Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon

Finger food with an elegant appearance, tiny potato halves stuffed with smoked salmon in sour cream spiked with capers, red onion and horseradish. Anyone who appreciates lox and bagels will love this quick and easy riff, an impressive-looking one-bite appetizer to brighten up holiday meals and appetizer buffets.

Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon ♥ KitchenParade.com, an easy appetizer with an elegant appearance, tiny potato halves stuffed with smoked salmon in a sour cream & horseradish sauce.

Real Food, Fresh & Inventive. No Fork Required! Equally At Home for an Elegant Buffet or a Rustic Farm Table. Potluck & Party Friendly. Scales from Small Plates to Large Platters. Easy DIY. Weight Watchers Friendly.

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"Let the skie raine Potatoes,"
for what would we be 
without you
— lost in a sea of fried turnips,

mashed beets, roasted parsnips?

– excerpt from
"Ode to the Potato"
by poet Barbara Hamby
via the Writer's Almanac

Potato Recipes & Ideas ♥ KitchenParade.com. Tips, nutrition & Weight Watchers points included.

Poor Potatoes

The poor potato, both loved and devoured but also avoided and even reviled.

When I visited the St. Paul farmers market in Minnesota years back, the stands held dozens of potato varieties, all sizes and colors and nubbly shapes.

More and more, I realize how our industrialized food system cheats us, especially, of variety. It's a wonder, that system, feeding much of the world. But there are costs unmeasured by dollars.

About This Recipe

  • Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon are an easy but elegant appetizer, just small potatoes halved and scooped out and then stuffed with a creamy mixture that's a definite nod to lox and bagels: sour cream, red onion, capers and smoked salmon.
  • The distinctive ingredients are the size of the potatoes (small) and the richness of the filling.
  • Short Ingredient List = small potatoes + sour cream + red onion + capers + horseradish + smoked salmon + fresh dill
  • One-bite finger food definitely falls into the "cute" category!
  • A dozen small potatoes will yield two dozen halves, small but substantial bites.
  • This is a time-friendly appetizer. Both the potatoes and the filling should be prepared ahead of time and then, after a short refrigeration, may also be assembled ahead of time for serving later.
  • This is a calorie-friendly appetizer. The bites are small but rich-tasting, each half has only 22 calories!
  • This is a budget-friendly appetizer. Even though the smoked salmon itself can be pricey, a small amount goes a long way and all the other ingredients are inexpensive and may already be in your fridge and pantry.

What's In Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon? Mostly Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. Usually I'm a big fan of substitutes, in this case, I recommend sticking with the recipe, it just works.

  • Tiny Potatoes Look for small potatoes about an inch across. I think red-skinned potatoes are especially pretty but really, size is definitely more important than skin color. As you peruse the potato choices, look for ones roughly the same size and consider how it would go, grabbing a half with your hands, then eating it in a single bite. Some mini potatoes are just too small; some small potatoes are too big.
  • Sour Cream Use full-fat or low-fat, not non-fat, which is, to my taste, detestable.
  • Red Onion, Capers & Horseradish Red onion and capers are often sprinkled across lox and bagels. Here, I've also added a touch of horseradish for an extra bite. Be sure to mince the red onion and capers very small. Look for prepared horseradish in the refrigerator section at grocery stores.
  • Smoked Salmon You're looking for cured salmon here, that's the Scandinavian-style gravlax and the lox of bagels and lox. Good news, the salmon needn't be perfect in appearance since it's going to be chopped up for the filling, then a small piece used for garnish.
  • Fresh Dill You'll need just small sprigs to garnish the tops of the potato halves but it's so pretty, it's worth finding and buying.

Where to Find Very Small Potatoes

Tiny Potato Bites start with – no surprise – tiny potatoes. Look first in the potato bin with "new" potatoes. Pick through the individual potatoes, ferreting out the smallest ones all about the same size, glad for instant portion size management.

But word to the wise: don't assume that you can walk into any grocery store and just-like-that, find tiny little potatoes. In fact, I tend to work the other way around: when I happen onto tiny potatoes, I know I'll make this appetizer.

St. Louisans, believe it or not, the best place to find locally grown tiny red potatoes is Summit Produce at the Kirkwood Farmers Market, open seven days a week during the season.

All that searching is worth it. To quote guests at a recent party, "These Potato Bites are GOOD!"

