Mar 18, 2016

Classic Smoked Salmon Bagel Combo

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Slather a toasted bagel with cream cheese followed by thinly sliced red onion and capers topped with smoked salmon and finish with a wedge of lemon.

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There is truly nothing like a good bagel sandwich. A good bagel can bring you back from the deepest depths of a hangover or just make you feel full and happy. The only problem is that being an East Coast-er living on the West Coast, no one around here really understands what makes a great bagel. Yes, I know what you are thinking – I am a bagel snob.

You are correct in that assessment. In my opinion a bagel should have a thin, crispy crust with a chewy flavorful inside and be dense (but not too dense.) There is nothing worse than a cakey bagel or one that is soft inside and out. Give me a plain bagel toasted with cream cheese and I’ll be happy the rest of the day, but a bagel sandwich really turns it from a quick bite on the go to a complete meal.

Smoked Salmon Bagel

How should prepare my bagel sandwich?

I prefer to eat my bagels open-face. If I am eating them at home but if I need to take my breakfast on the go then closing the halves and cutting them in half is the way to go. It makes it much easier to eat that way – there’s a reason why bagel shops will serve it that way!

What is served with a smoked salmon bagel sandwich?

Smoked salmon (the blanket term for any salmon treated with cold or hot smoke) should be served on a toasted bagel with cream cheese, capers, thinly sliced red onion.

Make sure to include plenty of smoked salmon. Not all cured/ smoked salmon is created equal! I prefer to splurge for in-house made smoked salmon or lox. It’s definitely a higher price tag but it’s worth it. It taste way better than what you can buy prepackaged at grocery stores. I love the pastrami smoked salmon from Russ & Daughters in NY or Wexler’s Deli in Santa Monica, CA.

smoked salmon lox on an everything bagel with cucumber, capers, red onion on a white plate on marble

How are bagels made?

Bagels are made from a flour-based dough with yeast that is first boiled then baked with an assortment of toppings. Many believe that bagels the reason bagels are better on the East Coast has something to do with the water! I’m not sure if it’s necessarily true but I do know that they are just better there!

While I am a bagel snob if you are looking for a good bagel in Los Angeles I really like the bagels from New York Bagel & Deli in Santa Monica. It reminds me of the small bagel shops back home in New Jersey. Find my list of New York Bagels here!

classic smoked salmon bagel combo cut in half

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Smoked Salmon Bagel

Print Pin
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Serves 1


  • 1 onion or everything bagel, split in half, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar-packed capers, drained
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • 3 ounces smoked salmon
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)


  • Spread cream cheese evenly on the bottom half of the bagel then sprinkle the capers on top followed by a few slices of red onion. Next layer the smoked salmon on top of the cream cheese.
  • Squeeze lemon over the top (if using). Either serve the bagel open-faced or close the bagel then cut the sandwich in half to serve.



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