Caviar Canapés: Preparing, Serving and Pairing

Caviar canapés are a classic and luxurious hors d’oeuvre renowned for their indulgent combination of flavor and texture. Consisting of caviar delicately spread atop small, bite-sized pieces of bread, crackers, or vegetable slices, these fancy finger foods combine the delightful pop of fish roe with crisp, neutral bases that allow the briny taste of quality caviar to truly shine. Belugaossetrasevruga and other premium sturgeon caviar varieties pair beautifully with wafer-thin toasted points, blini pancake rounds, or crostini.

Served on Mother of Pearl spoons or seashells to emphasize their utter decadence, caviar canapés are a frequent highlight of upscale cocktail hours and special occasion receptions. Their rich taste provides a burst of luxury, while small, one- or two-bite portions ensure restraint. Despite their sophisticated reputations, caviar canapés are also relatively simple to prepare at home. With quality ingredients and a few basic preparation tips, you can easily make and artfully serve these chic appetizers to kick off your next dinner party or formal affair.

What Are Caviar Canapés?

Caviar canapés consist of two main components – the caviar itself and the base or carrier for the caviar. Caviar is a term used to describe the salted roe, or eggs, from specific fish species, particularly sturgeon. The finest caviar comes from the ancient belugaossetra, and sevruga sturgeons native to the Caspian Sea. Good quality caviar has a smooth, almost creamy texture, with a rich, nutty, briny taste and mineral notes. 

The caviar is presented on small, neutral pieces of bread, toast, crackers or sliced vegetables like cucumbers. Popular bases include mini toastsblinipancakes, water biscuits, crostini, baguette slices and potato chips or crisps. The foundational idea is that the crispy, savory base will provide textural contrast to the lush caviar, without overpowering its subtle flavors. Toppings like crème fraîche, Sieved eggs, herbs and other embellishments can provide beautiful visual garnishes while also enhancing taste.

How to Make Caviar Canapés

Preparing perfect caviar canapés at home takes just a few simple steps. Follow this straightforward process for constructing beautiful, restaurant-worthy bites every time.

1. Ingredients Needed for Caviar Canapés

The two essential components for caviar canapés are:

  • Caviar – splurge on the best quality product within your budget. Popular options include osetrabeluga and sevruga caviar.
  • Bases – such as toast roundsblini pancakes, water crackers or crostini. Choose options with a neutral flavor.

You’ll also want to have ingredients for garnishes on hand, like crème fraîchehard boiled eggschives and lemon wedges.

2. Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Caviar Canapés

Follow these simple steps for assembling beautiful, delicious caviar canapés at home:

  1. Prepare your bases first. Cut baguette slices or toast points to size, warm blini pancakes, or arrange crackers as needed.
  2. Carefully spoon a small amount (around 1⁄2 tsp) of caviar onto each base, spreading gently with a spoon or knife to evenly cover the surface. 
  3. If desired, add a small topping or garnish like crème fraîche, sieved egg, herbs or lemon zest.
  4. Arrange finished canapés elegantly on a serving platter or individual plates. Garnish platters with accents like lemon slicesoyster shells or fresh herbs.
  5. Serve immediately, or cover gently with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 4 hours before serving.

3. Tips and Tricks for Perfect Caviar Canapés

Follow these pro tips when preparing your caviar canapés:

  • Chill bases like toast or blini slightly before use so caviar doesn’t warm.
  • Avoid non-neutral flavors that will overpower the delicate caviar.
  • Use high quality ingredients like Tsar NicoulaiPetrossian or Calvisius caviar
  • Handle the caviar gently to avoid damaging the delicate eggs. 
  • Serve on beautiful platters like mother of pearl or elegant oyster shells.
  • Pair with sparkling winesvodkas or champagnes like Dom Pérignon.

Different Variations of Caviar Canapés

The traditional open-faced style with caviar spread atop crisp toast or blini is just one of many potential forms for caviar canapés. Try out some of these more unique, creative versions for your next event.

1. Smoked Salmon and Caviar Canapés

Combine luxurious flavors by adding a slice of smoked salmon below the caviar topping. This adds beautiful color contrast and a velvety textural dimension.

2. Cream Cheese and Caviar Canapés

For an indulgent twist, substitute chilled cream cheese for the traditional base. Spoon caviar over small cubes or rosettes of smooth, creamy cheese like Philadelphia for a luscious treat.

3. Avocado and Caviar Canapés

Buttery ripe avocado makes another excellent base, contributing color and rich creaminess that pairs beautifully with salty caviar bursts. Slice avocado into rounds or small cubes before topping with rows of caviar.

4. Egg and Caviar Canapés

Hard boiled quail eggs are a popular caviar accompaniment. Try halving tiny boiled quail eggs and placing them open-side up on your platter before topping with spoonfuls of caviar for an elegant composed bite. 

5. Lobster and Caviar Canapés

For ultimate luxury, use lobster as your flavor foundation. Carefully top small, halved lobster tail pieces with caviar and garnish with lemon or herbs.

Pairing Drinks with Caviar Canapés

When serving caviar canapés, take care in selecting beverage pairings that will harmonize beautifully with the briny roe rather than overpower. Bubbly wines and clean-tasting cocktails allow the subtle caviar essence to take center stage.

  • Champagnes – Dry, crisp brut Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquotcomplement without competing.
  • Sparkling wines like Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco make more affordable pairings. 
  • Vodka martinis – Simple, icy Belvedere or Grey Goose martinis work perfectly. Provide lemon twists for spritzing.
  • White wines – Dry, light Sauvignon Blancs or floral, fruity Rieslingspair nicely.

Serving Suggestions for Caviar Canapés

When presenting your caviar canapés, consider these serving tips for optimum visual appeal and taste.

  • Serve canapés on beautiful platters, like mother of pearl spoons or oyster shells.
  • Chill canapés until ready to serve, then bring them to room temperature to avoid muffling flavors.
  • Arrange canapés elegantly on platters, avoiding crowding.
  • Provide any garnishes like crème fraîche or chopped egg on the side for guests to add themselves.
  • For passed service, have waiters circulate with caviar on trays while guests mingle cocktail-party style.

Storing Leftover Caviar Canapés

To store leftover caviar canapés:

  • Press plastic wrap directly on surface of uneaten caviar to prevent oxidation then seal the container.
  • Refrigerate for up to 4 days. The texture may start to suffer beyond this point.
  • Allow refrigerated canapés to come to room temp again before serving to prevent muted flavors.

Where to Buy High-Quality Caviar for Your Canapés

Seeking out a reputable, sustainably-focused caviar purveyor ensures you’ll have exquisite, ethically-sourced roe for your canapés. Look for processor details like:

  • Tsar Nicoulai – Called the “Caviar King,” this company focuses on California White Sturgeon raised sustainably. 
  • Calvisius Caviar – Sustainably farm-raised Italian Osetra in a protected Italian nature reserve. 
  • Petrossian – Iconic French importer offering top imported Caspian Sea caviars.

Many fine food stores like Dean and Deluca also carry various high-end caviar selections. Expect to spend $50 or more for quality caviar.


From elegant passed trays at posh parties to impressive appetizer spreads on fine dining tables, caviar canapés undeniably impart sophistication. Their lavish taste provides a thrilling hint of indulgence, while creative presentations transform small, open-faced sandwiches into artistic offerings. Preparing the perfect caviar canapés means sourcing excellent ingredients, handling them with care, and following basic assembly methods for flawlessly decadent results. Paired with fine champagne or vodka and beautifully plated, these luxe bites are sure to start your event off in style.