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Creamy Lemon Vodka Salmon Pasta

A super easy salmon pasta recipe with delicious flavors and a creamy texture.
By November 15, 2018 6 Comments Jump to Recipe
Creamy Lemon Vodka Salmon Pasta in skillet horizontal

This super easy to prepare pasta dish is a classic combination of bright and citrusy flavors of lemon, vodka, salmon and fresh dill; making Creamy Lemon Vodka Salmon Pasta. I used penne pasta, but you can definitely substitute any type of pasta that you wish, and it will turn out great.

I always forget how wonderful Salmon is until I sneak a tender flake off the side right when it finishes cooking. Along with being extremely good for you, it’s such a beautiful and luxurious ingredient that I could probably eat almost every day in some form.

Creamy Lemon Vodka Salmon Pasta in bowl

What type of salmon to use

I always recommend using wild salmon from the Pacific Ocean. Alaskan Salmon is often seen as the best, but it depends on the season as to what is available. I talk more about the differences between wild and farm-raised salmon in this pan-seared salmon recipe post.

How to cook salmon for pasta

Cooking salmon for pasta can be grilled, sautéed, baked, or you can even use pre-made smoked salmon and just add it into the pasta sauce. You can either leave it in large filets or cut it down into smaller pieces for quicker cooking. Leftover salmon from another meal is great to use in this pasta.

Creamy Lemon Vodka Salmon Pasta overhead in skillet
Creamy Lemon Vodka Salmon Pasta in skillet horizontal

Creamy Lemon Vodka Salmon Pasta

4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 12 oz pasta such as penne
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 11 oz salmon cooked and fork torn
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice , preferably meyer lemon
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup parmesan reggiano cheese grated course , plus more for plating
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill , chopped


  • Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente, as it will finish cooking in and absorb the sauce. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  • Heat the butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Sweat the onion with some salt until it is tender and translucent, but not browned.
  • Pour in the vodka and reduce it down until it is almost gone.
  • Add the cream and cook until it just starts to bubble. Gently stir in the cooked salmon and warm through.
  • Add the cooked pasta and continue cooking until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 to 3 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the pasta water.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the juice from the lemon, the zest, parmesan and fresh dill. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Garnish with thin lemon slices, fresh dill and more parmesan.

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Kristy says:

    This was delicious! Husband came home with lots of salmon from a fishing trip so I needed some interesting recipes to use it all up!
    If anyone is looking for more ideas on how to cook the salmon initially here’s what I did:
    -Brined salmon for 15 min (1quart of water and 1/4 cup kosher salt)
    -Drained and patted dry
    -dredged in flour and black pepper
    -heated 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil over med-hi heat and pan seared salmon for about 2.5 min per side
    -Set aside covered in foil until called for

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • justin says:

      Oh the problem with coming home with lots of Salmon is something we all wish we were dealing with. Sounds delicious, Kristy and thanks for your tips!

  • Josiane Collazo says:

    I had a whole packet of smoked norwegian salmon after the holidays. what to do with it? Looked online and found this recipe which is really great, tasty and very satisfying. It can be made with fresh salmon or smoked. wonderful, wonderful!!!

  • Sofie says:

    Extraordinary! Entire family loves this, kids included. I cook the salmon the day before, and refrigerate and I also chop the onions so i can assemble this real fast after work. I double the Parmesan, and double the lemon. Yum!

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