Canned tuna gets a lot of love in recipes and has a much bigger section in the grocery store than canned salmon. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t wonderful things you can do with the other canned fish. If you have a can in the pantry and feel stumped or want to try something different, we have all kinds of suggestions.

According to Unlock Food, canned salmon is healthy, inexpensive, and has a three year shelf life. It contains calcium from the bones in the fish, Vitamin D, and heart-healthy omega-3 fats. The bones are edible, and the amount of calcium in your salmon will be vastly reduced if you remove them. Mashing them with a fork will make them easy to swallow and digest.

Once you open your can of salmon, you must refrigerate it and use it within three to four days. If you don’t think you’ll use or eat it all in that time, you can freeze it for up to three months. Canned salmon is precooked, making adding it to almost any dish easy. But you can also create recipes from scratch using this canned fish and a little creativity.

1. Craft salmon patties or croquettes

Think crab cakes, but easier. And you have an excuse to use that can of salmon in your pantry. It’s a win-win that’s low-calorie and heart-healthy. And you probably already have all of the necessary ingredients for these salmon patties. Salmon patties were developed during the Great Depression. Canned salmon was an inexpensive way for people to get much-needed protein in their diets without emptying their pockets.

Besides the canned salmon, you’ll need mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, breadcrumbs, an egg, lemon juice, and black pepper. Dill and green onion, you’ll likely have to pick up at the grocery store, but that is quick, simple, and cost-effective.

They cook in just 4-6 minutes, and each patty is only 173 calories. They make a healthy meal you can quickly put together on a weeknight when you don’t feel much like cooking. Serve them between buns as a sandwich, with vegetables or a side salad. If you want a sauce or dip to serve with them, consider a homemade dill sauce or crème fraiche.

2. Serve it in pasta

Is there anything pasta can’t do? Probably not. And there’s really nothing that won’t work well as a complement to pasta, canned salmon included. This is a cost-effective way of making seafood-style pasta. Luckily, there are dozens of ways to use canned salmon, but adding salmon to pasta will not only add bulk but also tons of flavor.

Canned salmon gives some extra taste to your pasta and makes it more filling by adding protein. And you’d be wrong if you think this only means making dishes like old-school tuna casserole. Consider adding it to fettuccine alfredo or mixing it into your next pasta puttanesca.

And while recent wisdom has cautioned people against overconsuming canned tuna due to high levels of mercury, canned salmon contains considerably less (per the FDA). It has roughly a tenth of the mercury that canned tuna does. In fact, canned salmon is just as healthy for you as using the fresh variety at a fraction of the cost (via Harvard Health Publishing). It has about the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids as fresh, but will keep for substantially longer.

3. Build a bowl

Like pasta, rice and grains make an excellent complement for just about anything. They’re also readily available and inexpensive. Adding salmon provides a lean protein boost to an already-filling meal. Building a grain bowl is simple and can be customized to suit anyone’s tastes.

You’ll need only three things to get started. The first is grains. Consider quinoa, farro, rice, or wheat berries. Next, pick a protein. This is where your canned salmon comes in, but it doesn’t have to be the only one you use. Consider adding other options like tofu, eggs, or edamame to give your bowl a real depth of flavor you won’t get from using a single protein source.

Then, finish things off with a fat. This will help your body process and absorb essential vitamins like A and D. While fats are important, you want to choose lean sources, like olive oil, almonds, or avocados. Consider drizzling the top with a homemade dressing or sauce.

4. Soufflé your salmon

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Want to go fancy with your canned salmon? Consider turning it into a soufflé. That’s what Julia Child would do. She’s famous for creating fancy French dishes that will wow your family and guests that can be cooked at home without too much muss or fuss.

Searching for the skinny on how to make this soufflé at home? You can easily modify recipes like crab soufflé to accommodate canned salmon. Start by buttering and flouring a soufflé or casserole dish. You’ll need to make a collar out of aluminum foil if you’re using soufflé dishes.

You can replace the two cups of fresh crab meat in the next step with your canned salmon. It is already cooked, but you’ll want it heated and seasoned. Melt butter in your skillet, cook a minced scallion, and then add your canned salmon. Mix just until blended and heated through, then put the salmon in the bottom of whatever dish or dishes you’ve chosen to use. You’ll top this with a blend of milk, eggs, cream of tartar, tomato paste, cayenne, and parmesan cheese. Put in a 275-degree oven and bake for 25 minutes.

5. Cook up some chowder (or soup or stew)


Chowder may be the best way to use salmon in a soup, but it’s certainly not the only one. There’s a reason Mediterranean countries have been using fish in everything they can for years. It’s easy to come by, healthy, and complements almost every other flavor.

