Make your own lox (smoked salmon) with this easy lox recipe. You will never go back to store-bought lox! Homemade lox is so much fresher, tastier, and healthier than store-bought lox. Serve lox for breakfast or brunch on a toasted bagel with cream cheese.
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One of my favorite things about visiting my mom for a weekend is sitting down and having breakfast with her. We sit down over a cup of delicious coffee with steamed frothy milk and eat toasted English muffins topped with cream cheese and slices of lox.
If you’ve never had lox, it is cured smoked salmon. Lox is a popular bagel topping in NYC, but it seems that many people from other parts of the country have never heard of it (including Aldo who grew up right across the river from NYC). And this is so sad, because salty smokey lox with cream cheese on a bagel is just so so good!
Now, if you HAVE had lox, then you know how freakin’ expensive it is – around $25/pound. That’s nuts. So you can imagine my excitement when my mom casually said ”Oh, I want to buy some salmon so I can make lox for breakfast.” Wait. WHAT? I didn’t know you can just MAKE lox!
Apparently you can. And let me share my mom’s lox recipe with you.
Turns out curing salmon is totally safe and easy. The salt seeps into the salmon and kills all bacteria during the 2-3 days of salt curing. So I went to the store with my mom and also got myself a nice big chunk of salmon to make lox.
Lox is so easy to make, and only takes a few minutes of hands-on time. The salmon does take 2-3 days to cure (depending on how salty you want it), so you do have to plan ahead if you want to enjoy it for breakfast. But this recipe is so worth it. Fresh salmon is so much cheaper than buying store-bought lox. And salmon that is cured at home doesn’t have any nitrites or other preservatives added to it (other than salt, obviously).
Homemade lox also tastes fresher. You can bite through it like a hot knife through butter, while store-bought lox is sometimes chewier.
The other awesome thing about making your own lox is that you can experiment with different flavors of salt, herbs, and seasonings. I think next time I will try a chili lime version, or maybe some Mediterranean flavors.
One of my favorite ways to use lox is for this Lox Appetizer Platter that I’ve put together, consisting of a Greek Yogurt Lox dip, Lox Bagel Bites, and Cucumber-Lox bites:
So are you convinced yet that making your own Lox is a GOOD IDEA?
Excellent. Keep reading then.
A nice fatty thick piece of salmon that is similar thickness all throughout is best for making lox. It’s OK if it has skin on it – you will cure the salmon with the skin on and then slice pieces of salmon meat off the skin. Make sure you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post to read about what to do with the leftover salmon skin!
How should you serve lox?
There are so many ways to enjoy lox! It’s not just for breakfast – lox is great for many lunch and dinner recipes. Here are some of my favorite ways to serve lox:
- On a toasted bagel, English muffin, or toast smeared with cream cheese
- Try adding capers, fresh dill, or fresh parsley to the above
- Make an open-faced sandwich with lox and a poached egg
- Avocado toast with lox
- In this delicious lox appetizer platter – the platter contains a recipe for Greek yogurt-smoked salmon dip, as well as refreshing Cucumber & Lox bites. Dare I say it is a healthy appetizer platter that tastes like a million bucks?
- Toss sliced lox with your favorite creamy pasta recipe
- Enjoy lox on a salad of greens and a squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil as your dressing. With salt & pepper, of course
Oh, and what do you do with the salted skin when you finished all the salmon, you ask? Well this might seem totally weird, but fry it like bacon. Make sure all the meaty parts are removed from the skin, and place it in a pan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, until each side is nice and crispy. Place on a paper towel to drain. It will get even crispier as it cools down. You’ll have a salty delicious piece of fried salmon skin. This is actually one of my favorite parts about cooking salmon – I always save the skin and fry it into crispy salmon-bacon – it is so good!
- 1 - 1.5 lb fresh salmon
- 1/4 cup Smoked Sea Salt , or any Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Optional: A pinch of freshly ground black pepper or dried herbs such as dill or parsley
Rinse the salmon and pat it dry with a paper towel. If it has skin, leave the skin on. If you feel any bones in the salmon while you are doing this, remove them - tweezers are useful for this.
Combine the salt and sugar (and pepper and herbs, if using), and rub the seasoning all over the salmon. You might have some extra seasoning that you haven't used up - if so, just place it on top of the salmon.
Get a large piece of plastic wrap. Place the salmon skin-side down on the seasoning. Wrap the salmon tightly with plastic wrap and place it in a container or any dish deep enough to contain the salmon. Place the container in the fridge.
After 2 days you can begin tasting the salmon, or you can wait the full 3 days if you want it to be saltier: To taste the salmon, cut off a small piece, rinse it under cold water, and taste it. If it is not salty enough to your liking, then wrap the salmon back up in the plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for another 24 hours.
If it is salty enough, then rinse the whole salmon under cold water and serve immediately or refrigerate.
To serve, cut the salmon into thin slices (without the skin) and put it on your bagel smeared with cream cheese.
- It's best to use a piece of salmon that is the same thickness all around. But it's OK if you can't find a piece like that - just use what you find.
- The saltiness between Day 2 and Day 3 won't be that different. However, it is best to stop curing and rinse off the extra salt just prior to serving the lox so that it is super fresh. The lox will keep in the fridge for about 3 days in an air-tight container.
- Oh, and what to do with that salted cured salmon skin?? Fry it like bacon!! It will turn crispy on both sides and will be SO DELICIOUS. Just watch out because it will splatter while cooking just like bacon does.