There is nothing better than a delicious warm cheesy dip that begs you to find something to scoop it up with. This Smoked Cream Cheese Recipe 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. A yummy cream cheese appetizer served with chips, crackers, or veggies is always a hit at parties.
If you are smoking up some meat this is the perfect appetizer to serve while it finishes.
Ingredients are simple. Get an 8-ounce block of cream cheese and your favorite spices.
- 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 cream cheese (aka Neufchatel cheese) will work for this. I highly recommend not using fat-free cream cheese. That will not soften properly.
- Dry Rub - Any rub you think would taste good will work for this recipe. Try it with your favorite BBQ rub to highlight the smoky flavor.
How to Make Smoked Cream Cheese
Step One: Unwrap your cream cheese block, place it on a piece of foil, and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Since 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.
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 with a sharp knife. 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.
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.
Step Five: Serve the cream cheese dip with your favorite crackers, tortilla chips, pita chips, or veggies.
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. 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. Top with sliced green onions when it is ton.
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 great 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 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 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.
Smoked Cream Cheese Recipe
- Traeger Grill or other smoker
- 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.
- Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or fresh veggies to 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.
Originally Published on February 3, 2022. Revised and Republished on January 10, 2024.