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Smoked Salmon Cucumber Bites

Smoked salmon cucumber bites are the perfect healthy appetizer or light meal! This recipe comes together in just minutes and is always a crowd favorite! Made with dairy free cream cheese, this recipe is gluten free, dairy free, paleo, low carb and Whole30 friendly!

Hand holding single cucumber smoked salmon bite.

Why this recipe works:

  • Smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumbers make the most incredibly flavorful but simple appetizer! You can easily make 30-50 of these in under 10 minutes!
  • Perfect as a light lunch or dinner, these low carb cucumber bites are filling and would be great served with soup or a salad for a bigger meal!
  • You can prep parts of this recipe in advance if you are having a party, and assembly can be done in under 5 minutes! Great elegant appetizer for bridal showers, baby showers, game day snacks or appetizers for any party, big or small.
  • These smoked salmon cucumber bites are keto, low carb and paleo friendly and are a great high protein snack!

What is smoked salmon and how it is made?

Smoked salmon is salmon that is first salt-cured or brined (just like Lox) but then smoked either by a method called cold smoke or hot smoke.

Cold smoke is a method where the salmon is exposed to smoke in a cooler environment, and thus the salmon keeps the same texture as salt cured or brined salmon (very silky and almost wet to the touch). This is typically the kind of salmon you think of when you say smoked salmon and is typically put on bagels or crackers or serve on cucumbers. It typically comes very thinly sliced, similar to lunch meat and is great for sandwiches or appetizers.

Hot smoke is a method where after brining the salmon, it is exposed to hot heat for smoking. This salmon thus has the texture of cooked salmon and has a smoky flavor from the cooking method. This salmon gets cooked all the way through and is flaky when eating it (vs. soft and thinly sliced).  Hot smoked salmon is great on salads, in casseroles, pasta dishes, etc.

Why you should eat more salmon

Salmon is filled with Omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, a high source of protein and a good source of potassium and selenium. Smoked salmon is simple to prepare when you buy it packaged, it’s already smoked and thus ready to eat.

White rectangle plate filled with smoked salmon cucumber bites.

Why you should eat more salmon

Salmon is filled with Omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, a high source of protein and a good source of potassium and selenium. Smoked salmon is simple to prepare when you buy it packaged, it’s already smoked and thus ready to eat.

What should you look for in smoked salmon?

Salmon, like many other fish can be wild caught or farmed. Farmed salmon have lower levels of heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and are often higher in calories per ounce than wild caught salmon. Farmed fish can often be treated with antibiotics from living so closely with other fish in the farm and they do not have the same levels of potassium and selenium that wild caught salmon gets from eating in the wild.

It’s a known common practice to give farmed salmon food coloring in their food to get the same orange hue you see in wild caught salmon since the farmed fish are not exposed to the same food/environment that naturally gives their flesh that pink/orange color.

When looking for a smoked salmon, many brands are packed full with added sugar or even caramel color. Although this cannot always be avoided, I like to check the ingredients and try to avoid the added sugar when possible.

I typically buy the “Wild Smoked Salmon” made from Sockeye salmon from Trader Joe’s. The ingredient list is short and it’s made from wild salmon and is available year round.  

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How to make smoked salmon cucumber bites

Step 1: Start by washing and slicing a large English cucumber. Slice the cucumber in ½ inch round, making them sturdy enough to hold up to the cream cheese and smoked salmon but not too thick where they are overpowering in taste.

Step 2: Thinly slice a red onion (about 1/8 of a medium onion). Try to make the slices pretty thin, as you don’t want the onion to overpower the dish.

Step 3: Take the smoked salmon out of the package and cut it into small squares, the size of the cucumber. You can either stack the salmon pieces on top of each other or just slice it on the cardboard it is packaged in.

Step 4: Spread a thin layer of dairy free cream cheese on top of each cucumber slice.

Step 5: Add a square of smoked salmon on top of the cream cheese layer.

Step 6: Add a thin slice of red onion and sprinkle with dried or fresh dill (optional).

Steps on how to make cucumber smoked salmon bites.

Can you prepare smoked salmon cucumber bites ahead of time?

These smoked salmon cucumber bites are best served within 8 hours of preparing them. However here are some tips so you can easily prep these in under 10 minutes the day of.

  1. Slice the cucumber ahead of time and store it in a container filled with cold water. This keeps the cucumber fresh.
  2. Pre-chop the red onion and cube the smoked salmon ahead of time.

The day of, you will just need to spread the cream cheese and assemble the cucumber bites (steps 4-6).

FAQ’s and Substitutions:

Why should you use an English Cucumber?

English cucumbers are sold in almost every supermarket. They are typically longer than traditional cucumbers and wrapped in plastic. English cucumbers are preferred in appetizers like this because they do not have large seeds and the skin is easier to digest and therefore, you don’t have to peel them before eating.

Traditional cucumbers usually have large seeds and the skin is covered in a thick wax. English cucumbers are wrapped in plastic because they do not have that waxy coating.

If you cannot find English Cucumbers, you may want to peel or partially peel a traditional cucumber before slicing.

Where do you find dairy free cream cheese?

This recipe uses dairy free cream cheese to keep it dairy free. The brand I love is Kite Hill, which uses almonds as the base instead of milk. If you can tolerate dairy, you could also use traditional cream cheese or even goat cheese in this recipe.

I have been able to find Kite Hill in almost every grocery store in town, however it can be on the pricier side. There are also many dairy free cream cheese recipes online, but I have not tried them myself. You can also use mashed avocado in place of the cream cheese.

What other toppings would be good on these smoked salmon cucumber bites?

  • Chopped capers (mixed in the cream cheese)
  • Everything but the bagel seasoning (mixed in the cream cheese or sprinkled on top)
  • Horseradish (mixed in the cream cheese)
  • Lemon zest (mixed in the cream cheese or on top of the salmon)
Hand holding a smoked salmon cucumber bite.
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Smoked salmon cucumber bite on a small white plate.

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Bites

Smoked salmon cucumber bites are the perfect healthy appetizer or snack! These cucumber bites are dairy free, gluten free, paleo and low carb friendly! Perfect for parties or for a light healthy meal!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cucumber bites, smoked salmon appetizer, smoked salmon cucumber bites
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 12

Guided Recipe Video

Ingredients

  • 1 English Cucumber - cut about 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 Kite Hill Cream Cheese Spread (Dairy Free) - or cream cheese of your choice
  • 1 package smoked salmon
  • 1/8-1/4 small red onion - thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp dry dill - or 2-3 tbs. freshly chopped dill

Instructions

  • Wash and cut the English cucumber into 1/2 inch slices.
  • Slice the red onion into thin slices.
  • Cut the smoked salmon pieces into 12 equal pieces.
  • Top each slice of cucumber with about 1/2 – 1 tsp dairy free cream cheese. Top with half of a thin slice of salmon and a few thinly sliced onions
  • Sprinkle lightly with dill and serve!

Notes

What other toppings would be good on these smoked salmon cucumber bites?
  • Chopped capers (mixed in the cream cheese)
  • Everything but the bagel seasoning (mixed in the cream cheese or sprinkled on top)
  • Horseradish (mixed in the cream cheese)
  • Lemon zest (mixed in the cream cheese or on top of the salmon)
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
34
Fat
 
1
g
Carbohydrates
 
2
g
Protein
 
2
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted in November of 2015, but was published again in January 2020 to include step by step directions, recipe notes and new photos

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