What’s the Difference Between Nova, Lox, and Smoked Salmon?

If you're a fan of salmon, you're in for a treat — there are countless ways to enjoy this delicious fish, which brings unique flavors to the table. You might have come across terms like lox, nova lox, and smoked salmon. These names can be a bit confusing, but these are actually methods of preparing salmon to enhance its taste and texture.

In this article, we’ll help you understand their differences so you can enjoy your salmon just the way you like it.

What is Nova Salmon?

Nova Salmon, often referred to as Nova lox, is a specific type of smoked salmon that is first cured using a mixture of salt and sugar, which helps to preserve the fish. This curing process usually lasts between five to seven days.

After curing, the salmon is cold-smoked at lower temperatures for an extended period, resulting in a soft texture and a subtle, mild smoky flavor.

Interesting fact: The term "Nova" not only denotes the geographical area where the fish is historically sourced (from Nova Scotia) but also describes a unique preparation method.

Nova salmon is popular for its delicate taste and tender consistency, which makes it a popular choice for dishes where a gentle smokiness enhances the natural flavor of the fish without overpowering it.

A versatile ingredient in various meals, nova salmon can be used as a topping for toasted bagel, ingredient for fresh salads, or to create rice bowls.

Related: Is Smoked Salmon Cooked or Raw?

What is Lox Salmon?

Lox, simply referred to as "lox salmon," is a type of salmon that is cured in a salt brine without any smoking process. The curing process involves immersing the salmon fillets in a mixture of salt and sometimes sugar, along with other seasonings like dill.

The term “lox” comes from the Yiddish word for salmon, which is “laks.” It has its origins in Jewish culinary traditions and is especially popular in Jewish delis and on bagel shops.

Unlike smoked salmon, which has a strong smoky flavor, lox retains a more natural taste of the salmon itself. It’s typically thinly sliced and enjoyed on bagels with cream cheese, where its savory profile complements the richness of the cheese and the chewy texture of the bagel!

Related: How to Make Smoked Salmon at Home

What’s the Difference Between Nova, Lox, and Smoked Salmon?

The main differences between Nova salmon, lox, and smoked salmon lie in their preparation methods and resulting flavors and textures. Remember that all lox refers to cured salmon. However, note that some types of cured salmon do not undergo smoking.

Here’s a table summarizing the information you need about nova, lox, and smoked salmon:

  Nova Salmon Lox Salmon Smoked Salmon
Origin Nova Scotia Jewish communities from Eastern Europe Dates back to ancient times (e.g., North America and Scandinavia)
Smoking method Cold-smoked (after the curing process) Lox salmon is not smoked — it is typically cured in a brine or salt solution Cold smoking or hot smoking
Flavor and texture

Mild and subtly sweet, with a gentle smokiness

The texture is silky and moist, which can melt in your mouth

    Subtle, yet noticeable salty flavor

    The texture is smooth and silky, which can melt in your mouth

    Less firm than other types of cured salmon

      Cold-smoked salmon has a mild, delicate smoky flavor with a smooth and silky texture

      Hot-smoked salmon has a more pronounced smoky flavor, and the texture is firm and flaky

        Culinary uses Great for appetizers, salads, and main courses Great when paired scrambled eggs or frittata, used in sushi rollls, or added to soups and salads Great for appetizers, salads, breakfast and brunch, and spreads


        By now, you have a clear understanding of the differences between nova salmon, lox, and smoked salmon, along with a variety of delicious ways to enjoy each. Don’t limit yourself to just a few recipes — experiment with different pairings to discover new favorite dishes!

        Ready to try these delectable salmon preparations? Order high-quality salmon from Alaskan Salmon Company today.

      • +

        Get fresh, sushi-grade Alaskan salmon delivered to your door.

        Alaskan Salmon Company Shop Salmon