Delicious and Easy Smoked Salmon Dip Recipe

4.86 from 7 votes
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Smoked Salmon Dip is the perfect appetizer for smoked salmon lovers. This dip combines flavorful and tender chunks of hot smoked salmon (not lox, but you can use lox too) a mix of cream cheese and crème fraîche base, seasoned with a little dill and lemon for a delicious smoked salmon dip recipe.

The best Smoked Salmon Dip served in a bowl with fresh dill

We have served this recipe at events throughout the Northwest and when it comes to a smoked salmon dip it’s about starting with high quality smoked salmon. If you don’t own a smoker that’s ok, you can buy smoked salmon or you can use lox.

Ingredients + Substitutions

Most smoked salmon recipes you find for a “smoked salmon dip,” or “salmon spread,” are very cream heavy. You’ll find large proportions of cream cheese (or sour cream, mayo, etc.), and a small proportion of the fish. They also often use store-bought lox or shrink wrapped salmon.

That is not the case for this dip. I want to highlight the beautiful smoked salmon flavors, not drown them in mayo or creamy sauces. That’s why the proportions of salmon to cream based ingredients are more in favor of the salmon.

  • Smoked Salmon – You can make make your own smoked salmon or buy it in the grocery store near your butcher case. Alternatively you can use lox which is a cold smoked salmon with a saltier taste. You can also use steelhead or trout in this recipe for a similar flavor.
  • Cream Cheese – This gives the dish its richness. Make sure it had a chance to come to room temperature or is properly softened.
  • Crème Fraiche – An alternative to heavy cream, this rich cream adds a light body without being overly cheesy. It’s very similar to sour cream, so if you can’t find it, then substitute the same portions with your favorite sour cream.
  • Citrus – A squeeze of lemon adds a nice bite.
  • Dill – Fresh dill both in the dip and sprinkled over the top gives the salmon flavor a pop and nice presentation.

What’s the difference between Lox and Smoked Salmon?

  • Lox refers to salmon that has been cured in a combination of sugar and salt. Think of what you get with a typical bagel lox spread. True traditional “lox” comes form the belly of the salmon, although at most stores you will see “lox” fillets, and is richly textured. Lox is cured. This is not what we’re using in this recipe. (But you can)
  • Smoked Salmon can mean several things: cold smoked, hot smoked, or cured or brined then smoked. The point is it’s cooked on a smoker at low heat. You can buy “smoked salmon” in shrink-wrapped packages from the store. But in this recipe, we’re doing it ourselves (it’s sooo worth it!). And consider smoking with our popular salmon seasoning.

For this salmon dip recipe use hot smoked salmon that is cooked on the smoker. This is also a great leftover salmon idea.


Be sure your salmon is crumbled into smaller pieces. As you are crumbling the salmon remove any pin bones you may find.

Make sure the cream cheese is softened to make it all easier to combine.

Feel free to adjust the ingredients based on how creamy (or not) you want your salmon dip. But just look at the close-up, you can see fresh pieces of the salmon that aren’t drowned in cream cheese or mayo. SO GOOD!

Recipe Steps

  1. Start by combining all the ingredients, except the salmon in a large bowl. Mix to combine.
  2. Add most of the salmon chunks and gently fold in the salmon. Reserve a few pieces of salmon to add to the top of the dip.
  3. Place the dip in your serving bowl and then top with the reserved salmon. Add some smoked finishing salt for an added flavor bonus (or any flake salt).
Salmon dip ingredients in a glass bowl before being combined together.

Scaling Up and Storage

If scaling up this smoked salmon dip recipe for a crowd follow the same portions. Be sure to reserve enough salmon to top the bowl with.

Storage: Keep the salmon dip in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for 3-4 days. We will typically smoke and make the dip the day prior to eating it. Makes for a great make ahead smokes salmon dip for a group.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use lox for smoked salmon dip

For the best smoked salmon dip we recommend hot smoked salmon for the more pronounced smoked flavor. If you can only find lox, or cold smoked salmon, then be sure to lower your salt in the recipe to account for the curing flavor in the lox.

What to Serve With This Dip

  • Warm baguette slices or crostini
  • Crackers
  • Vegetables (like celery)

Wine Pairing

I’ve paired this smoked salmon dip recipe with a wide range of styles and wines. My favorites are domestic Riesling from the United States and sparkling wine (especially rosé sparkling). The creamy textures do well with a wine with high acidity. The acidity cuts through the cheese and refreshes your palate between bites.

Smoked Salmon Dip served in a bowl
We like to top the dip with a little bit more smoked salmon.

Other Dip Recipe Ideas From the Grill

Other Salmon Recipes

*This recipe was originally published in April 2015, and updated in 2024 with new photos.

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Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

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Smoked Salmon Dip with crostini in a cup.
4.86 from 7 votes

Smoked Salmon Dip Recipe

A delicious appetizer recipe for smoked salmon dip made with salmon cooked on a smoker, then mixed into a creamy indulgent dip. This is a great smoked salmon appetizer for any occasion. Includes wine pairings.
Prep: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 Large bowl


  • 8 ounces smoked salmon fillet, (roughly 1 overflowing cup full)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche, or whole fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill (plus extra for garnish)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon fresh ground pepper, a few twists of the pepper grinder
  • ¼ teaspoon teaspoon smoked salt, for garnish, (optional)


  • Preparation: Prepare your smoked salmon by breaking the cooked (and cooled) meat up into pieces. You don’t want it shredded, but instead broken up into small chunks with your fingers. Also pay attention to any bones that may be in there and remove any you may see.
  • Whisk: In a separate bowl, whisk together the softened cream cheese, crème fraîche (or Greek yogurt), lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper.
  • Combine: Start to combine the salmon into the dip (reserving about ¼ of the salmon pieces). Gently incorporate them together. Taste and adjust for your preferences (this is the time to add more cream cheese or crème fraîche should you wish it to have more of a creamy texture).
  • Serve: Transfer to a serving dish. Add the remainder of the salmon pieces to the top of the salmon/cream mixture and sprinkle with the optional smoked salt. Serve with crostini.


If you have a smoker we recommend smoking your salmon for this dip. The difference in flavor between store-bought smoked salmon and this method is huge. If you don’t have a smoker you can still use store-bought, but look for “smoked” salmon.
Lox can also work with this recipe, although go light on the salt until after you taste the dip with the lox, then season.


Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 686mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 476IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Dips
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 176
Keyword: salmon dip, smoked salmon appetizer, smoked salmon dip, smoked salmon dip recipe
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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Smoked salmon dip sounds like the perfect appetizer for enjoying with a glass of wine this summer. Thank you!

    1. Thank YOU! And it is definitely a winner of an appetizer. Always a favorite with family and friends. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  2. Wow… looks so so dreamy. And it pairs with Rose? Get out of my head, why don’t you! 😉 Well done!

  3. 5 stars
    Loved being able to interview you. Those pictures are AMAZING, I can almost taste the dip! We had a smoked salmon dip last weekend and paired it with a sparkling Rose as well. Mia Sparkling Moscato Rosé from Freixenet. Worked really well. Can’t wait to try YOUR recipe, using dill I’m growing in my garden 🙂

    1. Yum! There’s nothing like fresh grown dill! I’m “attempting” to grow my own dill (and a number of other herbs) right now for this summer. We’ll see if they survive the seed period (crossing my fingers!). The salmon is truly tasty. It does, however, really depend on how you cook the salmon, so take good care when you cook (or smoke) it. Since it is the primary ingredient, it’s what will stand out the most. And great to know good minds think alike when pairing salmon dip with sparkling rose 🙂 Cheers