There is nothing better than a delicious warm cheesy dip that begs you to find something to scoop it up with. Smoked Cream Cheese accomplishes this and much more with an unparalleled level of flavor options. From spicy, fiery heat to deliciously sweet and everywhere in between, this easy appetizer will be the center of your party's spread.
Smoking a block of cream cheese has officially become a thing. It has become very popular in Instagram Reels and home hobby smokers. I love melty, creamy, cheesy dips. I had to give this a try and see what spin I could put on this. Think of it as a cheese dip that you can put out at a party. A yummy appetizer served with chips, crackers, or veggies. It really doesn't get easier than this.
Ingredients are simple. Get an 8-ounce block of cream cheese and your favorite spices. I wanted to produce two different flavors so there were options. There are some people in my house that don't like heat and others that do. I figured to make a hot spicy one and a sweet one.
- Cream Cheese - For the best flavor you do want a full-fat cream cheese without a lot of preservatives. That said, any bricks of cream cheese or low-fat Neufchatel cheese will work for this. I highly recommend not using fat-free cream cheese. That will not soften properly.
- Dry Rub - Close your eyes and picture the taste of cream cheese on a cracker. Any rub that you think would taste good with those flavors is game for this recipe. Try it with your favorite bbq rub.
How to Make Smoked Cream Cheese
Step One: Unwrap your cream cheese block from the packaging. Place it on a piece of foil and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes. I know that smoke is better absorbed through cold meat, I figured the same with the cream cheese, it also allowed the cheese to firm up and make it easier to prep. Otherwise, I imagined it would be getting stuck to everything.
Step Two: Determine the rubs that you want to use.
Because I was doing two different ones, I cut the 8-ounce brick of cream cheese in half and covered them in rubs on separate pieces of foil. For the first one, I used a favorite spicy taco seasoning. It uses Cayenne Pepper as the source of heat. It also includes salt, garlic, onion, and paprika.
In the second one, I mixed even parts of salt, smoked paprika, and dehydrated honey for sweetness. I coated both half blocks of cream cheese with the rubs. I coated every side and the bottom as well.
Step Three: Next, I made shallow slits into the top. This makes a nice presentation, but also for a practical sense, it makes it easier for your guests to dive into it with their crackers when trying to dip and serve themselves. The crack expands as they smoke and show off the gooey cheesy goodness inside.
Step Four: Smoke the cream cheese in a pellet grill or smoker with wood chips at 200 for 1 hour. If your pellet smoker has a super smoke setting you can use that. I used a combination of hickory and cherry pellets in my Traeger grill.
Expert Tip: An alternative to using aluminum foil would be to smoke the cheese in a cast iron skillet on your smoker. Then you can serve it directly from the skillet by just placing some crackers in the gap around the smoked cheese.
Dessert - To make a dessert version simply coat the cream cheese with white sugar, brown sugar, honey, or your favorite sugar-free sweetener. Cinnamon is a great addition and you could even use premade cinnamon sugar. You can serve with fruit like apple slices, cannoli shells, or cinnamon pita chips.
Pepper Jelly - Serving pepper jelly on cream cheese is a classic easy sweet and savory appetizer. It is even better when you use this smoked cream cheese recipe as the base. For this variation just smoke the cream cheese without any seasonings added and add the pepper jam once it's cooked.
Mexican - Sprinkle the scored cheese liberally with taco seasoning. I prefer to use one without any added salt and then add salt to taste. Once it is done smoking serve with tortilla chips and a side of salsa.
Ranch - Coat the cream cheese with a blend of onion powder, garlic powder, dried dill, parsley, salt, and pepper for a great ranch flavor.
Everything Bagel Seasoning - This one is a fave in my house. Use it liberally and then serve with bagel chips to dip.
Bacon - You can top with cooked crumbled bacon after cooking or even mix some into softened cream cheese, let it firm up again in the fridge, and then smoke it.
How to Serve Smoked Cream Cheese
Bagels - Many people like regular cream cheese on bagels. You can kick that up and put this soft smoked cheese on that fresh bagel instead.
Crackers - Serve it with ritz crackers as an appetizer.
Tortilla Chips - Tortilla chips are a great choice especially if you go with Mexican seasoning.
Baguette - Thinly slice the baguette, brush with olive oil, and grill for a minute or two on each side.
Raw Veggies - For a low carb option simply serve with some raw veggies such as red peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber slices, thinly sliced zucchini, or broccoli.
Is Smoked Cream Cheese Keto?
Yes, our homemade smoky cream cheese is keto-friendly as long as the seasoning you add does not have added sugar. Make sure to choose items to serve it with that are also keto.
How do you Store Smoked Cream Cheese
Even when you smoke cream cheese, it still needs to be refrigerated just like regular cream cheese. Place the leftovers in an airtight container or bowl and cover them with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should touch the top of the cheese so that it prevents any moisture from getting to the cheese.
Can I Freeze Cream Cheese?
It is possible to freeze cream cheese. Be sure to wrap it with plastic wrap and then place it in the freezer. There are two ways that you can use frozen cream cheese: either leave it in the freezer and allow it to thaw, or put it in the refrigerator for two days before using. Cream cheese freezes ok but not perfect. If the texture is off after thawing you can process it in a food processor until it is smooth again. It will still work great as a dip.
More Great Party Foods
- Wings - Smoked wings have a great flavor and moist texture that pairs well with all the standard wing sauces like buffalo sauce.
- Sausage Balls - These have just a handful of ingredients but a ton of flavor! Made in the air fryer in minutes.
- Cheesy Potatoes - The ultimate potato skin cooked on the smoker with plenty of bacon.
- Venison Sliders - Handheld mini burgers are a great food to feed a crowd and these venison sliders are a unique option.
- Smoked Brisket - Who can ever say no to tender smoked brisket? We can't.
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon dry rub
- Preheat the smoker to 200.
- Coat the outside of the cream cheese with a dry rub.
- Smoke for 1 hour. Use the super smoke setting if available.
I agree that everything bagel seasoning is the best of all variations I've dreamed up. I use Honey Mustard as a binder; light coat then roll around on a plate of the seasoning.Takes it to a new level!
Elsie S. Stewart
I tried this recipe and it's really good. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to try the recipe.
I couldn't stop eating this dip!! So good, I loved that smokey flavor!
This was a first for me and it went over well. Everyone liked the smoked cream cheese!
I'm confused about the storage of leftovers.... If made to the recipe, there shouldn't be any leftovers. I used everything bagel seasoning for my rub
Paul & Taryn
We rarely have leftovers of this either 🙂
Holy cow! This is so good. And so simple! I love anything with smoky flavor and this is my new favorite spread for crackers. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
This makes for an extra spectacular appetizer. So much great flavor and so deliciously rich!
I love how many different possible variations there can be with this. I never thought to do this with cream cheese, but this is my new party go-to!