BUT GOOD NEWS Since this recipe was first published way back in 2009, grocery stores stock one-and two-pound bags of tiny potatoes, some golden like Yukon golds, some with red skins, others with multi-colored mini potatoes in the same bag!

There's even a company called The Little Potato Company. [Not sponsored, just a product I've noticed and like.] Now it's soooo much easier to make Potato Bites on a whim whenever!

How to Make Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in four easy steps. You can definitely do this!

  • COOK THE POTATOES Boil the potatoes in well-salted water until they're done. This is best done ahead of time so there's plenty of time for the potatoes to be refrigerated, which firms the flesh back up, making it easier to cleanly cut the potatoes in half and to scoop out the centers.

  • MIX THE FILLING This step can be done ahead of time too! Just combine sour cream, red onion, capers, horseradish and minced smoked salmon. Refrigerate separately from the potatoes for up to a day.

  • ASSEMBLE First cut the potatoes in half. Then use something like a serrated grapefruit knife or spoon (affiliate link) to scoop out the potato flesh, forming a sort of potato "cup" that will hold a small spoonful of the Filling.
  • Now use a piping bag or a small spoon to fill the potatoes with a rounded amount of Filling, overfilling but not so much that the Filling falls off the sides.
  • If you like, you can refrigerate the potato halves now. I like to use a mini muffin pan to hold them upright for refrigerating or even carrying to a party, say.
  • GARNISH At the last minute, place the potato halves on a serving tray and garnish the tops with a sliver of smoked salmon and a sprig of fresh dill.
Use a mini muffin tin to assemble and carry Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon ♥ KitchenParade.com, an easy appetizer with an elegant appearance, tiny potato halves stuffed with smoked salmon in a sour cream & horseradish sauce.

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their restaurant recipes for home kitchens. The most iluminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

Choose Lox-Style Smoked Salmon This is the cured salmon traditional with bagels and lox. It's wetter and pinker than the hot-smoked salmon you might also find. Hot-smoked salmon will work but we really prefer the lox-style cured salmon in these small bites.

If you happen to end up with hot-smoked salmon, not to worry, it will work just fine but you might also consider using it for a batch of Smoked Salmon Spread. In fact, come to think of it, that spread would make a nice filling here!

Cook a Few Extra Potatoes If it's important to have an exact number of Potato Bites, cook a few extra. First, some times, a potato just falls apart while you're scooping out the center flesh. Second, you'll want to taste one before filling the potato halves, tasting for seasoning.

Dig Out a Mini Muffin Pan A mini muffin pan works perfectly for assembling and carrying Potato Bites. The potato halves fit just perfectly into those mini muffin cups!

Do make sure that each half can sit up straight, you may need to cut a very small slice off the bottoms to create flat, no-roll surfaces.

More Bite-Size Appetizers: Finger Food, No Fork Required!

We love to give parties – and people know to arrive hungry!

When it's a big group, we tend to be super casual, it's definitely potluck, everyone brings a dish to share and everyone congregates near the big kitchen table that's spread with appetizers.

With both casual parties and slightly more formal gatherings, I lean toward small bites and finger food, no plates or forks for us, thank you very much!

For still-more bite-size appetizers and finger food, check Kitchen Parade's appetizer recipes, just scroll down to the specific collection. Fun, eh?!


  • I wrote my own Ode to Potatoes, Finnish potatoes very specifically – they're amazing! and it's not just me who thinks so. You'll find it all along with my recipe for Finnish Summer Potato Salad.
  • One year, we gave a big party at Midsummer, the longest day of the year celebrated across the Nordic countries. Here's what we made, it's a Midsummer Party Menu. Did we serve Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon? Of course!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe easy bite-size appetizer hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon ♥ KitchenParade.com, an easy appetizer with an elegant appearance, tiny potato halves stuffed with smoked salmon in a sour cream & horseradish sauce.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Makes 24, easily halved or doubled
  • 12 tiny red potatoes, scrubbed well
  • Well-salted water, for cooking
  • 4 tablespoons (55g) sour cream
  • 4 teaspoons minced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons capers, chopped if large
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 3-1/2 ounces (100g) smoked salmon, cut in tiny pieces
  • An additional 1/2 ounce (15g) smoked salmon
  • Fresh dill, chopped, optional but pretty

POTATOES Boil the potatoes in well-salted water until cooked clear through, drain, cool and refrigerate.

