Just add bagel.
Biting into a good bagel with cream cheese and lox is one of breakfast’s great pleasures. This recipe for homemade smoked salmon cream cheese spread takes minutes to make and tastes even better than store-bought. Here’s how to make it.
Salmon Cream Cheese Spread
Uncontested fact: Everyone loves bagels. What’s not to love about a chewy, dense, warm orb of carbs? But I hold bagel toppings in equal importance.
Of all possible bagel toppings, from butter to PB&J, my favorite is a creamy salmon cream cheese spread. Briny, creamy, and whipped until fluffy and light, this salmon cream cheese recipe comes together in less time than it takes to place a bagel order. Also use this as salmon cream cheese dip.
First, Some Bagel History and Info
A lot — a lot — of attention, words, research, and even fights have been given over to bagels. Who in New York City, and thus, the world, makes the best bagel? (Ess-a-Bagel, Absolute, The Bagel Hole.)
- What defines a great bagel? Glossy, slightly blistered exterior, dense and chewy insides, steamed-then-baked cooking process.
- Is toasting a fresh bagel wrong? Probably yes.
- Where did bagels come from? Poland.
One thing we all know, though, is that we love them. Chewy, dense, and — if you are lucky — glossy and just a little bit crisp on the outside, a good bagel is the ultimate breakfast.
Now let’s turn our attention to the bagel’s other half: the schmear on top.
Which Salmon Is Best for Homemade Salmon Cream Cheese?
Sunday morning bagel breakfasts are best when accompanied with cream cheese, a thin layer of lox, and capers — maybe some red onion or crumbled hard-boiled egg, too. But a smoked salmon cream cheese can be just as satisfying.
Think of the term “smoked salmon” as a broad umbrella.
Lox is a variety of cured salmon taken from the salmon belly but not smoked. The salmon belly is fattier than other parts of the salmon, making it more desirable. Lox also costs a little more money, which is why it is found on the best bagel spreads.
So, all lox is cured salmon. But all cured, smoked salmon is not lox.
You do not have to use lox for this recipe. In fact, I think that less-expensive cured, smoked salmon works better.
The fatty, more tender lox tends to dissolve into the cream cheese. My preference is wild Alaskan smoked salmon, which has a vivid pink color and stands up well against the blades of a food processor.
What Is In This Salmon Cream Cheese Recipe?
This recipe calls only for cream cheese, smoked salmon, and thinly-sliced scallions. You do not need to add any salt because of the saltiness of the smoked salmon.
A tablespoon or so of minced dill would also taste very good folded into the salmon cream cheese. You can also just use dill to garnish. Or perhaps no dill at all!
Do not worrying about an exact two-ounce weight for the smoked salmon. Just eyeball half of a standard four-ounce package. It will taste great. Err on the side of a little more than a little less.
How Long Does Salmon Cream Cheese Last?
Stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, smoked salmon cream cheese can last for about one week.
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Salmon Cream Cheese Spread
- 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, slightly softened
- 1 large, or two thin, scallion(s), green and light green parts only, sliced very thin
- 2 ounces smoked salmon, sliced
- A few sprigs of fresh dill, optional
- In a food processor, pulse the cream cheese and smoked salmon until blended about 2/3 of the way, but small salmon chunks remain. Scrape the bowl.
- Add the scallions and blend again until fully combined. Spread on bagels and garnish with fresh sprigs of dill or extra scallion slices as desired.