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 and special occasions.
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Like my spinach artichoke dip, smoked salmon takes boring, bland dips to the next level. This recipe serves as a simple anytime snack or when you need a quick yet elegant starter. You can make this dip ahead for convenience, saving you time on those busy party days.
I use cream cheese as the base to give that desired scoopable texture. Plus, fresh citrus, herbs, and pungent capers enhance the buttery seafood flavor. Everything goes into the food processor to whip up the ingredients into a smooth and flavorful dip.
Cold smoked salmon has a beautiful velvety texture, and it 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.
Types of Salmon
5 Health Benefits of Fish
Add dairy for a creamy texture
I use softened cream cheese as the base for the recipe because of the texture. Its elastic properties come from whey proteins and carob bean gum. You need an 8-ounce brick to ensure the right consistency. Plus, a small amount of sour cream further lightens the texture and provides acidity to balance the fatty fish.
Add flavorful mix-ins
Nothing pairs better with hearty salmon like lemon and herbs. Add freshness to the dip with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and its aromatic zest. Chopped dill and chives provide a delicate herbaceous note to the mixture.
For roasted garlic flavor without the harsh, raw taste, use garlic powder. Capers add a welcomed pungency with little bursts of salty, pickled flavor. Mix in a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to add a fruity richness. Freshly cracked black pepper provides a nice spicy bite.
How to make smoked salmon dip
Use a food processor for the quickest and most effective blending. Simply add all of the ingredients- salmon, lemon, herbs, cream cheese, sour cream, capers, olive, and seasonings to the bowl. Use the high-speed setting to break everything down into a smooth and cohesive mixture—this process takes about 1-minute.
If you prefer a chunkier dip, pulse several times until you reach the desired texture. Alternatively, mix in some chopped pieces after processing. You can use a high-speed blender, but it requires more monitoring and scraping of the cup to ensure even grinding.
Serve this with
- A vegetable crudite of potatoes, asparagus, peas, zucchini, snap peas, cucumber, and carrots
- Crisp crostini or bagel chips
- Spread some on top of avocado toast or bagels for brunch
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 woody taste. Lox is brined for a saltier flavor but not smoked.
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.
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.
The difference between hot and cold smoked 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, then cooked above 120ºF (49ºC), giving the flakey texture of cooked salmon. Both work well in salmon dip when thoroughly processed.
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Smoked Salmon Dip
- 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
- 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 Yield: About 1 ¾ cup
- Serving Size: About ¼ cup
- For a Chunkier Dip: Pulse the food processor until 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.
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