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This Radishes and Butter Crostini Appetizer is an easy and colorful snack to serve at parties, get-togethers, or for yourself. Sliced radishes and rich butter are the ultimate pairing, plus a little flake salt makes every bite of this crostini even better!
A simple, almost sophisticated snack from France
There are a million and one ways to eat radishes, but the French had it right when they started eating them raw with a generous helping of butter and salt on top. It’s where the classic radish and butter appetizer came from! In this recipe, however, I took it one step further and piled salted butter and sliced radishes on top of homemade crostini.
The result? A Radishes and Butter Crostini Appetizer fit for the fanciest garden parties, a refreshing snack, or when you’re serving your friends.
When radishes, butter, and salt get together on a piece of crusty bread, it tastes like heaven. The radishes are crisp and fresh, making the rich and creamy butter that much more appealing. A touch of flaky salt adds a boost of flavor while chives offer complexity. All in all, it’s the perfect party appetizer or starter for this Penne al Salmone.
Why do people eat radishes with butter?
Spreading butter onto raw radishes is a staple snack or appetizer in France because the two just go so well together. The peppery, almost bitter radishes are toned down by the rich butter. Sprinkle a little salt on top, pop it in your mouth, and you have an almost sophisticated snack that will make you feel like you’re dining in Paris.
Ingredients you need
Just like the classic 2-ingredient French snack, this radish crostini requires only a handful of simple ingredients:
Radishes are a root vegetable from the brassicaceae family (the same as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale). They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. For this easy finger food, all you need are common red radishes.
Want to add extra color to the appetizer? Mix it up and top the crostini with a variety of thinly sliced radishes, like red radishes, watermelon radishes, or daikon. You could even put the radish greens to use and sprinkle a few on top (they’re so mildly flavored, you’ll barely notice they’re there).
Raw radishes can taste quite peppery, sharp, and bitter. To tame these flavors, the sliced radishes are soaked in a water bath before they’re topped on the bread. You’re left with a crisp and watery vegetable that’s exceptional next to the butter and salt.
Crostini translates to “little crusts” in Italian. They’re small appetizer toasts made from a sliced and toasted baguette. Toasting the bread makes it extra sturdy, making it the best vehicle for all kinds of rich toppings, like mushrooms and goat cheese, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and whipped ricotta cheese.
When crostini is cooked properly, it becomes delightfully crunchy but never breaks any teeth. It’s golden brown and has just the right amount of olive oil (say goodbye to greasy fingers). Lastly, just a sprinkle of salt makes every last bite well-rounded and rich.
This recipe is so simple and has minimal ingredients. In other words, there’s nowhere to hide. That’s why it’s important to use quality butter.
My butter of choice is Kerrygold Grass-Fed Salted Butter. The flavor is immaculate and the yellow color is gorgeous in contrast to the bright red and pink radishes. If you can’t find it, use any other European-style butter instead. It contains 2% more fat, meaning extra richness in every bite!
I tested this recipe with a few different varieties of herbs, and chives always came out on top. They add another dimension to this easy appetizer. The mild onion flavor takes it to another level!
You can skip the salt if you want, but it’s a fantastic addition. Always stick with flake salt (or kosher salt) because it has the best texture and a soft crunch. Stay away from regular table salt, sea salt, or any other type of coarse salt.
Always sprinkle the crostini with salt right before serving, otherwise, it will dissolve.
How to make radish and butter crostinis
These step-by-step photos will show you how to make this easy spring appetizer:
Step 1: Thinly slice the radishes with a mandolin (or a sharp knife).
Step 2: Transfer the radishes to an ice bath to tone down their naturally bitter flavor.
Step 3: Spread the softened butter on each crostini.
Step 4: Top the buttered crostini with radishes, chives, and flake salt. Enjoy!
Paper-thin radishes are not only a breeze to eat, but look pretty too! To do this, use a mandoline. It’s a kitchen tool with a sharp blade that can turn radishes, potatoes, onions, zucchini, and other hearty vegetables into almost impossibly thin slices.
The mandoline blade is very sharp, which is why I recommend using a hand guard or cut glove while you slice. It’ll keep you safe and make you feel confident while you put this radish appetizer together.
Make ahead tips
This isn’t the most ideal appetizer to make ahead of time, but there are a few ways to prepare each element in advance in order to save a little time:
- Slice the radishes: Slice, soak, and chill the radishes up to 3 days before assembly. Wrap them in a slightly damp towel and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Make the crostini: Bake the crostini as normal and store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Room temperature butter: If you normally keep your butter in the fridge, pull it out and keep it on the counter the night before assembling the recipe.
Radishes and Butter Crostini Appetizer
- 1 bunch red radishes
- 30 pieces crostini or other bread
- 6 tablespoons European style salted butter softened (I perfer Kerrygold)
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon flake salt if using salt finer than flake salt, use less
- Feel free to use a vareiety of radishes
- Soften the butter by placing out on your counter overnight
- It's best to assemble these appetizers right before serving
- 1 serving = 3 pieces
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