Bagel with Lox and Cream Cheese Recipe - Dr. Axe

Bagel with Lox and Cream Cheese Recipe

Bagel with lox recipe - Dr. Axe

Have you ever had a bagel with lox? Most people that already eat this classic combination are huge fans of it. There really is a lot to love about lox and bagels — somewhat salty and buttery cured salmon, rich cream cheese, a crunchy toasted bagel plus the zesty complimenting flavors of onion, cucumber, capers and lemon. It’s just all really heavenly together. If you’re a seafood fan at heart or not, I think you should give this recipe a try.

What Is Lox? Smoked Salmon vs. Lox

What is lox exactly? A simple lox definition for those of you that aren’t familiar: lox is salmon that has been cured using either salt or sugar, but usually salt. Most people opt to buy lox from the store, but it is possible to make homemade lox. Lox is commonly associated with Jewish culture, but it’s enjoyed by many — most popularly with a bagel and cream cheese. Bagels and lox are perfect when you’re having company over for breakfast or brunch. A bagel with lox also makes a really well-rounded and satisfying lunch.

Before you dig in to this classic and delicious bagel with lox recipe, let’s talk about the difference between smoked salmon vs. lox and some other details that can help you decide which version you may prefer.

A lot of people aren’t quite sure of the difference when it comes to lox vs. smoked salmon. Spoiler alert: both lox and cold-smoked salmon slices have a buttery, silky texture. Both version of salmon are delicious, but they are definitely different. To put it simply, lox is cured — it undergoes a brining process, but it’s not smoked. Smoked salmon is cured or brined and then smoked.

So is smoked salmon cooked? Technically, cold-smoked salmon is not cooked while hot-smoked salmon is thoroughly cooked. Cold-smoked salmon spends at least 10 hours in temperatures of around 80 degrees fahrenheit while gradually being exposed to smoke. The texture of cold-smoked salmon and lox aren’t very different at all, but as you might expect, cold-smoked salmon usually has an extra bit of smokiness.


Bagel with lox ingredients - Dr. Axe

Hot-smoked salmon on the other hand is very different from cold-smoked salmon. Hot-smoked salmon gets completely cooked through because it’s smoked the way that people smoke meats. It still tastes smoky like cold smoked salmon, but its consistency is dry and flaky, which is pretty much the opposite of the cold smoked salmon consistency. (1)

Smoked salmon can be made from any area of a salmon, but traditionally-made lox comes from the salmon belly and is cured with salt for around three months. Lox is said to be an invention of the days before we had refrigeration since curing is a way to preserve fish. The salmon used for lox can be cured or brined, but it never gets smoked or cooked.

There is also something called Nova lox which originates in Nova Scotia and is cold-smoked after being cured or brined. Truly, this is not lox; it’s really Nova smoked salmon. Gravlax is the Scandinavian take on lox in which herbs, spices and a liquor such as brandy are used during the curing process. (2)

So now you know more about lox and smoked salmon, but what’s the story with bagels? When were bagels invented? Supposedly they first came about in 1683 when a Viennese baker made them in homage to the King of Poland. Since the king was well-known for his passion for horses, this baker molded the dough into a circle that was meant to resemble a stirrup. (3) Bagels are definitely the most common vehicle when it comes to eating lox. You can typically find lox and bagels being sold in the same places. Most stores that carry lox will also carry a cream cheese/lox schmear, which has the lox already combined into the cream cheese, but when looking for the freshest option, it may be best to mix up your own lox/cream cheese concoction.

Before we move on to the nutrition information for this recipe, I do want to note that unfortunately, cold-smoked fish and lox are not recommended for women who are pregnant. (4)

Nutrition Facts

One serving of this bagel and lox recipe contains about: (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

