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Whether served in a bowl or piped into canapes, Smoky Salmon Cream Cheese Spread will be the star of your holiday party! Easy to prepare, these are terrific make ahead appetizers. Smoky, creamy, and SO good!
Make Ahead Appetizers: Smoky Salmon Cream Cheese Spread
Between family gatherings, end-of-year parties for my quilt guild and book club, and celebrations to ring in the new year with friends, I’ve been going to lots of parties lately.
That, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.
Almost all of these parties are potlucks, which is also a good thing! Sharing the cooking duties makes life so much easier for the host. And since I enjoy cooking so much, I really don’t mind being asked to bring an appetizer to share. In fact, most of the time, I enjoy it!
However, if you’re really busy (who isn’t this time of year?) or don’t love to cook as much as I do, being asked to bring a dish to share can feel like a chore. Worse yet, it might even feel like a test. A test you feel certain you’re going to fail.
It doesn’t have to be that way, especially if you take advantage of make ahead appetizers!
Even if you’re busy, even if you’re not much of a cook, this scrumptious and elegant Smoky Salmon Cream Cheese is the best way to earn an easy A at your upcoming party and lots of compliments!
Bring Something Special – Smoky Salmon Cream Cheese
Truly, this recipe is one that checks off all kinds of boxes.
First off, it is one of the most genuinely easy to prepare make ahead appetizers. There is ZERO cooking involved here. If you can operate a hand mixer (or have the arm strength to vigorously stir together) you will have no trouble making Smoky Salmon Cream Cheese.
Second, this is a really pretty recipe! And since people eat with their eyes as well as their mouths, looks matter. (I’ll give you a couple of easy tips for serving below.)
Third, Smoky Salmon Cream Cheese tastes terrific! Spices that bring just enough smoky flavor plus a few extra ingredients to bring balance, keep the salmon flavor from becoming too strong. Pulling everything together in a base of cream cheese makes it rich, creamy, savory, spreadable, and scrumptious.
And did I mention that this is easy? Oh. I did? Well, it bears repeating because it truly is.
So, before you show up at the party with that sad bag of tortilla chips and store-bought salsa, give my Smoky Salmon Cream Cheese a look. You can do this! Really!
What Do You Need to Make Smokey Salmon Cream Cheese?
Answer — not much! And it’s all stuff you can find easily at the grocery store. Including…
- Cream cheese (Whatever brand is on sale. It all works.)
- Canned salmon. (Yes, I said canned! You don’t have to cook a thing!)
- Shallots (Shallots are similar to onions but have a milder flavor. However, in a pinch, you could substitute onions. Make sure you chop them very fine.)
- Lemon juice. (Fresh is best, but you can substitute bottled water if you need to.)
- Smoked paprika (You’ll find it in the spice aisle. If you haven’t tried it before, you’re gonna love it! I use it all the time.)
- Salt (Kosher salt is preferred if you have it.)
- Pepper (Fresh ground is best if you have it.)
- Parsley (Optional but a good idea. A little parsley can really dress up a dish!)
- Crackers or cucumber rounds for serving with or on. (Seedless English cucumbers are my favorite for this. Great to use in place of crackers if you need a gluten-free option.)
Making And Serving Smoky Salmon Cream Cheese For Make Ahead Appetizers
This is a really, really easy recipe! The only preparation involves three things.
You will need to take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator about 30-60 minutes before you start. It needs to soften up a little before you start.
Also, you will need to mince the shallot. All that means is you’re going to chop it into very, very small pieces.
And make sure you drain the liquid out of the canned salmon.
Once that’s done, you’ll put everything into a bowl and use a hand mixer or a fork and slot of elbow grease to mix everything together until it’s well combined and the color is even. That’s it!
The only things you won’t add to the bowl are the parley, crackers, or cucumbers. Those are for garnishing or serving.
But let’s talk about serving and how to make your Smoky Salmon Cream Cheese look as good as it will taste. There are two approaches you can take.
Your first option would be to scoop that finished spread into a pretty bowl, smooth out the top, and add an extra sprinkle of paprika and chopped parsley for color. Then, you could put the bowl onto a platter with some crackers or cucumber rounds.
While you’re at it, put a few extra sprigs of parley on the plate so it looks extra pretty. (Parsley is the secret weapon of beautiful culinary presentation!)
The second option is to gild the lily a bit. But for this, you might need a little extra skill in the kitchen, plus a pastry bag and tips.
If you’re going with that, just place the prepared spread into the pastry bag that has been fitted with a fairly wide tip. Pipe the smokey salmon cream cheese onto crackers or cucumber round to create gorgeous canapes! Add a small parsley leaf on the top of each one.
I went the canape route, and they were a big hit at my year-end book club party. So pretty!
No matter how you serve it, this smoky salmon cream cheese is a scrumptious, easy-to-make appetizer, A-plus appetizer! Give it a try at your next party!Print
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 6 oz. can salmon, drained of liquid.
- 2 T finely minced shallot
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
- Crackers or cucumber rounds for serving
- Parsley for garnish – optional
- Take cream cheese from the refrigerator and allow to soften on the counter for 30-60 minutes.
- Mince the shallot. Drain the liquid from the canned salmon.
- Place the softened cream cheese, drained salmon, minced shallot, paprika, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Blend with a hand mixer (or a fork and a lot of elbow grease) until the ingredients are well-combined, the color is uniform, and the spread is smooth.
- Place prepared spread in a bowl to serve with crackers or cucumbers, or pipe to create canapes. (See post for serving and garnishing ideas.) Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Can be prepared a day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.