Inspired by what’s served at The Ritz-Carlton, these salmon mousse pinwheels are a swanky riff on your typical tea sandwich. Perfect for entertaining or simply when you need a little Saturday afternoon self care. (Truth be told, this recipe swaps horseradish and chives for whiskey in the salmon spread. We find each to be equally enticing.)–Margaret M. Johnson

A white cake stand with four spirals of pumpernickel bread, salmon mousse, and smoked salmon.

Salmon Mousse Pinwheels

5 / 4 votes
These salmon mousse pinwheels, made with pumpernickel bread, smoked salmon, and a creamy smoked salmon mousse are an elegant and impressive canapé or tea sandwich.
David Leite
Servings12 large pinwheels
Calories139 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


For the salmon mousse

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers, (optional)

For the pinwheel sandwich

  • 12 slices dark wheat or pumpernickel bread, crusts removed
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon, cut into thin strips


Make the salmon mousse

  • In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, butter, chives, horseradish, salmon, lemon juice, and pepper and process for 20 to 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  • Stir in the capers, if using. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before using.

Make the pinwheel sandwiches

  • Not long before serving, place the bread slices on your work surface and flatten with a rolling pin.
  • Spread the salmon mousse on 1 side of each slice and arrange the smoked salmon on top. Roll up the bread and place it, seam side down, on a platter. Cover with a damp tea towel or paper towels and refrigerate until ready to serve and up to a couple hours.
  • Serve the salmon pinwheels whole or cut each in half on a diagonal and serve angled side up.

Adapted From

Tea & Crumpets

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Serving: 1 pinwheelCalories: 139 kcalCarbohydrates: 19 gProtein: 5 gFat: 5 gSaturated Fat: 2 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 8 mgSodium: 308 mgPotassium: 89 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 6 gVitamin A: 83 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 22 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Margaret M. Johnson. Photo © 2009 Leigh Beisch. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These salmon pinwheels turned out to be one of the finest appetizers I’ve served in many moons. The taste of the salmon came through loud and clear, likewise the horseradish, lemon, and small amounts of capers used.

I went with dark wheat bread and will try pumpernickel next time to see if it turns out just as well.

These salmon mousse pinwheels have a great flavor balance, were easy to prepare, and elegant to serve. I’m now curious about the original, which was prepared with whiskey.

I chose a more rustic pumpernickel bread for these salmon pinwheels. I’ll choose a more “mainstream” pumpernickel bread that is less likely to crack.

I waited until the home opener tailgate to make these salmon pinwheels. I premade the spread, brought it to temperature at the gate, and assembled everything on the spot. I (fortunately) brought enough ingredients to make 6 batches. They flew off the table. People were “ticked” when I ran out.

The pinwheels were really easy to make and they were very good. I used 2 types of salmon to see the difference. I used thinly sliced lox, which I recommend, and I also used some thicker smoked salmon, but that was hard to get into the pinwheels.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Loved it! Great idea when planning for a tea party, dinner party, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years.