Smoked Salmon Dip

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This elegant smoked salmon dip is delicious on crackers — or serve it on a brunch buffet with bagels.

smoked salmon dip

If you’re ever in need of a festive and elegant dish to make for a party (and aren’t we all right about now?), this smoked salmon dip will really save the day. You can serve it with crackers and cocktails or set it out on a brunch buffet with bagels and other fixings — either way, it’s a definite crowd-pleaser. Even my husband, a true blue New Yorker and self-proclaimed expert on all things smoked fish related, gives it a big thumbs up. What’s more, it’s really easy to make. You’ll love how quickly you can check it off your holiday to-do list! Another plus for this dip is that it can be made a few days ahead of time and refrigerated.

What you’ll need to make smoked salmon dip

ingredients

How to make smoked salmon dip

Begin by combining the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Tabasco and capers in the bowl of a food processor.

cream cheese and capers

Pulse to blend.

smoked-salmon-dip-3

Add the smoked salmon, chives, and dill

salmon, chives, and dill

Pulse until the salmon is finely chopped.

smoked-salmon-dip-5

Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. That’s all there is to it — enjoy!

ready to serve

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Smoked Salmon Dip

This elegant smoked salmon dip is delicious on crackers — or serve it on a brunch buffet with bagels.

Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tasbasco
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, capers, and Tabasco in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse until blended. Add the salmon, dill and chives and pulse, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the salmon is finely chopped. Taste and add salt, if necessary (I usually add about 1/4 teaspoon, but it depends on the saltiness of the smoked salmon). Serve as a dip with crackers or bagel chips, or as a spread with bagels.
  2. Make ahead: This dip can be made a few days ahead of time. However, it gets quite firm in the fridge so let it sit out at room temperature before serving, otherwise it will be hard to scoop.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I was at a loss when my favorite fish place closed and couldn’t buy their fish spread. A friend made this recipe and it was absolutely what I was missing! I make it whenever my husband smokes Lake Superior Lake Trout.

    • — Monica Mears on February 2, 2021
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    • This is a great recipe. I will make it many more times. Thank you for sharing!

      • — Jaci Dussault from NH on March 22, 2021
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  • This dip tastes wonderful – bold, but mellow – and is delicious served with your favorite cracker; we even found ourselves scooping up the dip with celery sticks. We planned on spreading it on good bagels for lunch the following day, but there was none left. I did not use my food processor, just made sure the cream cheese was softened before chopping up the ingredients and mixing them together one day in advance. Delicious!

    • — Shellie on January 29, 2021
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  • This is an elegant appetizer to serve with an assortment of crackers or with bagels for a brunch and, it is delicious! Everyone will ask for the recipe. You can make it in advance too. Try it!

    • — Elizabeth Gunderson on January 28, 2021
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  • This salmon spread is yummy. It is easy to make and can be used as an appetizer, as well as a wonderful topping for bagels.

    • — Elise Shernoff on January 28, 2021
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  • Love an easy recipe with great results. Have used smoked trout as well as salmon with delicious results.

    • — Charlotte on January 28, 2021
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  • This dip is amazing. I’ve made this twice, once this summer and then again for Christmas morning brunch. It was a hit both times! I love all the traditional bagels and lox flavors combined into one easy to make and eat spread. This time we ate the dip on toasted bagels but it’s also great on crackers and bagel chips. Definitely recommend making it ahead to let to the flavors meld and to save you some time day-of.

    • — Adriana L. on December 29, 2020
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  • Just made this today. I had gotten some fresh caught Alaskan salmon and smoked some of it myself and wanted to make a dip. I used ~7oz of the smoked salmon, since that’s the size of one of the pieces I smoked. Turned out awesome! Thank you!

    • — Aaron Johnson on December 12, 2020
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  • Love, love this dip and always get lovely comments when I serve it. Would it be possible to use smoked oysters instead of smoked salmon?????

    • — Marilyn on December 6, 2020
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    • Hi Marilyn, So glad you like it! I haven’t tried this with smoked oysters but I think it should work.

