Salmon Macaroni Salad

This salmon macaroni salad recipe is made with canned salmon and is ready in just 30 minutes. It's a quick and easy dinner or lunch made from pantry staples, but it can also be made ahead.

Salmon Macaroni Salad Recipe
Elise Bauer

I distinctly remember the tall cans of dark pink salmon that used to be in our pantry when I was a kid.

Although we could any time open a can of tuna or sardines and eat to our hearts content without permission, the canned salmon was off limits.

Although the excuse my father gave was, "it's special" (followed by "keep your hands off"), I think the real reason was that he loved the stuff and always wanted to make sure there was a can or two in the pantry when he wanted it.

Nothing lasted that long in the pantry of a family with six kids!

Quick and Easy Canned Salmon Macaroni Salad
Elise Bauer

One of my favorite things to do with canned salmon is to make a simple salmon macaroni salad with it, a riff off our family favorite tuna macaroni salad.

You can choose to add sliced lettuce (iceberg works best) to the salad, but it works best as is, without lettuce, if you are planning to bring it to a picnic or have it last for leftovers.

More Recipes for Canned Salmon

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Salmon Macaroni Salad

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings

Tip: add the macaroni to the salmon mayo mixture when it is still warm. That way it will absorb the flavors better.

Prep the salad ingredients while the pasta water is heating and the macaroni cooking.


  • 1/2 pound (about 2 cups) dry macaroni

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 (7-ounce) cans salmon

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (plus more to taste or for added smoothness)

  • 1 teaspoon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots, red onions, or green onions (with onion greens)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill)

  • 2 ribs celery, chopped

  • Tabasco, to taste (we used about 10 drops)

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Boil the macaroni:

    Bring a pot of water (2 quarts) to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the dry macaroni pasta and cook, uncovered, in a rolling boil for about 10 minutes, or until the macaroni is al dente (slightly firm). Remove from heat, drain, rinse briefly in cold water (macaroni should be still warm after rinsing) and drain again.

  2. Mix salmon and other ingredients in a large bowl:

    In a large bowl mix the salmon, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix in the shallots, parsley, dill, and celery.

  3. Stir in drained, warm macaroni:

    Mix in the cooked macaroni while it is still warm. Add Tabasco and freshly ground black pepper to taste. As the macaroni absorbs the mayonnaise, you may need to add some water to the salad to keep it from being dry. Adjust seasonings.

    Chill before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
552 Calories
27g Fat
47g Carbs
31g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 552
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 34%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 94mg 31%
Sodium 744mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 6mg 32%
Calcium 314mg 24%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 587mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.