How to Make Gravlax (Cured Salmon)

Ever since spending a summer in Alaska, I have developed a love for just about any preparation of wild salmon. This keystone species has been and still plays a crucial role in the life of many mammals and indigenous people in select parts of the world. Although the numbers are not what they use to, I am grateful to have access to fresh wild varieties of salmon for a few weeks each summer.

Cured salmon is a great way to preserve a bounty of salmon. Although slightly salty, it pairs great with a touch of creaminess, wether that be seasoned yogurt, sour cream, or fermented cashew cream. It is also a simple recipe and cuts a tremendous amount of costs by making it yourself. Most commercial varieties contain excess sugar, poor quality salt, and sometimes processed seasonings like MSG. So like with many recipes, it's always good to make your own!

Have you ever made cured salmon?



  • 1 side of wild caught salmon, skin on (roughly 1.5-2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon roughly ground black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup organic vodka

Equipment Needed:

  • a foot of cheesecloth
  • baking dish or Pyrex container



  1. If present, remove the pin bones with a tweezer.
  2. Cut the salmon into thirds, setting aside the tail section. 
  3. Mix the salt, vodka, dill, and pepper until combined well. Lay out some cheese cloth, then lay the salmon skin side down.
  4. Spread the salt mixture over the flesh coating as much as possible. 
  5. Place one salt covered filler over the other, so that the flesh sides are facing each other. Wrap that up in cheese cloth, basically forming a package. Wrap the small tail section alone in cheese cloth. 
  6. Place the two packages into a Pyrex then top with a plate or small tray topped with some sort of weight. I use a solid and perforated hotel pan for consistency and ease of use. 
  7. Place the pan into the fridge and let side for 3-4 days, remembering to flip the package daily and to drain out any liquid that collects in the pan. 
  8. Once the fillets are slightly firm to the touch, you are ready to eat. 
  9. Before slicing wash the fillets well in cold water to remove the excess salt. Pat dry then slice thinly on a angle. Store in an airtight container and consume within a week or freeze for future use.