This easy Smoked Salmon Appetizer Crostini with Cream Cheese is a must-have for brunch, parties, and celebrations! Layered with a bright and herby cream cheese spread, smoked salmon, and shallots, these cute canapés will be loved by everyone.
A classic brunch wrapped up in one delicious canapé
If you’re looking for a buttery, creamy appetizer that’s packed with fresh flavors, look no further than this Smoked Salmon Appetizer Crostini with Cream Cheese. It’s a simple, yet elegant canapé that’s perfect for special events, baby showers, brunch parties, and more!
This crostini appetizer is creamy and herbaceous, just like my Smoked Salmon Dip, but captures everything you love about bagels and lox for brunch in one tiny bite. Each crostini is layered with an herby, lemony cream cheese spread, cold smoked salmon, and topped with shallots. Assemble them in a few minutes, then serve and enjoy!
Cold smoked salmon vs hot smoked salmon
This appetizer recipe features smoked salmon, but which kind is best for a crostini with cream cheese? There are 2 kinds of smoked salmon to choose from: hot smoked salmon and cold smoked salmon. The right choice is cold smoked salmon!
According to Bon Appétit, cold smoked salmon is usually cured before smoking and never smoked above 80ºF. This process results in light and delicate pieces of fish that taste buttery. It’s the perfect pairing to cream cheese!
You don’t want to use hot smoked salmon because of its overpowering flavors. It’s usually smoked at 140ºF, which gives it a flaky texture and smoky flavor. Hot smoked salmon is better off being used as a topping on grain bowls, salads, or with your eggs.
Smoked salmon crostini ingredients
This smoked salmon cream cheese appetizer is made with 6 easy to find ingredients. Even though they’re simple, the combination transforms into well-balanced bites! This is what you need:
Cold smoked salmon
Cold smoked salmon is light, soft, and delicate and pairs perfectly with cream cheese and bread. Packaged cold smoked is usually available in the seafood or deli section at most major grocery stores. For the very best salmon, head to your local deli that specializes in bagels and lox.
Before mixing your herby cream cheese spread, set the cream cheese out on the counter so it can soften. There’s nothing worse than trying to mix hard cream cheese with fresh herbs!
Hefty and rich cream cheese gives this crostini recipe some real ‘umph’. If you’re eyeing the whipped cream cheeses, step away! Whipped version is light and airy, which just doesn’t have the same impact as the regular stuff.
I strongly recommend using fresh dill! The fresh flavors (compared to dry dill) can really take this appetizer from good to great.
Lemon juice and zest
The lemon gives the cream cheese spread and crostini bite some nice brightness. Depending on how many people you’re serving, you’ll likely need 1 to 2 lemons.
Salt and pepper
To help balance the flavors in the cream cheese mixture.
Tiny toasted baguette slices act as the plate for our creamy spread and smoked salmon. Crostini is easy to make at home using a baguette and olive oil. Toast ‘em up, store them a week ahead of time, then enjoy whenever you need an easy appetizer!
How to make smoked salmon appetizer crostini
These easy canapés are so easy to make without needing any fancy tools. They’re ready to eat in 4 simple steps:
Step 1: Mix the softened cream cheese, dill, lemon juice, and lemon zest together in a bowl until it turns into a smooth spread.
Step 2: Top each crostini with the herb cream cheese mixture.
Step 3: Then add the delicious smoked salmon on top!
Step 4: Finish by topping the salmon crostinis with thinly sliced shallots and dill, then enjoy!
Tips and tricks
Use these tips to make the best smoked salmon appetizers for the party:
Make them extra fancy!
For an extra special presentation, add the cream cheese to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Layer the salmon on the crostini first, then pipe the herby mixture on top. Garnish with sliced shallots, dill, lemon zest, or capers and enjoy!
Make ahead tips
There are a few ways you can prepare the elements of this appetizer ahead of time so you don't get stuck in the kitchen during the party:
- Crostini - Bake and store the crostini in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week ahead of serving.
- Cream cheese spread - Mix everything together and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Assembling the smoked salmon appetizers - Don’t assemble the appetizers until 1 hour before the party. Store them on a plate lined with a lightly damp paper towel and cover with plastic wrap. This way, the crostini stays nice and crisp.
How to serve smoked salmon crostini
Is the party still going? Make sure you keep a few assembled crostinis covered in the fridge so you have extras available for your guests and so the entire batch isn’t sitting out at room temperature. After all, no one likes funky salmon!
Smoked Salmon Appetizer Crostini with Cream Cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Salt and pepper
- 36 pieces crostini
- 8 ounces cold smoked salmon
- Optional: additional dill for topping
- Mix cream cheese, chopped dill, lemon juice, and zest together in a medium bowl until smooth. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Evenly top each crostini with the cream cheese mixture, salmon and shallots.
- If you’d like, top with additional chopped dill and serve!
- Depending on the size, you’ll need 1-2 lemons for the juice and zest.
- The cream cheese mixture can be made up to 3 days before serving.
- Assemble the canapes no earlier than 1 hour before serving. Store topped with a lightly damp paper towel and foil/plastic wrap. Chill until ready to serve!
- 1 serving is aproximately 3 crostini
OTHER PARTY FOOD RECIPES
Love this smoked salmon appetizer crostini recipe? Then you’ll love these other party appetizer recipes!