Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, and Capers Bagel

Open-faced smoked salmon bagel recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
382 Calories
16g Fat
45g Carbs
16g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 382
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 48mg 16%
Sodium 569mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 16g
Calcium 143mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This open-faced smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel is a great breakfast or brunch offering. Most grocery stores sell presliced smoked salmon and cream cheese, which makes this recipe a snap to put together and even easier to serve.

Salmon that has been smoked means it has undergone a process of curing and has been hot- or cold-smoked. Due to its moderately high price, smoked salmon is considered a delicacy.

The smoking process is used to protect salmon against microorganisms that can encourage spoilage. During the process, the fish is salt-cured and partially dehydrated, which impedes the activity of bacteria. Bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum, which can sometimes be present in seafood, are killed by the high heat treatment that occurs during the hot-smoking process. The high salt content prevents the growth of microorganisms.

Other ingredients that go well with the smoked salmon bagel are fresh herbs such as dill or chives. You can add a few thin slices of tomatoes or cucumbers. Another variation on this popular bagel combination includes avocados.

This recipe is great for brunch gatherings and bridal or baby showers because you can turn the assembly process into a bagel bar, which allows your guests to build their own bagels. It is relatively easy to set up and requires no cooking; try to buy fresh bagels the morning of the party for optimal freshness. Bagel bars also aren't season-dependent; this entertaining approach can work all year round. If you think you might have gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan guests, you can accommodate them easily by buying a few gluten-free bagels and offering toppings that are dairy free, such as tofu-based spreads or hummus. And if you've got guests who aren't fans of smoked salmon, they can simply skip that ingredient and customize the bagel to their liking.

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Ingredients

  • 3 plain bagels (split, toasted)
  • 6 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons capers (drained, divided)
  • 6 ounces sliced smoked salmon (or lox)
  • Optional: 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Garnish: lemon wedges

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for smoked salmon bagel
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Spread the toasted bagel bottom halves with cream cheese. Sprinkle half the capers over the cream cheese, if desired.

    Spread toasted bagel
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 
  3. Top with sliced smoked salmon.

    Top with smoked salmon
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Garnish the bagel tops with the rest of the capers, onion, and black pepper. Garnish with fresh lemon wedges.

    Garnish with onion
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Is Lox the Same as Smoked Salmon?

Although the term lox is sometimes applied to smoked salmon, they are different products. Lox is brined salmon that usually comes from the fish's belly, so it is cured by salt and, like smoked salmon, not cooked. Lox can be used in place of smoked salmon in most recipes, including this one, but it is much saltier than smoked salmon.