Canned salmon salad, no mayo, on flat bread with assorted toppings.

Quick Canned Salmon Salad No Mayo

Liven up your sandwich routine with the convenience of tasty, canned salmon salad made with a few fresh and simple ingredients, no mayo. Key ingredients like plain yogurt, lemon, and everything but the bagel seasoning help bind the salmon and celery together and impart a yummy flavor that you can easily customize with other optional ingredients.

Take a break from cold cuts and try this quick, hassle-free canned salmon salad recipe. What’s more, you’ll have a nutrient-dense and delectable high-quality protein to reach for minus the cooking. Tons of boxes checked off there!

Why This Works

  • Nutrient-dense salmon is the star of the recipe
  • Simple and easy-to-find ingredients
  • No cooking required
  • Takes 10 minutes or less to make
  • No special equipment needed
  • No chopping if you get the celery and optional ingredients pre-chopped
  • Customizable
  • A great way to use up leftover plain yogurt and celery

Health Benefits of Salmon

Salmon is one of the most nutrient-dense foods that consistently ranks on lists of healthiest foods to eat. Consumption of fatty fish like salmon has been well studied and shown to have positive impacts on overall health.

Salmon contains essential omega-3 fats, high-quality protein, nutrients, and compounds that may offer several health benefits [1].

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Help with weight management due to high-quality protein
  • Help prevent inflammation
  • Improve brain function
  • Support mental health
  • Help maintain eye health due to vitamin A content
  • Support bone health due to vitamin D content.

The American Heart Association recommends two 3-ounce servings per week of fatty fish like salmon to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke [2].

But what do you do if the price of fresh salmon is too much for your grocery budget? Enter canned salmon…

Benefits of Canned Salmon

While the taste may be different, canned salmon is just as nutritious as its fresh counterpart. In addition, it offers these other benefits:

  • Budget friendly
  • Shelf stable
  • Convenient – cooking is a non-issue
  • Great source of calcium and vitamin D – nutrients needed for bone health that some people are not getting enough of

Adults need 1,000 milligrams of calcium to support bone health and up to 1200 milligrams after age 50. Canned salmon with bones contains 181 milligrams of calcium in a 3-ounce serving, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) [3].

Comparatively, the NIH list of other calcium-rich foods such as non-fat milk which has 302 milligrams in a 1 cup serving, and raw broccoli which has 90 milligrams in a 1 cup serving. Thusly canned salmon is also a great calcium source, providing about 10% of the recommended calcium intake.

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption. The recommended intake for vitamin D for adults is 600 IU and up to 800 IU for adults over age 70. A 3-ounce serving of canned salmon, depending on the variety, contains an impressive 479-730 IU of vitamin D, according to the United States Department of Agriculture [4]. Moreover, that one serving can meet most to all of your vitamin D needs.


Canned salmon salad ingredients: plain Greek yogurt, everything but the bagel seasoning, pepper, salt, canned salmon, lemon, and celery.
  • Canned salmon – High-quality protein loaded with omega-3 fat and nutrients. You can choose between canned salmon with bones and skin or boneless and skinless. Just note that the latter contains less calcium. However you may not even notice the difference in a recipe like this where the mixing of the ingredients will crush the already tiny bones.
  • Plain Greek yogurt – A healthier alternative to mayo with fewer calories and more nutrients like calcium. Choose dairy or dairy free. Nevertheless, if you choose dairy-based yogurt, I recommend whole milk or 2% plain yogurt for flavor. I’m partial to Greek yogurt for its protein content. One cup offers about 15 to 20 grams of protein. Protein is our body’s building blocks for our bones, muscles, and tissues. Additionally, Greek yogurt is rich in calcium, an essential nutrient for bone and muscle health. Calcium also supports blood circulation, the nervous system, and heart function.
  • Celery – For the crunch factor. You can find celery pre-chopped and avoid chopping altogether. Low in calories, celery contains nutrients like vitamin K and C and potassium as well as several antioxidants.
  • Lemon – A little tanginess from vitamin C-rich lemon complements seafood.
  • Everything but the bagel seasoning – A workhorse seasoning that goes with this canned salmon salad no mayo recipe and just about everything! The blend I use contains salt, poppy seed, dried garlic, sesame seed, and dried onion. You could make your own, but this blend is just so convenient to use.
  • Salt and pepper to taste – You may eliminate the salt if you’re limiting sodium since canned salmon contains salt as a preservative. Note that there is salt, too, in the everything but the bagel seasoning.


Chopped celery on a cutting board next to a knife.

Firstly, start with chopping the celery. You’ll want to chop the celery into thin slices, about 1/8 – 1/4 inch.

A medium-sized bowl with all the ingredients: chopped celery, canned salmon, plain yogurt, everything but the bagel seasoning, salt, pepper, and squeeze of half of a lemon.

Next, add the celery and all the other ingredients to a medium-sized bowl. For this canned salmon salad no mayo recipe, you can also add chopped onion, capers, or chopped fresh herb if desired.

