February 4, 2023

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Simple Impartial Cooking

Easy Gravlax Recipe (Cured Salmon)


How to Make Gravlax – The best salted salmon is easy to make from scratch with this cured fish recipe! Enjoy homemade lox on toast, bagels, or any way you love to use smoked salmon.

Two slices of pumpernickel bread with butter and pieces of gravlax on top.

Why We Love This Easy Salmon Recipe

Today we are sharing a simple cured salmon recipe you can make at home to save money, improve quality control, and impress your friends and family.

The preparation for this Easy Homemade Gravlax recipe takes just a few minutes with a handful of ingredients. Then you can place it in the fridge and let the salt work its magic for 1 to 3 days!

When it’s done you have a deliciously flaky, moist, and flavorful cured fish to enjoy on toast, bagels, and more! I am sure you’ll never want to buy the packaged version again.

Half a bagel on a plate, with cream cheese, slices of lox, capers and sliced onions.

What is the Difference Between Gravlax, Lox, and Smoked Salmon

Gravlax and lox are quite similar, and both dishes include curing fish with salt rather than cooking with heat. However, while gravlax uses a salt and sugar cure packed onto the fillet, traditional lox is made by submerging the salmon in a salty brine.

Smoked salmon, on the other hand, involves smoking – and therefore cooking – the fish.

This recipe is specifically Gravlax, but can be used on bagels as “bagels and lox.” I personally feel it is much more flavorful than traditional lox. Yet enjoy it anywhere you typically use lox or smoked salmon!

Top down view two final dishes on plates, each topped with homemade easy gravlax slices.

6 Ingredients You Need

  • Salmon – whole fillet with skin on, wild-caught or farmed
  • Kosher salt – a course salt is best for curing fish
  • Granulated sugar – also preserves the salmon, and balances the saltiness
  • Fresh dill – chopped
  • Black pepper – freshly ground is best
  • Gin – or vodka

Note: The gin (or vodka) is not necessary, but does help balance the flavor of the salmon so that any fishiness does not intensify as it cures.

Ingredients you need: fresh fish fillet, whole dill, and box of kosher salt.

How to Make Gravlax

Lay the fresh (or previously frozen and thawed) salmon fillet out on a clean work surface. Feel the top of the surface of the salmon with your fingers. Check for any small pin bones that were not removed. Then use your fingertips or tweezers to pull out any lingering bones.

Set out a small mixing bowl. Combine the kosher salt, granulated sugar, fresh dill, and pepper. Mix well.

Chopped dill and salt in a glass dish with spoon.

Drizzle the gin over the surface of the salmon fillet. Then rub the salt and sugar mixture over the entire surface of the salmon fillet including the skin side. Pile any remaining salt mixture on top of the fillet.

Whole fish fillet in white baking dish, covered with sugar salt and chopped dill mixture.

Wrap the salmon fillet very tightly in plastic wrap. Then place it in a baking dish.

Now fish and salt cure wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Set a smaller container, about the length of the salmon fillet, on top of it. Then place something heavy in the container to press down on the salmon… I like to use bags of dried beans or canned goods. The idea here is to press the salt into the salmon for several days.

Curing the fish by placing plastic container filled with dry beans on top.

Now place the baking dish in the refrigerator and leave it alone.

The salmon will be soft-cured within 36 hours. If you would like a heavier salt cure and a slightly denser texture, cure the salmon for up to 48 hours or even three full days. I usually remove mine at the 48-hour mark.

Cured salmon with salt on a wooden board.

Unwrap the salmon fillet and rinse with cold water to remove the excess salt and sugar. Then pat it dry.

Get the Complete (Printable) Homemade Salted Salmon Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Fish rinsed clean of salt for easy gravlax recipe.

Working with a sharp knife, slice the salmon at an angle, against the grain, into fine slivers.

Sharp knife cutting slice of fish.

If you cured the salmon for only 36 hours and it’s very soft, you may want to cut slightly thicker slices to make cutting more manageable.

Sharp knife showing cutting of smoked salmon to camera.

