Lox, capers, cream cheese and more, on a bagel? Yes please! This easy lox and bagels recipe satisfies.
This is one of those classic recipes that's so good, I'm salivating just thinking about it as I type this. I grew up eating lox and bagels often--and, well, I honestly can't imagine life without them. 😉
For clarification, the terms lox and smoked salmon are interchangeable here as far as the recipe goes, but they actually differ in the way they're prepared. The Yiddish term "lox" refers to salmon that has been salt-cured but not smoked. Smoked salmon, on the other hand, has been cured and also smoked which imparts not just a salty flavor but also a smoky one.
So when you shop for lox, feel free to substitute smoked salmon instead! The end result is very similar and 1000% delicious whichever you choose.
If you love these and want to try a fun variation, you have to try these scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. So good! Oh and if you want to make your own bagels, you have to try these delicious 2 ingredient bagels. (They are easier than you think!)
The beauty of bagels and lox is that really all of the toppings are optional. I love thinly sliced red onions and cucumbers, but feel free to leave one or the other out if you don't love them. (P.S. I highly recommend capers though.) 🙂
See recipe card below for exact quantities.
I love making this recipe for brunch because it's so quick and easy! Just 15 minutes of prep time is all that's required.
I usually get the toppings all sliced and ready first, and I like to use a really sharp chef's knife to slice the cucumbers and red onion nice and thin. (But thicker slices are fine too...it's all good.)
Next, go ahead and slice your bagels and pop them in the toaster. Once they're ready, simply spread a tablespoon or so of cream cheese on each bagel half, followed by smoked salmon, veggies and a little salt and pepper if you like.
Pro tip: If you'd like to make a bagels and lox platter or board for entertaining, you can lay out the veggies and salmon, and arrange the cream cheese and capers in separate bowls. Toast and add the bagels to the board just before serving, and let guests make their own lox bagel creations.
Here are a few substitutions you can use in this recipe:
- Lox/smoked salmon - you could actually use any smoked seafood here and still have a delicious result; I particularly love smoked bluefish
- Gluten free - use gluten free bagels instead of regular bagels (I like Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Bagels)
- Dairy free - use a plant-based cream cheese and make sure your bagels don't contain any dairy products
- Toppings - feel free to mix up the toppings or try new ones; I also love using sliced garden-fresh tomatoes or a little fresh dill laid over each bagel half
Super minimal equipment is required for this bagel recipe. Here is what I used:
- cutting board
- chef's knife
Assembled bagels and lox are best eaten immediately but could be stored in the fridge or a chilled lunch box for a few hours.
They do not stand up well to freezing.
🎉 Top tip
Feel free to get creative with toppings! Whether you go minimal or all out, it all works. Enjoy your lox and bagels, and whatever you top them with. 😉
Lox and bagels is a uniquely American Jewish creation that dates back to 1950s and 60s New York City. It typically consists of a toasted bagel topped with cream cheese, lox (or smoked salmon), red onion and capers.
Bagels can be served open-faced and topped with cream cheese, lox and other fixings, or presented on a bagel board or platter with the toppings arranged on the side for guests to assemble themselves.
Lox refers to salmon that has been salt-cured but not smoked, while smoked salmon has been cured as well smoked which imparts not just a salty flavor to but also a smoky one.
Once it's been opened, lox or smoked salmon typically stays fresh for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Lox and Bagels
- 4 bagels any kind, or gluten-free bagels; I like Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Bagels
- 4 ounces smoked salmon
- 8 ounces cream cheese or plant-based cream cheese for dairy-free
- ½ cucumber
- ¼ small red onion
- 4 tablespoons capers
- dash sea salt optional, to taste
- dash freshly ground black pepper optional, to taste
- Prep: Thinly slice the cucumbers and red onion. Slice and toast the bagels.
- Assemble: Spread about a tablespoon of cream cheese on each bagel half, followed by a slice of smoked salmon, a few cucumber and red onion slices and some capers. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Enjoy: Serve immediately, end enjoy!