Lox (Yiddish: לאַקס) is a fillet of brined salmon, that may or may not be smoked. Lox is frequently served on a bagel with cream cheese,[1][2] and often garnished with tomato, sliced onion, cucumbers, and capers.

Lox on Bagel, Atlanta GA.jpg
Lox on bagel
CourseBreakfast or lunch
Main ingredientsLox, cream cheese, bagel
A "lox and a schmear" refers to a bagel and cream cheese with lox. This dish is a part of American Jewish cuisine.
A lox platter for one


The American English word lox[3] is derived from the Proto-Indo-European language, pronounced much as it is today.[4] The word lox today has cognates in numerous Germanic languages. For example, cured salmon in Scandinavian countries is known by different versions of the name gravlax or gravad laks. (Lax or laks means "salmon" in the Scandinavian languages.) Its wide distribution likely means it existed in its current form in a Proto-Indo-European language.[5]


  • Nova or Nova Scotia salmon, sometimes called Nova lox, is cured with a milder brine and then cold-smoked. The name dates from a time when much of the salmon in New York City came from Nova Scotia. Today, however, the name refers to the milder brining, as compared to regular lox (or belly lox), and the fish may come from other waters or even be raised on farms.
  • Scotch or Scottish-style salmon. A rub of salt and sometimes sugars, spices, and other flavorings is applied directly to the meat of the fish; this is called "dry-brining" or "Scottish-style."[citation needed] The brine mixture is then rinsed off, and the fish is cold-smoked.
  • Gravad lax (laks) or gravlax. The traditional Nordic means of preparing salmon, coating with or immersing the fish in a rub of dill, sugar, and salt and dry-curing it - after which it may or may not be smoked.[citation needed] The seasoning mixture may also variously include juniper berry, fennel, allspice or coriander. It is often served with a sweet mustard-dill sauce.

Other similar brined and smoked fish products include chubs, sable, smoked sturgeon, smoked whitefish, and kippered herring. These delicacies are popular in delis and gourmet stores, particularly in Northeastern USA cities that received significant Jewish, Eastern European and Russian immigration, such as New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "No Schmear Job: A Brief History of Bagels and Lox". NPR. September 21, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  2. ^ Canavan, Hillary Dixler (June 30, 2014). "The Classic Bagel and Salmon Sandwich at Russ & Daughters in New York City". Eater. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  3. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". etymonline.com.
  4. ^ Nurkiyazova, Sevindj (May 13, 2019). "The English Word That Hasn't Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years". Nautilus. Retrieved September 17, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Nurkiyazova, Sevind J (13 May 2019). "The English Word That Hasn't Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years". Nautilus (science magazine). Retrieved 13 May 2019.