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Smoked salmon or lox are common staples at any grocery store, but if you want the best lox, it’s time to learn how to make lox from fresh salmon at home. It’s easier than you might think! This salmon lox recipe is made with just 3 ingredients and 15 minutes prep time. After some time in the fridge, you’ll have fresh lox that tastes better than anything you could buy at the store and there are so many ways to enjoy it – I’m sharing a whole list below.
What Is Lox?
Lox is simply salmon that has been cured with salt, which preserves it. The name comes from the Yiddish word for salmon, laks. And it’s delicious!
Quick salmon lox overview:
- What does lox taste like? Lox tastes salty, salmon-y, and buttery, with a smooth texture.
- Is it easy to make? Yes, this salmon lox recipe is very easy.
- How much time will I need? You only need about 15 minutes of active prep time to make lox at home, but plan for 48 hours for it to cure in the fridge. You’ll need to be home to drain it every 12 hours.
Homemade Lox Ingredients
You only need a few basic ingredients to make lox at home:
- Salmon – Choose the thick belly section, if possible (belly lox is the best kind!). You can get skin-on or skinless salmon, either will work, but skin-on will be a bit more flavorful.
- Fresh dill – Nothing beats the aroma of fresh dill, so I don’t recommend using dried. But if you really want to, use 1/3 the amount.
- Sea salt – You can also use kosher salt if you like. I don’t recommend using table salt.
- White pepper – Using white pepper is best for appearance so that you don’t have specks from black pepper, but black works just fine if that’s what you have.
Some people add sugar to their lox recipes, but I don’t find it necessary at all. Salt is all you really need to cure the salmon, and the dill and white pepper add loads of flavor.
Ingredient amounts for making this salmon lox recipe are on the recipe card below.
How To Make Lox
- Rinse salmon. Rinse under cold water and pat dry.
- Prep salmon for curing. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and sprinkle with fresh dill, sea salt, and white pepper. Place salmon on top and sprinkle with more dill, sea salt, and white pepper.
TIP: Cover salmon generously with seasonings. It’s normal for it to look like a lot! (Measurements are on the recipe card below.)
- Chill. Wrap up the plastic wrap around salmon tightly, then wrap in a second layer of plastic wrap and place in a shallow baking dish…
Top with a smaller baking dish and add metal cans on top to weigh down the salmon. Refrigerate for 36 hours, flipping over and draining every 12 hours.
- Rinse. Rinse salmon to remove salt and pat dry. Refrigerate again, this time uncovered, for up to 12 hours or overnight.
- Slice lox. Use a sharp knife to slice thinly for serving.
Homemade sliced lox is incredibly easy to make, and most of the common questions about it center around the differences between lox vs. gravlax vs. smoked salmon. I’ve got the answers!
What kind of fish is lox?
Lox is made from salmon.
What is the difference between gravlax vs. lox?
Lox and gravlax are almost the same: both are only cured and not smoked. Gravlax typically has more spices added: sugar, salt, pepper, dill, juniper berry, citrus, and aquavit are the most common.
My easy lox recipe has just salt, white pepper, and dill, and some may call it gravlax, but I don’t think it has enough spices to qualify for that. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious!
What is the difference between lox vs. smoked salmon?
Lox is cured, but not smoked. Smoked salmon is cured but then also smoked, which gives it a different texture than lox.
What is Nova lox?
Nova lox can have two meanings. Sometimes it’s simply lox made with salmon that comes from the Nova Scotia region. It can also mean a combination of using Nova to make a specific style of smoked salmon, where the fish is cured (like this homemade lox recipe) and then lightly smoked afterward.
Is lox raw?
Is lox cooked? Lox is not raw and is not cooked, ha! It is cured, so it is preserved and not considered raw, but not cooked with heat.
Is lox healthy?
Is lox good for you? Yes! Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, a.k.a. healthy fats!
What are lox and bagels?
Lox is a traditional topping for bagels. The typical preparation for lox and bagels includes: bagel, cream cheese, homemade lox, cucumber, red onion, tomato slices, and/or capers.
Salmon Lox Storage Instructions
How long does lox stay fresh?
Lox will stay fresh for about 5-8 days in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze lox?
Yes, you can freeze lox for 2-3 months. Store it in a freezer bag and remove all air before freezing. Let thaw in the refrigerator.
How To Eat Lox
Once you’re done curing the salmon, here are a bunch of lox recipe ideas to use it:
- Bagels – My preference is healthy fathead bagels, but any bagel you like is great… and it’s the most popular way to serve lox! Slather with cream cheese, then top with thin cucumber slices and lox. Capers and red onions also make great additions.
- Platters – Cured salmon is perfect on a board or platter with cheese, crackers, fresh veggies, etc.
- Salads – Try salmon kale superfood salad, or add lox to strawberry spinach salad or over a cobb salad instead of chicken.
- Deviled eggs – Top your deviled eggs with lox for a fancier twist.
- Cucumber Bites – Smoked salmon cucumber bites are a great appetizer to make with lox as well.
- Lox and Eggs – Stir the cured fish into scrambled eggs!
Tools To Make Lox At Home
Tap the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Baking Dishes – You’ll need two different-sized baking dishes, so that one can weigh down the other. This set looks nice and is functional.
How To Make Lox (Easy Salmon Lox Recipe):
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How To Make Lox (Easy Salmon Lox Recipe)
Learn how to make lox at home, with simple ingredients! This easy salmon lox recipe tastes perfectly salty, buttery, and smooth. It makes the best bagel and lox.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Rinse the salmon fillet under cold water. Pat dry.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, 2-3 times the size of the salmon. Sprinkle half of the fresh dill over the plastic, covering an area about the size of the salmon fillet. Sprinkle the same area with half of the sea salt and white pepper.
Place the salmon fillet onto the salt covered plastic wrap. Sprinkle the top of the salmon with the other half of the salt, pepper, and dill. Make sure all sides of the salmon are generously covered in salt.
Wrap the plastic wrap tightly around the salmon, then double wrap in a second layer of plastic wrap.
Place salmon into a shallow baking dish, large enough that the salmon can lay flat. Top the salmon with a second, smaller baking dish. Transfer to the fridge and place 2-3 14-oz metal cans onto the top dish, to weigh down the salmon.
Refrigerate for 36 hours; every 12 hours, drain any liquid from the pan and flip the salmon over, without opening the plastic.
After 36 hours, rinse the salmon to remove the surface salt. Pat dry.
Return salmon to the fridge, uncovered, for at least 2 more hours, up to 12 hours or overnight.
To serve, slice thinly across the short end of the lox.
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Serving size: 2 ounces
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