Food & Culture

Decadent beetroot-stained smoked salmon blinis

I just love the colour of these gorgeous dainty delights.  A twist on the traditional smoked Salmon Blinis you will see at most canapé parties, this decadent and easy to prepare canapé will really add a wow factor to your apéro party this festive season.  
Traditionally made with yeast, these blinis are more like little light pancakes, making them much quicker to prepare. It’s worth noting that I have also made gluten free versions of this canapé in the past, simply by replacing the blini with a crisp slice of cucumber.

Makes : 30 – 35                     Preparation time: 1 hour, plus chilling overnight

Before you start you will need :

  • A small cutter – or a shot glass, you can even use a plastic spice jar lid
  • A non stick frying pan
  • 1 big and 1 small bowl
  • A hand whisk
  • A baking sheet – alternatively you can use a chopping board wrapped in cling film, so you don’t end up with a forever pink chopping board!
ingredients board for beetroot stained, smoked salmon blinis



100g  plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Salt & pepper
1 well beaten egg
150ml milk
25 g butter
1 tbsp chopped dill or chives, plus extra, not chopped, for decoration
Finely grated zest of half a lemon

Stained salmon

1 pack of pre-cooked beetroot, containing 4 large beets
180g smoked salmon
Creme fraiche (full fat)
2 tbsp crushed roasted walnuts

To finish

A few fresh sprigs of dill or chive
Sliced fresh lemon
Freshly ground coarse black pepper


Firstly prepare your blinis. These can be made in advance and then kept in a well sealed container in the fridge.

  • Gently melt the butter on a low heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Place the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk until evenly combined.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the milk, egg, butter, lemon zest and finely chopped chives/dill.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and add half the milk mixture. Whisk until smooth, it should be quite thick here. Once your batter is lump free gradually add the rest of the milk and mix until smooth.
  • Set a non stick pan on a medium heat, once hot, use a tablespoon to ladle spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes then flip the mini pancake. The pancakes are ready to flip when they have a matt shine to them. Cook for a further minute before allowing to cool on a rack.  
Cooked blinis

Staining the smoked salmon

This is where the magic happens!  Please make sure you are wearing an apron as beetroot does stain.

  • Working on a plastic chopping board, thinly slice the beetroot and set aside.
  • Lay out the salmon slices on the baking sheet or chopping board. Try and make sure that there is not much overlap
  • Cover the salmon in the sliced beetroot making sure you can not see any salmon. If you have extra, gently lift the salmon up and pop some more beetroot underneath.
  • Cover in cling film and place in the fridge. It is a good idea to put some heavy objects on top. Closed milk or juice cartons work well here. Leave in the fridge for a few hours or preferably overnight.
Beetroot stained salmon, close up.

The next day

  • Remove the beetroot from the salmon and set it onto a plastic chopping board
  • Using a cutter, shot glass or the lid of a standard spice/herb pot, cut out small circles of beetroot, enough for each canape, and set aside
  • Cut the salmon into small strips using a sharp knife or a pair of clean scissors.
  • For the creme fraiche mix, gently combine the chopped and toasted walnuts with the creme fraiche and a pinch of black pepper.
ingredients ready to assemble salmon blini

Assembling the salmon blinis

  • Put a small amount of creme fraiche on top of each blini, followed by a circle of the beetroot
blinis with a small bit of creme fraiche
Topping the blinis with the beetroot
  • Use a teaspoon to spoon more creme fraiche on the top of the circle of beetroot, followed by the stained smoked salmon.
Using a teaspoon to top the beetroot with the creme fraiche mixture.
placing the beetroot stained salmon on to the blinis
  • Place the canapés onto your serving board, then top each canapé with a sprig of dill or chive, season lightly with freshly ground pepper and a sprinkling of the chopped nuts.
Beetroot stained, smoked salmon blinis on wooden serving board
  • These salmon blinis can be made a few hours ahead of time and kept chilled until serving.
close up of colourful beetroot stained salmon blinis with lemon and dill.
About Author

Hi, I'm Dani and I am a food and lifestyle blogger based in La Clusaz. I am happiest when on the saddle of my bike in summer, and on my board in winter. I love creating new dishes to share with friends and family!