Simple, Homemade Salmon Gravlax

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  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Curing Time: 24 hrs
  • Yield: 1 to 2 pounds (24 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
238 Calories
12g Fat
3g Carbs
27g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 to 2 pounds (24 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 238
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Sodium 1639mg 71%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 27g
Calcium 28mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Gravlax, Scandinavian-style cold-cured salmon, is surprisingly easy to make at home with this recipe. The amount of curing mix is good for 4 to 6 pounds total of salmon. You can reduce or increase it for smaller or larger filets. For a bit of a kick, try adding 2 tablespoons of freshly grated horseradish to the mix.

In Scandinavia and the Pacific Northwest, it’s easy to find and purchase fresh salmon straight off the fishing boats on the day of catch. However, unless you know that the salmon you’ll be using for this recipe is sushi-grade, you will need to either:

Purchase commercially frozen salmon and thaw before use, or

Wait and freeze the completed gravlax at no higher than -10 F (-23 C) for 7 days. This will kill any microorganisms present in the fish.


  • 2 salmon filets (2 to 3 pounds each, skin on)
  • 1/4 cup aquavit (or vodka)
  • 1/3 cup fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • Optional: 1/4 cup dill (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Rinse the salmon fillets, and pat them thoroughly dry.

  2. Use tweezers or pliers to pull out any pin bones, if necessary.

  3. Drizzle the aquavit or vodka evenly over the flesh of each fillet.

  4. In a small bowl, combine the salt, sugar, and pepper.

  5. Divide the mixture into three approximately even piles within the bowl.

  6. Put about half of one of the thirds of curing mixture in a fillet shape on a rimmed baking sheet or baking pan that is big enough to lay a fillet flat on.

  7. Lay a fillet skin-down on the mixture.

  8. Spread a third of the curing mixture on the flesh of that fillet.

  9. Spread the other third on the flesh side of the other fillet.

  10. Sprinkle the dill, if using, over both fillets.

  11. Lay the second fillet flesh-to-flesh on the first fillet. Sprinkle the remaining curing mixture over the skin of the top filet.

  12. Cover the fillets and baking sheet or pan with foil or plastic wrap. Place a cutting board or second baking sheet on top of the covered fish, top it with cans or pots or other heavy things to weigh the fish down, and find a place to put the whole thing in the fridge. Let chill about 12 hours or overnight.

  13. Remove from the fridge, unwrap, discard the accumulated liquid in the pan, and turn the fillets over so the bottom one is on top.

  14. Weigh down the fish again, recover it, and return to the fridge. Let chill another 12 hours.

  15. The fish is now cured and you can serve it, but it will continue to benefit from another 12 to 24 hours of being weighed down and chilled, so feel free to repeat these steps a second time around.

  16. When ready to eat, remove the fish from wrapping, pat dry, and use a very sharp knife to thinly slice the gravlax against the grain.

  17. Serve and enjoy!


  • Gravlax is traditionally served with a drizzle of mustard sauce and some fresh dill, often with thinly sliced hearty rye bread or crisp rye crackers.
  • It's also good anywhere you would use lox—with cream cheese and bagels or sour cream and latkes.
  • Gravlax will keep, covered and chilled, for up to a week. It also freezes very nicely.