Cioppino is a fish stew developed by Italian immigrants in San Francisco, who used whatever they or others fishing nearby managed to catch for the day. Most coastal cities in Italy have created some version of a fish soup over the years. The recipes have been passed down for generations. Many still serve some variation of the original. And fishing is still a primary profession in places like the Cinque Terre, a cluster of villages off the Italian Riviera.

Your options are nearly limitless when deciding what to include in your canned salmon stew. Choose a cream-based option for a New England clam chowder-style dish and complement your salmon with potatoes. Or make the Manhattan variety with a tomato broth base. Lastly, you could use a vegetable broth and canned salmon, then pack your soup full of vegetables, legumes, rice, and pasta for an Italian-style affair.

6. Make salmon salad sandwiches

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If tuna and crabmeat or lobster had a baby, it would be canned salmon. This delightful, canned meat is a step up from your typical canned fish without the price tag attached to making lobster or crabmeat sandwiches. Going low carb? Skip the bread and serve it on lettuce.

If you’re looking for something really different, consider a smorrebrod-style sandwich recipe. It’s an open-faced type of sandwich that originated in Denmark. This variation of salmon salad uses both smoked and canned salmon, but other options exist that use just the canned variety.

It’s served on rye bread, and the filling is made not just of salmon, but also cream cheese and sour cream for a delightfully spreadable sandwich topping. Start by mixing the cream cheese and sour cream, then add lemon zest, salt, pepper, and, if desired, hot sauce. Next, slice up a bulb of fennel or celery, and add to the cream cheese mixture with diced roasted red peppers and chopped chives. Add the smoked and canned salmon, mix, and then refrigerate for up to four days. When you’re ready to serve, spread butter on your bread, then add the salmon-cream cheese mixture.

7. Turn it into a mousse or dip

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Need to serve a crowd with that can of salmon in your pantry? Consider turning it into a mousse or dip. We just discussed the deliciousness of mixing your salmon with cream cheese in a spread for your sandwiches. You should also consider mixing them to create a dip to serve at your next get-together.

A tasty dip option can be made by simply combining salmon, cream cheese, and eggs. The recipe calls for six eggs, so you’ll need to stock up before you start. Hard boil the eggs, then dice and set them aside. Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, green onions, garlic, liquid smoke, and hot sauce in a separate bowl. Fold in the eggs and salmon and serve on crackers.

If that’s not your cup of tea, consider a salmon mousse. Start by mixing up unflavored gelatin. While it cools, use a food processor to blend salmon, sour cream, and lemon juice. Salt, add the gelatin, and mix until blended. Cover and chill until firm, about two hours. Serve with crackers or bread.

8. Serve it in salads

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Turning your canned salmon into a tuna-like concoction for sandwiches isn’t the only way to turn it into a salad. Consider adding it to Caesar, Greek, Cobb, or even simple tossed salads. Like your grain bowls, adding salmon to your salads gives them a protein boost. If you add it to a Cobb salad, you get double the benefits since this type of salad also contains eggs.

In fact, this particular canned meat is so versatile that it’s one of several things recommended to keep in your pantry at all times. It’s perfect for when you need something to put together a quick, nutritious meal.

The types of salads you can make with canned salmon are limited only by your imagination. If you don’t like green salads, consider using canned salmon in your next pasta salad. Blend it with lemon juice and mayonnaise and consider adding dill or garlic. Add onions, peppers, tomatoes, olives, and other vegetables. If you’re not a fan of mayonnaise, try making your dressing with olive oil instead.

9. Add it to eggs or breakfast casseroles


Think you can’t use salmon for breakfast? You’d be mistaken. In fact, you can make a meal like scrambled eggs or breakfast casseroles using canned salmon. Scrambled eggs may be the easiest way to add canned salmon to your breakfast. Simply stir the salmon into your eggs once they’ve begun to cook. Or sprinkle them on an omelet as it cooks.

Want something simple and long-lasting? Mix your canned salmon with eggs, dill, lemon, and onion, and pour into muffin tins. Bake these in the oven to create single-serving frittatas you can take with you to eat at the office or pop into the microwave and have breakfast for dinner. Keep them in the freezer, and you’ll always have a quick and healthy meal close by.

Or mix your ingredients and pour them into a casserole dish. Consider adding chunks of crusty bread to make a strata. Still feel fishy about eating salmon for breakfast? Bake a quiche and serve it for brunch or lunch instead.

10. Cook into crepes


Another meal that works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner is crepes. Season with simple elements like lemon juice and herbs. This version of crepes is filled with spinach then topped with a salmon sauce. While the recipe calls for smoked salmon, you could easily swap it out with the canned variety.