      • — Jenn on December 8, 2020
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  • Delicious! I didn’t have capers so I went without and had to sub Tabasco but this dip was still fantastic! This will be a new go-to for appetizers. So quick and easy, what’s not to love?

    • — Amy on December 3, 2020
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  • All I can say is YUMMMMMM! Absolutely delicious, flavorful, and so easy! Thank you Jenn!

    • — Tamera on November 29, 2020
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    • Don’t have food processor, can’t you just blend all the ingredients and fold in the smoked salmon?

      • — Renee Peel on January 6, 2021
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      • Hi Renee, I think it would work. Just be sure the cream cheese is room temp/warm, otherwise, it will be hard to blend. Hope you enjoy it!

        • — Jenn on January 7, 2021
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  • love this recipe!!!
    Can you freeze it?

    • — Liette on October 10, 2020
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    • Glad you like it! Unfortunately, I don’t think it would freeze very well though.

      • — Jenn on October 12, 2020
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      • Can you serve it warm?

        • — Ben on October 16, 2020
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        • Hi Ben, I think this is really best cold or at room temperature. Sorry!

          • — Jenn on October 18, 2020
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  • I just made this dip for Yom Kippur break fast and it was a hit with everyone! Very tasty. I didn’t add any additional salt because the capers and smoked salmon are already very salty. I also replaced the chives with a small amount of diced red onion. This recipe is a keeper!

    • — Linda on September 29, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn
    Love all your recipes, thank you! I am hosting a high tea bridal shower and wanted to include a “Homemade thyme/ parm Cracker with a salmon mouse” as one on the savoury items. I’m a little worried this might be too “chunky”…..Would I simple purée this dip more to get a mousse.consistency that I could them put into a pastry bag or do you have other suggestions?
    Thank you, I appreciate your help.
    Anita

    • — Anita Rodobolski on August 20, 2020
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    • So glad you like the recipes, Anita! Yes, I think you could achieve the texture you’re looking for by pureeing the dip more. Hope that helps and that the shower is nice!

      • — Jenn on August 21, 2020
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      • My husband has a hobby as a commercial fisherman and I was looking for a way to use up some freshly smoked salmon when I came upon this recipe. This dip turned out wonderful, however I did not have dill and do not care for capers so instead I added one finely chopped jalepeño. I also added a little extra Tabasco and doubled the amount of salmon (well maybe tripled). It tasted wonderful without the alterations but there is always that need to make the recipe your own in some way. However, didn’t want to do so without giving credit to you!! Thank you for sharing!!

        • — Mandy L Husmann on November 8, 2020
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  • Served tonight with ten friends. Everyone raved about it and throughly enjoyed it. Followed your recipe but addd more smoked salmon and mixed by hand to get a chunkier spread. Thanks for recipe.

    • — Kevin Anderson on August 14, 2020
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    • I too mixed the recipe by hand, I enjoy getting bites where there may be chunks of cream cheese or larger bites of salmon!!

      • — Mandy L Husmann on November 8, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn,

    Can I use 6 to 8 oz of smoked salmon instead of 4 to make it a little more smokey tasting? Thanks.

    • — Jeffery Wentworth on July 31, 2020
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    • Sure, Jeffery – that’s fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 31, 2020
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      • I don’t have smoked salmon but do have a 6 oz can of pink salmon…can I use that and add some liquid smoke. And can it be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated.

        • — Peggy on March 17, 2021
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        • Hi Peggy, I don’t recommend canned salmon here — sorry!

          • — Jenn on March 17, 2021
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  • Made this dip over the weekend for Father’s Day and it was a hit! my whole family loved it- definitely will continue to use this recipe in the future 🙂

    • — Lea on June 23, 2020
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  • Really enjoyed this yummy dip…did not include the capers since smoked salmon was already very salty.

    • — Carol on June 23, 2020
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  • My 4 year old and I enjoyed making this dip together. It has been such a treat to wake up the last 3 days and split a bagel with all the flavor in this smoked salmon dip. My daughter was content just eating the dip from the bowl with a spoon. We threw additional chopped chives on top for contrast.

