with a dinner that would really showcase his accomplishment. I found your recipe, and it was SO delicious! We both loved it and will add this to our regular rotation…..thanks so much!

    • Unpeeled

      I am so glad that you enjoyed and how cool that he smoked his own salmon! I am sure that made it extra delicious. Thanks for the great comment.

  • Joy Pak

    5 stars
    Perfect easy dinner. Loved this.

  • Would a coconut cream/milk subsititute work for a dairy free version?

    • Unpeeled

      Coconut milk could work as a substitute, but the flavor and thickness would very a bit. But I think this could work well! If you try it, I’d love to know how it turns out.

  • 5 stars
    I had some cold smoked salmon to finish using up and someone sent me this recipe as a suggestion. BEST suggestion ever!! This was amazing and I can’t wait to make it again!

  • 5 stars
    Wow! I happened to have smoked salmon and look for a dinner recipe using it. This was the first recipe searched. I am so surprised at how amazing and quick this recipe is. My daughter doesn’t like pasta, but tried it and agreed. So good I added parmesan cheese and it worked well.

    • Unpeeled

      So glad you liked this! And it’s easy too — a great bonus! Thanks for the nice comment.

  • Melissa H.

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! This recipe will be in my regular pasta rotation going forward 🙂

  • Rhonda Townsley

    5 stars
    My husband has gotten into making linguini from scratch so I decided to make this recipe for a sauce. We loved it for several reasons: the ingredients are easy to get, the preparation is simple and its delicious. My husband is so proud to be able to make a dish that will impress guests. As it stands we have made it just for ourselves 3 times.

    • Unpeeled

      I am so happy that you enjoy this. It’s one of my favorites. And how wonderful to eat it with fresh linguine! Fresh pasta is always such a treat. Thanks for this kind comment and all the best in 2022!

  • 5 stars
    Just had 4 OZ SALMON, SO I ADDED SOME CHOPPED patagonia shrimp. I added just a little too much lemon juice, so I added a little garlic powder and it evened out the flavor. Delicious!

4.39 from 59 votes (42 ratings without comment)

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