An elegant and delicious appetizer, this Salmon Cheese Ball is made with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, dill, and garlic then rolled in a blend of herbs and chopped nuts for an easy party appetizer your guests will love!
One thing always surprises me about appetizers and the ones that disappear from the platters first. Hands down, in my hosting experience, it’s always the seafood appetizers that go first.
Perhaps seafood appetizers are more unique or just downright delicious, but I gotta give it to them…they’re *popular* and this Salmon Cheese Ball is no exception! It’s such a good appetizer for the holiday season with lots of family gatherings, cocktail parties, and more.
- EASY: Prep in advance and pull it out when guests arrive!
- VERSATILE: Use fresh smoked salmon or swap in canned salmon in a pinch.
- FLAVORFUL: No boring appetizers allowed, this salmon ball packs the flavor!
Salmon Cheese Ball Ingredient Notes:
What’s the Best Salmon to Use?
This is the most popular question for this salmon recipe, what kind of salmon should I use in my salmon cheese ball? Well I’m here to tell you, almost any kind will do. Almost!
My preference is fresh salmon fillet that’s been smoked, skin removed, deboned and flaked with a fork. However, canned smoked salmon also works well here.
If you can’t find canned smoked salmon, regular canned salmon is also fine, just add in a teaspoon of liquid smoke for that smoky flavor.
Cream Cheese: I recommend a full fat, regular block cream cheese here so that it’s firm enough to help your cheese ball stay in a round shape.
Red Onion: The bite of the red onion is so delicious in this cheese ball! You can substitute in a white or yellow onion or even green onion as well.
Garlic Powder: I add garlic powder to almost all my cheese balls. It’s a must!
Black Pepper: I recommend a good course ground black pepper, but any kind will do! You might be wondering about salt. Salmon is naturally salty, so add more salt to taste if you find it necessary.
Worcestershire Sauce: I love the depth of flavor this gives the salmon ball!
Horseradish: A little spice from the horseradish pairs well with the creamy cheese ball. Feel free to omit, if you like, however.
Lemon Juice: I love a touch of lemon with the salmon. Feel free to take it one step further and add 1/2 tsp of lemon zest or lemon pepper seasoning if you like lemon too!
Dill: Fresh dill, diced, is so perfect for adding to the outside of the cheese ball. You can add in other herbs too, like parsley, rosemary, thyme or even green onion.
Chopped Nuts: I love pecans in this smoked salmon cheese ball, but I’ve also made it with walnuts too! Use whatever nuts you have on hand.
As for the toppings, get creative! I use fresh herbs and chopped nuts, but you could add sesame seeds, poppy seeds, everything bagel seasoning, shredded cheddar cheese, etc.
Tips for Making Salmon Cheese Balls
Here are a few recommended tips for making your cheese ball…
Use plastic wrap to help you mold your cheese ball. I use a spatula to scrape off the bowl and combine all of the cream cheese and salmon mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap. I spritz clean hands with nonstick baking spray and mold it into a round ball.
Then fold over the plastic wrap around the cheese ball and continue to shape it into a ball. Refrigerate until firm or ready to serve. Remove plastic wrap, roll it in a shallow plate of your toppings (like freshly chopped herbs and nuts) then serve!
TIP: If you’d rather serve a bite-sized appetizer, make small balls out of the salmon cream cheese mixture and roll in the herbs and nuts. Serve alongside toothpicks and crackers.
What to Serve with Salmon Cheese Balls:
Here are a few suggestions of what to serve alongside your cheese ball. Set it all on a platter or serving tray with a cheese knife. Garnish with a sprig of extra dill or other herbs.
- Crackers (Ritz, etc)
- Bagel Chips
- Pita Chips
- Toast Points
- Veggie Slices (cucumber slices, carrot sticks, celery sticks, bell pepper strips)
- Wonton Chips
More Seafood Appetizers to Try!
I hope you give this salmon recipe a try! It’s truly such a good recipe if you have a party coming up and want an elegant, delicious and easy appetizer to serve!
Salmon Cheese Ball
- 16 ounces cream cheese (2 8-ounce blocks)
- 15 ounces smoked salmon flaked (fresh cooked or canned – deboned and skin removed, if using regular canned salmon, add 1 tsp liquid smoke)
- 2 tbsp red onion diced
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp dill diced
For the Salmon Cheese Ball Coating
- 2 tsp dill diced
- 1 tbsp green onion diced
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Using a food processor, standing mixer or in a large mixing bowl, combine together cream cheese, flaked smoked salmon, red onion, garlic powder, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, lemon juice and chopped dill.
- Use a spatula to scoop the cheese ball ingredients onto a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper. Spritz clean hands with nonstick baking spray and mold the cheese mixture into a ball shape.
- Fold up the plastic wrap around the ball and further mold into a ball.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. This will help firm up the cheese ball.
- In a small bowl, stir together the coating (pecans, green onion, dill). Pour it out into a shallow plate.
- Unwrap the cheese ball and carefully roll the entire outside of the cheese ball in the toppings. Gently press the toppings in to the sides, if needed.
- Serve with crackers, veggie slices, crostini or toast points and enjoy!