Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

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Smoked salmon tea sandwiches have been a part of my Afternoon Tea menu for years. But, having recently returned from Scotland where I spent 12 days with family, I realized, they aren’t just for tea! I saw them pre-made in bakeries and convenience store refrigerators all over Edinburgh.

Smoked salmon tea sandwiches on tray.

I love smoked salmon, and took every opportunity to order it whenever it was on the menu. While we in the US tend to eat smoked salmon for special occasions, in the UK and Scandinavian countries it’s on most menus all the time, including pubs. 

smoked salmon sandwiches.

I’m going to share three options for sandwiches with you. First, the classic smoked salmon tea sandwich. I like to make these open faced, as they add variety to tea tray, and are pretty garnished with dill and capers. Next, smoked salmon sandwiches with dill sauce, which would typically be served in Denmark as part of a smørrebrød.

Smorrebord sandwiches.

And lastly, a basic sandwich which I spotted in bakeries and shops in Scotland. 

Whole smoked salmon sandwich.

When I make tea sandwiches, I like to have different types of bread. I use a light white sandwich bread for Egg Salad or Cucumber Sandwiches, a whole wheat bread for Chicken Salad with Apricots and Tarragon and a darker rye bread for the smoked salmon sandwiches. 

smoked salmon tea sandwiches.

But tea sandwiches are not just for Afternoon Tea Party, sometimes when I have a little leftover smoked salmon, ham or hard boiled eggs, I’ll make finger sandwiches so everyone can have one of each. Kids love little sandwiches as well, and it’s a great way to accommodate a variety of diets when entertaining. I love this tiered Tea Stand because it unscrews and stacks to the size of one plate for easy storage.

Tea sandwiches.

What’s the best kind of smoked salmon to use?

For a delicate tea sandwiches, I prefer Cold-Smoked Salmon which is thinly sliced and has that pretty translucent pink color we’re all used to seeing on Lox and Bagels. Whereas Hot Smoked Salmon is chunkier, more opaque in color, and has a smokier taste. I would use hot smoked salmon in this Smoked Salmon Pasta or Smoked Salmon Spread.

How to make smoked salmon tea sandwiches

While smoked salmon is quite pricy, in this case a little goes a long way! For these sandwiches, you can save a bit by buying the “ends and pieces” of smoked salmon. (I know Trader Joe’s sells end pieces).

triangle sandwiches.


  • 4 ounces of smoked salmon will make several tea sandwiches.
  • Bread of choice. I like a whole wheat or rye bread.
  • Fresh dill
  • Cream cheese
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • Skip the salt as smoked salmon tends to be salty on its own.
tea sandwiches top shot.


  • Soften cream cheese and mix with fresh chopped dill and lemon juice to taste. 
dill and cream cheese mixture.
  • Lay out the number of bread slices you will need. Four slices of bread will make 12 fingers, or 16 triangles.
smoked salmon sandwich ingredients.
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread.
  • Lay thin slices of smoked salmon over the cream cheese layer.
smoked salmon assembly.

  • If you’re making the sandwiches ahead of time, wrap them well with plastic wrap and then a damp paper towel, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until tea time.
  • When ready to serve, use a serrated knife to carefully trim the crusts and cut into 3 or 4 fingers. You can also use a cookie cutter to make cute shapes, but I find that it wastes too much of the delicious smoked salmon filling.
  • Garnish each sandwich with a tiny sprig of dill and a caper.
cutting sandwiches into fingers.

Open faced Danish sandwiches

If you’ve been to Denmark, you’ll see beautiful open faced sandwich in nearly every cafe. Similar to English tea sandwiches, the Danes have perfected the tiny sandwich, which is referred to as “smørrebrød” which literally means, “buttered bread”. They use a variety of fillings from herbed cream cheese, to thinly sliced roast beef, red onion and mustard. These Danish smoked salmon sandwiches get a Scandinavian twist with dill sauce and dill sprigs. Open faced sandwiches are also ideal for a cocktail party, where they could be considered “canapés”.

