Why you’ll love this recipe:
Creamy salmon alfredo pasta is a tantalizing combination of tender fettuccine noodles, savory alfredo sauce, and salty smoked salmon. Its restaurant-quality comfort food whipped up in less than 30 minutes!
- Texture – Irresistibly rich, velvety alfredo sauce is tossed with soft pieces of flaked salmon.
- Versatile – Easily swap smoked salmon for fresh cooked salmon, canned salmon, leftover chicken, or any of your favorite veggies.
- Made from scratch – You won’t find any store-bought alfredo in this recipe! Alfredo sauce is seriously SO simple to make, and homemade tastes worlds better than the jarred stuff!
Using smoked salmon instead of fresh salmon saves a ton of cooking time and dirty dishes, making this recipe perfect for busy weeknights!
If your kiddos aren’t into smoked salmon but you still want a cheesy pasta dinner, try out Instant pot chicken alfredo instead.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Fettuccine pasta – Wide, flat fettucini noodles are perfect for heavy sauces like alfredo sauce. Bigger noodles mean saucier bites! Substitute fettucini with spaghetti or angel hair pasta if needed.
- Unsalted butter – I highly recommend using unsalted butter to help control the amount of added salt in the sauce.
- Whipped cream cheese – I use the Philadelphia brand that comes in a tub. Whipped cream cheese has a smoother and softer consistency, making it easier to incorporate into the alfredo sauce.
- Garlic – You’ll need two whole cloves plus garlic powder. Using both forms of garlic ensures plenty of flavor in the sauce!
- Heavy whipping cream – This helps thicken the alfredo sauce while adding a creamy, indulgent texture.
- Milk – I use whole milk, but any kind will work.
- Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated parmesan cheese is always best. Store-bought grated cheese has preservatives added that prevent cheese from fully melting. For the best umami flavor, choose Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
- Smoked salmon – You’ll find packages of smoked salmon in the seafood section of your local grocery store. Smoked salmon is fully cooked and has a salty, smoky flavor.
- Fresh parsley – This adds a slightly peppery taste and a pop of color to the finished dish. I prefer to use flat-leaf parsley for its more robust flavor.
- Lemon juice – Don’t forget to add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end; it makes all the difference! The acidity of lemon juice lightens up the rich flavors in the sauce.
How to make this recipe:
1. Cook the pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
- Drain and set aside.
2. Make the alfredo sauce
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Whisk the cream cheese, garlic, and garlic powder into the butter until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Combine the heavy cream and milk in a 2-cup measuring cup.
- Slowly pour the milk and cream into the cream cheese mixture, whisking constantly.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook the sauce until it reaches your desired thickness.
Tip – The sauce will thicken very quickly! If it gets too thick, just add a splash of milk to thin it out a bit.
3. Prepare the salmon alfredo
- Toss the pasta and smoked salmon into the alfredo sauce.
- Add the parsley and fresh lemon juice.
- Serve immediately, and enjoy!
What to serve with salmon alfredo:
This salmon with alfredo recipe takes care of the carbs and protein at dinner. Round the meal out with a tasty vegetable side dish!
Some of my favorite options include:
- Bring the milk and heavy cream to room temperature before you get started. They’ll take less time to come to a boil if they aren’t cold straight from the fridge.
- Grate the parmesan cheese in advance. While I do not recommend store-bought grated parmesan, you can grate a block of parmesan ahead of time to save you the prep work during the dinner hour.
- Fresh parsley can be chopped in advance as well.
- Store leftover pasta alfredo salmon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Reheating alfredo pasta can be tricky. Alfredo will separate and become grainy if it’s reheated with high heat. So, it’s important to warm salmon alfredo slowly over low heat. Add extra milk or heavy cream as needed to thin the sauce back to a smooth and creamy consistency.
- You can freeze salmon alfredo, just be aware that the sauce’s texture may change slightly after it’s thawed. Let the pasta cool completely. Then, transfer it to a freezer bag or container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
It’s best to serve alfredo sauce on sturdy pasta varieties that have a lot of surface area. Heavy cream, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese are heavy ingredients that hold up better if they’re tossed with wide, thick noodles, such as fettucini or pappardelle.
Alfredo sauce is typically thickened using parmesan cheese and heavy cream. Alternative ways to thicken pasta include starting with a roux or using a cornstarch slurry. Make a roux by mixing equal parts butter and flour on the stove over low-medium heat. Or, mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of cold water to make a cornstarch slurry.
Add more salt and umami ingredients if your alfredo sauce lacks flavor. Start with more garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese. Then, add a pinch of salt. Taste your sauce as you go, and continue adjusting your seasonings as needed.
Consider the color, smell, and texture when choosing a high-quality smoked salmon. The best salmon will be a deep pinkish-orange color. It shouldn’t have an overwhelming fishy odor, and the filets should appear smooth and firm. Additionally, look for smoked salmon made with wild-caught sockeye salmon for the best results.
Smoked Salmon Fettuccine Alfredo
- 8 oz Fettuccini pasta Note 1
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 oz whipped cream cheese I used Philadelphia brand in a tub
- 2 garlic cloves pressed
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup milk I use whole milk, but any kind will work
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese Note 2
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 oz smoked salmon chopped into small pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- To cook pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.8 oz Fettuccini pasta
- To make the Alfredo sauce, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Add whipped cream cheese, garlic and garlic powder. Whisk until everything is combined and smooth, about 2 minutes.4 oz whipped cream cheese, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- In 2-cup measuring cup, combine heavy cream and milk and slowly stir into the cream cheese mixture, whisking constantly. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally.1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 cup milk
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and continue to cook until desired thickness. (Note: the sauce thickens rather quickly. If the sauce thickened too much, add a bit of milk to thin it.)½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Add pasta, smoked salmon, parsley and lemon juice. Toss everything until well combined. Serve immediately.8 oz smoked salmon, 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
– Smoked salmon fettuccine alfredo is best enjoyed right away, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
– Reheat slowly over low heat, and add extra milk or heavy cream as needed to thin out the sauce.
– Smoked salmon alfredo can be frozen for up to 2 months! Just note that the taste and texture may change slightly.
* Disclaimer: All nutrition information are estimates only. Read full nutrition disclosure.
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