Cream/ Date Night Dinners/ Fish/ Pasta

Creamy Salmon Pasta in a Dill Sauce

August 9, 2018 (Last Updated: February 10, 2020) by Chris Collins

This Salmon Pasta couldn’t easier to make! Served with a Creamy Dill Sauce, quick date night dinners have never been so delicious!

Salmon Pasta served on white plate with salt and lemon in the background

Creamy Salmon Pasta

When I say the flavours in this dish are a marriage made in heaven, I truly mean it. That gorgeous creamy sauce with chunks of buttery salmon is just to die for. This salmon pasta is incredible for so many different reasons, but here’s why you’re going to fall in love with it:

  • Perfect Salmon – Here I’ll give you some tips and tricks perfectly perfectly cooked salmon.
  • Creamy, but not crazy rich – Some creamy pasta recipes can often be heavy and too rich. Here I add white wine and a dash of lemon juice to balance out the flavours.
  • Flavoursome – Bursting with flavour! Including fresh blasts of dill and parsley, nutty browned butter and tasty shallots & garlic.

The other great thing about this creamy salmon pasta is that it makes THE perfect Date Night Dinner! I mean, anything with wine in the recipe is a winning dinner for two right?

Okay, let’s talk salmon…

close up shot of salmon pasta on white plate garnished with parsley

Pan Fried Salmon

The hero ingredient in this dish is the salmon, so naturally you want to bring out the best in it. Many similar recipes to this actually poach the salmon in the sauce, or dice it before frying. Personally I feel the best way to cook salmon, not only in the context of this creamy pasta but in general, is to pan fry it.

By pan frying the salmon you get a gorgeous golden crust, which translates to extra gorgeous flavour. You also get the leftover flavour from the salmon in the pan to start off the sauce.

For this salmon pasta, I opt for using salmon without skin. Salmon skin has no place in pasta 😳

Top tips for How to Pan Fry Salmon Without Skin

  • Prep – Ensure you bring the salmon up to room temp before you fry. This will help the salmon cook evenly and prevent it from drying out.
  • Season – Like any meat or fish, generously season with salt and pepper before it hits the pan.
  • Pan – Using a non-stick pan will prevent the salmon from falling apart when you flip it.
  • Heat – Keep the heat medium/high to get a nice golden crust.
  • Butter – Once you flip, baste in butter to add a gorgeous rich flavour.
  • Rest – Allowing the salmon to rest will ensure it fully cooks through without sacrificing juiciness.

How to Pan Fry Salmon (quick summary)

  1. Add salmon to pan with oil over medium/high heat.
  2. Once brown, flip, then add dill and butter.
  3. Baste until cooked through.

From there, I simply shred with two forks. However you can just dice it into bite sized chunks if you fancy!

How to pan fry salmon - step by step guidance photos

Creamy Dill Sauce

So, you’ve got some yummy buttery salmon ready and waiting for you. Let’s talk creamy dill sauce. After you’ve basted the salmon with butter, it will start to turn brown. Once it’s foamed and begins to settle, it turns a deeper shade of brown and releases a gorgeous scent. This sweet and nutty flavour is going to be the start of your sauce. Here’s what else you’re gonna need:

Creamy Dill Sauce Ingredients

  • Leftover Browned Butter
  • Shallots & Garlic
  • Dill & Parsley
  • White Wine
  • Heavy Cream
  • Lemon Juice
  • Chilli Flakes (optional)

What can I substitute the Chilli Flakes with?

I add a teeny weeny amount of spice to this dish to help balance out the richness. Cayenne pepper is a great substitute, but if you don’t like spice leave it out. Add a pinch more black pepper instead.

Can I substitute Creme Fraiche?

Many similar recipes use creme fraiche instead of heavy cream. I have actually tried this recipe with creme fraiche instead of cream and personally felt the dish ended up lighter, but much too sour. If you are keen on adding it, then just add a couple of tbsp and consider lowering the amount of lemon juice you use.

Top tips for the best Creamy Dill Sauce for Salmon

  • White wine – This is great for two reasons: Adds a nice bit of acidity to cut through the richness of the cream. Also helps deglaze the pan to collect up all that flavour.
  • Dill – It’s actually quite a strong herb, so I find as little as 1 tsp of fresh dill does the job. The browned butter will also already be infused with dill from pan frying the salmon.
  • Pasta Water – You’ll find that the cream thickens almost as soon as it hits the pan, so use some starchy pasta water to thin out as needed.

How to make Creamy Dill Sauce for Salmon (quick summary)

  1. Fry shallots & garlic in leftover butter then add white wine.
  2. Reduce wine and stir in cream.
  3. Add herbs and seasoning.
  4. Stir in shredded salmon.

