Smoked Salmon vs Lox vs Gravlax

Smoked Salmon is a generic term that is commonly used to describe any preparation of smoked or cured salmon including lox and gravlax, any part of the salmon including fillet or belly, and any type of salmon – wild or farmed, Atlantic or Pacific. In other words, “smoked salmon” is a pretty global term.


Smoked Salmon

Hot-smoked salmon is fully cooked in a smoker at a temperature ranging from 130°F to 180°F. Firm and flaky, it retains a smoky flavor that is preferred in hot dishes since it’s already cooked.

Cold-smoked salmon, on the other hand, is smoked at a lower temperature, typically 70°F to 85°F after being cured in salt. The resulting product is silky and smoky, and is best suited for cold dishes like salads or cold appetizers.



Is lox hot-smoked or cold-smoked? Neither. Made from the belly meat of a salmon, lox is actually never cooked but is, instead, cured in a salty brine mixture for several weeks. Compared to smoked salmon, lox is saltier with more of a raw texture, making it the perfect addition to a toasted bagel with cream cheese.

Nova lox, specifically, is made from Nova Scotian salmon that is cured then cold-smoked. Nova lovers value its saltiness and smokiness.



Gravlax is cured in a salt brine but, in the style of Scandinavian tradition, is seasoned with dill, salt, and sugar. Some gravlax preparations include horseradish, white peppercorns, juniper berries, and even aquavit!

As you’d expect from the ingredient list, gravlax has a strong flavor. Its dry texture makes it suitable for many recipes, including cold on crackers or just sliced plain onto a cold plate.