Smorrebord sandwiches.


  • The most popular bread for a smørrebrød is a dark rye bread.
  • Dill sauce
  • Thin slices of smoked salmon 
  • Butter for the bread
  • Cream cheese
  • Capers and fresh dill for garnish.

How to make the dill sauce

The sweet and tangly dill sauce has lots of flavor and gives the sandwiches that Scandinavian twist. This recipe is from the Time-Life cookbook series, The Cooking of Scandinavia, 1969.


These ingredients are a guideline. You might prefer a sweeter or tangier sauce Adjust the ingredients to your tastes. Any leftover dill sauce is delicious on a cold Roast Beef or lamb sandwich.

dill mustard ingredients.

  • ​Brown mustard, like Dijon.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado or mild olive oil

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Chill until ready to use. 

dill sauce.

Assembling the sandwiches

  • Add a thin layer of cream cheese. I make the cream cheese layer much thinner than I would for a tea sandwich. 
  • Add a thin layer of the dill sauce.
dill sauce on bread.
  • Add thin slices of smoked salmon, just one layer.
  • Use a sharp knife to trim into triangles, or rectangles. 
  • Garnish with a small amount of dill sauce and a sprig of dill and a caper.
smoked salmon sandwich assembly.

To make the sandwiches ahead, stop before cutting and garnishing and wrap well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish just before serving.

​Lastly there is the smoked salmon sandwich

I assemble these just as I do tea sandwiches, but add micro greens or thin cucumber slices.

sandwich with micro greens.

I also skip the trimming of the crusts.

Smoked salmon sandwich with mirco greens.
smoked salmon sandwiches.

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

Smoked salmon tea sandwiches are the perfect addition to an afternoon tea or Danish smørrebrød.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Afternoon Tea,
Cuisine English, Scandinavian
Servings 12 finger sandwiches
Calories 72 kcal



  • Blend softened cream cheese with chopped dill and lemon juice.
  • Spread each slice of bread with a thin layer of butter, then a thicker layer of cream cheese.
  • Place a layer of smoked salmon on top of the bread. Don't worry about getting to close to the edge since you'll be trimming the crusts.
  • If not serving right away, cover with plastic wrap and a damp cloth and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Slice off crusts and cut sandwiches into fingers or triangles. Garnish with a caper and a small sprig of dill.


For Danish open faced sandwiches:
  • Spread each slice of bread with a thin layer of butter, cream cheese and dill sauce. 
  • Top each slice of bread with a layer of smoked salmon.
  • Garnish with additional dill sauce, caper and fresh dill sprig.
For a closed smoked salmon sandwich:
  • Assemble as you would the tea sandwiches, add micro greens and thin slices of cucumber if desired. 
  • Don’t trim the crusts.


Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 72kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 187mgPotassium: 48mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 139IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 0.4mg
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  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for your recipes. I love the way you explain how to prepare the sandwiches and love a “tea table”.


  2. 5 stars
    I think this would be lovely any time of day. The Nasturtium flowers were a pretty choice as garnish. Did you know they have a peppery flavor when eaten?


  3. ..I am in love with tea sandwiches!!..and this one is delish..
    off to make the simple dill sauce…
    enter..(lovelove the tea towel)

  4. 5 stars
    Very pretty sandwiches. I have wanted to try cucumber sandwiches, but I am sure they won’t be as pretty as your creations. Enter

  5. I absolutely love smoked Salmon! I have some in the fridge, as well as fresh dill growing in the garden. Guess what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow!

    Tea Towel

  6. 5 stars
    Love these and love that you enjoyed Edinburgh so much, including that lovely afternoon tea. Like the USA, in France smoked salmon is mainly for special occasions but that’s because it’s more widely available and generally cheaper in Scotland.

5 from 4 votes

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