Whether you are having a BBQ this weekend or want to try out the latest TikTok trend on your grill or smoker, give our Smoked Cream Cheese recipe a shot. Just three ingredients and hands-off smoking will make a huge impression on your next charcuterie board.
Pull out this recipe when you are looking to dazzle guests with something different. It is packed full of flavor. The smoked cream cheese block is making the rounds on Tik Tok like crazy and we decided to give it a spin out on the grill. The results blew us away. There were no leftovers and also, everyone that we served it to asked us to make it again.
🍽️ Why This Works
Melted Cheese – Before starting this, I thought the smoked cream cheese block would melt and turn into a gooey, dripping mess. I am so glad I was wrong. This recipe works with virtually any seasoning and any type of wood chips, so break out your creativity and make this fun!
Easy – This recipe is remarkably simple because there are just a couple of steps. You really can’t make a mistake.
Versatile – Yes, you can smoke cream cheese and the results are incredible! The rich smoke flavor, the herbs, and seasoning and the cream cheese pair make an incredible cracker spread or veggie dip. It also pairs extremely well with virtually any side dish. You can also use this as a sandwich spread! We even added some to our Cedar Plank Stuffed Salmon for a luxurious treat!
Philadelphia Cream Cheese – Just use a standard eight-ounce block of cream cheese. I do not recommend using a generic brand of cream cheese without comparing the ingredients. If you are making this for a party appetizer, you should consider making more than one block. It will go fast!
Seasoning – Use your favorite. Seriously! We used a fun seafood seasoning because we planned to use it with some cedar-wrapped stuffed salmon. Definitely choose a spice you like as when you slice off a piece of cheese, you will get some from the surface. I’ve suggested some different options below to give you choices.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Foil or a Disposable Pan – I’m cheap, so I created my own “pan” by folding aluminum foil along the edges, but a disposable aluminum pan works just as well.
Press N Seal – Wrap the cream cheese after it has cooled and store it in the refrigerator. Tightly wrap it so the smoky smell doesn’t take over the fridge.
Wood Chips – I always caution against using too much. A little goes a long way. Use any type you want here. Bold varieties like Mesquite, or mild ones like Cherry work equally well. Check out my free printable on a Wood Pairing Cheatsheet.
Step One: Cut two pieces of aluminum foil and stack them. Crunch up the edges so it forms a bit of a pan.
Step Two: Unwrap the cream cheese and lay it in the center of the foil. Gently score it with a kitchen knife, cutting about ¼” deep. As this smokes, it will open up along the score marks.
Step Three: Sprinkle with your rub. Turn it over and get all sides. Above all, be generous with the rub. While it will only season the outside, when you serve it, it will spread to the center of the block too.
Step Four: Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil on top. You don’t need much!
Step Five: Set up the grill for indirect heat. For the Big Green Egg, add the plate setter. For a gas grill, turn off the center burners. Add some smoking chips of your choice. Because I prefer to keep the smoke flavor mild, I used Cherry.
Step Six: Let this smoke for 2-3 hours at 250 degrees. It will have darkened from the smoke and the score marks will open up. Remove it and let it cool.
❗ Expert Tips
After smoking, cut the cream cheese into sections for your various recipes. We kept some from our second batch for a smooth and flavorful cracker spread and used some with other recipes.
Don’t forget to score the surface of the cheese. Not only will it separate slightly along with those cuts, but it will also provide more surface area for the smoke to adhere to.
Don’t worry about smoking this too much. The interior of the cream cheese will remain virtually unaffected and when you mix it together, it will temper the flavors substantially.
Use what you need immediately and freeze the rest. Wrap the unused portion in Press-N-Seal and then store in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Make sure to label it with the date and the seasoning.
You can use a piece of aluminum foil folded on the edges as we did for smoking your cream cheese, but you can also use a disposable foil pan. In addition, you can place a sheet pan under the foil or pan to make it more sturdy if you like.
