This smoked salmon dip recipe is made with a mix of cream cheese, capers, lemon juice, chives and parsley. It’s inspired by a simple smoked salmon spread (or pate) that I often buy in seafood shops across the East Coast. It is naturally gluten-free and you can make it dairy-free by using plant-based cream cheese. Swap in any type of smoked fish – trout and bluefish work well!
During the summer months when I’m testing recipes remotely, there are a few gluten-free food delicacies on Martha’s Vineyard I can’t wait to get my hands on. Besides the best grilled oysters, Portuguese kale soup, and gluten-free fried chicken, the winner is usually the smoked salmon dip with cream cheese that they make at our local seafood store.
While I usually subsist on thinly sliced cured smoked salmon from the deli counter the rest of the year, having access to some of the best seafood on the east coast also means getting whole blocks of smoked fish, which easily flake with a fork and can be used to top my morning eggs or mixed into a spread for company.
Charlie and I make an epic snack board with the smoked salmon dip or bluefish pate that usually includes lots of garden crudites, potato chips and crackers. It began as a special occasion treat during COVID when there was no entertaining to be had, but now we are hard pressed to not finish a container in one sitting on a weekly basis.
Since this delicacy has become more in demand, I started making my own version of smoked salmon dip at home, which we now can enjoy year round.
These smoked salmon dips, and usually the bluefish pate too, are primarily cream cheese based. Sometimes they include sour cream, but the fish stores near me skip it, so I did too. And then the cream cheese is offset with a little tangy, creamy mayonnaise.
My version differs from the smoked salmon dips of my childhood by being brightened up with minced shallots, fresh lemon juice, briny capers and lots of chives and parsley. It can become firmer in the fridge, but definitely lends itself more to a dip than a spread at room temperature. I prefer the looser texture (a result of the lemon juice and higher mayo to cream cheese ratio) and the green flecks throughout from the herbs.
I also prefer the texture of this smoked salmon dip when using a whole block of cold smoked salmon (an intact fillet) versus sliced smoked salmon (or lox). You can of course use the latter, just roughly chop it or puree in a small food processor instead of flaking it into the dip.
You can also feel free to swap in whole smoked trout or bluefish. To make a more traditional bluefish pate, simply omit the capers. All the other mix-in’s will be just right!
Can you make this smoked salmon dip without cream cheese?
For a dairy-free option, I love the Kite Hill brand of plant-based cream cheese. But you can also omit it entirely and double the mayonnaise or substitute 1/3 cup sour cream or crème fraiche. The dip will have a looser consistency, but still be delicious.
For more gluten-free dip ideas check out these fan favorites:
- Green Goddess Dip
- Healthy French Onion Dip
- Artichoke Hummus
- Creamy Black Bean Dip
- Roasted Beet Hummus
- Gluten-Free Hot Crab Dip
- Vegan Artichoke Dip
- Sweet Potato Hummus
Read on for this herby smoked salmon dip for your next party or snack board for two.
With health and hedonism,
10-Minute Smoked Salmon Dip with Cream Cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 large lemon
- 1 small shallot minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives or parsley or a mix
- 1 tablespoon drained capers roughly chopped
- 8 ounces cold-smoked salmon preferably the whole fillet, see headnote
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and lemon juice until smooth. Fold in the shallot, chives and/or parsley, and capers.
- If using a cold smoked block of salmon, flake the meat with a fork into smaller chunks and discard the skin. Mix the flaked salmon into the cream cheese mixture until the meat is fully incorporated but still a coarse texture. If using sliced smoked salmon, finely chop or pulse the lox in a small food processor and fold it into the dip.
- Transfer the smoked salmon dip into a bowl and garnish with some extra chives or parsley. Serve at room temperature alongside crackers, crudites, potato chips or toasted bread.