In search of easy appetizer to feed a crowd? This Smoked Salmon Crostini is elegant and tasty party appetizer to serve at any gathering year round!
We also love these goat cheese crostini!
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Smoked salmon crostini is an elegant appetizer, yet super simple to make! It’s the perfect appetizer for holiday parties, baby showers and any special occasions or gatherings.
My mom used to make smoked salmon appetizers and I based my recipe on hers. Instead of cream cheese she spread butter and they were more like canapes. But I borrowed her idea to add a slice of fresh cucumber. So good!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Crostini mean “little toasts'” in Italian and who doesn’t love toast?!
- Quick and easy: I kept my crostini recipe simple by skipping a food processor and piping bag for the cream cheese mixture. It needs just 25 minutes of your time.
- Delicious: Spread your freshly baked crostini with creamy dill and lemon cream cheese, top with smoked salmon, cucumber, capers and it’s an explosion of flavors!
- Serve year round: Due to its “evergreen” ingredients, you can serve smoked salmon crostini appetizer any time of the year. It’s a perfect snack during summer when it’s too hot to cook.
Ingredients You Will Need
To make smoked salmon crostini, you will need only 9 simple ingredients.
- Baguette: Regular, sourdough, whole grain, or gluten free baguette will work. If you are in a rush, you can buy pre-toasted crostini but I think fresh ones taste better.
- Smoked salmon: I am using pre-sliced wild smoked salmon. You can locate it in a fridge or freezer section of your grocery store.
- Cucumber: Slices of fresh cucumber add crunch and fresh taste. You can omit, if you don’t have any on hand right now.
- Cream cheese: I recommend to use full-fat cream cheese for maximum flavor. Low fat cream cheese won’t taste the same. Make sure it has been softened for about an hour at room temperature for easy spreading.
- Lemon: Lemon juice and lemon zest go so well with salmon.
- Capers: Taste super good with salmon and make crostini appetizers look pretty!
- Dill: Use finely chopped fresh dill, make sure to remove the thick stalk. Please don’t use dried dill weed as it will ruin these delicate salmon hors d oeuvres.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add a small clove of freshly grated garlic to the cream cheese mixture, if you wish. I was very tempted but decided to keep the recipe more simple.
How to Make Smoked Salmon Crostini
Here is how to make smoked salmon crostini in 6 simple steps. No food processor to whip up the mixture or a piping bag to pipe it is necessary.
- Slice baguette: Slice your baguette into 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick slices. You can slice it straight or a bit on a diagonal for longer pieces. If you slice bread too thin, crostini won’t be able to hold the topping. Slice them too thick, and appetizer becomes all about the bread.
- Season them: Brush baguette slices with olive oil on both sides, don’t drizzle. Do so one by one or arrange on rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and brush one side, then brush another side. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.
- Bake the crostini: Bake slices of bread in preheated oven at 400 F for about 10 minutes, turning once. Crostini should be very slightly golden outside but soft and tender inside. If you bake bread slices at too low temperature, they will be hard to bite.
If you would like to learn more tips, tricks and details about making crostini from scratch, check out my basic crostini recipe.
- Prepare cream cheese mixture: In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, fresh dill, salt and pepper. Stir with small spatula until smooth and fluffy.
- Cut salmon and cucumber slices: Slice cucumber thinly but not too thin. A bit on a diagonal to cover almost entire surface of your crostini. Cut large salmon slices into smaller pieces, I cut into halves. If yours are small, leave them as is.
- Assemble crostini: Spread cream cheese mixture generously on toasted baguette slices. Top with cucumber slice, then place rolled up or folded smoked salmon piece on top. Add a few capers next to salmon piece and decorate with fresh dill sprigs.
Tips and Variations
- Baguette storage: Baguette bread dries out very fast. If you prefer to buy it in advance and make crostini later, freeze it after 2 days. Then defrost for a few hours on a counter before making crostini and it will be like fresh.
- Don’t over bake crostini: It’s important to keep crostini tender inside. If you over bake them, your guests won’t be comfortable biting onto them. Do not bake until they turn golden brown. 10 minutes, flipping once, is enough.
- To soften cream cheese quickly: Cut into cubes and microwave in 10 second increments, stirring in between.
- Less mess: You can add majority of capers on top of cream cheese under the salmon slice and then only 2-3 on top for garnish. This makes crostini less messy, especially if you are serving them to standing guests.
- If you love garlic: Rub baked crostini with halved fresh garlic clove before adding cream cheese. Amazing depth of flavor! A tip from my mom.
- Other garnish: Instead of capers, add a bit of pickled onions.
Making Ahead and Storing
You can certainly prepare components of smoked salmon crostini ahead of time but make sure to assemble the day of serving.
Make ahead: Bake crostini toasts up to 3 days in advance. Make sure to cool completely and then store in an airtight container. Crostini will soften if you seal them while still warm. Do not refrigerate as they will taste stale.
Prepare and refrigerate cream cheese mixture for up to 3 days ahead as well. On the day of serving, all you have to do is slice cucumbers, assemble this smoked salmon appetizer and add garnish.
Store leftovers: Cover leftover crostini with plastic wrap or place in airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days.
While flavors of hot smoked salmon will work with smoked salmon starters, I recommend to use cold smoked salmon. It will look more elegant and its texture will work better with other ingredients.
Wrap in damp towel and place in preheated oven to 200 F for 5-10 minutes.
Besides lemon, capers and dill you can also pair smoked salmon with fresh basil, garlic, sour cream, horseradish, hard boiled eggs and avocado.
I hope you enjoy this simple appetizer and would love to hear from you in comments if you do!
More Easy Appetizers
Smoked Salmon Crostini
- 1 baguette cut into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices
- 1 long English cucumber thinly sliced
- 3.5 ounces jar capers drained
- 6 ounces wild smoked salmon smaller pieces
- 5 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 lemon zest whole and juice half (1-2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill finely chopped & more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt more for crostini
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush baguette slices with oil on both sides, sprinkle with salt and bake for 10 minutes, turning once. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, add cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Arrange cooled crostini on a serving platter. Spread with cream cheese mixture, dividing equally among all crostini.
- Then top with a slice of cucumber, rolled up salmon piece, and garnish with capers and dill. Serve as bite-sized appetizers.