Salmon Dip That You Can’t Stop Eating!

This Salmon Cream Cheese Dip is CRAZY GOOD!  It’s a recipe of my mother in law’s that I tweaked just slightly because she doesn’t really measure it and I thought you guys would appreciate some actual measurements of the ingredients.  I first tried this dip when she was helping us with our house and brought it over for lunch.  We were driving to Ikea looking for a bathroom vanity (not the right place to find one!) and my stomach began growling like a mama bear guarding her cubs! 

I gave a little giggle and began looking for a fast food restaurant (this was our 2 weeks of shame eating out for every meal because there was NO time to cook).  Instead she reached under her seat and handed me a plastic container and crackers.  The satisfying pop of the lid coming off promised a treasure hidden inside, a promised realized as the scent of smoked salmon wafted up to my nose.

A smile spread across my face and I couldn’t get the crackers open fast enough!  The dip was incredible and I couldn’t stop eating it.  Finally we arrived at Ikea and I longingly left the van with the dip locked inside.  Unfortunately they didn’t have any nice bathroom vanities, I should have stayed with the salmon dip!

I emailed her last week for the recipe because I knew this would be the perfect thing to have on hand for the crazy days of packing and moving.  She did her best guess at measurements, and I played around to get the perfect ratio of salmon to cream cheese.  It was great with cucumber spears, crackers, mixed in pasta, and even in sushi!

I made this with leftover salmon that we had for dinner which was cooked with garlic cloves tucked into it.  If you’re using canned salmon or salmon cooked plain, I’d suggest adding some minced garlic or garlic powder to your dip.  The secret ingredient in this dip is liquid smoke!  It gives a deep smoky flavor that lingers in your senses and creates visions of salmon smokehouses in your mind.

Give this dip a try for your next busy week, or party, or even something cold to take to work for lunch.  Any other ideas for how to use it?

Salmon Cream Cheese Dip

makes about 3 cups


2 cups torn up salmon
12 oz (or 1 1/2 cups) cream cheese
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp minced onion (I used a microplane grater)
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 8 turns of pepper grinder)


Mix everything together really well.  Yes that’s it!  I used a stand mixer for speed, but you can mix it by hand too.  Store in the refrigerator and serve hot or cold.

Approximate cost/serving: Our salmon was some tasty coho given to us by friends, but at the typical cost of getting our salmon it would be $5 to make the dip.  But it can feed 20 people as an appetizer at a party, so it’s only 25 cents a person!!!

Gluten Free: Yes!  Serve with cucumbers and carrot sticks for a gluten free snack, appetizer, or meal.

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24 Responses to “Salmon Dip That You Can’t Stop Eating!”

  1. Kelly
    April 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    Yum. I always love your smart ways to use up leftovers and this sounds ingenius as always. I bet it would also be fantastic on a bagel with some cucumber, tomato, and sprouts. :-)

  2. Lauren
    April 28, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    It looks good and sounds delicious! I’ll have to try it when I have leftover salmon.

  3. Rachel
    April 29, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    I’m always looking for different ways to incorporate salmon into our diet. This sounds so good Diana! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Heather
    April 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    I’ve never heard of liquid smoke but I am totally intrigued!

  5. Kelly - Two Kids (and a mom) Cooking
    April 29, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    This looks soo tasty! We love salmon and dip, I can’t wait to try this recipe with the kids :D

  6. George
    October 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    I substituted real alder smoked salmon for liquid smoke, and it was excellent.GR

    • diana
      October 13, 2010 at 11:35 am #

      I bet! My husband and I made this from salmon we cooked over a campfire. No need for liquid smoke if you’ve got the real deal! Thanks for commenting George.

  7. Chef Denver
    November 24, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    Salmon dip is always a great crowd pleaser.

    A great twist to this recipe is to substitute grated horseradish in place of the liquid smoke. The lemon and horseradish pair very nicely and make even canned salmon taste nice and fresh!

    Great for the holidays and also very economical.

    • diana
      November 24, 2010 at 11:08 am #

      I’ll have to give that a try Chef Denver, thanks for the suggestion!

  8. Sarah
    December 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    I make one nearly like this. I put it on a tray and shape it like a fish and top it with chopped parsley and chopped pecans. Very yummy!

  9. bruce
    February 3, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    I have made this many times. It’s a dip my mom has made for many years. as Sarah says in her comments, I top it with chopped parsley and crushed pecans. Also a few other options are, add horseradish to taste (about 1 or 2 spoon fulls) and I use Philadelphia brand salmon flavored cream cheese. This also gives it a nice pinkish color and adds to the salmon taste.

  10. karon haugh
    November 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Smoked salmon appetizer
    top witkh chopped parsley and crushed pecans – maybe add 1 or 2 spoons of horseradish.

  11. Cathy
    December 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    What kind of salmon do I use? Canned, raw, cooked.?

    • diana
      December 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

      You can use cooked salmon that’s crumbled up or canned salmon.

  12. Pattie
    December 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    I’ve always made this spread for the holidays. I use a good quality canned salmon as well as smoked salmon (lox), I cover it in capers and serve with butter crackers.

  13. Linda Cromarty
    January 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Since liquid smoke has been known to bring on a raging bout of gout to my husband I never use it. Naturally smoked salmon, baked, grilled, canned or jarred works well with my recipe. I also add a touch of dill, grated red onion, minced capers, a couple drops of worcestershire sauce. You could also add dill relish. Cream cheese, sour cream & or mayo could all be used according to your taste. I make it a little different everytime never omitting the fresh lemon juice & no matter what it is always great!

  14. Jessie
    January 27, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! I am a college student and my mom sent me home with a bunch of canned salmon and I had no idea what to do with it. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Agnes
    April 3, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    I am always looking for delicious canapès to serve my weekend guests. I piped it into ready made small pastry cups with a little minced red onion and a caper on top. They were a hit. This recipe is definitely a keeper. My Mom used to have liquid smoke in the pantry and I always wondered what it was for. Now I know! Thanks for sharing this wonderful and very versatile recipe.

    • Diana
      April 4, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      That’s wonderful! Thank you for letting me know Agnes.

  16. Norma
    December 18, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    anytime I have looked for good food I am looking for, I find it here, thank you

  17. Sheila Tice
    December 20, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    My family has this spread at all of our holiday parties we also o put a lil Horseradish but its delicious my mom used to make it and top it with some chopped walnuts you can also make a log or ball and roll into chopped nuts then arrange your crackers around the plate . I Love It

  18. Melissa Pektor
    July 4, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    This sounded delicious so I thought I’d try to make it…..well not so good. Mine was too gooey and I couldn’t form it in a ball like you did. Perhaps I didn’t use enough cream cheese?? Not sure if there are some tricks I should know of. Also, never heard of liquid smoke and couldn’t find any around where we are which is not exactly urban so maybe we when get back to civilization I can find some for future tries.
    Thanks, though. Your recipe looks delicious!

  19. carol
    December 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Thank you for this great sounding recipe! I’m going to try it this afternoon.

  20. Cheryl
    February 1, 2015 at 7:00 am #

    Tried this out on hubby and he loved it. Didn’t stop him from suggesting a higher salmon to cream cheese ratio though. Trying that out today. Thanks so much for a great recipe

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