    • — Shannon C on May 6, 2020
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  • OMG!!!! We smoked salmon on our smoker and used this recipe exactly and its the best we’ve ever had. THANK YOU

    • — Lindsay Wilkerson on April 20, 2020
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  • Delicious! I didn’t have fresh chives so used freeze dried, but compensated by upping the fresh lemon and dill a bit (honestly, I didn’t measure either, but I probably doubled the dill, lol). Oh right, I also don’t like Tabasco, so I used Louisiana hot sauce. Yum!

    • — dj sangchat on April 14, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn,
    Can I use canned salmon instead of smoked salmon?
    Thanks,
    Anne

    • — Anne on February 19, 2020
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    • I don’t recommend it here, Anne — sorry!

      • — Jenn on February 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Delicious! Can’t stop eating!

    I used “low-fat” cream cheese, mayo and sour cream. I don’t like capers, so I subbed 2 T chopped green olives, plus 1 oz. “belly” lox (very salty, cured salmon – true lox) and used red onion (didn’t have chives.) Mine came out pretty salty, though really delicious. I might skip the belly lox next time, and for personal preference (for strong flavors,) I might add a tad more lemon and dill. Great recipe; can’t wait for the next occasion to bring it to! (Just so I don’t eat the whole bowlful myself LOL)

    • — Lori FM on January 16, 2020
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  • Do you think this dip would be good warmed up and served in a bread bowl?

    • — Irene on December 26, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Irene, I think this one is best cold or room temp. Hope you enjoy it if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 27, 2019
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  • I’m a fisherman who catches and smokes his own salmon. I’ve played around with my own recipes for smoked salmon dip, which were good until I found this one. I’ve made this recipe twice and it is the best. Everyone loves this recipe. This one’s a keeper!

    • — D Hilde on December 14, 2019
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  • Delicious, quick and very easy to prepare and a benefit being able to prepare ahead of time. Thank you. Regards Carolyn

    • — Carolyn on December 11, 2019
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  • Easy to make, I took this to a football game watching party and it was the hit of the party.

    • — Kevin on December 8, 2019
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  • I’m about to make this again and I’m psyched. My mouth is watering for this dip. I think this is the third or fourth year I’ve brought this to my cousins Holiday party. My relatives got nuts for this dip. The first year I brought it I also brought home made crackers. Try that if you want to knock it out of the park. I will never try another salmon dip recipe. This is the best one.

    • — Don on December 5, 2019
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  • Hi Jenn, I have a can of very nice smoked tuna. Do you think I could substitute it for the smoked salmon in this recipe? Or is there another recipe using smoked tuna that you could recommend. Many thanks! Love ALL your recipes!

    • — Jane Howe on December 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Jane, I wouldn’t recommend smoked tuna here. And unfortunately, I don’t know of any other recipes that call for smoked tuna – sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2019
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  • I made this recipe and it turned out fantastic. For my taste I should have cut back the tabasco sauce, it was a little stronger than the other flavors. But overall I loved it! Creamy and fresh, great for a summer snack.

    • — Aubert Cordon on October 27, 2019
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  • Made this dip for a thanksgiving app. It was a hit! We opted out of the hot sauce and capers. Served with chips and cucumber slices. Delicious!

    • — Grace on October 12, 2019
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  • Made this for a family celebration and it was a huge hit. Nice to keep some smoked salmon in the freezer and you are ready to go on short notice.

    • — Judi on September 10, 2019
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  • OMG this is delicious! I made this for a party, turned my back and it was almost gone! The only thing I did different was to save a little salmon and garnish it on the top. Amazing! Will definitely make again!

    • — MarMcG on August 18, 2019
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  • Jenn’s recipes never disappoint. I made this a day in advance of a dinner party. So simple! So delicious! So many raves from my guests! I love recipes I can make ahead of time so I can spend more time with my guests instead of in the kitchen. Thank you!

    • — Elaine in San Francisco on July 21, 2019
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  • I’ve made this dip twice for my husband who does not like salmon or smoked fish he could not get enough of it and I’m gluten-free and did not have any trouble with it. I omitted the salt.
    Excellent!

