Smoked salmon dip: the ultimate appetizer for any occasion. It’s fresh and savory, healthy, and most importantly it’s very impressive with very little work.
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Why This Recipe Works
The flavors of this smoked salmon dip recipe just harmonize like nothing else. Smoky, savory salmon pairs beautifully with tangy lemon and yogurt. Dill is classic with any kind of salmon while chives add a mild onion flavor to it all.
Plus, this dip is made with yogurt and creme fraiche instead of cream cheese, sour cream or mayonnaise—finally a smoked salmon dip without cream cheese!
To keep the recipe quick and easy to prepare, it’s all made in one bowl. No food processor or fancy equipment required.
Whole milk Greek yogurt, it’s important that you use whole milk. Low-fat Greek yogurt will result in a less-creamy dip.
Crème fraîche is a thick cultured cream, similar to sour cream, and is sold in small plastic containers in the specialty cheese or dairy section of the grocery store.
Lemon juice and lemon zest are both used in this dip for brightness and a bit of acidity.
Chives add a lively mild onion flavor and freshness. If you can’t find chives, you can use green onions instead. I recommend finely chopping just the green parts.
Dill and salmon just go together. Fresh dill is really essential here.
Hot-smoked salmon is the star of the show in this dip. Not sure how to find it? Keep on reading, we’ll cover this in detail.
What Type of Smoked Salmon to Use
For this dip, it’s important to use hot-smoked salmon, not cold smoked salmon. What’s the different in hot-smoked and cold-smoked salmon? Well aside from the obvious difference in smoking temperature, they’re also prepared for smoking differently.
Hot-smoked salmon is wet-brined (salt and water) before being smoked at a temperature of 120ºF or higher. Because of the temperature of smoking, the fish actually gets cooked which makes it a great method for a variety of fattier fish, not just salmon. Hot-smoked salmon can be found at you meat and seafood counter or as 4- to 6-ounce fillets in vacuum-packed packages.
On the other hand, cold smoked salmon is dry-cured for days in tons of salt. This draws out the moisture of the fish before it’s smoked at a temperature below 80ºF.
We all know what 80ºF feels like, so you can understand why this doesn’t cook the salmon. This smoking process leaves the salmon with an almost raw-like texture. Thin slices of cold-smoked salmon are most often sold in vacuum-packed packages.
FAQs & Test Kitchen Tips
Mayonnaise or sour cream can be used in place of creme fraiche in this smoked salmon dip recipe.
This smoked salmon dip will last up to 5 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
How to Serve Smoked Salmon Dip
serve this savory smoked salmon dip with crackers, crostini, or thick planks of carrot or cucumber. It’s also delicious schmeared on a toasted bagel or crunchy wasa crackers.
More appetizers to love…
Quick & Zesty Smoked Salmon Dip
- ⅔ cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- ½ cup crème fraîche
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives + more for serving
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill + more for serving
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 12 ounces hot-smoked salmon, skin and bones removed
- In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt, crème fraîche, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest, chives, dill and a ¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper.
- Tear salmon into chunks then add to yogurt mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold mixture together until salmon is broken into small pieces. Season with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
- Transfer salmon dip to a serving dish and top with additional lemon zest, chives, dill and cracked black pepper.
- Make sure to use hot-smoked salmon, not cold-smoked or lox-style salmon.
- If you can’t find creme fraiche, you can use sour cream or mayonnaise instead.
- Green onions can be used in place of chives. If you use green onions, chop the green parts and reserve the whites for something else.
- I do not recommend using a low-fat Greek yogurt, whole milk Greek yogurt is ideal here.
Made this for my family Christmas lunch – it was fast, easy, and delicious. Tasted like a great appetizer you’d get at a fancy restaurant. Couldn’t find creme fraiche anywhere on short notice – but sour cream substituted in perfectly. Will make this again!
Hi Adam! I’m so happy to hear you gave this a try and that it was a hit with your family. Great substitution with the sour cream. I wish creme fraiche was easier to find!! Thanks for trying this and leaving a comment—your notes are so helpful for other readers.