Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups

This easy, no-cook appetizer is full of flavor yet requires just five ingredients. It’s the perfect healthy contribution to your next get-together!

A tray of Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups will be a huge hit at your next holiday party!

I hope you all had a restful, relaxing weekend filled with lots of fun and holiday cheer. Ours was about as exciting as can be with a one-month old and was made even better by the enjoyment of these Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups, which I am officially dubbing the “it” easy, healthy recipe of the season.

That’s right, these Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are incredibly simple to make, yet so full of flavor you’d never guess they’re actually one of the healthiest appetizers you can add to your repertoire in this month of endless get-togethers and celebrations.

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are an easy, healthy appetizer for any get-together.

Oh, and did I mention they only require five ingredients? That’s right! No special grocery store trips or endless hours slaving over the stove to whip up these delicious bites of heaven. You can grab everything you need at your neighborhood grocery store and have a beautiful tray of Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups ready to bring to your next holiday party in less than 20 minutes.

Speaking of those easy-to-find ingredients, here they are!

Cream cheese
Dried dill
Fresh chives
Persian cucumbers
Smoked salmon

See what I mean? Never been easier.

These Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are the best holiday appetizer to make this year!

I think I’ve made it pretty clear why I love these tasty tidbits and want to make them for every occasion for the foreseeable future – they’re easy, healthy, composed of just a few ingredients and yet so full of flavor. Plus, I really missed my regular intake of smoked salmon when I was preggo with our baby girl so I’m making up for lost time 😉

I’m not going to keep you long today because, if there’s anything that’s a constant this time of year, it’s that we don’t have much spare time on our hands to sit reading blogs all day. There are more important things to do and people to spend time with!

But, in case you’re looking for a few other appetizer ideas to whip up this season, here are a few of my favorites from the archives…

These Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates

This Butternut Squash Crostini with Crispy Prosciutto and Sage

These Spiced Rosemary Bar Nuts

This Creamy Mushroom Pate

And these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese.

Read on for the Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Up recipe!

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups
Prep Time
15 mins

This easy, no-cook appetizer is full of flavor yet requires just five ingredients. It's the perfect healthy contribution to your next get-together!

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 30 pieces
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 4-5 Persian cucumbers
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 30 strips
  • 30 toothpicks
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the whipped cream cheese, dill and chives until combined. 

  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumbers lengthwise to form long, wide strips and lay out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

  3. Spoon cream cheese mixture into a pastry bag and cut off the tip. Squeeze a line of the cream cheese onto each strip of cucumber. 

  4. Place a strip of smoked salmon on top of each cream cheese-lined cucumber and roll up the cucumber, securing at the end with a toothpick. Refrigerate until ready to serve!


Whisky Gravlax (Cold Cured Salmon)

This whisky gravlax is an easy recipe for cold cured salmon using the classic salt, sugar and herb mixture and smoky whisky as the secret ingredient.

Whisky Gravlax | CaliGirl Cooking

You heard me right. Whisky. Gravlax.

So here’s the deal. I LOVE smoked salmon, and it has been on my “To Do” list to make for quite some time now. Now that we’re back from our honeymoon and I’m settling a bit more into being self-employed and working from home, I figured it was finally time to man up and try my hand at making the darn thing!

Small side note: Does anyone else find themselves with grand ambitions to try their hand at something new and somewhat challenging “someday”? I have to admit I’m so guilty of this, so I try to make a conscious effort to actually TRY these new things at some point because, you know what? Usually they’re wayyyyy easier to make than I ever imagined! So, do yourself a favor and make yourself a “Cooking Projects for a Rainy Day” Pinterest board (yep, I have one, and you can follow it here) and start checking some things off your list. If I can do it, so can you. We’re going to conquer our kitchen fears and hesitations together!

Whisky Gravlax | CaliGirl Cooking

But back to my mission to make homemade smoked salmon and my final decision to make Whisky Gravlax instead. There was one small hiccup in my grand smoked salmon plans: This gal doesn’t own a smoker. Nope, CaliGirl Cooking has not ventured into that world yet (although my husband would probably love me even more if I did 😉 But was I going to let that stop me? No way, Jose. After further researching my non-smoker options on the web, I realized that what I really needed to be making in my particular situation was gravlax. It turns out, “gravlax” was traditionally buried (“grav” as in grave in the ground) under a bed of salt, sugar and herbs. While I wouldn’t be burying my salmon in the ground, I could definitely handle packing it under layers and layers of a sugary-salty-herb mixture.

