Buckwheat Blinis with Chive Cream Cheese & Smoked Salmon

Makes 20 blinis

This recipe is Jilly Lagasse’s budget-friendly take on her father’s indulgent appetizer. While this version calls for smoked salmon instead of caviar, it is equally delicious and still feels decadent.


  • ½ cup buckwheat pancake mix (I like Pamela's Buckwheat Pancake Mix)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice (coconut, olive, sunflower, etc.), plus extra to grease pan
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 ounces whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 5 small chives, finely chopped (about 3 teaspoons), plus more for garnish
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 5 ounces smoked salmon (gravlax) slices, sliced into 20 small pieces
  • 2 medium hard-boiled eggs, finely diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced


Prepare the buckwheat pancake mix as directed on package with egg and milk. Add the water, tablespoon of oil and salt to the mix as well. Mix well and allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes. The batter will be thick, but you want it to be slightly thinner than a normal pancake batter to make almost crêpe-like blinis.

Grease a medium-sized skillet with a bit of oil. On medium heat, warm the pan 1 to 2 minutes before starting to make the blinis.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of the pancake batter into the pan, making mini pancakes about 3 inches in diameter. You should be able to get 4 to 5 in the pan at one time. Be mindful not to pour more than 5, or they will run together. Allow them to cook till small bubbles appear, about 1 minute, then flip to finish cooking.

Repeat this process until you have 20 3-inch blinis, working in batches of 4 or 5. (You will have leftover batter. You can either make extra blinis or store the batter, covered and refrigerated, for up to 24 hours. That’s pancakes for breaky tomorrow started!)

Allow the blinis to cool fully before assembly. You can make the blinis in advance if desired.

Once the blinis are cool, prepare to assemble.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and chopped chives with a bit of black pepper, and stir to combine.

Smear a bit of the cream cheese mixture onto each blini. I find using either a mini rubber spatula or a clean, slightly wet finger is best for this. Also be sure your cream cheese is at room temperature.

Arrange the blinis on whatever serving platter you will be using for the remaining assembly steps.

Next layer the smoked salmon slices onto the cream cheese, 1 small piece of salmon per blini.

Follow by scattering the hard-boiled eggs and red onion over top of the blinis. Finish with a sprinkling of the chopped chives, a pinch of salt and pepper.

Serve immediately. Any leftovers (not that I would imagine you’d have any) can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Nutrition Analysis: 70 cal, 4.5 g fat, 40 mg chol, 135 mg sodium, 3 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 5 g protein.

Jilly Lagasse began cooking as a child when her father, Chef Emeril Lagasse, gave her a set of chef’s whites and let her help in the pastry and dessert department in one of his restaurants. She was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004 and has written two gluten-free cookbooks with her sister, Jessie Lagasse Swanson, as the duo The Lagasse Girls, www.lagassegirls.com.