How To Serve Caviar Appetizers

Practical tips and fun ideas for serving caviar appetizers at home, with all the best accouterments! It’s a splurge that adds instant glamor to a fancy dinner party, an elegant cocktail party, or special occasion.

party table set up with silver tray of make-your-own-caviar appetizers, with champagne in the background.

Caviar is the height of luxury when it comes to entertaining at home, and it’s actually simple to serve! Choose a variety that suits your budget and set up a charcuterie-style caviar board for a milestone birthday celebration, Christmas cocktail parties, or New Year’s Eve celebrations.

How To Serve Caviar for a Party

What’s the best way to enjoy caviar when you’re entertaining? By setting up a beautiful serving platter filled with options! Guests can help themselves to a make-your-own appetizer display, and have a fun, interactive party experience.

Read on for the most important rules and proper etiquette when serving caviar appetizers, or simply hosting a caviar tasting party.

What is Caviar?

Caviar is the roe (fish eggs) of sturgeon usually from the Caspian Sea. While all fish eggs are called roe, only sturgeon is considered caviar. We do enjoy other fish roe in the same way as caviar, but it must be labeled as such. For instance “salmon” caviar or “lumpfish” caviar. 

The color ranges from a deep golden-gray to black, and the red-orange caviar we see is from salmon or trout, and sometimes whitefish.

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silver tray with items to make-your-own-caviar appetizers.

What You Need

  • Caviar spoon. Traditionally, a mother of pearl or bone spoon is used. You never use a metal spoon as it will affect the taste of the caviar. Other materials you can use are ceramic, horn, even wood or a pretty plastic spoon.
  • Bowl of ice. You’ll need to keep the caviar chilled throughout the party. Use a traditional serving set, or simply use a bowl to hold crushed ice and place the caviar tin directly on the ice.
  • Serving tray. I love to use this large silver tray to place everything onto. It adds old world luxury to the presentation. I find them at antique and thrift stores, or family heirlooms.
  • Small bowls. Use a set of small vessels to hold the toppings, along with small spoons to serve with.
caviar jar on a bed of ice in silver urn bowl.

Types of Caviar

There are 3 main types of caviar, and a whole range of options and prices to choose from. You may want to start with an ounce at a $20 price point and do some taste testing before buying a large tin to entertain with.

  • Beluga. This is the most expensive caviar as it comes from the largest species of sturgeon, upwards of 200 pounds. The eggs, also called berries or pearls, are larger, mild in flavor and have a smooth buttery, nutty taste. The color ranges from light gray to black. 
  • Osetra. The eggs are slightly smaller, crisp and have a nutty flavor. The taste is a bit more intense than Beluga, and the color ranges from golden yellow to brown. Hackleback is a wild freshwater caviar from the U.S. and is a less pricey substitute for Osetra and Beluga.  
  • Sevruga. These are the smallest eggs with the most intense flavor, and considered by many to be the most delicious. It’s described as buttery, creamy and clean tasting. The color is dark gray to black and it’s typically less expensive. Paddlefish is a good, less expensive American substitute.

Others

  • Sterlet. This is real black sturgeon caviar at an affordable price. Its beads are small and delicate with a mild taste. Color ranges from light to dark gray.
  • White Sturgeon. It has a subtle taste with smooth texture and is a good choice for newcomers. 
  • Salmon Roe. It’s medium sized and a pretty red or dark orange color. 

My best advice is to read the description of the product and determine what type of flavor you want to go for.

PARTY TIP: Splurge on a few different types and do a side-by-side tasting. Or share the expense and have each guest bring a tin to share and rate.

ruffled potato chips and bowl of sour cream on linen napkin.

How to Taste Caviar

It’s important to remember that caviar should taste like the sea, not fishy.

  1. To get the finest experience, roll the berries over your tongue instead of biting into them.
  2. Feel them burst in your mouth and note what you taste. Is it salty, briny, buttery, etc. Does it taste like the sea? Do you get a nutty finish?

PARTY TIP: Serve a “caviar bump” for a fun twist. It’s similar to a tequila shot where you lick salt off the side of your hand, but with this variation you simply put a small dollop of caviar on the side of your hand and lick it off. Wash it down with ice cold vodka! It’s a fun idea for a caviar tasting where you can compare different varieties.

Where to Buy

You can find caviar sold in tins or small glass jars, at some higher end grocery stores or specialty shops. It’s important to purchase small containers that will be consumed since it doesn’t have a long shelf life after it’s opened.

You can find it online by doing a quick search and making sure shipping is quick, and it’s safely packed with ice packs or dry ice. 

Helpful Tips

  • Get recommendations or advice from a local shoppe.
  • Keep it cold! Refrigerate it as soon as you get it home, in the coldest part of the fridge.
  • Serve it from its original container.
  • Do not use a metal spoon to serve it! Metal will alter the taste of caviar.
  • Do not freeze caviar.

How to Store It

It can be stored unopened for about 4-6 weeks.

After it’s been opened you can replace the lid or cover the container with plastic wrap, pressing down gently to keep air away from the eggs. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and eat it within three days

Quick Tip

It is considered rude to take a large portion of caviar at once. Keep your scoop to 1 teaspoon or less.

small bowls of topping for caviar appetizers, including hard boiled egg, chives, red onion, capers.

