Break Out the Blini! Here’s How to Eat Caviar at Home.

published Nov 30, 2022
Ingredient Intelligence
How to Eat Caviar on Toast Points

While you can certainly just eat caviar off a spoon, this simple preparation is a delicious way to dress it up.

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Caviar and champagne
Credit: John Anthony Rizzo/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

Caviar is one of life’s little luxuries. Really — these edible fish eggs are super small in size. Caviar is the unfertilized roe (another word for fish eggs) from sturgeon fish. Because it is very rich-tasting, and because it carries a big price tag, caviar is eaten in small quantities. It’s often a topper for blini (small, savory pancakes), crackers, toast points, or even potato chips; but you can use caviar as a garnish for prepared dishes, such as pasta, too.

Although caviar used to be a “restaurant only” experience for adventurous diners, you can now buy caviar and eat it at home. From online sellers like Goldbelly to specialty food shops, there are plenty of ways to buy caviar. You may even find it at some fancy grocery stores — and at Costco! Before you break out the tiny spoons, you’ll need to know how to find the best caviar, and tell the difference between legitimate caviar and a fake tin of caviar (don’t worry — it’s easy!). In this article, we’ll also cover the right way to store caviar, and include serving suggestions.

Where Can You Buy Caviar?

Caviar is sold online and in specialty food shops. Big name brands, like the French company Petrossian, tend to dominate search results, but there are many smaller producers of caviar that make a great product. If you’re a total caviar newbie, it may be helpful to visit a seafood store or specialty food shop to help you choose a tin. These experienced sellers can help you find a kind of caviar that suits your budget and flavor preferences.

Is Caviar Legal to Buy in America?

There’s one very important rule to buying caviar: Don’t buy Beluga caviar. Beluga caviar, which is widely considered to be the most luxurious, best-tasting, and expensive, is banned in the United States. It comes from the Caspian and Black Seas, and is illegal to import, due to overfishing in that region. So if you find a tin of Beluga caviar, it’s either illegal … or a fake. 

All other types of caviar are approved for sale in the United States. There are even American producers, so you don’t have to buy imported caviar (unless you want to).

What Type of Caviar Should You Get?

Although all caviar comes from sturgeon, the flavors vary widely. There are over two-dozen kinds of sturgeon, and even the same breed can have different tastes and textures, depending on where it originated and what it ate. Generally speaking, though, all caviar has a briny, fresh, saline quality — it shouldn’t taste offensively fishy!

The main types of caviar available in the U.S. are as follows: American caviar (which, again, must come from sturgeon; it’s farm-raised); Kaluga caviar (a spendy, good alternative to Beluga); Osetra caviar (a mild, buttery-tasting option good for beginners); and caviar alternatives. This last category is made from non-sturgeon fish eggs. Salmon, trout, and whitefish are all farmed for their eggs, and these options tend to be cheaper than real caviar. You can even buy vegan caviar, which is typically made from seaweed.

When you’re shopping for caviar, look closely at the label. Real caviar will be labeled clearly as sturgeon-sourced, and it will include the variety and country of origin. Authentic caviar is also given a grade. Grade A caviar is the best: It’s firm, glossy, and has a superior flavor and aroma. Grade B is still delicious, and a little more affordable (well, relatively speaking).

How to Store Caviar

Store your caviar in the refrigerator. Even unopened, caviar must be kept cold. If you’re buying online, choose a reputable seller, so you can be sure they’ll ship it with cold-keeping packaging. If you buy your caviar at a seafood or specialty food shop, bring a cold pack and insulated cooler to keep it chilly on the trip home. Place your caviar in the coldest part of your refrigerator, and do not open it until it’s time to serve.

How Long Does Caviar Last?

Caviar does not have a long shelf life. Unopened, caviar lasts in the refrigerator for about four weeks. If it’s been vacuum-sealed, you may eke out another couple of weeks. But once caviar has been opened, it will only be good for three days — tops.

Can You Freeze Caviar?

Caviar should not be frozen. The texture will change once thawed, and you’ll lose most of the flavor and aroma. Don’t buy caviar until you’re ready to eat it; it should be enjoyed fresh.

How Much Caviar Is a Serving?

Caviar is eaten in small amounts. Most caviar aficionados suggest one ounce per person if you’re eating it without any accompaniments. If you plan on using it as a topping, or part of a larger appetizer or dish, scale back to half an ounce per person.

