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The Great Caper Caper

Can you help me brainstorm some uses for capers? I have a quart of them. Do they expire when the expiration says, or is that just being very cautious? Can I incorporate them into baking (like...bread?) I have only ever used them in garnish for chicken picatta and similar ventures, in spaghetti sauce, and on salads.

Ideas? Thanks!

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  1. I don't know what the expiration date is, but on things like pickles, I don't even look at it. In my fridge, capers (& other pickled items) last forever.

    1. They're awesome deep-fried as a garnish for vitello tonnato.

      I also throw 'em into my homemade remoulade.

      1. They are great on fish with lemon and butter and parsley.

        Garnish smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel/ sandwich/ omelet.

        Smitten Kitchen's garlic butter-roasted mushrooms uses a bunch of them and is delicious.

        I mix canned Italian tuna in olive oil (drained) with chopped drained giardineira, lots of capers and sliced olives and add to small pasta shells with some olive oil for an easy take-to-work lunch. Artichoke hearts too if I have any.

        Pasta puttanesca.

        There are a bunch of caper gremolata recipes out on the web that are great on grilled meat or chicken or fish.

        And I am with Bacardi1, well-refrigerated and uncontaminated by sticking dirty utensils into the brine they should last a long, long time.

        1. Haven't been to one of those warehouse stores in YEARS, but one time bought a MASSIVE jar of capers... possibly a GALLON? My sister thought I was NUTS! I portioned them out into half pint jars and recanned them. Sister thought I was less nuts when she got a few jars!

          Kinda doubt they have an "expiration date"... more like a "best if used by"!?! I also don't look at expirations on things like pickles.

          1. Chicken or tuna salad

            Deviled eggs

            1. Caponata
              And here is a massive list of Caper dishes

              1. Thanks to Molinari's Deli in SF, I take a can of Italian tuna packed in olive oil, add some capers (I always rinse them, finely chopped red onion, cilantro, s&p, a dash of vinegar, usually sherry, and a tad more oo. Great on crackers or bread. Folks love this.

                I use them til they're gone. Sometimes the liquid even gets a little cloudy. No problem.

                1. I made fish & chips for dinner and I added capers to the tartar sauce.

                  I mash a few tsp. and add capers to salad dressing, dips and marinades.

                  I love capers in egg, chicken and tuna salad.

                  Nearly always find a way to incorporate capers into pasta, chicken and fish dishes.

                  And they add that something-something to sauces.

                  And then there's bread, they really go well in rustic breads.

                  1. Veracruz sauce for fish and shrimp.

                    6 Replies
                      1. re: c oliver

                        My Veracruz version- there are many interpretations - includes peeled/mashed roma tomatoes, garlic, coarsely chopped onion, sweet pepper strips, capers, sliced green olives, and a sprinkling of golden raisins, oo and butter. Very good with shrimp, snapper, grouper.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Sounds great. Is that a cooked or raw sauce?

                      2. re: Veggo

                        I have used this recipe before and it's delicious. Not just for fish, but I've used chicken too.


                        I love capers and there are a lot of good suggestions here. This Braised Chicken with Lemon and Capers is very good.


                        I always use far more capers than any recipe calls for.

                        1. re: valerie

                          Thanks, Valerie. I have probably tried 100 versions of Veracruz sauce in eastern Mexico, and the varieties are fun to experience. What is unfortunate is that red snapper (huachinango) is rapidly disappearing from Mexican menus. I frequently ask for a side dish of Veracruz sauce with a whole fried boquinette (hog fish - great eating) , and there has never been an extra charge.

                      3. Melba toast, caviar, caper. Eat.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          I've never heard, read or thought about either Melba toast OR capers with caviar.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              To each his own, of course, but I like a super thin cracker like these Waterwheel ones:


                              A drop or three of lemon juice and maybe occasionally a tiny bit of creme fraiche. To me the cracker is just a delivery vehicle. I'd be happy to just eat with my caviar spoon straight from the jar but then it would be gone too quickly :)

                        2. Yes, give some away to your friends and family. A quart is too much!

                          1 Reply
                          1. I agree w others here, I don't pay attn to "best by" dates on pickled items. I would discard however if the pickling liquid started to smell off.

                            Here's one of my favourite pasta recipes. A Donna Hay recipe for Lemon Chicken Pasta that uses capers. I usually increase the amount since w love the flavour. This dish is also great w drained, canned tuna instead of chicken too btw:


                            1. I love capers in a lot of dishes... but lately I like to cook spaghetti and when done...I add some supermarket pesto,extra extra virgin olive oil, frozen peas, Parmesan and lots of capers...yum!

                              1. They're pretty good on Italian style chicken liver crostinis. Also, put em in nicoise salad, put the salad on a baguette and you got a pan bagnat; good w/ bruschetta, anything with tomatoes really. Just remembered great with lox and bagel. I always have a jar in the fridge. Also, good with smoked herring.

                                1. On Orangette's blog, she has a recipe for deviled eggs with a little basil aioli and fried capers on top. The fried capers are ADDICTIVE. Little salty, crunchy bits, we couldn't stop eating them. As I recall, you put them in a little oil until they pop.

                                  1. I make a great "tarter" sauce with them.

                                    Mayo, Lemon, Lot's of black pepper, Dill, Capers, some roasted garlic. It's very good.

                                    1. I put caper, butter sauce on everything (almost). Oops forgot to say caper, butter, lemon juice). do we need another use?