FILLING Stir together the filling ingredients. Taste the filling (and even prepare a test Potato Bite, if you like) and adjust the horseradish to taste. Refrigerate to let the flavors meld until ready to fill.

ASSEMBLE & GARNISH Up to an hour or so before serving, slice the potatoes in half and scoop out the centers, not down to the skins, but leaving a sort of wall of flesh/skin to form a small potato "cup". The centers may be discarded; there won't be much but if you like, save them to toss into a soup or scrambled eggs.

Use a piping bag (for a neat appearance) or a spoon (for something more rustic) to fill the potato halves with Filling. After each half is filled, I use a mini muffin pan to keep the potatoes upright for refrigerating and carrying to a party, say.

Top with a bit of the additional salmon and if you like, some fresh dill. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS This is an excellent appetizer to make in advance, then to assemble two or three hours before serving, even just before serving. A day before serving, cook the potatoes and mix the Filling and refrigerate separately. The day of serving, fill the potato halves and garnish. So simple, this!

ALANNA's TIPS Refrigerating the potatoes after cooking removes some of the moisture and makes it easier to both slice the potatoes and to scoop out some of the flesh. A grapefruit spoon’s serrated edge makes it ever so useful for scooping out vegetables to stuff. One costs only a couple of dollars and comes in handy often. To keep the potato halves from tipping over, slice off a tiny bit from the round side to create an impromptu "stand". No piping bag? No problem. Just spoon the filling into a small freezer bag and snip off a corner. Smoked salmon can be pricey. I get it at Trader Joe’s where a small package fits my budget. Hot-smoked salmon works but our favorite is the cured salmon some times called "lox" (as in lox and bagels) or "gravlax". It's generally pinker and wetter than hot-smoked salmon.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Two Halves: 44 Calories; 1g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 2mg Cholesterol; 56mg Sodium; 7g Carb; 1g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 1 & Freestyle 1 & myWW green 1 & blue 1 & purple 0 & future WW points

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Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ potatoes ~
~ salmon ~
~ sour cream ~
~ capers ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Another way to save on smoked salmon is something my mom does - when she goes to the fish store, instead of buying the smoked salmon slices, the kind you might find in a prepackaged thingy in a grocery store, she buys the trimmings for a fraction of the price. Same fish, same quality, but without the pretty shape. If you're going to put it on a bagel, though - or in a recipe like this one! - you don't need a big wide slab anyway.

  2. David Mendelson9/30/2009

    Is it ok to substitute shallots for the red onion?

  3. Camille ~ thanks for the great tip, I'm going to check the fish store next visit

    David ~ Red onion are 'traditional' and add color but for the onion flavor alone, shallots will certainly do the trick! Enjoy!

  4. Anonymous12/27/2009

    Is the smoked Salmon in the potato bites cold smoked lox or the regular garden variety of smoked salmon?

  5. Anonymous ~ Hmm. I'm not sure, actually, which means that it's like what you call 'garden variety', yes? I just use smoked salmon from either the fish store or as recently as this weekend, for another salmon appetizer, smoked salmon pieces which are quite inexpensive at Trader Joe's.

  6. Anonymous11/17/2011

    I have noticed that on some of the receipes that there are no actual serving sizes listed!!! Would that be per ounce or what. Now on these Potato and Salmon Bites (which I intend to make for Thanksgiving) there is somewhat of a listing, per half. So I am guessing that a serving on other receipes is per ounce. These are nice receipes though. I bookmark things I like!!!!

  7. Hi Anonymous ~ Will you let me take exception to this, please? Unlike 99% of the food sites on the Internet, I go huge effort to provide meaningful information about how much a recipe makes, how many points in what I consider a serving. I've seen SO many recipes that say nothing more than "serves 4" and turns out that means 10 ounces of meat person, which is HUGE. Instead, I say, "makes 10 cups" and then provide nutrition information per cup or per half cup or something useful, withOUT assuming I know how much an individual is going to actually eat. What I can say is that NO recipe uses weights for serving size.

    PS Great choice for a Thanksgiving appetizer, I just love those little potatoes. You might watch for tiny potatoes, at least here in Missouri, they are hard to find consistently. Small fingerlings would work, but I love the color contrast with the red potatoes.

  8. I'm so glad I don't live near enough to be a taste tester in your kitchen—I'd be eating good stuff ALL the time!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna