How to Use Liquid Smoke to Add Smoky Flavor to Your Food

There is nothing quite like the irresistible smoky flavor that comes from slow-cooked meats or grilling over an open flame. While many people may not have access to these cooking methods or choose not to use them, there is a convenient and easy alternative: liquid smoke.

Stubb's Hickory Liquid Smoke, 5 fl oz

Liquid smoke is a concentrated flavoring that is made by capturing the essence of smoke from burning hardwood. It can be added to a variety of dishes such as sauces, marinades, soups, and even baked goods. It’s a perfect way to add a smoky depth of flavor to vegetarian and vegan dishes as well.

In this article, we will explore how to use liquid smoke to achieve that mouth-watering smoky flavor.

Using Liquid Smoke to Enhance Your Dishes

There are two primary methods for using liquid smoke to enhance your dishes, and both create fantastic results.

Marinade and Sauce

The first method is adding liquid smoke to your marinades or sauces. Doing this will infuse the smoky flavor into the food you are cooking. These flavors will come out as soon as you take a bite of your dish.

Before adding the liquid smoke to your marinade or sauce, it’s best to taste it first to determine the correct amount for the flavor you want. You may find that a little goes a long way, or you may want to add more to get the perfect smoky flavor.

To add liquid smoke to your dish, combine your seasoning and spices with your liquid smoke and any other marinade components you would like to use. Next, a Marinade will be made, and the meat will be left overnight after placing it in the marinade.

If you are using the liquid smoke in a sauce, add it to the other sauce ingredients and give it a good mix.

Directly Apply to Your Food

Another method of using liquid smoke is to apply it directly to your food. To do this, you will need to dilute the liquid smoke first, usually with water or oil, to avoid over-concentrating the flavor. Once you have diluted the liquid smoke, use a brush to apply it directly to your food.

When using this method, it’s crucial to apply an even coating to ensure the flavor is evenly distributed. When cooking meat, apply the liquid smoke before grilling, baking, or cooking in the crockpot.

Tips for Using Liquid Smoke

While liquid smoke can be a great addition to your culinary toolbox, there are a few things you should keep in mind when adding it to your cooking.

Less is More

Remember that a little goes a long way with liquid smoke. Adding too much can overpower the other flavors in your dish and make it inedible. Start by adding a small amount, then add more gradually as needed.

Choose Quality Products

Not all liquid smoke products are the same. Look for those made from natural ingredients and free from additives and preservatives. A high-quality liquid smoke product will provide deeper and more complex flavors to your dishes.

Experiment with Flavors

While most liquid smoke is made from hickory or mesquite wood, other flavors such as applewood, pecan, and Alderwood are available. Try experimenting with different types to find the one you like best.


Liquid smoke is a fantastic ingredient to have on hand when you want to add a smoky flavor to your dishes. Whether you are grilling, baking, or slow-cooking, liquid smoke is a convenient way to create the same great flavors you love without the need for an outdoor grill or smoker.

By following these tips and experimenting with different flavors and applications, you can achieve an authentic smoky flavor that will impress your guests and make your taste buds sing.


1. Is liquid smoke bad for you?

Liquid smoke is not inherently bad for you, but, like anything, it should be used in moderation. High levels of exposure to liquid smoke fumes can be harmful and lead to respiratory issues. Use liquid smoke as an ingredient in moderation and follow packaging instructions for safe use.

2. How long does liquid smoke last?

Liquid smoke typically has a shelf life of several years when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place. However, once opened, it should be used within six months to ensure freshness and quality.

3. Can you use liquid smoke in vegetarian and vegan dishes?

Yes! Liquid smoke is an excellent ingredient for adding smoky flavor to vegetarian and vegan dishes since it is plant-based.

4. Can I use liquid smoke on my gas grill?

Yes, you can use liquid smoke on your gas grill. Simply apply it directly to your food for great smoky flavors.

5. How much liquid smoke should I add to my dish?

Start by adding just a few drops or a 1/4 teaspoon at a time and adjust to taste. Remember, it’s easier to add more than to take away if you’ve added too much.

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