How To Make Salmon Gravlax

Make your own home-cured salmon gravlax with our recipe! 15-minute prep, 2-day cure in the fridge. It's a showstopper for a fancy brunch or dinner party.

How to Make Salmon Gravlax
Sheryl Julian

Of all the DIY home-cured foods, gravlax is one of the most satisfying.

The process doesn’t take long—or much of your attention—and it's so pretty!

Give fresh salmon a sprinkle of salt, sugar, and herbs and a few days in the fridge, and it will transform into a beautiful, flavorful dish ready for the brunch table.

The Difference Between Lox and Gravlax

Gravlax is a Scandinavian specialty. It's very similar to lox, the deli counter favorite, but gravlax is usually cured with spices and fresh herbs (unlike lox, which is left plain). Gravlax is also never smoked.

All you need to make gravlax at home is a baking dish and two heavy cans to use as weights during the curing process. And, of course, some salmon.

Salmon Gravlax on toast
Sheryl Julian

Get two 1-pound pieces of salmon, preferably cut from the thicker end of the fillet. Make sure the skin is still on. You'll press these two pieces together with salt, herbs, and other seasonings sandwiched in between.

After 48 hours in the fridge, use your sharpest, straight-edged knife to cut the salmon into thin slices. When you arrange them on the platter, curl the pieces slightly before sprinkling with red onion, capers, and more dill—this makes such a pretty presentation.

How to Make Salmon Gravlax
Sheryl Julian

What To Serve With Gravlax

This recipe makes enough gravlax for a good-sized crowd. Traditionally, gravlax is served with dark rye or dense grainy bread, but bagels or any good-quality bread is great.

The gravlax is so rich that you don't really need cream cheese or crème fraiche, though these extras always make a brunch feel particularly decadent.

Using Skinless Salmon

The recipe calls for skin-on salmon. If you only have skinless, that works for this recipe, too. The skin makes it easier to slice thinly, but what really matters is that the fish itself is of good quality.

Love Salmon? Try These Recipes

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

How To Make Salmon Gravlax

Prep Time 15 mins
Curing Time 48 hrs
Total Time 48 hrs 15 mins

It's always best to buy your fish from a dependable purveyor who has examined the catch for parasites and handled the fish properly. If you’re unsure, then fully freeze (and then thaw) your fish before making this recipe. For more information on safe practices for handling and consuming raw fish, read this article from the FDA.


  • 2 center-cut pieces (1 pound each) skin-on boneless salmon, both cut from the wide, thick end of a fillet

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

  • 1 bunch fresh dill sprigs, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped, to garnish

  • 1/4 cup capers, to garnish

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to garnish

  • Extra dill, to garnish


  1. Remove any pin bones from the salmon:

    Place the salmon flesh side up on a cutting board. With your fingertips, feel along the flesh to see if there are any fine pin bones. Use tweezers, a strawberry huller, or another pincher to gently pull them out.

    How to Make Salmon Gravlax
    Sheryl Julian
  2. Mix the curing mixture:

    In a bowl, combine the salt, brown and granulated sugar, and fennel seeds. Mix well.

  3. Sprinkle half salmon with half curing mixture:

    Sprinkle some of the curing mixture down the middle of a 12-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and sprinkle some of the dill on top. Set one of the pieces of salmon, skin side down, on top of the salt mixture. Sprinkle half the remaining salt mixture and half of the remaining dill over the flesh of the fish. Press lightly so the mixture sticks.

    How to Make Salmon Gravlax
    Sheryl Julian
  4. Set the other piece of salmon, skin side up, on top of the first piece:

    Lay the second piece so that the thicker part of the top piece sits on the thinner part of the bottom piece, forming flat, even rectangle. Sprinkle the remaining salt mixture and dill over the top.

    How to Make Salmon Gravlax
    Sheryl Julian
  5. Cover and press the salmon:

    Cover the whole dish with plastic wrap. Set another, smaller baking dish on top of the salmon and weight it down with two heavy cans, a garden brick, or any other heavy weight.

    How to Make Salmon Gravlax
    Sheryl Julian
  6. Refrigerate and cure for 2 days:

    Flip the fish after 24 hours, so that the top piece is now on the bottom. This helps the fish cure evenly.

  7. Rinse the curing mixture off the gravlax:

    When ready to serve, remove the fish from the baking dish. Some liquid will have collected on the bottom; this is normal. Rinse the fish well with cold water, rubbing off the curing mixture with your fingers. Dry the fish well with paper towels.

  8. Slice the gravlax:

    Set one of the pieces of fish, skin side down, on a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, slice the fish as thinly as you possibly can while holding the blade at an extreme diagonal. Do the same with the other piece of fish.

    How to Make Salmon Gravlax
    Sheryl Julian
  9. Serve the gravlax:

    Arrange the slices overlapping on a platter, curling them as you set them down. Sprinkle with red onion, capers, and remaining dill, and garnish with lemon. Leftovers will keep for about a week.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
2377 Calories
115g Fat
141g Carbs
211g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 2377
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 115g 148%
Saturated Fat 22g 111%
Cholesterol 572mg 191%
Sodium 16503mg 718%
Total Carbohydrate 141g 51%
Dietary Fiber 25g 88%
Total Sugars 82g
Protein 211g
Vitamin C 467mg 2,337%
Calcium 415mg 32%
Iron 9mg 50%
Potassium 4942mg 105%
*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. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.