This "Magical" 3-Ingredient Snack Is Suddenly Everywhere (From TikTok To Trendy NYC Cafes), But The French Have Been Eating It Forever

·8 min read

In a world of overly complicated, labor-intensive, and occasionally questionable food trends, I'm absolutely thrilled to report that the latest one to hit TikTok For You pages everywhere is...well, none of the above. It's three ingredients, costs very little, and can be prepared in a matter of minutes. It's — drumroll, please — radishes with butter and salt. And when I saw it on my TikTok feed, I was immediately intrigued.

Screenshot of a TikTok video with someone buttering a halved radish
Suzy Karadshesh / Via tiktok.com / themediterraneandish.com

I know, I know, it sounds like a potentially strange combo...but stick with me here. It works for some veryyy specific reasons, and it's already super popular in France — and when it comes to food, we just trust the French, OK? So I chatted with the video's creator, Suzy Karadshesh of The Mediterranean Dish, to find out more about this unexpected snack (including its French roots and how she likes to prepare it).

As noted in both her TikTok and our chat, the "magic" of this snack lies with the unexpected combination of peppery radishes and smooth, creamy butter. She puts it best: "It cuts into the pepperiness and makes it so much more indulgent."

woman holding a bowl full of radishes

Suzy first tried the popular snack during a 2009 trip to France, where she quickly realized just how popular it was in Paris as a spring and early summer snack — exactly the season that radishes are at their farm-fresh best. "One afternoon, our tour guide and I shared crunchy radishes, served whole with their greens, a side of softened French butter, and a little dish of flaky salt," she told BuzzFeed. "You would dip the radish in the butter and sprinkle a little salt on top. I’ll tell you, I’m an olive oil gal through and through, but what the butter does to tame the strong peppery flavor of radish is simply magical."

Suzy Karadshesh / Via tiktok.com / themediterraneandish.com

Suzy's viral take on the snack is a little more bite-sized and appetizer-friendly than the traditional French version, since she cuts her radishes in half and finishes each with butter and salt — but this "trend" isn't just taking the internet by storm, it's also popping up in popular restaurants in the States.

french breakfast radishes next to butter on a plate

Here in New York City, it's certainly become the "it" bar snack and appetizer, seen at popular spots like Palmetto and Le DiveMarlow & Sons even riffs on this classic by using crème fraîche in lieu of butter. But they all have one thing in common: They start at $9 a plate, so I decided to try 'em out myself, in my own kitchen, at a much more wallet-friendly price point.

Richard Villalonundefined Undefi / Getty Images/iStockphoto, Suzy Karadshesh / Via tiktok.com / themediterraneandish.com

As a recipe developer and the self-proclaimed president of the Radish Fan Club (see one of the thousands of batches of radish toast I've made below), I can't even begin to describe the excitement I felt as I dove into this one, but let me be clear — even if cooking absolutely terrifies you, I think you could handle this too. Plus, you're really only using about $3 worth of ingredients to make them, so they're as cost-efficient to snack on as they are simple to put together.

Let me walk you through exactly how I made 'em for myself, based on Suzy's recipe on The Mediterranean Dish.

radishes, salt, and butter on a plate
Ross Yoder

First — and I simply cannot overstate this one — wash your radishes. Radishes are notoriously sandy and gritty, especially when you buy them with the stems and leaves still attached (which, according to my tips below, you should!). Give them a good wash under cool water and a quick scrub using a sponge, and you're golden.

A dirty, precut radish juxtaposed next to a bowl of washed and cleaned radishes
Ross Yoder

Next, remove the stem and root ends using a small knife. It's not that they're not edible, but the root ends just tend to be a little bit "woody" and the stems can also unintentionally harbor a little bit of grit.

Radishes with their tops and bottoms sliced off
Ross Yoder

Slice them through the middle, right through the two small cuts you previously made to remove the roots and stems. Think of it as doubling the surface area for all that buttery and salty goodness — which is never a bad thing. (And IMO, give the cut sides of the radishes the tiniest sprinkling of salt here for reasons discussed in my tips below.)

