Smoked Salmon Canapés

5 of 5 votes
Prep time: 10 minutes
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Nothing better for a cocktail party than small smoked salmon canapés to serve as an aperitif!

This easy French appetizer is really easy to make and from my own experiences, fish canapés especially with salmon are always a hit.

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What are canapés ?

Canapés, in culinary terms, to be pronounce “kah·nah·pay“, is a French word that describes a small slice of bread garnished with various ingredients to make a small appetizer.

Canapés are traditionally served as hors d’oeuvres, meaning before the entrée or first course, to whet the appetite. You normally don’t offer canapés every day but rather for special occasions together with a glass of Champagne, a sparkling wine or a cocktail like my Cocktail with Crème de Cassis (black currant liqueur)!

Zoom on a smoked salmon canapé

By the way, you probably noticed the accent on the last “e” of canapés. I sometimes see it written “canapes” but if you want to write it like in French, write it “canapés”.

How to serve canapés ?

You can serve canapés for many occasions :

  • as an appetizer
  • for a Sunday brunch
  • at a cocktail or dinner party
  • for an afternoon tea
  • for a buffet
Cutting board dressed with smoked salmon canapés

Ingredient note

To make these Smoked Salmon Canapés, you need the following ingredients

  • Bread: To make canapés, I use toast bread which is traditional in France. You. can of course use a healthier bread such as wholegrain toast bread or pumpernickel, a German rye bread.
  • Cream cheese: I use a plain cream cheese. You can replace the cream cheese spread with crème fraîche or greek yogurt.
  • Smoked salmon: I can only recommend you to choose a good quality smoked salmon fillets. You can see that is smoked salmon is a good quality if its colors is even. and intensive without being too strong otherwise it means that the salmon might have been frozen before. If you are looking for a cheaper option, this recipe works well with smoked trout too.
  • Dill: I use fresh dill sprigs. Dill is super cute for decoration and its taste goes very well with fish in general.
  • Capers: I like to add capers as they add a nice acidity and goes super well with dill and salmon.
  • Horseradish sauce: Horseradish sauce goes very well with smoked salmon. It has a spicy taste that reminds of mustard. So if you cannot find it, you can replace it with any kind of mustard. Be careful not to use too much as you don’t want the taste to overpower the delicate salmon. 
  • Lemon:You will use the lemon zest, so make sure you choose an untreated or organic lemon. I don’t use the lemon juice, as the lemon will cook the salmon and if you prefer these canapés in advance the salmon will loos its beautiful pink color.

You will find the exact quantities in the recipe card.

Cutting board dressed mini toast to prepare canapés

Prepare the mini toasts

To make these salmon canapés, you need to prepare mini toasts. Since these are finger foods, the mini toasts should be so small that you can eat them in one bite with your hands.

To do so, I toast my bread slices, I trim the edges to remove the crust and finally cut the bread in 4 pieces using a sharp knife.

My tip: don’t throw away the crusts. Blend them and you can them fry them in a pan with butter or olive oil and it makes a great crunchy topping for your pasta dishes.

I recommend to count about 3-4 canapés per person. Remember, this is just an appetizer, you should still have some space left for the main course!

Once your mini toasts are ready, you can start to garnish your canapés.

Garnish your canapés

First, I start by spreading the mini toasts with cream cheese. On top of the cream cheese, I add a piece of salmon. I recommend to cut your salmon slices in 2 or 3 beforehand.

I then add 3-4 capers and half a teaspoon of horseradish. I then place a small sprig of fresh dill and a lemon zest on each small bite. I use the horseradish as a glue so that the dill and lemon zest don’t fall off. 

To finish, I add a few turns of black pepper to each canapé. Dress your capanés on a serving plate or like me just a nice cutting board.

Zoom on a smoked salmon canapés

The perfect tool to make capanés !

Making canapés is really not complicated, the only thing that takes time is to have the patience to place the sometimes very thin pieces of food on each toast. And for that, I used my gold tasting spoon FinalTouch by Triangle.

Zoom on a tasting spoon with dill

I use the tweezers side to gently place the lemon zest or dill sprigs on the salmon.

On the other hand, the spoon part allows me to put a very small amount of sauce like horseradish. 

Click here to get your tasting spoon by Triangle!

Zoom on a tasting spoon with a lemon zest

Frequently asked questions

How long do these smoked salmon canapés keep?

You can prepare these canapés a few hours in advance and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for 24 to 48 hours but are best eaten fresh!

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Smoked Salmon Canapés

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5 of 5 votes
Nothing better for a cocktail party than small smoked salmon canapés to serve as an aperitif! 
This easy French appetizer is really easy to make and from my own experiences, fish canapés especially with salmon are always a hit.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 4
Calories 124 kcal


  • 4 slices toast bread
  • 4-6 slices smoked salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
  • Fresh dill
  • 1 lemon untreated
  • Black pepper


  • Cut salmon fillets into 3 or 4 pieces.
  • Toast the bread slices. Trim the edges and cut into 4.
  • Spread with cream cheese, add a small piece of smoked salmon, 3-4 capers, half a teaspoon of horseradish, a small sprig of dill and a lemon zest on each canapé.
  • Finish with black pepper.


Calories: 124kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 7gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 437mgPotassium: 121mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 126IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 1mg
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