If you’ve never tried Smoked Cream Cheese you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Try this recipe once and you’ll be hooked for life.
If you’re looking for something different to serve as an appetizer or snack, smoked cream cheese is where it’s at. Prep work is almost non-existent and you only need to smoke it for about an hour and a half. It’s seriously one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make on your smoker.
And your guests will be blown away by how delicious it is. You can serve smoked cream cheese warm right off the smoker or make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
How To Make Smoked Cream Cheese
Start with an 8 ounce block of cream cheese. Philadelphia cream cheese is the gold standard but the store brand stuff works just fine.
Step 1: Score the cream cheese
Grab a sharp knife and score the top of the cream cheese in a crosshatch pattern. Go about ¼ inch deep on each cut.
You can skip this step if you want, but it really helps make a stunning presentation. Plus it allows the smoke and seasonings to penetrate deeper into the cheese.
Step 2: Season the cream cheese
For an 8 ounce bar of cream cheese you’ll need about a tablespoon of your favorite seasoning or barbecue rub. Sprinkle it evenly all over the top and be sure to get plenty on the sides as well.
What’s really fun when smoking cream cheese is that you can be creative and try all sorts of different seasonings. Some suggestions include:
- Barbecue rub (optional – topped with sweet chili sauce)
- Everything bagel seasoning
- Garlic and herb rub
- Cinnamon sugar or Cinnadust seasoning blend
- Marmalades and jams
- Mexican fajita seasoning
- Ranch dressing (optional – top with buffalo sauce)
Some people like to coat the cheese with olive oil or mustard before applying the seasoning. Their thinking is that the liquid will serve as a binder and help keep the seasoning from falling off.
In my experience, cream cheese is already pretty sticky and there’s really no need to use a binder. Just look at the pictures in this article and you can see there’s plenty of seasoning even though I didn’t use anything at all as a binder.
Pro tip – If you have trouble getting the block of cream cheese out of it’s foil packaging, pop it in the freezer for 5 or 10 minutes. It won’t freeze but it will harden up enough to make it easier to handle.
Step 3: Smoke cream cheese for 90 minutes
Set up your smoker or pellet grill for low heat. You want to keep the temperature around 200 F to 225 F. If you’re using a pellet grill you can just set the temperature and let it go. If you’re using charcoal you’ll have to carefully manage the temperature. In my Weber Smokey Mountain I use a charcoal chimney starter and fill it halfway with coals.
You can place the cream cheese on a baking sheet or rack covered in foil, but I like to put the cheese right in a cast iron pan and place the whole pan in the smoker. When it’s finished smoking I can serve it right in the pan.
You can use pretty much any kind of wood to smoke cream cheese. I’m partial to apple wood myself, but cherry, oak, hickory, or pecan will work just as well.
Let the cream cheese smoke for about 90 minutes. If you want some extra smokiness you can let it go up to 2 hours, but I wouldn’t recommend smoking any longer than that. And if you’re short on time, smoked cream cheese will still be good in just an hour.
Remove it from the smoker and top with any additional flavors like marmalade or sliced jalapenos. I like to drizzle some sweet chili sauce on the one with barbecue rub, but as you can see below I only covered half because my daughter prefers it that way. It would probably be easier to slice it in half ahead of time and smoke separately.
How To Serve Smoked Cream Cheese
Smoked cream cheese is a perfect appetizer for a BBQ party. It’s also a great option for brunch or a snack while you watch the big game. It’s super versatile and can be served with a number of different foods.
Bagels – Many people like to spread cream cheese on their bagels. Smoke some cream cheese first to really kick things up a notch. Just try an everything bagel topped with cream cheese smoked with everything bagel seasoning…incredible!
Crackers – Serve as an appetizer with a variety of crackers for dipping.
Crudité – Cut up some raw cucumber, carrot, celery, broccoli, and red peppers and build little veggie platter so guests can dip in the smoked cream cheese.
Tortilla Chips – Smoke cream cheese with Mexican seasoning and serve with tortilla chips.
Pretzels and Chips – You can’t go wrong with the old standards!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to smoke cream cheese?
Smoke cream cheese for about 1 ½ to 2 hours at 225 F.
How long is cream cheese good after smoking?
If stored in an airtight container, smoked cream cheese will stay good in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. You can also freeze it and it will stay good for about 3 months.
How do you reheat smoked cream cheese?
To reheat smoked cream cheese quickly,place it in the microwave and heat for about 30 to 60 seconds. You can also let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or serve it cold right out of the fridge.
Can smoked cream cheese be left out overnight?
Smoked or unsmoked, cream cheese should not be left out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. If it’s outside any longer than that it will spoil, especially if it is sitting in the sun.
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon barbecue rub
- 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce (optional)
- Preheat your smoker to 225 F.
- Remove the cream cheese from its packaging and place on a baking sheet lined with foil or in a cast iron pan.
- Use a knife to score the top of the block in a crosshatch pattern.
- Season the top and sides of the block with barbecue rub.
- Place on the smoker and let smoke for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Remove from the smoker and serve warm or place in the fridge to cool.
- Optional step - drizzle the top of the block with sweet chili sauce before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 107Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 102mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g