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Homemade cured salmon is one of the most amazing and incredibly simple recipes you can make that feels so FANCY. Fresh salmon cured in a mixture of salt, sugar and spices is arguable one of the best things about life. And this simple cured salmon recipe is so easy you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making it your whole life.
Just beware, when you make this cured salmon recipe, it’s going to disappear fast. And I mean fast. I literally stood over the fish for a ridiculous amount of time just cutting piece after piece off and eating it before it was served to anyone else.
I didn’t want to share this beautiful cured salmon (gravlax) with anyone. But I did. Because I’m a good (ahem) person. But mainly because I was spotted. I had been found out.
When I used to think of cured salmon, I used to think of those fancy brunch spots or those delis serving bagels with lox and cream cheese. (Note lox is basically the same thing as cured salmon). But no more guys….I’ve got my own bagels with lox and cream cheese, and you can too!!
So carve out a little space in your fridge for this sweet piece of fish and let’s make some homemade gravlax (cured salmon)!
The Ingredients for this Simple Cured Salmon Recipe
The key is obviously the salmon. You want to make sure you are buying sashimi grade salmon. Most fish markets should carry this. Make sure the bones are removed from the fish before curing it. If you’re in San Diego, I buy mine at Valley Farms in Spring Valley as they have the best prices!
Never use regular table salt for curing salmon – your fish will be WAY to salty!! You want to use either coarse rock salt or coarse kosher salt. Make sure the salt does not contain iodine.
For the sugar, this recipe calls for use of raw sugar, but regular white sugar can be used as well.
And I love to add a little crushed red pepper for just a VERY light hint of spice. If you want more spice, add more crushed red pepper. However, we want to be careful not to overpower the flavor of the salmon.
Buy the ingredients for the cure through the below Amazon links, or at your local grocery store (affiliate links – I earn a small commission if you buy through these links):
How to Cure Salmon
This cured salmon recipe is SO EASY guys. First, combine the cure ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Place a large piece of plastic wrap over a large baking sheet. Pour half of the cure onto the middle of the plastic wrap.
Pat the fish dry and place it, skin side down, over the cure on the plastic wrap (make sure bones have been removed from the fish). Pour the remaining cure on top and make sure it covers all parts of the fish. Wrap the plastic wrap around the fish. Cut another large piece of plastic wrap and double wrap the fish. I recommend placing it in a large ziploc bag at this point, leaving the bag open. This helps to catch the juices and makes it easier to drain when necessary.
Place it back on the baking sheet and cover it with something flat and heavy. I use a cutting board with a heavy bowl sitting on top. Fill the bowl with stuff for extra weight. Place in the fridge.
**It is important to drain and flip your fish every 12 hours. This help it to cure evenly. For a medium cure, leave it for 36-48 hours. For a hard cure, leave it for 72 hours. I prefer a hard cure myself. The longer you cure, the more firm and salty the fish will be.
Once you fish is done curing, remove it from the plastic and rinse it thoroughly. Pat it dry and place it back in the fridge, uncovered, for 12-24 hours. The longer it sits, the better the salt will distribute throughout the fish.
Use a VERY sharp knife to thinly slice the fish. Serve with fresh lemon slices and dill.
How to use cured salmon
There are so many ways to use cured salmon!
– Dice it up and use it in scrambled eggs or omelets
– Use it on bagels with cream cheese
– Eat it with toast points and fresh dill with sour cream
– Chop it up and put it with some pasta in a cream sauce
– On a sandwich or in a salad
– In a dip with cream cheese and dill
For some more great ideas, check out this article by Bon Appetite.
How long does cured salmon last?
Cured salmon will last about 5 days in the fridge. If you’re making this recipe, I don’t think you need to worry about it – it probably won’t last that long!
Can you freeze cured salmon?
Cut the cured salmon into the sizes that you want to freeze. For best results, use a vacuum sealer. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, wrap the fish in plastic wrap then seal in an airtight container. Can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. Note that the texture will be slightly different than if eaten fresh.
Is cured salmon cooked?
Cured salmon is not cooked. The salt and sugar used preserve the salmon so cooking is not necessary. Cured salmon is typically cut into thin slices and served raw.
Tools used to make this cured salmon recipe
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Did you make this cured salmon gravlax? rate the recipe and leave a comment below to let me know how it turned out!
- 1 1/2 lbs. sashimi grade salmon fillet
- 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 cup raw sugar
- 1 tsp. coarsely crushed peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- Combine all ingredients, except fish, in a bowl and mix. Place a piece of plastic wrap down on a baking sheet and pour half the salt mixture on top.
- Pat the fish dry, remove any bones, and place, skin side down, on the salt mixture. Top the salmon with the remaining salt mixture. Wrap in the plastic wrap. Layer with another piece of plastic wrap and place in a plastic bag (leave the bag open).
- Place the fish on the baking sheet in the fridge and cover with something flat and heavy. Drain and flip the fish every 12 hours for 36-72 hours, depending on desired cure (see notes). Remove from fridge and rise all the salt off. Pat the fish dry and place back in the fridge, uncovered, for 12-24 hours to help the salt distribute.
- It is very important to buy sashimi grade salmon for this since we will not be cooking the fish.
- Check the fish for bones and remove and bones that the market may have missed.
- NEVER use regular table salt for the cure. Always use a coarse sea salt or rock salt. Regular table salt will result in a extra salty piece of fish.
- Make sure to use something heavy enough to place on top of the fish while it cures in the fridge. This helps to press the moisture out.
- It is important to drain and flip your fish every 12 hours. This help it to cure evenly.
- For a medium cure, leave it for 36-48 hours. For a hard cure, leave it for 72 hours. I prefer a hard cure so I let mine cure for 72 hours (3 days).
- Be sure to fully rinse the salt off the fish, otherwise it will become too salty.
- Cured salmon will last about 5 days in the fridge.
- To freeze: Cut the cured salmon into the sizes that you want to freeze. For best results, use a vacuum sealer. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, wrap the fish in plastic wrap then seal in an airtight container. Can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. Note that the texture will be slightly different than if eaten fresh.
Did you make this cured salmon recipe? Follow me on Instagram, post a photo and tag #wenthere8this or @wenthere8this. I love to see what you’re making!