July 20, 2024
A comprehensive guide to using liquid smoke in cooking, including tips for beginners, vegetarian options, grilling and BBQ recipes, creative ways to use liquid smoke, substituting liquid smoke, using liquid smoke in moderation, and storing liquid smoke.


When it comes to adding a smoky flavor to your dishes, liquid smoke is the way to go. Liquid smoke is a commonly used flavoring ingredient that can impart a delicious smoky aroma to any recipe, from soups and stews to grilled meats and even drinks. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about using liquid smoke in cooking.

A beginner’s guide to using liquid smoke

If you are new to using liquid smoke in your cooking, fear not. Liquid smoke is made by burning wood chips and capturing the smoke, and then condensing the smoke into a liquid form. It is a concentrated ingredient, so a little goes a long way. Start by adding a few drops to your recipe and adjust to taste.

One tip for using liquid smoke is to pair it with foods that already have a smoky flavor, such as bacon or grilled meats. You can also add it to marinades, BBQ sauces, or salad dressings to give them a smoky twist. Here are a few recipe examples that can benefit from a little liquid smoke flavoring:

  • Smoky vegan chili
  • Smoky BBQ chicken wings
  • Smoky black bean soup

How to use liquid smoke for vegetarian and vegan cooking

Liquid smoke is a fantastic ingredient for plant-based cooking. It can add a bold smoky flavor to dishes that would otherwise lack that depth of flavor. Some great dishes to use liquid smoke in are soups, stews, and chili. Here are a few vegetarian and vegan recipes that can benefit from a little liquid smoke:

  • Smoky vegan tempeh bacon
  • Smoky black bean chili
  • Smoky butternut squash soup

Liquid smoke 101: Everything you need to know for grilling and BBQ

If you are an avid griller or BBQ enthusiast, liquid smoke should definitely be in your arsenal. It is a great way to add a smoky flavor to your meat without having to spend hours smoking it on a wood-fired grill. Here are a few tips for using liquid smoke in your grilling and BBQ recipes:

  • Pair liquid smoke with meats that are already smoky, such as brisket or ribs.
  • You can use liquid smoke in your BBQ rubs or marinades.
  • Add a few drops of liquid smoke to your BBQ sauce for an extra smoky kick.

Here are a few BBQ and grilling recipes that can benefit from a little liquid smoke:

  • Smoky BBQ pulled pork
  • Smoky grilled chicken wings
  • Smoky grilled vegetable skewers

Creative ways to use liquid smoke

Liquid smoke is not just for savory recipes. It can also be used in creative ways in cocktails and dessert recipes. Here are a few examples:

  • Smoky mezcal margarita
  • Smoky chocolate truffles
  • Smoky maple-glazed donuts

How to substitute liquid smoke in recipes

If you don’t have liquid smoke on hand, or if you prefer to use a natural alternative, you can use natural smoke flavoring instead. This is a powder or liquid made by capturing smoke from burning wood and condensing it into a concentrated form, just like liquid smoke. Here are a few tips for using natural smoke flavoring:

  • Use half the amount of natural smoke flavoring compared to liquid smoke.
  • Add it in small amounts and adjust to taste.
  • If you are using powder form, mix it with a little water to create a liquid before adding it to your recipe.

Using liquid smoke in moderation

While liquid smoke can add a delicious, smoky flavor to your dishes, it is essential to use it in moderation. Adding too much can overpower the other flavors in the dish and make it too smoky. Start with a small amount and adjust to taste. Remember, a little goes a long way.

How to store and preserve liquid smoke

When it comes to storing your liquid smoke, it is best to keep it in a cool, dark place, such as your pantry. An unopened bottle of liquid smoke can last for up to 5 years, while an opened bottle can last for up to 6 months. To ensure freshness, always check the expiration date and give it a sniff test. If it smells off or has changed color, it’s time to replace it.


Liquid smoke is a versatile ingredient that can add a unique and delicious flavor to a wide range of dishes. Whether you are an avid griller or a vegetarian cook, liquid smoke has something to offer.

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