Conveniently enough, caviar is generally sold in sizes starting at one ounce, making it the personal pizza of seafood.

What Do You Drink with Caviar?

Vodka is commonly paired with caviar. High-quality vodka has a squeaky-clean, palate-cleansing quality that makes it a good match for the robust flavor of caviar. Even if you’re a fan of mixed drinks, in this instance it’s best to drink the vodka on the rocks or neat.

If you’re not a fan of vodka, Champagne is another delicious option. The fizziness of sparkling wine cuts through the richness of the caviar, but be sure your bottle is labeled “Brut” or “Extra Brut.” You don’t want a sweet Champagne with caviar.

If you don’t drink alcohol, unflavored sparkling water is a very good palate-cleansing option, too.

How to Serve Caviar

The subtle flavors in caviar taste better when allowed to warm up slightly. Remove the tin of caviar from the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Don’t take off the lid until just before serving. 

It’s customary to serve the tin of caviar on ice. This makes for a pretty presentation, and is also essential for keeping it at a safe temperature if it will be out for a while. Serving caviar on ice is more important if you have a large tin. If you’re serving a one-ounce tin and will eat it within a few minutes, there’s no need to put it on ice.

How to Use a Caviar Spoon

Caviar is frequently eaten by the spoonful. Caviar spoons are small and dainty, and made from natural material, like bone or mother of pearl. That’s mostly just tradition, although some caviar enthusiasts swear metal spoons affect the taste. (They don’t; in fact, caviar tins are made from metal.) Before eating, bring the spoon to your nose and smell the aroma. Place the spoon in your mouth, flip it over so the caviar gently falls onto your tongue, and let it sit there for a moment. 

Although it may seem strange, don’t spend too much time chewing caviar. You’ll experience more flavors if you roll it around on your tongue a bit. Remember: Your taste buds are on your tongue, so you want the caviar to hang out there for a bit! Now, you may be wondering how caviar can have its famous satisfying “poppy” texture without chewing into it. The pop is part of the fun, so give the caviar a gentle bite or two before swallowing. It’s a happy medium. 

Other Ways to Eat Caviar

Prefer to eat caviar on an appetizer or hor’s d’oeuvre? There are plenty of other ways you can enjoy caviar at home. These are suggestions, not rules: Feel free to mix and match toppings, bases, and flavorings.

  • On blini, with a spread of sour cream, a sprinkling of chopped hard-boiled egg, and fresh dill.
  • On crisp and snappy crackers or toast points with crème fraîche, lemon wedges, and finely chopped fresh chives.
  • On kettle-cooked potato chips, with a smear of French onion dip (trust us).
  • Sprinkled over a fresh pasta dish (go for a cream sauce, rather than a tomato sauce).
  • Scattered on top of buttery mashed potatoes with finely chopped spring onions.
  • Added to a pan of just-roasted baby potatoes with plenty of salt and fresh parsley.
  • Over raw oysters.
  • On a lean cut of steak, like filet mignon.
  • As a topping for oven-roasted tender, flaky fish (avoid very strong-tasting fish).
  • Folded into an omelet.
  • Added to buttery, fluffy scrambled eggs and served with toast.

How to Eat Caviar on Toast Points

While you can certainly just eat caviar off a spoon, this simple preparation is a delicious way to dress it up.

Nutritional Info


  • 2 thin slices

    soft white bread

  • 1 teaspoon

    crème fraîche or sour cream

  • 1 ounce

    caviar of your choice (e.g. Kaluga, Osetra, American)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    finely chopped fresh chives

  • 2 wedges



  • Chef's knife

  • Cutting board

  • Toaster

  • Butter knife

  • Small spoon


  1. Remove the tin of caviar from the refrigerator. Allow it to sit at room temperature with the lid on while you prepare the toast.

  2. Use a chef’s knife to trim off the crust of the bread, then place it in the toaster on the lightest setting. Once the toast has just begun to turn very pale golden, remove and set it on the cutting board. Once the toast has cooled, cut it into 4 triangular pieces by making an “X” cut. (Diagonal slices that cross in the middle).

  3. Divide the crème fraîche or sour cream between the 4 pieces and use your butter knife to spread to the edges. Don’t add the cream while the toast is warm, or it will melt.

  4. Use the spoon to divide the caviar among the four toasts, and sprinkle the fresh chives over the top. Serve with lemon wedges for an optional small squeeze of juice just before eating.