If you haven’t tried Smoked Cream Cheese yet, you must give this tasty appetizer a try. With just two ingredients – cream cheese and dry rub – it’s a serious flavor bomb when smoked.
It’s amazing what a few seasonings and some time on the smoker can do for a block of cream cheese. I was hesitant to try it because I couldn’t wrap my head around smoking cream cheese, but it’s actually incredibly good. Everyone who tried it at our last party was blown away.
This recipe is perfect for gatherings, and dinner parties as an appetizer, or a tasty snack. Whenever we’re making something on the smoker like smoked chicken thighs or a whole smoked chicken, I throw a few blocks of cream cheese on the side because it make a great appetizer
When I’m hosting, I make this all the time, and it’s always a hit. As far as what to dip into it… I like having a variety of things for dippers, since it allows everyone to pick their favorites while also adding variety to the food spread.
If you have a smoker and haven’t tried this yet, I highly recommend it. It may appear too simple or even a little weird, but once you’ve tried it, believe me you’ll want to make it again and again.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Cream Cheese – I would recommend using full-fat cream cheese for this. It just tastes better. The low-fat version isn’t good. A block of Philadelphia cream cheese is perfect.
- Dry Rub – I always use my homemade dry rub, which is great on any food that you’re smoking or grilling. I’d recommend mixing up some of it to put on your cream cheese. You can also use another dry rub that you like.
- Smoker – I use a Z Grills 700 series smoker for most of my smoking, though I also have a Traeger grill. You can use whatever smoker you have – they all work the same.
- Wood pellets – There are many types of pellets available. If you’ve already got pellets in your smoker, use whatever you have. I really like Hickory pellets for chicken.
- Meat thermometer – Many smokers have a thermometer built in, but if yours doesn’t, get an instant-read thermometer. I love this Thermapen.
How to Make Smoked Cream Cheese
Prepare your smoker on the lowest temperature setting. Mine is 180° F. This is a great temperature to smoke the cheese at because it will heat through slowly and gain a lot of smoke flavor.
As the smoker is heating up, score the cream cheese in a cross-hatch pattern on top. Sprinkle on the dry rub so that it coats all sides. That’s where all the delicious flavor comes from. Each scoop of cream cheese should come along with rub.
You’ll want to set the cream cheese on something on the smoker, not directly onto the grill grates. I usually just place it on a piece of tin foil, butcher paper, parchment paper, or baking sheet. Whatever you want.
Smoke it for about 2 hours. This is the sweet spot for the cream cheese. It gets nice and soft on the inside, there’s great smoke flavor, but it’s not overwhelming. I’ve done it for an hour and a half before, and for up to 2 and a half hours to see how it would taste. I think 2 is the best of all worlds.
Once you take the cream cheese off the smoker, allow it to cool slightly before serving. You don’t want someone to scoop right in and burn their mouth on molten cheese. Serve it with pita chips or a sturdy cracker, some veggies, sliced baguette, whatever you like.
You can add pepper jelly or hot honey to the top of the cream cheese for added flavor if you want.
SMOKER TIP: Make this alongside ribs or another smoked favorite to get double duty out of your pellets.
Variations to Try
- Garlic Herb Smoked Cream Cheese: Infuse the cream cheese with a blend of minced garlic, dried basil, parsley, and chives for a savory, herbaceous kick.
- Spicy Chipotle Smoked Cream Cheese: Add some heat to your smoked cream cheese by blending in finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, along with a touch of smoked paprika for an extra smoky flavor.
- Sweet Maple Bacon Smoked Cream Cheese: Combine the cream cheese with crumbled crispy bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup for a delightful sweet and savory twist.
- Sun-Dried Tomato & Pesto Smoked Cream Cheese: Mix in chopped sun-dried tomatoes and a generous spoonful of basil pesto to create a Mediterranean-inspired smoked cream cheese with a burst of flavor.
Additional Helpful Tips
- Remember to score the cream cheese. This step may appear minor, yet it makes a significant difference! Scoring the cream cheese helps to open up the block, allowing the smoky flavor to reach the center of the cream cheese.
- If you’re feeding a crowd, you can smoke up to three blocks of cream cheese at once.
- If you want to change up your recipe, use a different dry rub, such as Mexican or Cajun. It will taste delicious. You can also buy several varieties of cream cheese at the grocery store, such as Garlic & Herb.
- You can smoke it the same way if you have a tub of cream cheese on hand. Simply rub the outside of the plastic tub to loosen it, then turn it upside down while exerting light pressure with your fingertips around the outside of the container to release it in one piece.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does smoked cream cheese last?
After smoking the cream cheese, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days. Be sure to store it on its own and not surrounded by any accoutrement that will make it soggy.
How long do you reheat the cream cheese for?
The best way to reheat the cheese after it’s been refrigerated is in the oven at about 350 degrees F. It takes just about 10 minutes to warm it through.
What can you dip in the cream cheese?
Dip crackers, tortilla chips, crostini, carrots, celery stalks, and other vegetables in the cream cheese. You can try anything, but my favorite dipping item is pita chips.
What Smokers We Use
Did you know that Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill? The Pro Series 22 is the one most people choose because it’s compact, yet has plenty of space for cooking. You can use any type of wood pellets you like. See the Traeger Series 22 Grill on Amazon.
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Smoked Cream Cheese
- 1 block cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon dry rub try our recipe here
- Prepare your smoker on the smoke setting or the lowest temperature setting.
- Score the cream cheese in a cross-hatch pattern.
- Sprinkle on the dry rub so that it coats all sides.
- Place the cream cheese on a piece of tin foil in the smoker. Smoke for 2 hours.
- Allow the cream cheese to cool slightly before serving. Serve with pita chips or a sturdy cracker.
- Make this alongside ribs or another smoked favorite to get double duty out of your pellets.
- You can add pepper jelly or hot honey to the top of the cream cheese for added flavor if you want.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, Instant Pot recipes over at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, air fryer recipes at Air Fry Anytime, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
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Laura is a passionate home cook and grill enthusiast who has spent years perfecting her culinary skills, with a particular focus on grilling techniques and flavor combinations. Her fascination with the grill, smoke, and the mouthwatering results they produce has led her on an exciting journey to discover the best methods for grilling delicious and unforgettable meals.