The best smoked fish dip recipe is also the simplest. You can smoke the fish a day or two in advance of your event, and then mix it up in minutes when you want it. Serve this rich and delicious appetizer with chips or veggies for dipping.
🍽️ Why This Works
Exotic Party Food. In Florida and other seaside locations, smoked fish dip is a very popular dish. A perfectly balanced blend of smoky, creamy, salty, rich flavor, you can make our recipe at home and enjoy the taste of vacation no matter where you live. Impress your guests and enjoy the best part of vacation (the food!) without leaving your home, and without having the hassle of travel or the expense of restaurants.
Simple Smoked Fish Dip Recipe. We like to keep things simple here at Kitchen Laughter, and this recipe is no exception. Once you’ve smoked your fish, you can refrigerate it until you are ready to mix the dip. Then just put it all in a bowl and stir! No complicated steps, baking, expensive seasoning, or surprise ingredients. Easy!
Finger Food. No utensils are needed to enjoy this delicious, protein packed dip. Just grab a plate with crackers and dip and park yourself in front of the big game. Perfection.
📝 Ingredient Notes
Smoked White Fish – We used mackerel. If you can’t get this, no worries. You can use any fish with a mild, white flesh. It is best to use the freshest fish you can possibly get. I went fishing and was able to land a few Spanish Mackerel, so you really can’t get much fresher than that!
Worcestershire Sauce – This is a sauce containing vinegar, molasses, sugar, tamarind, onions, cloves, chili pepper, and anchovies. It is aged to improve the flavor and used in a variety of dishes to add umami and saltiness.
Mayonnaise – An emulsification of eggs and oil, this ingredient brings just the right amount of “liquid” to the dip to help make it dippable without becoming watery.
Lemon – This acid brightens up the smoked fish dip considerably and helps balance the richness of the fish, mayonnaise and sour cream.
Pepper – Add to taste. You don’t really need salt for this recipe because the Worcestershire sauce is naturally salty.
Wasabi – Add heat and flavor at the same time. Proceed with caution if you don’t like spice.
Plain Cream Cheese – We love the Tillamook brand for this, and find the plain variety helps round out the body of the dip without adding too much of the chive flavor.
Chive and Onion Cream Cheese – Just the right amount of extra flavor. You can find several different flavored cream cheese tubs if you want to experiment.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Smoker | You will need to smoke fish ahead of time to make this dip. We use the Big Green Egg.
Mixing Bowl | A large mixing bowl will allow you to get everything thoroughly mixed and then you can transfer the dip to a pretty container for a more formal occasion.
Whisk | You can also use a mixing spoon.
Measuring Utensils | Measuring spoons and measuring cups are a staple for every kitchen. You might be tempted to wing it with this dip, but we found the ratios of our recipe work really well, so measuring at least the first few times is a good idea.
Step One: Break up the smoked fish into chunks small enough to dip. Make sure there are no bones. You can use two forks to do this, or just your hands to pull apart.
Step Two: Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
Step Three: Stir to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
Step Four: Refrigerate before serving. This gives the ingredients a chance to blend together and it will harden up a little bit.
Note: We serve this chilled, but you can certainly heat it up in the oven. If you do, shoot for 300°F for about 20 minutes. Nothing in the recipe needs to be cooked, so you are really aiming to just heat it up.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
If you are concerned about getting all of the dip ingredients mixed well, keep the fish till last and blend all of the other ingredients with a hand mixer. Then fold in the flaked fish gently. This keeps the fish from turning to mush but ensures that everything is fully mixed.
Some people like it all puréed and use a food processor to get a smooth consistency. It’s really your preference! We think keeping the fish flaky and chunked works better in the dip and makes it seem more decadent and fancy.
If the dip is too thick after it is mixed, add a small amount of mayonnaise at a time until you get the consistency you like. Do not add more than a teaspoon at a time because a small amount can make a big difference and mayonnaise can add an unwanted flavor once you get too much.
For tailgating, place the dip in a handy disposable container and keep it in your cooler. Take along a couple packages of crackers, or a plastic baggy full of chopped vegetables and you are good to go. Throw away the container when you are done and clean-up is a breeze.
Keep your leftover smoked fish dip in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will only keep for a couple of days at the most but no worries, because you aren’t likely to have much leftover. I always make a double batch because it goes so fast!
Smoke your fish up to one day ahead of time and refrigerate it. If you are smoking fish to have as an entree for dinner, make an extra to enjoy the next day in dip. Make the dip up to four hours in advance of your event and refrigerate it so that is nicely chilled and the flavors have time to meld.
Additions and Substitutions
Besides mackerel, you can also use salmon, halibut, tuna, crab meat, hake, sole, amberjack, mullet, mahi-mahi, cobia, Spanish mackerel, or kingfish. Basically, any mild fish with white flesh will work. I prefer to stick with the fish with higher oil content as they seem to smoke better.
If you can’t find flavored cream cheese, add a tablespoon of chopped chives and a teaspoon of onion powder. You can also buy dried chives in the spice section of your grocery store.
Change up the seasoning with a seafood seasoning mix, or a blend of herbs and spices instead of using the flavored cream cheese.
You can substitute out your favorite hot sauce or horseradish for the wasabi. Both of these are common in many smoked fish dip recipes.
Serve this savory and delicious smoked fish dip with soft pretzel bites, smoked pretzels, flat crackers, toasted bread slices, tortilla chips, or pita chips. It makes the perfect appetizer to add to your party table and also works well as a first course, game day snack, or light lunch. Serve it in a lettuce wrap as a type of sandwich or add a scoop to your salad!
I am a big fan of using this with other easy recipes like Hot Dog Burnt Ends, Smoked Cream Cheese, or Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots. These all work wonderfully as finger foods and you’ll definitely win over some friends and family when serving them!
❓ Recipe FAQ
No. Sour cream and mayonnaise do not hold up well when frozen. The texture changes and the dip will become unpalatable. Instead, consider freezing extra smoked white fish separately. Flake the fish apart, and store it in the freezer in an airtight container for up to three months. Whenever you want smoked fish dip, simply thaw the fish and mix up a fresh batch of dip!
One or two days. Once smoked, the fish will only keep for two or three days. So the lifespan of the dip depends on how old the fish was when you made it.
Mackerel worked perfectly. You can also use salmon, amberjack, mullet, mahi-mahi, cobia, Spanish mackerel, kingfish, Great Lakes whitefish, or tuna.
Advice from doctors varies on this topic and you should consult your doctor.
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Smoked Fish Dip
- 2 cups Smoked Fish
- 4 oz Whipped Cream Cheese plain
- 4 oz Whipped Cream Cheese onion and chive
- ⅓ cup Mayonnaise
- 2 drops Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ Lemon use the juice
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Wasabi
- Flake a smoked fish fillet apart, careful to remove bones and skin. You can use two forks, or just pull it apart with your fingers.
- Combine all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir until well mixed.
- If the dip is too thick, add one tablespoon of mayo at a time until the texture is manageable. It works best as a thick dip.
- Refrigerate for up to four hours before serving.