You are going to love this recipe on your tacos! Try using a Mexican spice blend and add a dash of ancho chile powder for a little heat. This version works well with tortilla chips and pico de gallo for serving! A block of this would also make a great bottom layer for a seven-layer dip.
The old familiar Old Bay or your favorite seafood seasoning is going to be fantastic with lobster or crab meat. You could also serve this as a filling for stuffed seafood like salmon.
Garlic and Pepper Blend
Keep it simple with this basic blend of equal parts pepper, and garlic powder. You don’t want to use a salt heavy blend because the cream cheese already has salt and it easily becomes overpoweringly salty.
Everything Bagel Blend
Make a fantastic dip reminiscent of your favorite bagel. This version is filled with so much flavor and would be fun with bagel chips for a brunch.
Make a sweet version of the smoked cream cheese recipe for a fun twist. Serve it with apple slices, pita chips, bagel chips, pretzels bites, or dippable cookies such as crunchy sugar cookies.
For another sweet option, use crushed pecans mixed with brown sugar or even brown sugar and cinnamon.
Serve with marinara sauce and garlic breadsticks or garlic toasted naan for dipping. You could also add some crumbled sausage or diced pepperoni to the marinara sauce.
Try your favorite BBQ rub on the cream cheese because you are going to love it! You can also add some french fried onions after it comes off the smoker for a fun touch.
Served with a little fruit preserve to lighten things up and Triscuits for dipping.
Sweet or Savory Toppings
You can create so many different unique versions of this recipe just by adding toppings when you pull it off the grill! Add fajita toppings to the cream cheese for an interesting dip. Add black beans, taco seasoning and pico de gallo served with tortilla chips. Try it with fruit and honey for a sweet dessert version. Use any of your fruit preserves, jams, or jellies. Crumbled bacon. Habanero Jelly. It’s almost like brie! In fact, you could try making smoked cream cheese with any classic brie preparation.
🥨 Serving Options
You can but it will change the texture. The leftovers for this one are a different texture all together though so if you want to freeze it, go for it. When you take it out if the texture is “off” to you, I would run it through your small food processor to help make it creamy again. If that doesn’t make it how you want, add a tablespoon or so of milk or fresh cream cheese to smooth it out. This is definitely doable and something to make early for game days.
This recipe turned out to be mildly drier than the wet cream cheese as we take it out of the container. This is still “wet” enough that it spreads on crackers and I used it to stuff salmon and it turned out fantastic. Just be prepared that the texture is not the same and you will be fine.
2-3 hours will be sufficient. The longer you smoke the cream cheese the drier it will get.
No. If smoked at the correct temperature, it does not melt and get gooey in the traditional way you think of cheese. It becomes a more dry, more spreadable version of cream cheese with incredible flavor instead!
Yes. Some people like to put it back in the refrigerator to “harden” back up but with the smokey flavor and seasonings. It can still be used for dipping or spreading after refrigeration.
You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week after smoking it and use it for spreading or dipping. This is also how you would save it to use in various recipes liked stuffed salmon. You should keep it in an airtight container.
We really enjoyed using cherry wood, however, you can smoke your cheese with hickory, pecan, almond, apple, or even oak wood.
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Smoked Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- Aluminum Foil
- Smoking Chips
- 8 oz Cream Cheese
- 1 tbsp Seasoning
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- Create a small aluminum dish by layering two pieces of foil and crimping the edges to form a lip.
- Place the unwrapped cream cheese in the center of the foil pan and gently score it with a kitchen knife, cutting about ¼" deep.
- Sprinkle with your favorite rub. Turn the cream cheese over and cover all sides. Be a bit generous with the rub. Pour a little olive oil on top.
- Set up the grill for indirect heat. For the Big Green Egg, add the plate setter. For a gas grill, turn off the center burners. Add some smoking chips of your choice. I prefer to keep the smoke flavor mild and used Cherry.
- Let the cream cheese smoke for 2-3 hours at 250 degrees. It will have darkened from the smoke and the score marks will open up. Remove it and let it cool.