Smoked Bonito Fish Dip

This is a delicious dip that is prepared with smoked bonito and garnished with lemon. Bonito, known as katsuo in Japan, is a popular fish in Japan but sometimes hard to find in the United States. You can also make this delicious dip by substituting smoked tuna for bonito. The fish is the star of this yummy dip. Serve it with fresh lemon. The dip goes great with veggie sticks or crackers, or served as a salad topper.

Last year, I took a trip to Miyako Island in Okinawa. While I was there, I bought some smoked bonito fish, which is a local delicacy, and brought it back home. I have been making fish dip for years but never really experimented with smoked fish. The bonito dip was amazing. It blends together fish, mayonnaise, cream cheese, lemon juice and spices to make an amazing dip that can be served with crackers, veggie sticks, or even as a salad topper. Any smoked flaky fish will work – I have also used smoked tuna. You can add more hot sauce if you prefer it spicier.

Smoked Bonito Fish Dip

Bonito, also known in Japanese as katsuo, is a commonly found fish in Japan. It’s often smoked over wood and marinated with lemon and soy while smoking. Smoked tuna also works well for this dish if bonito is not available. Make sure that all bones are removed.

10 Minutes 60 Minutes 2 1/4 cups
PREP 10 Minutes
COOKING 60 Minutes
YIELD 2 1/4 cups


  • 1 6 oz boneless smoked bonito fillet (170 g)
  • 3/4 cup softened cream cheese (160 g)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (160 g)
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


  • Chop: Chop the fish finely or or use a food processor until it is flaked finely.

  • Mix: Mix in the remaining ingredients
  • Chill: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to let the cream cheese stiffen
  • Serve: Garnish with fresh lemon. Serve with crackers or veggie sticks.

A scoop of smoked bonito dip in a serving bowl with a cracker and garnished with lemon


  • I use Choulula hot sauce for this recipe, but if you like your food spicy try adding a teaspoon of finely chopped chipolte pepper instead.
  • Be sure to soften the cream cheese before mixing in. If you use whipped cream cheese you will need a little more, so you will need to either go by weight, or add a another 1/4 – 1/3 cup to the recipe.

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