When you’re short on time but want a good-for-you dinner, salmon fillets are a weeknight winner. This fish cooks up super-fast plus tastes delicious whether you roast, grill or pan-fry it — but those aren’t the only reasons love it. It’s also easy to use leftover cooked salmon in so many breakfast, lunch or dinner recipes for days to come. That way, you get the most bang for your grocery buck by not letting food go to waste. Plus the versatile fish works with lots of different flavors, so you’re sure to never get bored. Ready to get cooking? Here’s how to use leftover salmon along with five easy recipes from our test kitchen.
How long does cooked salmon stay good?
Freshness is key when using cooked salmon as it can go bad faster if stored incorrectly. The USDA recommends that cooked salmon fillets be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for three to four days.
Anything longer than this causes the salmon to have a sour odor and turn its texture from flaky to mushy or slimy. Also, consuming spoiled salmon can trigger foodborne illness — so save yourself stomach upsets by throwing away cooked fish that’s past its prime. Luckily, leftover salmon’s storage life gives you enough time to enjoy it in your favorite meal.
Should leftover salmon be eaten hot or cold?
When stored correctly, cooked salmon can be enjoyed in either warm or cold dishes. Some ways to eat cold salmon fillets include flaking it to place on a sandwich, in a salad or mix into a chilled dip — essentially any way you’d use canned tuna fish, you can swap in cold flaked cooked salmon.
For serving it warm, it’s best to reheat fillets of salmon on low in the oven. Click through to our guide on how to reheat leftover salmon for the step-by-step instructions. Don’t have a full fillet leftover? First for Women Food Director Julie Miltenberger says flaked salmon does particularly well in creamier dishes since the fish is so packed with flavor. “I enjoy dropping flaked pieces of cooked salmon into creamy soup — just heat it over low on the stovetop until warmed through,” she says. “And for a super-quick meal that feels decadent, I like to toss flaked salmon pieces into fettuccine Alfredo.”
Another favorite of Julie’s? Mixing flaked salmon with seasoned breadcrumbs and eggs to form fish cakes, then pan-frying until golden brown. And if you need more inspiration for using cooked salmon, our test kitchen has five recipes you’re sure to love! (Click through for tips on how to turn leftover rice into crispy rice.)
5 delicious leftover salmon recipes
Finding a leftover salmon recipe that will satisfy your taste buds is much easier than you think. Below, you’ll find recipes beloved by Julie and the rest of our test kitchen. They use ingredients like dill, Parmesan cheese and lemon to brighten up the flavor of leftover salmon. Anyone else getting hungry?
1. Oven Quesadillas
A splash of green Tabasco adds a tangy kick to these toasted treats that are so easy to customize with whatever veggies and cheese you happen to have on hand.
- 2 scallions
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime
- 1 tsp. green Tabasco sauce
- 8 soft taco-size flour tortillas
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, 8 oz.
- 10 oz. flaked cooked salmon (approximately two 5 oz. fillets.)
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Active: 25 mins
- Total time: 35 mins
- Yield: 4 servings
- Heat oven to 400°F. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray. Chopscallions. Halve avocado; remove pit and peel. Transfer to bowl. Using fork, mash. Grate ¼ tsp. zest and squeeze 2 tsp. juice from lime into bowl with avocado. Stir in Tabasco; spread over one side of each tortilla, leaving ½-inch border.
- Place 2 tortillas, avocado side up, on each baking sheet; sprinkle each with ¼ cup cheese. Dividing evenly, top cheese with salmon, spinach, scallions, remaining cheese and tortillas, avocado sides down. Place 1 rimmed baking sheet on top of each baking sheet of quesadillas. Bake until cheese melts and tortillas are golden, about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges.
2. Salmon Lasagna
Oven-ready noodles and jarred sauce make it a snap to whip up this creamy layered delight.
- 1 (22 oz.) jar Alfredo sauce
- 1 cup light cream
- 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 (12 oz.) bag frozen chopped kale, thawed, drained
- ½ cup chopped dill
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta
- 1 egg, beaten
- 6 oven-ready lasagna noodles
- 8 oz. cooked flaked salmon (approximately one and a half 5 oz. fillets.)
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Active: 30 mins
- Total time: 1½ hrs
- Yield: 8 servings
- Heat oven to 375°F; place baking sheet in oven. Coat 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. In bowl, mix sauce, cream and ½ cup Parmesan. In separate bowl, mix kale, ½ cup Parmesan and dill. In third bowl, mix ricotta, ½ cup Parmesan and egg.
- Spread 1 cup sauce mixture in baking dish. Top with 2 noodles. Top with half of each ricotta mixture, salmon, kale then 1 cup sauce. Repeat once. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Cover with foil. Bake (on baking sheet) until hot and bubbly, about 40 min. Remove foil. Top with remaining Parmesan and panko. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
3. Croissant Salmon Bake
Our buttery twist on a brunch classic is ready for the oven in just 25 minutes.
- 4 eggs
- 1½ cups half-and-half
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 Tbs. chopped dill
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 6 croissants
- 3 oz. cooked flaked salmon (approximately half of a 5 oz. fillet)
- ½ cup shredded Gouda cheese
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Active: 25 mins
- Total time: 1 hr
- Yield: 6 servings
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 2-quart oval baking dish. In large bowl, whisk togethereggs, half-and-half, scallions, dill and pepper.
- Tear croissants into 4 pieces each; tear salmon into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Add croissants, salmon and cheese to egg mixture; toss until combined. Transfer to baking dish.
- Bake until no longer wet in center, about 35 minutes. Top with tomatoes. If desired, garnish with additional dill sprigs.
4. Salmon Cucumber Dip
This cool and creamy starter can be served on crunchy bagel chips and topped with chopped herbs.
- ½ of 1 seedless cucumber
- 1½ cups 5% milk-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 oz. cooked flaked salmon (approximately half of a 5 oz. fillet)
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ½ of 1 baguette
- Active: 25 mins
- Total time: 55 mins
- Yield: 8 servings
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grate cucumber. Place mixture in paper towels or clean kitchen towel. Squeeze out excess liquid; transfer cucumber to bowl. Add yogurt, salmon, scallion, dill, lemon juice, zest and pepper; stir until well combined. Cover; chill.
- Meanwhile, using sharp knife, cut baguette into ¼-inch thick round slices. Coat both sides with cooking spray. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake, flipping once halfway through baking time, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Let cool. Serve with dip.
5. Salmon Croquettes
Lightly fried salmon patties come together in a snap with just 5 ingredients — try them in your air fryer too!
- Oil, for frying
- 1 egg
- 15 oz. cooked flaked salmon (approximately three 5 oz. fillets)
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbs. sliced green onions or scallions
- Active: 15 mins
- Total time: 30 mins
- Yield: 10 servings
- In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, in bowl, beat egg; stir in salmon, ¼ cup breadcrumbs and green onions or scallions. Form into 10 patties and dust with additional breadcrumbs. In 2 batches, fry patties, flipping once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side.
Easy variation: Try making them in an air fryer: Spray half of the patties with canola or avocado oil on both sides and place in air fryer basket. Set temp. to 400°F and air-fry 5 min. Turn patties, spray with oil and air-fry 5 minutes more. Repeat with remaining patties. Serve warm.
Keep reading for more scrumptious ways to enjoy salmon:
First For Women aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission. Questions? Reach us at email@example.com