How to Use Liquid Smoke (The Best Way)

When you are looking to add plenty of flavor to a dish, chances are that you rely on specific ingredients to make it happen. Liquid smoke is a popular ingredient that has been used by chefs and bartenders alike for years. This simple ingredient can add a delicious, smoky flavor to any meal on your table. Let’s explore how to use liquid smoke to give your food and drinks a smoky flavor without having to smoke them yourself!

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    What is Liquid Smoke?

    This popular ingredient can add a smoky flavor to any dish and comes in the form of a simple, yet potent liquid. Offering the flavor of a smoked dish with no smoking required, this is a favored ingredient in many cooking circles. You can purchase liquid smoke at most grocery stores.

    How is Liquid Smoke Made?

    First invented back in 1985, liquid smoke is condensed smoke taken from burnt wood. When smoke is condensed, a liquid is formed that mirrors the flavor of the smoke, making it so it can be added to any dish. Liquid smoke is essentially smoke flavoring and water, though products can vary.

    Is Liquid Smoke Safe?

    Many people worry that liquid smoke might be harmful due to carcinogens. In reality, liquid smoke is filtered, so it is actually safer than the formal act of smoking food. It is considered to generally be safe for human consumption in many places.

    How to Use Liquid Smoke

    Liquid smoke is a surprisingly versatile ingredient that can come with some really great benefits when used correctly. People love the smoky flavor that liquid smoke imparts on food and drinks—but how do you actually use liquid smoke to make these delicious treats? Let’s take a look at some of the more popular ways to use liquid smoke.


    Using liquid smoke in marinades is a practice that has been fairly common for a while now, and using it in this way can allow you to cater to your own flavor preferences. You can use liquid smoke by simply adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke to a marinade. It is important to avoid adding too much, as liquid smoke has a very potent flavor.

    Barbecue Sauce

    In the same way that liquid smoke works well for marinades, it can also be a great addition to barbecue sauces of all kinds. Whether you make your own barbecue sauce or just add a touch of smoke to your favorite barbecue sauce, 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke can go a long way in enriching the flavor of your food.


    Smoked meats are a popular food option, but not everyone actually wants to smoke their own meats. Fortunately, with liquid smoke, you won’t need to. You can add liquid smoke directly to your brine to add that favored smoky flavor to any kind of meat. Ideal for slow cooking, this process can give you juicy meat that has that perfectly smoked flavor.

    Recipes that Use Liquid Smoke

    Since liquid smoke can add a new flavor to pretty much any recipe, it shouldn’t be surprising that people have made countless recipes that use liquid smoke. You can enjoy that smoked food flavor without having to smoke food yourself with any of these recipes.

    Main Dish

    Smoked food is so delicious that it is impossible not to love it, but not everyone has a smoker or wants to use one. If you are looking to mimic that smoked meat flavor at home, you can’t do better than this recipe for smoked chicken thighs. Made to be cooked in your air fryer, this is the perfect main dish for your next dinner.


    Side Dish

    A good meal only gets better when you add the right side dish, and this Jersey summer corn and tomato soup recipe is one that you’ll keep on reaching back for. Perfect as a summer side dish when you’re enjoying your air conditioner or even as a main dish during winter, this is an instant hit.

    summer corn and tomato soup


    Few desserts are more popular than chocolate chip cookies, but you know what makes them even better? You guessed it—liquid smoke. This recipe for smoked chocolate chip cookies will make it so no other cookie recipe is ever good enough!

    smoked chocalate chip cookies


    A good sauce can add so much to a meal, giving it more flavor than the standalone ingredients. When it comes to using liquid smoke to make a good sauce, you can’t do better than this Kansas City barbecue sauce recipe. Kansas City is renowned for its incredible barbecue, and this sauce promises all the best flavor!

    Kansas City barbecue sauce

    Substitutes for Liquid Smoke

    If you are looking to add a smoky flavor but don’t have liquid smoke on hand, there are a few other smoky alternatives that can fit well into recipes that use liquid smoke.

    Smoked Salt

    Smoked salt is a type of salt that has been smoked using different kinds of wood. From oak to hickory, each type of smoked salt has its own unique flavor and fits well into countless recipes.

    Learn how to make delicious smoked salt with our step-by-step guide here. Anyone can do it, and we guarantee you’ll be impressed with the results.

    smoked salt

    Smoked Paprika

    Paprika is a popular ingredient, but this smoked alternative can really bring something special to the table. Made by smoking red peppers over oak, this ingredient can be just as good in eggs or on potatoes as it can in some of the more complicated recipes.

    Smoked Paprika

    Smoked Tea

    Smoked tea is a type of black tea that has been smoke-dried over a fire made using pinewood. This flavorful addition is delicious and includes several health benefits due to its high number of antioxidants.

    smoked tea


    Liquid smoke is a highly versatile ingredient that can bring a whole new twist to your favorite meals. Be sure to experiment using liquid smoke to enhance different dishes while you cook. From appetizers to post-dinner cocktails, liquid smoke can bring a delicious, smoky flavor to just about anything. Remember, when using liquid smoke, less is more.

    Be sure to comment below with your favorite recipe to add liquid smoke too. We look forward to seeing how creative you all get!

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    About The Author

    Z Grills

    Z Grills

    Z Grills is a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience within the industry. With over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million cooks made, trust us.

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