Instructions are provided for making your own crepes from scratch, but you can buy them premade if you don’t have the time or the inclination to make them yourself. Once your crepes are made, you’ll wilt some spinach in a skillet with onions. Set this aside while you make the salmon sauce.

Start by making a roux, then add milk and stir until thickened. Fold in your salmon and dill and stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust the flavor with salt and pepper. Next, mix your greens with ricotta and dill and fill your crepes. Place the completed, rolled crepes in a casserole dish and put them in a 350-degree oven for 15-25 minutes. Remove, drizzle with salmon sauce, and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes until heated through.

11. Make burgers, meatballs, or meatloaf

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Making a salmon burger is not unlike making salmon patties. You’ll simply combine salmon, Dijon, dill, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, and an egg white. Once your burgers are cooked, you can serve them with lettuce or another leafy green and tomatoes. Try slathering them with dill sauce. Or try serving it with pickle relish, like in this salmon burger with sweet pickle relish recipe. This burger version includes Worcestershire sauce and capers and is best served on Hawaiian rolls.

Salmon meatballs are another excellent way to turn your canned salmon into an easy weeknight meal. Mix it with the same type of ingredients you would use for your burgers. And consider serving them in a lemon and dill cream sauce. You can serve them plain or over noodles. Or you could make a salmon meatloaf using similar ingredients. Meatloaf isn’t necessarily the healthiest option, but this is a simple way to make it just a little bit healthier than it would traditionally be.

12. Wrap it up

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Wraps are another simple way to turn that can of salmon in your pantry into lunch or dinner. You can go old school or low carb with wraps, and salmon is the perfect high-protein filling either way.

If you buy pre-seasoned salmon, you could make spicy salmon lettuce cups. You’re likelier to find these in pouches than actual cans, but you are operating from the same basic concept. Consider using mango chipotle flavor. If you can’t find one of the already-flavored versions, consider mixing up your own dressing to toss your salmon with.

Put your lettuce cups on plates and fill with your seasoned salmon. Top with avocado and onion. You can drizzle lemon or lime juice over your lettuce cups before serving if you’d like. If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, consider using tortillas or sandwich wraps. Flavored options of these, like spinach or tomato, make an excellent complement to your salmon. Wrap it up with spinach or field greens, tomatoes, and onions.

13. Use in tacos or burritos

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Who says your fish tacos have to have fried fillings? Use canned salmon instead to fill your taco shells for a hearty and healthy meal. Or make them into burritos if you have a bigger appetite. Using salmon in your tacos is as simple as tossing it in lemon or lime juice and some cilantro and piling it onto soft or hard taco shells, depending on your preferences. You don’t need anything else, but if you want to add more fillings, consider shredded lettuce, fresh salsa, or pico de gallo.

If, on the other hand, you’re making burritos, you’ll need to add some additional fillings besides your canned salmon. All the above options will work. Also, consider white beans, avocado, or guacamole. It is good to go ahead and keep a can or two of salmon in your kitchen to make up meals like this. Consider serving them with rice or tortilla chips.

14. Add to pizza

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You may not think fish and pizza is a good pairing, but it’s done all the time in New England. And plenty of people put anchovies on their pizza. Give it a try with your next can of salmon. You may be pleasantly surprised. In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, one of the first places salmon appeared on pizza was at Spago, the restaurant of famous chef Wolfgang Puck. He didn’t create it himself; it was the invention of the restaurant’s first pizza chef, Ed LaDou.

That same chef who first put salmon and shrimp on pizza at Spago went on to develop the first menu of the California Pizza Kitchen chain. You can make your own pizza and add canned salmon to it. Consider cream or tomato-based sauces. If you don’t feel like going to all that trouble, add canned salmon to a store-bought pizza to kick up the flavor and protein content.

15. Make sushi


You can make sushi at home with your canned salmon, too. Roll rice, nori sheets, and canned salmon together to create a salmon roll. Want all the flavor without all the work? Consider a salmon sushi bake instead. The recipe calls for salmon filets, but you can swap them out for canned salmon, making the meal easier and less expensive. You’ll also need olive oil, soy sauce, Kewpie mayo, sushi rice, water, rice vinegar, furikake seasoning, sriracha sauce, black and white sesame sides, scallions, and nori sheets.

Mix your flaked salmon with soy sauce and Kewpie mayo while the rice cooks, then press the rice into the bottom of a 9×11-inch pan. Add the salmon and drizzle mayo and sriracha over the top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Baking this dish sets all the ingredients, warms your canned salmon, and gives your rice a bit of a crunch. Once it’s out of the oven, top it with scallions and serve with nori sheets.

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