How to Make Salmon Gravlax

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.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 48 hours


  • 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

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

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

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

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

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.

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  • b stover

    Excellent recipe Absolutely delicious just follow the recipe exactly
    Absolutely delicious, just follow the directions exactly


  • perang

    what type of cooking method

  • Pam

    My quick tip to keep your refrigerator from smelling like salmon is to wrap the filets tightly in plastic wrap or if you’re like me and have a vacuum sealer, seal it and then weigh it down in your refrigerator. Voila, no smell and no leakage. You will still need to flip it over at least twice.

  • Hana

    This sounds really good
    Can the sugar be cutdown a little or not?
    Can I use supermarket salmon as nearest fresh is 300km trip. (Wild salmon) The supermarket sometimes has salmon that looks really good and I use it for sushi but it has already been frozen and defrosted for our convenience ( don’t know why since it is farmed salmon from Queensland(Aust) but at least they have to label the origin of the seafood and its fresh/frozen status ).
    It does not come frozen or fresh in such large pieces. Can smaller pieces be used?

    • Sheryl Julian

      Hello Hana! Yes, use the previously frozen supermarket salmon you have access to and get it in smaller pieces, if you like. This recipe is very adaptable to larger or smaller pieces. Cut down on the salt-sugar mixture if you go smaller. But don’t cut down on the proportion of sugar. Happy cooking!

  • Amanda the dill h8r

    I would love to make this but I HATE dill. What other herbs would you suggest as a substitute? Could I use parsley, thyme, and rosemary?

    • Sheryl Julian

      Hello Amanda: Of course you can use another herb besides dill. Parsley, cilantro, and oregano would all be fine here. Rosemary is too strong. Happy cooking!

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    Can you imagine that I was on a workshop and a specialist was showing us how to filet a salmon, hahahaha. Not so complicated with right tools :)

  • Sabrina Quairoli

    This looks delicious. I remember growing up watching my mother making this from scratch. It was delicious and went fast.

  • charlie

    looks good! I love gravlax, and are always in need of a new variation of it! please check out my blog :
    xx charlie

  • Ylwa Anesten

    Thank you for a great blog, i am Swedish , living in Sweden and use the recipes a lot. If you want a classical Swedish recipe of gravad lax here it is:
    About 2 lbs of centercut salmon as above, preferably frozen at least 48 hrs before at minimum 0,4 F , to avoid any parasites.
    Mix 3 tablespoons of granulated white sugar with 4 tablespoons of koshersalt and 2 teaspoons of crushed white pepper , rub the mixture on both sides of salmon pieces
    Then use 1/2cup chopped dill, stems can be included , Put half amount between salmon pieces and the other half dividend under and on top of the both Put togheter pieces of salmon, Put in a plastic bag , place in fridge for 24-48 hrs, with some weight on and turn IT around a couple of times. You can freeze the gravad salmon.

    Then if you want a classic Swedish Hovmästarsås a k a Gravlaxsås do as follows
    Mix 2tablespoons of yellow mustard with 1tablespoon of Dijonmustard and 2tablespoons of white granulated sugar, stir until the sugar resolves
    Then add 2tablespoons of white wine vinegar, start to add about slightly less than 3/4 cup of sunfloweroil ( or other with neutral taste) dropwise while stirring in the beginning , ( like in making mayo) then when IT binds add the rest a little faster while stirring all the time. ( you can use a mixer or foodprocessor) . Add some salt and white pepper to taste.

    Mix in 1/2 cup of finely chopped dill .
    Serve together with thin slices of gravad salmon on bread, or with boiled potatoes as lunch or dinner or on a buffé ,

  • Michael Stone

    I find two plastic wrapped loaf pans perfect, the top one holding the weights. Two same size Rubbermaid tubs may work.

  • Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    The freshness of this dish is really inviting. Lovely beautiful colours in this dish too!

  • Mark Anderson

    Does this keep about the same as cooked salmon? Longer?

  • FoodJunkie

    I so want to make this. I would assume to avoid raw fish parasites this should only be made with fish that has been frozen as is required for sushi?

    • Sheryl Julian

      Hello! The best practice is to buy fish from a dependable purveyor who has examined the catch for parasites. If you’re worried, then freeze first.

  • Ed

    This is a favorite. So good!! With goat cheese on small latkes ( like a blini ) they are a decadent Hanukkah treat. Otherwise just awesome any time.

  • Walter Underwood

    My wife uses needle nose pliers from my toolbox to remove the pin bones. Very easy to do with the right tool.