Bagel with lox recipe - Dr. Axe
  • 543 calories
  • 29.3 grams protein
  • 27.5 grams fat
  • 92 milligrams cholesterol
  • 2042 milligrams sodium
  • 55.3 grams carbohydrates
  • 3.3 grams fiber
  • 6.3 grams sugar
  • 16.3 milligrams vitamin C (27 percent DV)
  • 12 micrograms vitamin K (15 percent DV)
  • 2 milligrams iron (11 percent DV)
  • 76 milligrams calcium (7.6 percent DV)
  • 347 IUs vitamin A (7 percent DV)
  • 223 milligrams potassium (6.4 percent DV)
  • 11 milligrams magnesium (2.8 percent DV)
  • 20 milligrams phosphorus (2 percent DV)
  • 7 micrograms folate (2 percent DV)Bagel with lox recipe - Dr. Axe

This bagel with lox recipe is a great meal for one or can be split up between two people as a snack. As you can see, bagel with lox is really high in protein and key nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, calcium and more!

What makes this recipe so healthy? Here are a few of the reasons why:

  • Salmon lox or cold-smoked salmon: Whether you choose to use lox or cold-smoked salmon, this recipe is loaded with salmon nutrition. As you may already know, salmon tops the list when it comes to foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are super anti-inflammatory and have been found to be beneficial to heart health, ADHD, dementia, asthma and depression among other significant health concerns. (14)
  • Red onion: Adding onion to lox on a bagel not only ups the flavor factor, but it’s a really healthy addition as well. Research has shown that compounds found in onions have natural antibiotic-like effects and even potential anti-cancer properties. (15)
  • Cucumber: While red onion adds a pungent, spicy note to a bagel with lox, cucumber adds a refreshing and cooling flavor. Plus, cucumbers are high in vitamin K, which is essential to ensure blood clots in a proper, healthy way. Vitamin K is also vital to bone health. (16)

How to Make A Bagel with Lox

As long as you have all of the ingredients for a bagel with lox on hand, this recipe is pretty effortless. The only minor work you’ll have to do is slice up some onion, cucumber and lemon. Then you simply pop your bagel in the toaster, put all of the ingredients on top of it and enjoy!

Bagel with lox step 1 - Dr. Axe

First, toast the bagel to your desired doneness. Now you can spread on the grass-fed cream cheese.

Bagel with lox step 2 - Dr. Axe

Next, place the mouth-watering cold-smoked salmon or salmon lox slices on so they almost or completely cover the top of the bagel.

Bagel with lox step 3 - Dr. Axe

Now you can add the slices of onion and cucumbers. I also highly recommend dotting a few capers around.

Bagel with lox step 4 - Dr. Axe

Add the fresh dill and a few slices of lemon, and your beautiful creation of a lox bagel is now complete!

Bagel with lox recipe - Dr. Axe

This is a great meal to enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner! If you’re not super hungry, you can share the other half of your bagel or make this recipe into two servings.

Bagel with lox recipe - Dr. Axe

Total Time

10 minutes



Diet Type


  • 1 gluten-free bagel
  • 1½ tablespoon grass-fed cream cheese
  • 4 ounces lox or cold-smoked salmon
  • ¼ small red onion, thinly slices
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • ¼ cucumber, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill
  • a few thin slices of lemon


  1. Toast the bagel to desired doneness.
  2. Top with cream cheese, salmon, onions, capers, cucumbers, fresh dill and lemon.

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  1. funkydmunky on

    I don’t get the arrangement. Looks as if it was designed for the photo and not for taste. The slice of lemon under the cucumber? Surly it isn’t suggested to consume the lemon as is? If not then why not a small wedge on the side to “squeeze” over? All the onion piled together for an overwhelming bite?
    Is it meant to be rearranged? If so why not just assemble the basics and have the other ingredients on the side?

  2. Readymade on

    Consider switching out the cucumber slices and capers for a single 1/8th inch slice of the best farm stand tomato you can find. You will be in heaven.

  3. KF on

    I made this today and it was refreshing and delicious. The only modification I made was I squeezed the lemon slice onto the salmon and I didn’t use capers because I didn’t have any. So easy and my new ‘go to’ for brunch or easy snack. I kept thinking why haven’t I found this sooner?

  4. KF on

    I made this today and it was so refreshing and so darn good! I’m thinking this is now my ‘go to’ brunch. The only thing I modified was the lemon. I just squeezed the lemon slice over the salmon and didn’t use capers because I didn’t have any on hand.


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