This Salmon Salad is easy to make and wonderful to keep on hand in the fridge. There are many different ways to eat it, and it has great crunch and flavor from celery, herbs, and a creamy homemade dressing. It only takes 20 minutes!
While tuna salad is the more common seafood salad, I think salmon salad is so much better. First, salmon doesn’t have the mercury problems that tuna has, and it has more nutritional benefits than tuna with its wonderful Omega-3 fats. I also think it’s more delicious. Let’s not forget that, for it’s probably the biggest reason of all.
I first tasted salmon salad at my local grocery store 10 years ago, where they were serving samples with crackers. I had the hardest time not taking seconds (okay, I did anyway and felt rude but it was SO good), and grabbed a tub of it to take home with me. From that day I was hooked, and eventually I started making it myself to save money.
Salads like this are pretty popular in our house, and we regularly alternate between Egg Salad, Chicken Salad, Shrimp and Avocado Salad, and this salad for our main “protein salads.” While we make potato salad and pasta salad too, you don’t really put those into sandwiches or wraps, like you can with protein-based salads. There’s so much you can do with this recipe, and I’ll include all those suggestions further down.
Tips for Best Results
Use perfectly cooked salmon – Sounds a bit obvious, but your salmon salad will be far superior if the fish you start with is moist and tender, and never cooked past 140F. If you’re using leftover dry salmon that you’ve overcooked, this recipe is a good way to salvage it, but ideally you cook the fish well from the beginning.
Use the freshest herbs possible – Most people don’t realize how quickly fresh produce loses its flavor as it sits in the fridge. The fresh dill, parsley, scallions, and crunchy celery really make the salmon salad sing, so try to make your grocery trip pretty close to actually making this.
Let it sit – You are certainly welcome to enjoy the salmon salad as soon as it’s mixed up, and I often do. But like most salads, this will benefit from sitting time as the flavors meld and the dressing soaks into the fish. The difference of even 15-20 minutes is noticeable.
Step by Step Overview:
If cooking it in a skillet, cook for about 5-10 minutes (depending on thickness) over medium high heat, until the interior reaches 140F and is no longer pink. I actually prefer to cook the fish to medium, about 125F.
Much of the time I will also use the method from my Baked Salmon, baking at 425F for about 12-15 minutes, until no longer pink inside.
Can you use canned salmon?
If you prefer to use canned salmon, you can swap it out one-for-one here. Fresh fish has a superior flavor and texture, but this will also be delicious with canned fish. I recommended purchasing a boneless option, so you don’t have to pick out any bones. I’ve had good results with Wild Planet and Safe Catch brands.
Does wild vs farmed matter?
Truly any variety of salmon will work here, and it doesn’t matter if it’s wild or farmed, or if it’s fresh or previously frozen. However, some varieties definitely taste better than others.
Most of the time I prefer to use an Atlantic farmed salmon from a reputable seller like Whole Foods, as farmed varieties are usually more moist and budget-friendly. For wild options, your best bet for superior flavor will be the King variety which has more fat than other varieties like Sockeye or Chinook, but keep in mind it’s very expensive. I usually see it around $30/lb, and for me that is too pricy, especially for a recipe like this where the fish is flaked.
While the fish cooks, prep your veggies.
For my salmon salad ingredients, I like fresh scallions, parsley, celery, and dill:
You can do minced shallots if you prefer them over green onion, but I think scallions have an amazing flavor here.
Next, mix up your dressing, which includes mayonnaise, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt and pepper:
If you have 10 minutes to spare, I recommend using homemade mayonnaise for the best flavor. Store-bought is fine though if you have one you really like.
Once the fish is all cooked, flake it with a fork and add it to the dressing:
Add all the fresh green herbs and veggies too:
Stir it all together to combine well, then taste a spoonful and make any necessary adjustments. Does it need a little more black pepper, or an extra squeeze of lemon juice? Keep in mind that as the salad sits, the flavors will meld and it will taste more cohesive. The effect is noticeable in as little as 20 minutes.
Suggestions for How to Serve It
There are SO many ways to enjoy your salmon salad. Here are some ideas:
- With fancy crackers like rosemary croccantini, wheat crackers, or water crackers.
- In a wrap for lunch. Spoon it into a wrap tortilla and add tomato, lettuce, onion, and whatever else you’d like.
- In endive cups for a healthier and light option. You can also do romaine or butter lettuce.
- Make stuffed avocado halves with salmon salad in the middle.
- Put a big scoop of salmon salad on cooked quinoa for a healthy grain bowl.
- In sandwiches just like egg salad.
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I don’t recommend it. The fresh herbs and celery will discolor and have an unappetizing texture upon thawing.
Here’s a video I made for the recipe. Enjoy!
- 2 lbs salmon *
- 1/3 cup sliced scallions
- 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh dill chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped celery
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- salt **
- black pepper **
- Start by cooking the salmon using your preferred method, making sure to season the fish first with 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Much of the time I use the method from my Baked Salmon post, baking in a 425F oven for 12-15 minutes, but you can also cook in a skillet over medium high heat, which takes about 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. You may also grill it, poach it, etc. When the salmon is cooked through to 140 degrees F, flake the salmon with a fork (and discard any skin).
- In a big bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well. If you seasoned the fish with 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper during cooking, I will usually add 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper to the dressing here.
- Add the salmon to the dressing, and toss. Taste and check for seasoning. Does it need more salt, pepper, or fresh lemon juice? Adjust now.
- It is now ready to be enjoyed warm, or you can pop it into the fridge until fully chilled. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.