Bring a taste of Florida’s Key West smoked fish dip home with this simple and easy to follow appetizer recipe. A true fan favorite you won’t want to miss out on!
I have lived all across the U.S and have traveled and enjoyed food from all regions across the U.S.
Being stationed in South Florida, we took many trips a few hours south to the Florida Keys.
From Key Largo all the way to Key West; fresh seafood is abundant. In fact, most restaurants always have smoked fish dip on their menu and it’s always a crowd pleaser.
It’s a lightly smoky fish spread that’s often made with white fish and served with a side of veggies and saltine crackers or homemade everything bagel chips.
This dip works so well because it’s a great recipe to utilize unused smaller pieces of fish that remain after preparing other recipes. I always use leftover smoked cod when I make this at home!
Find all the details below on how to make the best smoked fish dip, which fish fillet to use, ingredients, tips for serving, storing, and more. Let’s dive in!
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Knife and Cutting Board
- Food Processor (optional)
Welcome to my virtual classroom! Use the guided notes below where I often answer commonly asked questions I get from readers and cooks just like you.
This information is meant to help you have a stronger understanding of this recipe and the process so you can find success all on your own.
Ready to begin cooking? Simply jump to the recipe below and begin.
What Type Of Fish Is Used In Smoked Fish Dip:
Hot smoked fish (instead of cold smoked) works the best texture wise in a fish dip. You can honestly use any fish, but I avoid oily fish to keep the dip from separating.
Fish filets that are hot smoked are still smoked over a low temperature. I smoke the fish and usually refrigerate it overnight and use the leftovers the next day to make this dip.
These are all great options for using with this dip:
- Smoked Mullet
- Mahi Mahi
- King Mackerel
Hot smoked fish is fairly easy to find in grocery stores, local markets, or from your local fishmonger.
You can also make your own fish, smoked on a pellet grill, or a charcoal smoker like a Big Green Egg. The best fish to use is whatever you enjoy eating or have available!
Smoked Fish Dip Ingredients:
I use a combination of the following ingredients in this simple South Florida smoked fish dip.
- Hot Smoked Fish
- Cream Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Fresh Chives or green onions
- Fresh Dill
- Lemon Juice
- Hot Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Spicy Giardiniera or pickled jalapeño peppers
- Salt & Pepper
A common ingredient I often see in fish dip recipes is liquid smoke. I know this works if you have leftover cooked fish and I do think it is important to use what you have when you can.
However, using smoked fish is an essential ingredient in this recipe. Keep that in mind!
Making fresh fish dip couldn’t be simpler! The hardest part is not eating it all at once.
Start by combining the softened cream cheese and sour cream together in a large bowl. You can use a food processor, but I often just used a bowl and a spatula and feel like it works great.
Mix in the fresh herbs, giardiniera, lemon juice for some acidity, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and finally season to taste. If you like the fish dip to be spicier you can add in some cayenne pepper or go a more traditional route and also add in old bay seasoning.
Break up the smoked fish fillets with a fork and fold them into the creamy dip until fully combined.
What To Serve With Fish Dip:
I serve this dip at room temperature to make it easier to spread. Cut up some fresh vegetables to serve alongside it.
Traditionally, this dip is often served with crackers but I enjoy slicing my favorite bagels into rounds and toasting them with butter and olive oil in a pan.
The flavor of crispy everything bagel chips goes incredibly well with this smoked dip.
Top the final product off with some pickled red onion (for some tang and color) and serve with a side of lemon wedges.
How Long Does Smoked Fish Dip Keep?
Smoked fish is cured so it lasts longer than standard cooked fish. That being said, I would still keep smoked fish dip prepared for no longer than the standard 7 days based on USDA guidelines for food safety.
If you love this smoked fish dip recipe and are a seafood lover, be sure to also check out these other popular seafood recipes here:
Florida Smoked Fish Dip Recipe
- 16 oz. Hot Smoked Fish Use a whitefish
- 4 oz. Cream Cheese Softened
- 2 oz. Sour Cream
- 1/4 cup Fresh Dill minced
- 1/4 cup Fresh Chives minced
- 1/2 cup Spicy Giaradinera or pickled jalapenos
- 1/2 Lemon juiced
- 6 dashes Tabasco Hot Sauce
- 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and sour cream together.
- Add in the fresh herbs, giardiniera, lemon juice, Tabasco, and worcestershire sauce.
- Use a fork to flake the smoked fish fillets. Fold the smoked fish pieces into the creamy dip mixture.
- Test taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve at room temperature so it's easier to spread over crackers or bagel chips. Slice up your favorite veggies and serve alongside lemon wedges and smoke pickled onions if desired.