How to Store Cured Salmon

Place the slices in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Enjoy within 2 weeks of slicing. For the freshest flavor, I recommend using a vacuum sealer to lock in the Gravlax.

You can freeze gravlax made with fresh salmon; however, it is not recommended that you re-freeze previously frozen fish. Wrap the cured fillet in plastic wrap, and place it in an airtight plastic zipper bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. To enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Use within a week.

Top down view half of a bagel with cream cheese, smoked gravlax, capers and sliced red onions.

Serving Suggestions

Traditionally, gravlax is often served with a tangy honey mustard sauce, or a sour cream-based sauce with horseradish. I’ve also experienced it, in some parts of the world, served over a rye or pumpernickel bread with a good schmeer of salty butter and a sliver of gravlax on top.

However, you can use it in any way that you would normally use smoked or cured salmon… On bagels with cream cheese, and sandwiches and salads, over poached eggs or a cheesy egg scramble, on a charcuterie board, etc.

We love to use homemade lox to make Smoked Salmon Dip and these Smoked Salmon Dip Deviled Eggs!

Two pieces of pumpernickel bread with butter spread and pieces of homemade gravlax on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you cure Gravlax too long?

Yes, after 3 days (72 hours) the salted salmon will begin to break down too far and become mushy.

Is homemade Gravlax safe to eat?

Definitely! Follow our easy recipe to make the best cured fish that is flavorful and completely safe. Salt is a natural disinfectant!

Is salted salmon healthy?

Like most tasty things, the key here is moderation. Gravlax does have a fairly high salt content. However, salmon is very healthy and full of lean protein plus omega-3 fatty acids.

Top down view all final dishes with salt cured salmon.

Looking for More Easy Fish Recipes? Be Sure to Also Try:

Easy Gravlax Recipe (Cured Salmon)

The best salted salmon is easy to make from scratch with this cured fish recipe! Enjoy homemade gravlax (lox) on toast, bagels, or any way you love to use smoked salmon.

Servings: 12 servings

  • Lay the salmon fillet out on a clean work surface. Feel the top of the surface of the salmon with your fingers. Check for any small pin bones that were not removed. Then use your fingertips or tweezers to pull out any lingering bones.

  • Set out a small mixing bowl. Combine the kosher salt, granulated sugar, fresh dill, and pepper. Mix well.

  • Drizzle the gin over the surface of the salmon fillet. Then rub the salt and sugar mixture over the entire surface of the salmon fillet including the skin side. Pile any remaining salt mixture on top of the fillet.

  • Wrap the salmon fillet very tightly in plastic wrap. Then place it in a baking dish.

  • Set a smaller container, about the length of the salmon fillet, on top of it. Then place something heavy in the container to press down on the salmon… I like to use bags of dried beans or canned goods. The idea here is to press the salt into the salmon for several days.

  • Now place the baking dish in the refrigerator and leave it alone. The salmon will be soft-cured within 36 hours. If you would like a heavier salt cure and a slightly denser texture, cure the salmon for up to 48 hours or even three full days. I usually remove mine at the 48 hour mark.

  • Unwrap the salmon fillet and rinse with cold water to remove the excess salt and sugar. Then pat it dry.

  • Working with a sharp knife, slice the salmon at an angle, against the grain, into fine slivers. If you cured the salmon for only 36 hours and it’s very soft, you may want to cut slightly thicker slices to make cutting more manageable.

  • Place the slices in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Serve on rye bread with mustard or horse horseradish sauce. Top with dill, red onions and capers. Serve on bagels with cream cheese. Pile on salads or sandwiches. The gin (or vodka) is not necessary, but does help balance the flavor of the salmon so that any fishiness does not intensify as it cures. Enjoy within 2 weeks of slicing. For the freshest flavor, I recommend using a vacuum sealer to lock in the Gravlax. You can freeze gravlax made with fresh salmon; however, it is not recommended that you re-freeze previously frozen fish. Wrap the cured fillet in plastic wrap, and place in an airtight plastic zipper bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. To enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Use within a week.

Serving: 1.5oz, Calories: 123kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 4742mg, Potassium: 296mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 175IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 15mg, Iron: 1mg

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