Here are all the best capers recipes to use up a jar! Try a classic recipe or pick from these creative ways to use this tasty ingredient.
Got capers? Then you’ve got gold. The potential of this Mediterranean ingredient is undiscovered for many home cooks. It adds massive flavor to any dish: each bite is a pop of bright, briny and salty flavor. Behold, the magic of the caper!
Here’s a list of all the best capers recipes to utilize this uniquely powerful ingredient in your cooking! There are classics like French-style salmon with capers and Italian pasta puttanesca. Then we’ve got more modern spins, like using capers to mimic Parmesan cheese in a vegan Caesar salad.
Before we start: what are capers?
Capers are a berry of the caper bush that’s native to the Mediterranean. They’re round and dark green gray, about the size of a peppercorn. You’ll find them in many Italian and Mediterranean recipes.
What do capers taste like? They have a bright, briny and salty flavor.
Where to buy capers? Capers are served pickled. Find them in small, thin jars near the olives at the grocery store.
Our favorite capers recipe? Salmon with capers. The baked salmon is infused with lemon and herbs and cooked until it’s perfectly moist. Then drizzle over a silky, luscious lemon caper sauce. Wow! Just a small drizzle of this genius sauce packs a huge punch.
Another great capers recipe? French potato salad! It's a vinegar-based salad, instead of creamy like the American version. The ingredients can vary, but it typically includes potatoes, vinegar and olive oil, fresh herbs, and often capers.
There's no caper recipe more widespread than the classic Smoked Salmon Bagel! It’s a study in bold contrasts: homemade herbed cream cheese against smoky, buttery salmon, herbaceous dill against briny capers, and of course a fluffy, perfectly toasted bagel.
Another famous capers recipe? Pasta puttanseca! This spicy Italian pasta sauce has a salty name and is filled with olives and briny capers. Not only is it easy to make, but its incredibly robust flavor also makes for a flavorful and satisfying meal. It’s a perfect, simple meal to whip up for guests, or even on a weeknight.
Need a fast lunch or easy dinner ideas? Introducing Mediterranean Tuna Salad! Combine canned tuna with crunchy vegetables, capers, feta, and a punch of Dijon mustard for the most flavorful salad to hit your plate! Serve it with crackers as an easy lunch, or over greens for a quick dinner with pita bread and olives.
Want to take your dinner to the next level? Try this Lemon Caper Sauce! This magical meld is so full of savory, salty, buttery goodness, you’ll want to swim in it. Drape it over a piece of grilled or baked fish or chicken, and you won’t want each bite to end. It’s full of big Mediterranean flair and it takes just a few minutes to whip up.
This eggplant pasta has it all! It’s packed with savory and zesty flavor: tender roasted eggplant, zesty marinara sauce, and zingy capers. Even better, this Mediterranean-style dinner is incredibly versatile: it works for weeknights and for serving to company! It's cozy but elegant at the same time.
For fast and easy meals, it’s smoked salmon to the rescue! When you don’t have time to think about cooking, try this Smoked Salmon Sandwich. The bold flavors don’t give away it’s secrets: it takes less than 10 minutes to whip up with salmon, cream cheese, veggies, and capers.
Another well-known capers recipe is remoulade! This zingy mayo-based condiment is eaten all over the world, often with seafood but it works with fries, burgers, and more. It’s typical to Cajun and Creole cuisine, but it’s actually French in origin. We whipped up a batch for our Salmon Burgers and wowza! The way the rich mayo and briny capers meld with the seafood is out of this world.
Here’s a fun capers recipe: Salmon Salad! It’s a creamy, crunchy mix of tangy flavors: just like Tuna Salad but using canned salmon. Or, use it as a smart way to revitalize leftover salmon! The flavor is savory and satisfying, and this recipe has a healthy spin with less mayo. You can also class it up for a fancy brunch and serve it with fresh herbs on a croissant.
Capers are also traditional in eggplant caponata! This Sicilian specialty is an appetizer and a side dish, essentially a sweet and sour ratatouille with cooked eggplant, tomatoes, capers and onion. It’s often spread on crusty bread as an appetizer or antipasti (as the Italians would say). It’s so full of tangy, garlicky flavor that once you’ve taken one bite, you’ll want to devour the entire serving dish.
This Italian pasta salad is full of zesty flavor, featuring lots of veggies, kalamata olives, capers, and crisp romaine. It’s like eating pasta and salad all at once! Not only is it delicious, but the romaine and veggies helps you feel satisfied eating less pasta overall. Instead of relying on cheese for flavor, this one is tangy and salty using capers.
Here's another capers recipe where their salty flavor mimics cheese! Meet the perfect Vegan Caesar Salad! Of course, we love ourselves a great classic Caesar salad. But this one comes extraordinarily close. It’s got an irresistibly creamy, savory vegan Caesar dressing, crunchy croutons, and salty pops of flavor from the capers.
This goat cheese spread is a 5 ingredient, 5-minute easy appetizer that takes your happy hour to the next level with a very little amount of effort! The magic ingredients are goat cheese, olive oil, paprika, and Dijon mustard, which form into a creamy orange dip. And the final magic ingredient: capers! They add just the right amount of savory saltiness that make the dip shine.
Last up in our capers recipes: a pizza! It starts with our Easy Thin Crust pizza dough. Then it's slathered with our tangy, garlicky Easy Pizza Sauce. Top that with caramelized peppers and onions, fresh arugula, a little Parmesan cheese and of course...capers. It's so flavorful and fresh.
Not inspired yet? Pick a capers recipe from these ideas:
To garnish: finely chopped Italian parsley, chives, or other herbs
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.*
Brine the salmon: While the oven preheats, in a shallow dish mix together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes.
Place the salmon in foil: Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and brush it with olive oil. Pat each piece of salmon dry and place it on the foil. Sprinkle the salmon with ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt for each fillet and fresh ground pepper. Place the lemon slices and fresh herbs around the salmon (not on top). Close and seal the foil around the salmon.
Bake: Bake the salmon for 10 minutes in the foil. Then open the foil packet so steam can release and bake again for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130F in the center). A 1 inch thick fillet should cook in about 15 minutes total.
Make the caper butter: Meanwhile, melt the butter over low heat. Once melted, add the capers and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Serve: When the salmon is done, squeeze with some lemon juice from remaining lemon slices. Spoon the butter sauce over each piece of salmon. Garnish with finely chopped parsley or chives.