Halved radishes on a cutting board
Ross Yoder

Now, you may have thought to yourself, How the hell am I going to keep these spherical veggies from rolling around my plate or serving platter? I'll tell ya! Give the round end of each radish half the TINIEST sliver of a cut, and they'll stand up without rolling everywhere.

tiny cuts on radish halves so they don't roll around on the plate
Ross Yoder

Two more quick steps (and they're easily the best part). Smear a decent chunk of butter — salted or unsalted, the choice is yours — on the cut side of each radish half. I didn't measure these butter hunks with all that much precision, but if you need a ballpark estimate, I'd say that I used about 1 teaspoon of butter per radish half.

buttered and salted radish in author's hand
Ross Yoder

And finally, salt. Use any kind of salt you have on hand here – I was out of sea salt and flaky salt, so I used kosher salt and seasoned them liberally. Give each buttered piece of radish a nice lil' sprinkle, and then when you think you've seasoned them enough, sprinkle on a little more. Radishes are suuuuper dense, so they can handle a surprising amount of salt.

Ross Yoder

The verdict? This bite-sized snack exceeded every expectation I had, if I'm being perfectly honest. As Suzy says, there's just something so magical about that combination of rich, creamy butter and the hearty, peppery crunch of the radish. It's a textural masterpiece, and the flavors complement each other perfectly too.

Ross Yoder

The best part: You can serve these any way you'd like. Do what I did and make yourself a little plate for the world's quickest lunch, or prepare a whole bunch and serve them to friends and family as a refreshing and satisfying snack. You can even serve them in the same "deconstructed" arrangement that Suzy first enjoyed them in by arranging halved radishes, softened butter, and a small bowl of salt on a platter.

I'm not trying to overcomplicate this ridiculously simple snack, but I also felt obligated to share some post-radish-eating wisdom with you (so you can totally nail it the first time around):

TIP #1: The higher quality your radishes are, the better your snack will be — but don't not try this because you can't find farm-fresh produce near you.

This is true of many foods and dishes, but it's especially important when we're dealing with a three-ingredient dish. As a bit of a radish connoisseur myself, these are my best tips for picking out excellent radishes every time:

Give 'em a squeeze. They should be very hard, as any squishiness could mean that they're woody or too hot — or worst of all, both.

Look for the radishes with the greenest leaves you can find, even if they're not pristine. Radish greens are notorious for going bad really quickly, so the better the leaves look, the fresher the radish will taste.

• Classic, spherical red radishes are delicious and all, but keep an eye out for some exciting varieties as wellFrench breakfast radishes (longer in shape and sweeter) would work super nicely here, because ~France~. I also love Easter egg radishes since they're a bit smaller, crunchier, and come in wildly fun colors.

TIP #2: Salt the radishes and the butter.

The butter makes these decadent, but the salt is what makes them absolutely delicious, IMHO. Radishes are dense, so it's important that they're seasoned all the way through. The radishes with salt sprinkled only on top of the butter were super tasty, but the radishes that I lightly salted (on the cut side) before topping with butter and more salt? Now, those were life-changing.

Salting the radishes in addition to the butter helps to make sure each piece is seasoned all the way through, so you don't get a bite of super salty butter and a bland piece of radish. I found that it made a really big difference in the overall flavor too.

TIP #3: "Good" butter is a must.

I tend to roll my eyes when recipes call for "good" ingredients (what, as opposed to bad ones?), but in this case, getting higher-quality butter than the sticks you'd normally buy for general cooking or baking is crucial. You certainly won't use all of it for this recipe, so stick it in the fridge and use the rest as your dedicated toast-butter until it's gone — trust me, you'll be really glad you did.

You also don't have to spend a fortune here. As someone who's tried many different varieties and brands of butters, I've always found that Kerrygold makes a deeply creamy, deeply flavorful grass-fed option at a pretty modest price point for "fancy" butters, but go with whatever is available to you (that also happens to make sense for your budget).

Also, for my vegan friends: Though I haven't personally tried it, I have a feeling that this would work nicely with vegan or plant-based butter too. Vegan butters can definitely be hit or miss, but if you have one that you love, go for it. I'm a massive fan of Miyoko's cultured vegan butters (and use it whenever I cook plant-based dishes), so if you need a place to start, start there.

If you've made this snack for yourself (or you've tried it at a café or restaurant), tell me how you felt about it in the comments below. ⬇️