A fork mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Finally use a fork to mix all the canned salmon salad ingredients. If you’re using canned salmon with bones, you can easily mash the bones with the fork. You won’t notice the bones if you mash and mix well.

If you’re using optional ingredients that you want in the mix, too, add them in now. Depending on the number of optional ingredients you add, you may need to add a little more of the plain yogurt to get the consistency right so that everything melds.

Canned salmon salad after mixing ingredients.

Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Canned salmon salad served on several pieces of flatbread with a variety of toppings - chopped tomato, radish, red onion, scallions, capers, and dill.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Leftovers may be stored for up to 3 days.

Canned salmon salad is great in a sandwich or on toast or crackers. Add toppings such as scallions, capers, or dill. See FAQ for more serving ideas and variations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to eat canned salmon?

– Use as a filling in sandwiches – cold or grilled.
– Swap out the bread for a wrap or lettuce wrap.
– Add a scoop to a salad bowl.
– Spread on top of toast, crusty bread, flat bread, or crackers.
– Use as a filling in tortillas and quesadillas. You can also roll it up in tortillas, air fry it, and serve it with guacamole on the side.
– Serve as a dip along with crudites – celery, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots sticks.

Is canned salmon just as healthy?

Canned salmon and fresh salmon offer comparable nutrients, as the canning process doesn’t diminish the nutrients present in the fish. As such, you can obtain protein, omega-3 fats, and other essential nutrients from both varieties.

Also, check if the canned salmon is packed in oil or water as this can impact the overall nutrition quality particularly if you’re watching calories. Water-packed canned fish are typically lower in calories and fat compared to oil-packed varieties. However, canned salmon packed in heart-healthy olive oil is a good option if you go with oil.

Lastly, look for canned salmon with minimal ingredients. The ingredients should include fish, water or oil, and a little salt for preservatives.

Is canned salmon better than tuna?

Both canned salmon and tuna can be convenient, healthy choices, but which one is better for you depends on your individual nutritional needs and taste preferences.

In terms of nutrition, both salmon and tuna are good sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. While tuna isn’t as high in mercury as other fish like king mackerel and shark, it does contain a higher amount than salmon [5]. This may be a concern for people like pregnant women and children, who need to limit consuming fish higher in mercury.

Additionally, canned salmon is higher in vitamin D and omega-3 fat than canned tuna. On the other hand, canned tuna is slightly higher in protein than canned salmon. [6]

Can you eat canned salmon like canned tuna?

Yes. Consider trying a salmon melt sandwich or salmon pasta dish as they share a similar texture to tuna. This would be a good alternative to a tuna melt sandwich or tuna pasta.

Should you rinse canned salmon and cook it?

This is not necessary unless you want to remove any excess salt or fish odor that may be present, as well as any bones or skin. However, rinsing results in a loss of nutrients and some flavor.

If you prefer to rinse your canned salmon, it’s best to do so quickly and gently under running water. Avoid rinsing it for too long, as this washes away some of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are present in the fish.

Lastly, canned salmon is not cooked the way you may be thinking – in a pan over a stove or baked in an oven. It goes through a heating process to kill off bacteria, no different from canned tuna. Essentially it is cooked.

Canned salmon salad, no mayo, on flat bread with assorted toppings.

Canned Salmon Salad No Mayo

Johna Burdeos, RD
An easy-to-make tasty, canned salmon salad that's made with a few simple ingredients. Canned salmon is a convenient high-quality protein with omega-3 fat, calcium, and vitamin D. Enjoy this salad as a filling in sandwiches and lettuce wraps. Or add a scoop to a veggie bowl or toast. Or serve it with crackers for an appetizer or snack. Make it your own with a variety of optional ingredients.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 5 people
Calories 138 kcal


  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 chef knife
  • 1 medium bowl
  • 1 fork
  • measuring cups and spoons


  • 1 15-ounce canned salmon bone or boneless (see notes)
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt add plain yogurt of your choice – dairy or non-dairy (see notes)
  • ½ celery stalk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons everything but the bagel seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper or to taste
  • Optional: chopped hard-boiled egg, capers, dill, chives, red onion, scallions, or radishes.


  • Chop celery and place it in the bowl.
  • Open canned salmon, drain well, and place it in the bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl as well as any optional ingredients if you'd like. Using a fork, flake the salmon and mix all the ingredients.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Serve immediately or cover and chill.


Prefer not to do any chopping? Look out for pre-chopped ingredients at your local grocery store. 
The tiny bones in canned salmon typically break down as you mix the ingredients in a recipe like this. But you can use boneless canned salmon, too, if you prefer. Note that the boneless version contains less calcium. 
If you’re doing dairy-based plain yogurt, I recommend using yogurt made with whole milk or 2% milk for the best flavor. 
If you’re adding optional ingredients to the salad mix, you may need to add a little more plain yogurt to ensure that everything binds together.
*Nutrition information is an estimate based on ingredients used. 
Keyword 6 ingredients, canned salmon, salmon salad

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