This easy smoked salmon appetizer crostini recipe with cream cheese is a fantastic dish to serve for a party. These little bites are wonderful little canapés that your guests will love!
Just top some crunchy crostini with herb cream cheese, smoked salmon, dill and shallots for an easy appetizer.
INSPIRED BY MY FAVORITE BAGEL TOPPINGS
Yes, this smoked salmon appetizer crostini recipe is a little fancy canapé. Anytime you top little individual crostini with delish ingredients (like salmon and herbs or radishes and quality butter), things begin to feel fancy!
Here’s the thing, this crostini recipe is totally inspired by my go-to bagel toppings. I love cream cheese, smoked salmon, dill and paper-thin shallots on top of my toasty bagel in the morning. It’s not an everyday option, but it’s a treat when it happens.
Since I love these flavors together, I figured it would be great to have them as a crostini appetizer and they are super delicious! Seriously, anyone who loves a bagel topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon will love these party-perfect bites.
A FEW INGREDIENTS FOR MAXIMUM FLAVOR
This smoked salmon appetizer crostini recipe has six ingredients, and they all bring a little something different to make a well-balanced bite!
COLD SMOKED SALMON
For this cute little canapé, I’m specifically calling for smoked salmon as the highlight ingredient. There are lots of varieties of smoked salmon in the world. The biggest difference you’ll find in varieties in stores is cold or hot smoked salmon.
According to Bon Appétit, cold-smoked salmon is smoked at a temp no higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 hours and usually cured before smoking. This results in the type of salmon used in this recipe, a light, delicate, sushi-like piece of fish. It’s delicious and my favorite type of smoked salmon!
On the opposite end, there is hot smoked salmon. That is going to be smoked for a shorter period of time than cold-smoked salmon. It’s usually smoked at around 140 degrees Fahrenheit and ends up with a flakey texture. My dad hot smokes salmon often and it’s pretty killer but way different than the cold-smoked salmon used in this recipe.
Lastly, there is lox. A lot of people often call cold-smoked salmon lox (I’m so guilty!) but there is actually a big difference between the two. Lox is actually just cured and not smoked and it can really only be found at specialty delis. I found this really cool article talking more about the history of lox. If you love food history, you should definitely check it out. Did you know that lox was actually invented in America? I had no idea until reading the article!
LEMON, DILL, SHALLOTS
This is where the magic happens! Seriously, the lemon, dill, and shallots really level up this smoked salmon appetizer crostini. Without them, this recipe would be good, but a little boring.
The lemon adds some brightness to the whole bite, the dill adds some depth, and the thinly sliced shallots add a nice little bite. It’s pretty amazing what they can do together.
Basically, what I’m getting at…if you want this recipe to really wow your guests, don’t skip out on these three ingredients!
CREAM CHEESE…NOT WHIPPED
Here’s where I get real serious. I’m anti-whipped cream cheese for this fancy appetizer recipe. Whipped cream cheese is nice and light and airy, which can be good on a bagel, but it’s just not for these canapés. I really don’t like the airiness when used as a base for an appetizer. It feels too light when I really want something with a little more heft.
Obviously, that’s totally my preference for cream cheese in this recipe. So, if you are dying to use whipped cream cheese or that’s what you have on hand, go for it and let me know how it works!
HOW TO MAKE THIS SMOKED SALMON APPETIZER CROSTINI RECIPE STEP-BY-STEP
Are you excited to make this killer appetizer for your next party? These step-by-step photos will show you how to make this easy canapé!
Step 1: Mix the cream cheese, dill, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and pepper together until smooth.
Make sure your cream cheese is softened or else you’ll be annoyed with yourself when trying to mix everything together!
Step 2: Top crostini with the herb cream cheese mixture.
Step 3: Then top with your delicious smoked salmon!
Step 4: Add some of those thinly sliced shallots and extra dill if you’d like!
Then you’re done, so you need to eat some of these delicious bites.
SMOKED SALMON APPETIZER CROSTINI RECIPE TIPS
I’ve included some tips below to help you out when making this smoked salmon appetizer crostini recipe for your next party!
I’m all for making as much as possible ahead of time when cooking parties. For this appetizer, there are a couple of things you can make ahead of time so you don’t get stuck in the kitchen during the party.
Secondly, you can absolutely mix the cream cheese mixture together up to three days before assembling the perfect little salmon canapés. Another time-saver!
Other than that, there isn’t much more to do other than figuring out when to assemble them.
Want the crostini to stay nice and crisp? Assemble them no earlier than 1 hour before serving.
If you don’t mind the crostini to be a little soft (it doesn’t necessarily get soggy, it just looses some of its crispness), then you can assemble them up to 6 hours before serving. I actually really like them this way.
Either way, the smoked salmon crostini appetizers need to stay chilled until you serve. To keep them fresh until your guests arrive, place a lightly damp paper towel over them and cover with foil or plastic wrap. That will keep the smoked salmon nice and fresh and everything chilled.
HOW TO SERVE SMOKED SALMON APPETIZER CROSTINIS
If the party is going to last a long time, definitely keep some of these crostini in the fridge covered until what’s on the platter is gone. I do this because if the apps will be sitting out for a while, I don’t want the salmon to get funky. Do you know how it sometimes gets a bit dried on the edges? It’s not attractive.
Anyway, keep these apps chilled as long as possible and replenish as needed!
If you’re looking for some other appetizer recipes to serve alongside these smoked salmon appetizer crostinis, my radishes and butter crostini, and tomato basil bruschetta crostini would do just the trick!
THINLY SLICE THOSE SHALLOTS
In the recipe, I call for thinly sliced shallots. Unless you have super amazing knife skills, the best way to thinly slice shallots so that they are all the same thickness is to use a mandoline. It’s a really great kitchen tool.
I’ve mentioned using a mandoline in other recipes, and it really is a staple kitchen tool in my home. It will quickly and evenly slice lots of different fruits and veggies, which helps cut prep time for sure. That’s a total win.
Plus it also can make super super super thin slices of whatever you’re slicing. I highly recommend it for slicing the shallots in this recipe. Oh, and if you’re on the path of improving your kitchen skills and don’t feel 100% confident in using a mandoline, you can always pick up a cut glove. It will help keep you from possibly nicking yourself on the mandoline‘s sharp blade.
THIS SMOKED SALMON APPETIZER CROSTINI RECIPE IS DEFINITELY A CROWD PLEASER
Alright, friend! I think I gave you all the info possible to help you make the best smoked salmon appetizer crostini!
Now it’s your turn to whip up a batch for your next party! When you do, make sure to share a pic and tag me on Instagram so I can see how awesome you did.
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
- 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!