Smoked salmon and cream cheese is such a fresh and delicious combination and layered on top of crostini with some cucumber and asparagus it makes the perfect bite-sized party food to really impress your guests. These smoked salmon canapes can be assembled in minutes and they are easy to adapt.
Whether you call them canapés, hors d'oeuvres or appetisers, these are seriously delicious. But, the best thing is they are SO easy. They look and taste far more impressive than they actually are. Serve these up with a glass of something fizzy when your guests arrive and they will be very happy.
Just 6 ingredients is all you need to make these smoked salmon canapés, but they are also easy to adapt with other vegetables and crackers. They are best assembled right before serving, but that's no problem because these take less than 5 minutes and you can prepare some of it in advance.
If you are looking for other ways to use salmon, then why not try our Smoked Salmon Pasta, Salmon Fish Cakes, Salmon Wrap, Salmon Muffins or 10 Minute Salmon Gnocchi?
Why you will love them
- Easy party food - You don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all night when having a party. These take just a few minutes to put together, which makes them perfect for parties. You can even replenish them throughout the night, because they are so easy.
- Adaptable - Use this as the base recipe and then adapt them with different bases, cheese and vegetables. We have given more options below.
- Can be prepared in advance - Whilst the whole thing is best assembled just before you are ready to serve, you can cook the asparagus in advance and then everything will take a couple of minutes to assemble before serving.
- Crostini - Canapés traditionally have some kind of pastry or bread base, and we went with a crostini as they are nice and crispy, which makes them a sturdy base. You could use our Bagel Crisps or Melba Toast as a base too.
- Cream cheese - We used a plain cream cheese, but you could use a flavoured one like garlic and herb to add some extra flavour. We recommend using the best quality cream cheese you can, as the cheaper ones tend to be watery and won't taste as creamy.
- Cucumber - We used a full sized English cucumber and sliced it and then cut the slices in half, so they fit on. However, you could use mini cucumbers which would look nice.
- Smoked salmon - The star of the dish. We used cold smoked salmon (lox), rather than cured salmon, but that would work too. Try to buy the best quality you can, as it really does make a difference. However, if you are on a budget, then smoked salmon trimmings would work too. You could also use a grilled and flaked salmon fillet instead if you prefer. Canned salmon would also work.
- Asparagus - An easy way to add a pop of colour and make these extra nutritious too. Save some time and cook these in advance so you can assemble everything before your guests arrive.
- Dill - This adds some lovely freshness to the canapés. You could use chives instead if you prefer.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Cook the asparagus spears for 3-5 minutes until tender, but not floppy.
Two: Spread the crostini with the cream cheese then add a cucumber slice. Top that with a thin slice of salmon.
Three: Top each canape with an asparagus tip and then add a small sprig of dill.
Health benefits of salmon
Salmon is a really healthy fish, with many nutritional benefits. Although we have used smoked salmon, which are more salty than salmon fillets, it still has lots of health benefits. Here are just a few:
- It is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.
- Salmon is rich in protein - a 100g (3.5oz) portion contains 25g of protein.
- Contains high amounts of B vitamins. These are good for repairing DNA and reducing the causes that can lead to heart disease. B vitamins also help maintain optimal brain and nervous system functioning.
- Contains antioxidants.
Cracker - We used crostini, but you could use melba toast or any good quality crackers. You don't even have to use a cracker. We like to slice up rounds of new potatoes and then roast them until crispy. They make a delicious, and sturdy, base for smoked salmon and cream cheese. It makes them more filling too.
Cheese - We think that smoked salmon and cream cheese go really well together, and they are perfect on this. We used a plain cream cheese, but you could use a garlic and herb one if you prefer. You could also swap it for burrata or a soft goats cheese. You don't want anything with too strong a flavour, because it will over power the salmon. If you wanted to make these lighter, than a reduced fat creme fraiche or Greek yogurt would work too. Just make sure that it is thick, so it doesn't slip off the base.
Fish - The smoked salmon really is the star of this canapé and what makes it really special. However, you could used canned salmon or even canned tuna if you wanted to make it budget friendly. Maybe do a mixture of them all to bulk out the tray of canapés. Mackerel works well too.
