Smoked Salmon Dip

5 from 12 votes
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Make this easy smoked salmon dip in just 10 minutes! It’s perfect for serving with crunchy bread or crisp vegetables as an appetizer for parties or special occasions.

It’s always a good idea to have a few options. Here are a few other recipes to try spinach artichoke dip, buffalo chicken dip, 7 layer dip, and spinach dip.

Smoked salmon dip in a white bowl.

Recipe Science

  • Blending smoked salmon into the dip distributes its rich, savory flavor evenly, creating a harmonious balance with the creamy base.
  • The fats in cream cheese and sour cream help to emulsify the dip, ensuring a smooth texture and enhancing the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients from the salmon.
  • Incorporating lemon juice and capers adds acidity, which brightens the flavors and provides a tangy contrast to the smoky, creamy elements.

Why It Works

Smoked salmon takes boring, bland dips to the next level. This recipe serves as a simple anytime snack or a quick, elegant starter. You can make this recipe ahead for convenience, saving you time on those busy party days.

I use cream cheese as the base to give that desired scoopable texture. Fresh citrus, herbs, and pungent capers enhance the buttery seafood flavor. Everything goes into the food processor, but if using a high-speed blender, you’ll need more scraping of the cup to ensure even mixing.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to make this salmon dip recipe.
  • Salmon: Cold smoked salmon has a beautiful velvety texture and breaks down quickly in a food processor. This type of salmon is dry-cured, giving it the characteristic salty flavor, which acts as a preservative. It’s commonly smoked with wood chips at temperatures below 80ºF (27ºC) to retain the silky texture while intensifying the taste.
  • Cheese: You need an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese to ensure the right consistency. Its elastic properties come from whey proteins and carob bean gum.
  • Sour Cream: A small amount of sour cream further lightens the texture and provides acidity to balance the fatty fish.
  • Citrus: Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest add brightness to the rich smoked salmon.
  • Capers: Capers add a welcomed pungency with little bursts of salty, pickled flavor.
  • Oil: Mix in a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to add a fruity richness.
  • Herbs: Chopped fresh dill and chives provide a delicate herbaceous note to the mixture. 
  • Seasonings: Use garlic powder for roasted garlic flavor without the harsh, raw taste. Freshly cracked black pepper provides a nice spicy bite.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

Now that you know how to make a simple yet stunning smoked salmon dip recipe, it’s easy to customize! Feel free to switch up the base with these tasty suggestions:

  • Fish: The fat in salmon absorbs the smoky flavors very well. However, other types of smoked fish like tuna, whitefish, mackerel, bluefish, swordfish, trout, or halibut would add a unique taste.
  • Citrus: Instead of lemon, use lime, orange, or a mixture.
  • Alliums: A few roasted garlic cloves will add a sweet and savory taste. Caramelized onions would also provide a similar flavor profile.
  • Dairy: Instead of sour cream, use creme fraiche or plain Greek yogurt.
  • Capers: If you’re not a fan of capers, add pickles, gherkins, or green olives.

How to Make Smoked Salmon Dip

Unmixed salmon, capers, and cream cheese in a food processor.

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Use a food processor for the quickest and most effective blending. Add all the ingredients- salmon, lemon, herbs, cream cheese, sour cream, capers, olive, and seasonings to the processor.

Pro Tip: Make sure you have the cream cheese on the counter at room temperature so it whips quickly with the other ingredients.

Blended smoked salmon dip in a food processor.

Step 2: Mix until Smooth

Use the high-speed setting to break down the ingredients into a smooth and cohesive mixture. If you prefer a chunkier dip, pulse several times until you reach the desired texture. Alternatively, mix in some chopped pieces after processing.

Person scooping a piece of bread into a bowl of smoked salmon dip.

Step 3: Garnish and Serve

I like to serve the salmon dip in a medium-sized bowl with added garnish. Drizzle on extra-virgin olive oil, then top with capers, fresh dill, and black pepper. It’s nice to have additional textures when taking a bit of the creamy dip.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between smoked salmon and lox?

Both have a rich taste and smooth texture from the fatty fish. Smoked salmon is preserved through brining or curing, then smoked to give depth and a woody taste. Lox is brined for a saltier flavor but not smoked.

Can you freeze smoked salmon dip?

Yes, the dip can be covered tightly and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost the night before in the refrigerator, then mix and serve.

What to serve with smoked salmon dip?

Spread it on toast or bagel for a heartier meal. Serve with crunchy bread like crostini, chips, or crackers. Make it a healthy appetizer with sliced cucumber, radish, bell peppers, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, green beans, or asparagus.

What’s the difference between hot and cold salmon?

Cold smoked salmon is dry-cured in salt for several days, adding an intense salty flavor. It’s heated below 80ºF (27ºC) to maintain the raw salmon’s smooth and velvety texture. Hot smoked salmon is wet-brined in salt and then cooked above 120ºF (49ºC), giving the flakey texture of cooked salmon. Both work well in salmon dip when thoroughly processed.

Serve This With

If you tried this Smoked Salmon Dip, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

Smoked Salmon Dip

Make this easy smoked salmon dip in just 10 minutes! It’s perfect for serving with crunchy bread or crisp vegetables as an appetizer.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • Prepare the Ingredients – In a food processor, add the softened cream cheese, smoked salmon, sour cream, olive oil, dill, chives, capers, lemon juice, zest, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  • Mix Them Together – Process on high speed until the mixture is smooth, about 60 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • To Serve – Transfer to a serving bowl. If desired, drizzle with olive oil and top capers, dill, chives, and black pepper. Serve with bread, crostini, or a variety of vegetables.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: About 1 ¾ cup
  • Serving Size: About ¼ cup
  • For a Chunkier Dip: Pulse the food processor until the desired texture is reached. Alternatively, mix in some chopped pieces of smoked salmon after processing.
  • Using a Blender: Process on medium speed, scraping the cup as needed. Process until smooth. 
  • Storing: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days.
  • Freezing: Store in a plastic bag or airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator the day before. Mix before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 163kcal (8%)Carbohydrates 2g (1%)Protein 5g (10%)Fat 15g (23%)Saturated Fat 7g (35%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 36mg (12%)Sodium 230mg (10%)Potassium 78mg (2%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 456IU (9%)Vitamin C 1mg (1%)Calcium 38mg (4%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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4 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can use either types of cream cheese. The whipped product will create a lighter dip, you may want to add a little more to account for the added air.

  1. Autumn W says

    love this dip ! I served it with EBTB focaccia. I would recommend making it several hours in advance and letting the flavors meld in the fridge.