    • — Mary Ann on July 14, 2019
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  • This recipe is amazing. It’s what we call more-ish in Newfoundland. You can’t stop eating it. Even my husband who is not a huge smoked salmon fan loved it!

    • — Vanessa C-S on July 13, 2019
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  • I love this recipe!!! I look forward to family gatherings as that is my excuse to make it again. Always goes over well.

    • — Susan Singley on June 29, 2019
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  • this is my first recipe I tried from your book – Delicious with bagels almost once a month. I wounder if this spread would be good to use with Athen’s mini fillo shells for appetizers. Thank you so much?

    • — Edith on June 24, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Edith, but I’d bake the shells first and then fill them with the dip. (And glad you like it!) 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 24, 2019
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  • first dish I tried from your book and it was amazing. We had it on our fresh bagels. LOVE IT! That’s how you got me hooked into your recipes and into the kitchen 🙂

    • — Edith on May 17, 2019
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  • Yum! My only change was substituted Penzey’s Fox Point dried herb mix for the fresh chives. I also added an extra step, pulsing the fresh dill and capers before pulsing in the smoked salmon as I didn’t want to risk puréeing it. Wonderful taste and texture, planning on serving with shmurah matzah (a precious gift from Jewish colleagues) for our Easter gathering. happy holidays!

    • — Grace B on April 19, 2019
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  • I don’t have a food processor, and am wondering – do you think this could work in a blender? Or would the salmon and herbs get all stuck down in the bottom around the blade?

    • Hi Audrey, Unfortunately, I don’t think a blender would work but you can try finely chopping everything by hand and then mix together. Just be sure the cream cheese is room temp/warm, otherwise it will be hard to blend. Hope you enjoy it!

  • I made this a while back and I forgot to write the review! So my mom and I are very picky about our salmon dips, we had some really bad tasting ones, we even tried recipes before and they just never hit the spot. While I was googling for a really good salmon dip for a small get together this was the one the top search. I looked at the ingredients and got really excited that my mom and I went to the store. We bought everything and I made it at my brother’s house, and it was a huge hit! We ate it all within just ten minutes of me making it. I did not change anything nor did I alter the recipe. I just followed the instructions and kept everything the same. The capers really gave the dip some flavor, and the dill gave it a fresh taste!

  • I just don’t have capers, is that going to be a game changer?

    • — Sue Anne Lahtinen
    • Reply
    • Hi Sue Anne, The capers do add a lot of flavor, but I think it will still be good without them. 🙂

  • I love finding new appetizer recipes and this one is a winner! I’ve made this twice and it’s one of my favourites now. So delicious and has drawn yums and requests for your recipe both times. Your Cheddar and Herb Cheese Sticks and Sweet, Spicy, Salty Candied Pecans are also delish and I’m looking forward to trying more of your appetizers. Thanks for these, Jenn!

  • Normally the recipes on this site are a big hit for me. Not sure what happened with this one. The caper flavor overpowers the dip. I followed the recipe exactly and now I’m trying to decide if I’ll dump it and make something else for what I need to take to a party tonight. Sadly it is a waste of good smoked salmon. I think 1 TBS of capers is plenty.

  • Wonderful dip – my husband who is not a smoked salmon fan loved it as did everyone else!

  • This dip is delicious and great to make ahead of time . Since I now eat dairy free I have made this recipe with dairy free cream cheese and dairy free sour cream (both tofu based). It is my go to dip for entertaining.

  • Do you have any suggestions for making this without a food processor? I only have a stick blender and don’t have access to a food processor.

    • Hi Amy, If you chop the salmon finely, you can mix this by hand – just be sure that the cream cheese is room temperature or it will be hard to mix with the other ingredients. Enjoy!

  • Jenn: easy recipe, but found it to be a bit salty ( I did not add salt). I let it sit in the fridge for about 45 minutes, still a bit salty. Light bulb went off, I added more lemon juice, let it sit another 45 minutes, PERFECT! A total hit with all the party guests. Thanks.
    Tom

  • Love this recipe! Whenever I serve it or bring it somewhere, everyone wants the recipe.

    • — Elizabeth Gunderson
    • Reply

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