The 3-Ingredient Appetizer That's Too Easy To Be This Pretty

Radishes, butter, and flaky salt create the perfect balance of spicy and sweet.

radishes with butter and salt

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

I remember the first time I tried French-style radishes. I was working in a test kitchen, and one of my co-workers had leftover radishes from a shoot. She placed a dish on the communal table where we worked, and it instantly caught my eye. The bright pink shade and dramatic, dancing stems of gorgeous fresh radishes were sliced vertically to reveal a stark white interior softened by a generous, casual smear of unsalted butter that sparkled with a sprinkle of shimmering flaky salt.

The stem made the perfect little handle for shared snacking, and I still remember that first bite: Instantly it was one of my favorite snacks to share and prepare.

The spicy crunch of the radish, followed by the creamy, rich taste of butter, and then a slight crisp touch of delicate flaky salt brought these seemingly simple ingredients together to create a beautiful balance that you can’t stop thinking about once you’ve tried them.

If you love snacking, fun flavor, and textural combinations, you need to make a platter of these French-Style Radishes as soon as possible! Whether you’re craving a midday snack or entertaining friends on the weekend, this elegant yet simple recipe deserves a spot on the table.

The trademark spice of the radishes is slightly mellowed by creamy, rich butter and a bit toned down from the salt, which simultaneously draws out more flavor from the radishes and butter. What you end up with is a colorful dish of crispy, crunchy, fanciful little bites of pure magic!

What You Need for French-Style Radishes

Like much French cooking, when it comes to preparing this recipe, it’s about the quality of your ingredients more so than the quantity. All you need are radishes, unsalted butter, and flaky salt or fleur de sel. It also helps to have a sharp knife, a cutting board, and a serving dish on hand. Read on the dig into the specifics and relevance of each element required for this snack.


Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox


Seek out very fresh radishes with the stems on. In other words, a bunch of radishes is better than a pre-cut bag of radishes for the importance of both freshness, and because it’s preferred to keep the stems on for serving and snacking.

To select fresh radishes, avoid those that are soft, dull-colored, or have black spots. If the stems are at all slimy or limp, they probably aren't fresh or may have previously been placed in the freezer or left out for too long in improper temperatures, which will impact the beauty of that distinct crispy, crunchy texture. Fresh radishes will be firm to the touch and the stems will be a fresh and vibrant green color, as though the bunch has been recently harvested.

sliced butter stick
Photography: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox


Unsalted butter is best for this, as you will be sprinkling the buttered radish with finishing salt, which adds a slight textural crunch and draws out the spice and flavors of the spicy, crisp radish and cool, creamy butter.

European-style butter is most ideal. Some French brands you can often find at grocery or specialty markets are Plugrá, Payson Breton, Pascal Beillevaire, Lescure, Échiré (available at some Trader Joe’s locations), and Isigny Ste. Mère is only available to order on Amazon in the U.S. Trader Joe's also carries “Trader Jacque’s Cultured Butter.”

However, if you’re not able to get your hands on a European-style or brand of butter, high-quality unsalted butter brands such as Kerrygold, Vital Farms, Cabot, or Vermont Creamery, will work perfectly.


Not only does flaky salt simply sparkle on a dish, but compared to granulated salt, salt flakes stick better to food, dissolve faster and blend more evenly. Flaky salt controls the balance of flavor in this snack, so it’s ideal to use brands like Amagansett Sea Salt Co. or Maldon Salt.

If you’re aiming for maximum authenticity, fleur de sel is what the French sprinkle on their buttered radishes, and I must say it is truly special. Fleur de sel is the purest form of salt you can get, and because it is so pure, it contains zero bitterness. It melts slowly on the tongue and provides a delicious crunch to enhance the flavor and textural combinations of French-style radishes.

How To Make and Serve French-Style Radishes

So simple, this is hardly a recipe! Here's how to make French-style radishes:

What You Need:

  • 1 bunch radishes, very well rinsed and dried
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature to make for easy spreading
  • 1-2 tablespoons flaky salt or fleur de sel

How to Make and Serve Them:

  1. Slice the radishes in half vertically, from root to tip. Try to keep the stems intact.

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Self Serve: Serve the sliced radishes with the butter in a ramekin or small bowl and a butter spread of butter knife and a bowl of flaky salt.
  2. Serve Prepared: Spread butter on the inside of each radish and sprinkle with flaky salt. Transfer to a platter for sharing.

Recipes To Make With These French-Style Radishes

Follow up an appetizer platter of French-style radishes with some of these delicious European-inspired main courses:

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