Are you looking for a delicious seafood dip that’s bursting with fresh flavors? This easy smoked tuna dip is made with smoked, canned tuna, cream cheese, smoked paprika, and fresh lemon juice. A delicious creamy side, perfect for crackers, tuna sandwiches, or bagels. Enjoy this quick tuna dip during the summer months for a picnic, or serve it as a tasty appetizer at holiday parties or during football season.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Perfect party appetizer for the holidays.
- A budget-friendly dip for any occasion using simple ingredients.
- Perfect for vegetables, your favorite crackers, and as a sandwich filling.
- Great alternative to smoked salmon dip.
How to source smoked tuna
To enjoy a delicious smoky flavor, I opted for pre-smoked, tinned tuna as a time-saving choice but you can also infuse fresh tuna with liquid smoke or go all out and smoke your own tuna at home to tailor the smokiness and flavor to your taste.
- Smoked tuna – For this recipe, use smoked ahi / yellowfin tuna or albacore tuna. Drain out any excess water or oil.
- Cream cheese – Before making this recipe make sure to soften the cream cheese.
- Sour cream – Mixed with the softened cream cheese, this gives a great creamy texture to the dip and adds a sharp flavor that pairs great with the tuna. The sour cream allows the dip to be spreadable.
- Shallot – Mince the shallot before adding to the dip. You can also use finely diced red onion or green onions.
- Smoked paprika – Add an extra layer of smokiness to this spread with smoked paprika. You can use sweet paprika if needed.
- Garlic powder – I use garlic powder instead of minced garlic for this recipe so the flavor incorporates well with the creamy dip.
- Seasoning – Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper to taste to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Lemon juice – Use either freshly squeezed lemon juice or from the bottle. It brightens the flavor of fish dishes. Use some lemon zest for some extra freshness.
- Parsley – Freshly chopped parsley adds to both, taste and appearance.
How to make smoked tuna dip
- Place drained smoked tuna in a mixing bowl. Break up the tuna into small flakes with a fork.
- Mix the cream cheese and sour cream with the tuna making a creamy texture.
- Add the minced shallot, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and fresh parsley. Mix with the cream cheese mixture until well incorporated.
- Adjust the seasonings according to taste preferences.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. This helps the flavors blend together. Just before serving, sprinkle with more fresh parsley.
- It’s important to soften the cream cheese. The recipe will not work properly if the cream cheese isn’t softened.
- Finely mince the shallot to create a smooth texture.
This smoked cream cheese tuna dip is so versatile! Serve it as a dip on the side or spread on your favorite tuna sandwich.
Seed crackers, pita chips, or crostinis turn this dip into an easy seafood appetizer – perfect for game day. Or simply serve it with carrots, cucumbers, sliced bell peppers, or celery sticks.
If you love tuna melts, this smoky tuna sandwich filling will hit the spot. Try it on bagels or my rye sandwich bread for a hearty lunch alternative.
Herbs: Mix up the flavor profile by adding fresh dill or chopped chives instead of parsley.
Capers: Mix in capers for a lemon, tangy undertone. Capers have a similar taste to green olives.
Spicy: Make it spicy by adding in crushed red pepper, thinly sliced jalapeño pepper, hot sauce such as siracha, or a dash of cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper will also add to the smokey flavor.
Umami: Add some umami flavor to this delicious dip with a dash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.
Tuna dip can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for around 3 to 4 days.
It’s not recommended to freeze tuna dip as the texture of the dip might change once thawed. The dairy-based ingredients in the dip could separate and become grainy after freezing and thawing.
Easy Smoked Tuna Dip
- 8 ounces smoked tuna in water drained, yellowfin or albacore tuna
- 1/4 cup cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 shallot minced
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- Drain the smoked tuna thoroughly and place it in a medium mixing bowl. Use a fork to break up the tuna into small flakes.8 ounces smoked tuna in water
- Add softened cream cheese and sour cream to the tuna. Mix well until the ingredients are combined and the mixture becomes smooth.1/4 cup cream cheese, 1/4 cup sour cream
- Stir in the minced shallot, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, finely chopped parsley, and lemon juice. Mix until the seasonings are evenly distributed throughout the dip and it is smooth.1 shallot, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- Season to taste. You can add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dip for at least 1 hour, allowing the flavors to meld together.
- Just before serving, add a light sprinkling of smoked paprika and some freshly chopped parsley for a burst of color and freshness. Serve the dip with crackers, bread slices, or fresh vegetable sticks.