How to make a creamy dill sauce for salmon - step by step photos

Serving Creamy Salmon Pasta

Once you’ve stirred through your pasta, I usually plate up with an extra sprinkling of parsley, a pinch of chilli flakes and a good helping of parmesan (because is it really acceptable to eat pasta without copious amounts of parmesan?!). If you fancy you can also serve with a side of Garlic Bread too!

If you’re looking for another easy fish dinner then definitely check out my Pan Fried Cod! Similar technique and ultra delicious. If you’re looking for similar pasta recipes then I’ve also got you covered.

Delicious Creamy Pasta Recipes

And there we have it! An easy and delicious dinner for two ready and waiting. Gorgeously creamy and herby with a gentle tang, this salmon pasta is a force to be reckoned with. To the full recipe!

Salmon Pasta garnished with chilli flakes and parmesan

How to make Creamy Salmon Pasta (Full Recipe & Video)

Salmon Pasta garnished with chilli flakes and parmesan

Creamy Salmon Pasta in a Dill Sauce

This Salmon Pasta couldn't easier to make! Served with a Creamy Dill Sauce, quick date night dinners have never been so delicious!
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Date Night / Main Course
Cuisine: Seafood
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 2
Calories: 749kcal
Cost per serving: £5 / $6

Equipment:

  • Large Pot & Colander
  • Large Frying Pan
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Pasta Tongs
  • Wooden Spoon

Ingredients (check list):

  • 2 Salmon Fillets, at room temp (skinned & deboned)
  • 7oz / 200g Spaghetti (or long cut pasta of choice)
  • 3/4 cup / 180ml Heavy/Double Cream, at room temp
  • 1/3 cup / 80ml Dry White Wine
  • 2 sprigs of Fresh Dill
  • 1 tsp Fresh Dill, finely diced
  • 1 heaped tbsp Fresh Parsley, finely diced + extra for serving
  • 2 small Shallots, very finely diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 heaped tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • small pinch of Chilli Flakes (optional)
  • Lemon Juice, to taste (see notes)
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan, to serve
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil, as needed

Instructions:

  • Generously season all sides of your salmon with salt and pepper.
  • Fry over medium-high heat in a small drizzle of olive oil. Once golden on one side, flip over and place a sprig of dill on top of each fillet. Melt 1 heaped tbsp butter into the pan and baste the salmon (see video). Fry the 2 other sides of the salmon then place to one side and rest.
  • Cook your pasta in salted boiling water until al dente, reserving a cup of starchy pasta water. Drain when needed.
  • Lower to medium heat and fry your shallots in the leftover browned butter until softened, then fry garlic for a further minute or so until lightly browned.
  • Pour in 1/3cup/80ml wine, deglazing the pan as necessary, and leave to simmer for a few minutes to reduce. It's important to reduce the wine so it burns off the alcohol and doesn't end up too bitter. Once reduced by at least half, stir in 3/4cup/180ml heavy/double cream.
  • Add 1 tsp finely diced dill, 1 heaped tbsp finely diced parsley (or to preference), a small pinch of chilli flakes (optional) and a small squeeze of lemon juice to taste (careful, you won't need much). Season with salt and pepper.
  • Shred your salmon or cut to bite sized chunks then add to your sauce. Use a splash of starchy pasta water to thin out the sauce if you need to. 
  • Toss through your pasta then serve with an extra sprinkle of parsley and a good grating of parmesan. 

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

Tips for the best Creamy Salmon Pasta

a) Pan Frying Salmon - Try to use a non-stick pan. Ensure the salmon is at room temp before frying so it cooks evenly and doesn't dry out. Don't worry about getting it completely cooked throughout, it'll finish cooking when resting and adding back into the pan. It's mostly important to get that golden crust.
b) Lemon Juice - The white wine will add a good amount of acidity to balance out the richness of the cream, so don't go squeezing an entire lemon in as well, the dish will end up too sour. I find around 1 tsp works well, but work to preference.
c) Chilli Flakes sub - A tiny amount of heat works nicely with the dish, again to balance out the richness. If you don't have chilli flakes, cayenne pepper works well. Either way, only a tiny amount is needed. If you don't like spice then leave it out all together, will still taste great.
d) Browned Butter - You want to cook down the butter until it turns a dark brown colour, so if you haven't achieved this by the time you remove the salmon, then spend a few minutes cooking it out until it browns. Browned butter adds a gorgeous sweet nutty flavour to the sauce. 
e) Parsley/Dill - I love a fresh blast of parsley through the sauce and sprinkled at the end, but work to preference with this. Dill is also quite strong, and since you've already basted the salmon in buttered dill, I find around a tsp works great in the sauce. Same again though, just work to preference. If you want more just sprinkle through at the end.
f) Calories - Based on using 1 tsp olive oil for frying and 1 tbsp parmesan per serving.