How to Serve Caviar Appetizers

Add these tasty accouterments to your caviar appetizer platter to get the most classic experience. 

  • Potato Chips. This is my favorite way to eat a caviar appetizer. I love sea salt potato chips with ridges, or Pringles.
  • Blinis. These are mini buckwheat pancakes. Buy them, make them from scratch, or substitute with regular mini pancakes which you can make yourself or buy in the freezer section. Just make sure they’re not sweetened varieties.
  • Latkes. If you’re adept at making them from scratch you can do so. I like to make things simple when hosting, so I pick them up in the frozen foods section, heat and serve. 
  • Toast points. Use thin sliced bread to make toast points. Cut off the crust and cut the bread diagonally in a crisscross fashion so you get 4 equal triangles. Lightly toast it so it holds up to the toppings. You can also make crostini or use thin artisan crackers or water crackers.
  • Red onion. Finely dice the red (or purple) onion and let it soak in a small bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes to help take the bite out. Drain and put into a serving bowl.
  • Crème fraiche. This is the traditional topping, but I typically substitute with sour cream because it’s easier to find.
  • Hard-boiled eggs. Cook and peel them ahead and refrigerate until ready to use, then chop them and place in a bowl with a small serving spoon.
  • Capers. These briny berries add a delicious compliment to the fish roe and other toppings.
  • Garnishes. Add some fresh chives or fresh dill, chopped and ready to sprinkle on top. You can also add some lemon wedges to squeeze on a bit of fresh citrus flavor.

Quick Tip

Experts say you need ½ teaspoon of caviar per bite to get the full pleasure.

How Much to Serve

As you know, serving caviar can get expensive. Here’s a recommended serving suggestion to help you plan.

  • One ounce is about 5 teaspoons, resulting in about 10 servings per ounce.
  • One caviar appetizer can hold about ½ teaspoon, which will give you plenty to taste on a blini, potato chip or toast point.
  • Most people will go for 3 to 5 appetizers.
how many peoplehow much caviar
1 – 21 ounce
2 – 32 ounces
63 ounces
84 ounces
105 ounces
126 ounces
silver tray with items to make-your-own-caviar appetizers.

What to Serve Caviar With

Don’t stop at fancy hors d’oeuvres; add a dollop of caviar on top of any of these other dishes and food items to make them instantly fancy!

  • On top of baked potatoes, along with crème fraiche or sour cream, and chives. 
  • Add it to a mashed potatoes toppings bar served in martini glasses.
  • Mini new potatoes topped with creme fraiche or sour cream and caviar.
  • Top your deviled eggs with caviar or red roe instead of bacon.
  • Add a bit on top of these smoked salmon appetizers.
  • On top of baked scallops served in a shell.
  • Thick-cut cucumber slices or cucumber cups with sour cream and roe.
  • Put some on a bagel bar and eat it with bagel thins and chive cream cheese.
  • Add it on top of crab and avocado stacks.
  • On top of pasta with melted butter or olive oil.

What to Drink

Good quality vodka served ice cold. Make ice shot glasses for a fun way to drink it.

Champagne is another top choice, but select “brut” or extra-brute” to keep sugar to a minimum. Cava and Prosecco are also great choices.

Cold sake is a lesser known option but is an excellent pairing with any caviar or roe.

Wine & Caviar Pairing Tips

  • Avoid very dry white wine and opt for light, fruity wine with citrus notes. It will balance the salinity of the roe.
  • Experts recommend a Chablis that’s light and fruit forward, or a light fruity Chardonnay rather than a buttery one.
  • Try a not-too-sweet Riesling. My favorite is Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling.
  • Sauvignon Blanc or a light bodied Pinot Noir can pair well with salmon roe.
small plate with 3 caviar appetizer blinis and potato chips.

More Easy Elegant Hors D’oeuvres

If you want to round out a theme party with fancy delicacies, try foie gras, a raw oyster bar, black truffle pasta (or fries), or lobster macaroni and cheese. You can include one of these elegant hors d’oeuvres, too.

What do you think about throwing a caviar appetizers party or a caviar tasting for a special celebration? Let me know if you give it a try.

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party table set up with silver tray of make-your-own-caviar appetizers.

Caviar Appetizers Platter

Yield: 6 guests
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

A make-your-own caviar appetizer tray with all the ingredients and toppings to make it a fun and delicious experience for your guests. Perfect for special occasions and celebrations.

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces Caviar or Roe
  • Potato chips or Pringles
  • Blinis, mini pancakes, toast points, crostini or plain artisan crackers
  • Latkes
  • Crème fraiche or sour cream
  • Hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • Red onion, finely diced
  • Caper berries
  • Fresh chives or dill, chopped
  • Lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Choose a serving vessel for your appetizer (chip, bread, blini, etc).
  2. Add a small dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream, and top with ½ teaspoon of caviar.
  3. Sprinkle on your toppings of choice and enjoy.

Notes

Make sure to keep the caviar chilled by placing it on a bed of crushed ice.

Did you make this recipe?

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