I also wanted to make a fairly quick version of the dish (at least in smoked or “cured” salmon terms), which meant 24-36 hours MAX. Luckily, I came across this recipe for gravlax that The Minimalist wrote for The New York Times way back in 1998 that I largely based the recipe you’ll find here off of (after my first failed attempt, that is…I think I had about two days’ worth of my sodium intake in my one-ounce taste of that first batch….ick…you live, you learn!)

So, I had the base to my gravlax recipe, but I was still anxious for at least a little bit of that “smoky” taste you get from real smoked salmon. I noticed that a lot of the classic gravlax recipes use a tiny amount of vodka, so in order to get my smoke on, I decided to snag some of the hubby’s super-smoky whisky (in this case I used Ardbeg 10-Year) and use that instead of the vodka. I can’t drink the darn stuff (it feels too much like I’ve just smoked an entire cigar) but I could certainly use it to flavor up my gravlax a little bit…Whisky Gravlax was born!

Whisky Gravlax | CaliGirl Cooking

Onwards I went. I got a lovely two-pound piece of salmon filet (the guy at the seafood counter only looked at me slightly funny when I came in for a two-pound filet two days in a row) and drizzled on a couple of tablespoons of the smoky whisky. I then proceeded to pack the filet in a heavy coating of sugar, salt and dried dill and wrap it up as tightly as I could in saran wrap to sit overnight in the refrigerator. It still leaked all over the place and I was faced with massive cleanup the next morning. (This was after I found maggots in our trash can…..GROSS! And had already spent a good half hour cleaning those up and hosing the entire can down…Yes, it was one of those mornings…And I hadn’t even had my coffee yet!)

Note to those of you out there anxious to try this recipe: Just put your saran-wrapped salmon filet in a shallow baking dish when you put it in the refrigerator and you’ll be golden. No messy whisky-smelling fish juice for you to clean up the next day. You’re welcome.

Whisky Gravlax | CaliGirl Cooking

I’m happy to report that my second attempt at homemade Whisky Gravlax was a success! And really not hard at all. Seriously. We’re talking less than 15 minutes of prep, set it and forget it overnight in the refrigerator, and the next morning you better run out and get fresh bagels and cream cheese because you’re GOING to want to dig into this Whisky Gravlax as soon as you pull it out and rinse off its sugar-salt-dill coating.

Now what are you waiting for? You only have one more day to go out and buy your salmon before you can have this deliciousness ready to go for an easy, lazy Saturday morning breakfast! Oh, and don’t forget the mimosas 🙂

Whisky Gravlax | CaliGirl Cooking

Whisky Gravlax (Cold Cured Salmon)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 d
Total Time
1 d 15 mins
An easy recipe for cold cured salmon using the classic salt, sugar and herb mixture and smoky whisky as the secret ingredient.
  • 2 pounds salmon filet
  • 2 tablespoons whisky as smoky as you can find, I used Ardbeg 10-Year
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill or one bunch of fresh dill
  1. Place salmon filet skin side down on a large piece of plastic wrap. Drizzle whisky evenly over salmon filet.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine salt, sugar and dill. Pour over salmon filet and pack it on as much as you can (there will be A LOT of this mixture, and you’ll want to be sure to use it all!)
  3. Wrap filet in plastic wrap and place in a shallow baking dish in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours.
  4. Remove filet from the refrigerator and rinse off the excess sugar-salt-dill mixture. Slice thinly to serve.
Recipe Notes

Wine Pairing Note: This Whisky Gravlax would pair perfectly with a lightly oaked chardonnay. The smoky flavor from the whisky will balance nicely with the soft buttery-ness of the oak, and salmon is a natural pairing for all chardonnay. BUT, if you’re serving the smoked salmon for breakfast, there’s no better way to pair this dish than with a mimosa!


Whisky Gravlax (Cold Cured Salmon) |

Oh heyyyyyyy…