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Creamy Salmon Pasta in a Dill Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 749 Calories from Fat 425
% Daily Value*
Fat 47.17g73%
Saturated Fat 25.244g126%
Trans Fat 0.087g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.033g
Monounsaturated Fat 14.574g
Cholesterol 191mg64%
Sodium 385mg16%
Potassium 692mg20%
Carbohydrates 38.77g13%
Fiber 2.5g10%
Sugar 4.56g5%
Protein 35.6g71%
Vitamin A 3850IU77%
Vitamin C 10.7mg13%
Calcium 150mg15%
Iron 2.5mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Jan
    January 24, 2020 at 10:07 am

    This is a fantastic meal. I’ve made it several times and it is always delicious. I’m wondering if the salmon and sauce can be prepared a few hours in advance and reheated?
    Thanks very much.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      January 24, 2020 at 11:10 am

      Hey Jan! So happy you love the recipe!

      I haven’t actually made this in advance before, so couldn’t offer you concrete advice. I personally wouldn’t do the salmon in advance, I can’t imagine it’ll be as soft and flakey as if when cook it fresh. If I was to I’d just fry the salmon as instructed then cool and cover with cling film on a plate, then shred into sauce when you make that.

      You could do the sauce in advance, just cool and store in an airtight jar. I’d heat it in the pan and use a few splashes of the starchy water you cook the pasta in to thin it out as needed (important that it’s pasta water – the starch/salt won’t dilute the flavour & the starch will help emulsify the sauce).

      Hope this helps! Chris.

  • Reply
    Nikki
    May 3, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight, it was delicious!
    I used creme fraiche instead of creme so substituted the lemon juice for zest of half a lemon. Also used dried herbs instead of fresh as I particularly like dried dill and didn’t have any fresh parsley.
    A lovely dish that I will certainly make again.

    • Reply
      Chris
      May 4, 2019 at 11:00 am

      That’s so awesome to hear Nikki! Thanks for coming back and letting me know how you got on 🙂

  • Reply
    Carrie Oppelt
    January 6, 2019 at 1:17 am

    5 stars
    Thank you for posting this recipe and the detailed instructions. I made this for my family tonight and they said it was incredible!!!

    • Reply
      Chris
      January 6, 2019 at 10:37 am

      That’s awesome to hear! So glad the fam loved it! Thanks for coming back and sharing the feedback 🙂

  • Reply
    Rubia
    December 5, 2018 at 1:17 am

    5 stars
    This was so delicious! I added half a diced jalapeno instead of the chilli flakes for more of a kick! Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      Chris
      December 5, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Ooooo Jalapeno sounds lovely! So glad you enjoyed! 🙂

  • Reply
    Helen @ family-friends-food.com
    August 9, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    5 stars
    That pasta looks so creamy and delicious! Looks like a great way to use salmon, I’ll have to give it a try.

    • Reply
      Chris
      August 10, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Enjoy, Helen! 🙂

  • Reply
    Gabi Rupp @ Leanjumpstart
    August 9, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    5 stars
    Yes I agree Chris, for this gorgeous salmon recipe Creme Fraiche is just too sour and I also use full cream to make it a perfect match with dill, white wine and spaghetti. Sometimes when I feel we should restrict our calories I replace part of the full cream with a bit of milk;)

    • Reply
      Chris
      August 10, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Oooo like the tip of using milk! Will have to do that when I eventually go on a diet

  • Reply
    Demeter
    August 9, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    5 stars
    Such an easy dinner with big flavors! That creamy dill sauce sounds perfect!

    • Reply
      Chris
      August 10, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Super easy!! Thanks Demeter! 🙂

  • Reply
    Pam Greer
    August 9, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    5 stars
    I agree with you pan searing salmon is the best way to cook it! Sometimes I finish it off in the oven. I love that you used the browned butter then in the sauce!! This sounds amazing!

    • Reply
      Chris
      August 10, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Thanks Pam! All about the browned butter!

  • Reply
    Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C
    August 9, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    5 stars
    Salmon works so well with pasta. This looks fabulous! I appreciate all of your tips for pan-frying the salmon too.

    • Reply
      Chris
      August 10, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Ah, so glad you found them useful! Thanks Andrea! 🙂

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