GRAVLAX (salt-cured salmon)

If you want to impress your guest or significant other and make something special and super easy to make this one is for you! There are also so many different ways you can serve it; on rye bread, with boiled skin on potatoes (mmm… my favorite!). Or, with sliced cucumbers and dill sauce like I did here.

So what is this Gravlax anyway?

Gravlax, (by  Wikipedia) which translates into “buried salmon,” is a Scandinavian dish made of raw salmon, cold-cured in salt, sugar, and dill.

During the Middle Ages, gravlax was made by fishermen, who salted the salmon and lightly fermented it by burying it in the sand above the high-tide line.

Today fermentation is no longer used in the production process. Instead, the salmon is "buried" in a dry marinade of salt, sugar, and dill, and cured for a few days. This same method of curing can be used for other fatty fish, but salmon is the most commonly used.

There are many different recipes for gravlax out there. I’ve been using a method from our friend Nina for years, and it works like magic every time!

Please note that I don’t use dill in the cured process.  Proportions are made for approximately 5lb of Salmon fillet. If salmon is smaller than 5 pounds adjust quantities of salt and sugar appropriately. For easier calculation, you’ll have about 1.5 tablespoons of salt per 1 pound of Salmon fillet, and 0.5 teaspoons of sugar per 1 pound of Salmon. Little less or little more will not affect the taste, no worries!  

Make three days ahead


  • 5 pounds Salmon fillet (fresh salmon is must for this dish, no signs of splitting or mushiness please)

  • 8 tablespoons sea salt

  • 2.5 teaspoons white sugar

  • A piece of clean cloth or sturdy paper towel

  • Dip dish, large enough to fit Salmon fillet (I used a glass baking pan)

For marinating:

  • 2 lemons, sliced

  • 1 big onion, sliced

  • Olive oil

  • Glass jar with a lid


Wash salmon fillets under cold water and pat dry. Place the layer of paper towel on the bottom of the dish you are using. Paper towel should be big enough to cover the top of the fish. Mix salt and sugar. Rub both sided equally with salt and sugar mixture. Cover fish with the remaining paper towel. Refrigerate for 48 to 72 hours, with a lightweight on top of the fish.

Take out fish from the refrigerator. Scrape off excess salt and sugar mixture and cut into thin slices on the diagonal.

Serve it right away and store leftovers in the jar (instruction below) for later. This is a great way to save Gravlax and get some new flavors from the marinating process. I usually store it in the jar and eat my way through it.

Directions for layering:

Thin slice an onion and the lemons. Prepare glass jar and have olive oil ready. Start with a layer of onion on the bottom of the jar, followed by lemons and fish, then finish by drizzling a small amount of olive oil. Repeat this process until you have used up all your ingredients. Since I didn’t use dill in this recipe, this would be an excellent opportunity to add fresh dill to your layers if you love dill flavor in your gravlax.

Store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Dill Sauce:

  • ½ cup sour cream (can be substituted with plain yogurt)

  • ½ cup cream cheese

  • Pinch of salt

  • Small bunch of fresh dill chopped

Mix all of the ingredients well with the spoon. Spread on sliced cucumbers or bread, topped with a piece of gravlax.