Vegetables - You can freshen these up a little by adding a tiny sprinkle of lemon zest on top. It adds a nice pop of colour too, and the yellow contrasts nicely with the green of the asparagus. Add an extra green boost with a small spinach leaf on top of the cream cheese.
Extras - We added some dill on top, because it goes so well with the salmon. But you could swap it for chives if you prefer. Want to make these super indulgent and impressive? Add a little caviar on top. I know, I told you it was indulgent. It's not for us, but it is an option if you want to go all out - a little does go a long way.
What to serve with smoked salmon canapés
These are meant to be served as party food, but if you wanted to serve them up as a meal with a few side dishes, then we have you covered. There smoked salmon canapés go perfectly with the following:
- Garlic Spring Greens
- Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli
- Easy Hasselback Potatoes
- Celeriac Chips
- Crispy Garlic Smashed Potatoes
- Little Gem Salad
- French Fries with our Homemade French Fry Seasoning.
- Air Fryer Carrots
- Roasted Lemon Asparagus
Frequently Asked Questions
These are best made up right before you are going to serve them, as the salmon should be eaten fresh. However, you can cook the asparagus in advance and then keep it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble everything. Once you have cooked the asparagus, put it in to an ice bath to cool, as this will stop it from cooking and also keep the vibrant colour. It will take less than 5 minutes if the asparagus is prepared in advance.
As mentioned above, these are best eaten straight after they have been made. However, if you do have leftovers then they can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge until the next day. Depending on the type of cracker you are serving them on, they may go soft in the fridge. The crostini did, but it still tasted good.
If you serve these on a gluten free cracker, and make sure that there is no cross contamination, then these can be a delicious gluten free party option. Just make sure to check all the ingredients first if you are serving these to gluten free guests.
• Make sure that whatever you are serving the salmon and cheese on is sturdy, as these are meant to be eaten as finger food. Try not to load them up too much so all the toppings don't fall off.
• If you are cooking the asparagus in advance, make sure to put it in an ice bath after it is cooked. This will stop it from continuing to cook (and going mushy) and it will also keep the vibrant green colour.
• Keep the smoked salmon in the fridge until you are ready to start layering everything, so it keeps fresh.
More party food recipes
If you’ve tried these salmon canapés, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
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Smoked Salmon Canapes
- 12 Crostini
- 100 g (0.5 cups) Garlic and herb cream cheese
- 0.25 Cucumber - halved then sliced
- 60 g (2 oz) Smoked salmon
- 70 g (2.5 oz) Asparagus tips
- 4 tablespoon Fresh dill
- Cook 70 g Asparagus tips in boiling water for 3-5 minutes until tender, but not floppy.
- Spread 12 Crostini with 100 g Garlic and herb cream cheese then add a slice of 0.25 Cucumber to each. Top each one with a thin slice 60 g Smoked salmon.
- Top each canape with an asparagus tip and then add a small sprig of the 4 tablespoon Fresh dill.
- Make sure that whatever you are serving the salmon and cheese on is sturdy, as these are meant to be eaten as finger food. Try not to load them up too much so all the toppings don't fall off.
- If you are cooking the asparagus in advance, make sure to put it in an ice bath after it is cooked. This will stop it from continuing to cook (and going mushy) and it will also keep the vibrant green colour.
- Keep the smoked salmon in the fridge until you are ready to start layering everything, so it keeps fresh.
What a great holiday appetizer! Adding this to my Thanksgiving menu; looks too good to pass up, indeed!
These look so yummy, perfect for a Christmas party!
Being a huge fan of smoked salmon, these canapes are calling my name! I could eat the whole plateful in one sitting.
Love the effortless making of such a beautiful and delicious appetizer! Anything with smoked salmon is unbeatable! :)
What I love about this recipe is that it comes out perfectly every time. It just delivers! I love it!
I loved adding the asparagus to the salmon canapes! It gave them that extra something... so good!
Perfect for Christnas or New Year and so easy too
What a delicious little bite! Will be making these for holiday parties to come!
This is the perfect holiday appetizer!
This is really good! Everyone at my house enjoyed this!