Salmon Bagel Sandwiches

Salmon and cream cheese feel a little indulgent for a brunch or lunch option, but you'll be amazed how easy this sandwich is to make.

Salmon Bagel Sandwiches
Photo: Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke
Active Time:
30 mins
Slow Cook Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins

This isn't your typical lox bagel. In fact, it's not even lox. Instead, this Salmon Bagel Sandwich is made with slow-cooked salmon, and it's combined with a seasoned cream cheese on a chewy bagel. So it's similar to bagel and lox, but just different enough.

While you might think of a bagel as breakfast food, this savory salmon bagel makes an amazing brunch option, as well as a great weekday lunch. It feels a little rich and indulgent with the salmon and cream cheese without going overboard with the ingredients. Simple, flavorful, and unique—exactly what we're always on the look out for!

What Is Bagel and Lox?

Bagel and lox is a classic breakfast food. Lox is another name for brined or smoked salmon. This salmon is often sharper, a bit brighter, and certainly has a stronger fish flavor.

Our Salmon Bagel Sandwich isn't bagel and lox. We use slow-cooked salmon, not smoked salmon, but it's inspired by the classic combo.

Ingredients for Salmon Bagel Sandwiches

This savory salmon bagel sandwich uses our favorite slow-cooked salmon, seasoned with an aromatic blend of lemongrass, fennel, scallions, and dry white wine instead of smoked salmon.

Also, instead of serving this dish open-faced, we layer toasted everything bagels with a cream cheese mixture flavored with chives, radishes, dill, lemon zest, and lemon juice for a fresh, light taste.

How To Make Salmon Bagel Sandwiches

To start, you're going to cook a salmon filet in the slow cooker. A slow cooker is great for cooking salmon because you reduce the risk of overcooking the fish, and the moisture of a slow cooker's crock helps keep the fish delicate and flaky.

Once the fish is finished, it's time to build the salmon bagel: Combine cream cheese with herbs and lemon zest and juice. Spread a hearty amount of the cream cheese mixture on the bagel, then top with sliced salmon, fresh arugula, thinly sliced red onions, and cucumber.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is salmon on a bagel called?

    Smoked salmon on a bagel is called lox, but the salmon in this bagel sandwich is not lox. It's instead a much faster salmon option—slow-cooked salmon.

  • Is the salmon raw on salmon bagels?

    No, whether you eat smoked salmon or slow-cooked salmon, the salmon on salmon bagels is cooked.

  • Wait, aren't salmon bagels a New York thing?

    Yes, bagel and lox is a classic New York breakfast or brunch, but this is no reason we can't adapt it to our preferences.

Variations and Ingredient Swaps

If you have leftover salmon from dinner, you can use it here instead of cooking the salmon fresh. If the leftover salmon has any marinades or breading, you may want to adjust the herbs and cream cheese mixture a bit, but there's really no reason to not use the salmon here.

Likewise, if you want to make these sandwiches even faster, skip the step of making your own salmon, and reach for smoked salmon. You'll usually find it in the refrigerated section of the seafood aisle at the grocery store.

Double down on the salmon flavor, and use salmon-flavored cream cheese instead of plain cream cheese for the bagel spread.

More Salmon Recipes

If you have leftover salmon or just want to add more fish to your diet, consider these favorite salmon recipes:


  • 4 lemongrass stalks, bruised and cut into 4-inch pieces

  • 1 fennel bulb (about 14 oz.), sliced

  • 4 scallions, halved crosswise

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1/3 cup dry white wine

  • 1 (2-lb.) center-cut, skin-on salmon fillet

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 3 tablespoons sliced fresh chives

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped radishes

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 4 everything bagels, split

  • 1 cup arugula

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced English cucumber


  1. Prepare the slow cooker:

    Fold a 30- x 18-inch piece of parchment paper in half lengthwise; fold in half again crosswise (short end to short end) to create a 4 layer thick piece. Place folded parchment in bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker, letting ends extend partially up sides.

  2. Prepare the Salmon:

    Place half of lemongrass, fennel, and scallions in an even layer on parchment in slow cooker. Add water and wine. Sprinkle salmon fillets with salt and pepper; place on lemongrass mixture. Top salmon with remaining lemongrass, scallions, and fennel. Cover and cook on HIGH until salmon flakes easily with a fork, 1 to 2 hours. Using parchment paper liner as handles, lift salmon from slow cooker, allowing liquid to drain off. Discard mixture in slow cooker. Set salmon aside.

  3. Prepare the Bagel Sandwich:

    Combine the softened cream cheese, chives, radishes, dill, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Spread mixture on bottom halves of 4 split everything bagels. Divide arugula, 8 ounces flaked reserved salmon, red onion, and English cucumbers among bagel bottoms; cover with tops.

Related Articles