Homemade Gravlax

I can't believe how hands-off easy gravlax is to make!

Gravlax is expensive to buy but I learned it is very easy to make after reading Stephen's post about it. Check it out here @theobsessivechef. If you love salmon and haven't done this before, you should try it. Gravlax is not to be confused with lox, which is smoked, not just cured.

You only need a very fresh filet of salmon, some salt, a little sugar and dill; weighting it down and refrigerating it for 2-3 days, turning it every 12 hours. However, it takes a whole lot of patience for the time it takes to cure. The salmon turns into a silky smooth delicious delicacy. Since I'm a pepper addict, the only thing different I did to Stephan’s recipe was add a heaping tablespoon of coarse ground black pepper. In regards to weighting it down: my bacon press, which I never use for bacon, was perfect for the job.

After the gravlax is cured in the refrigerator, rinse it well under cold water and it is ready to enjoy after slicing. I found that slicing gravlax can be a challenge. Since Bill is the one who slices the turkey, roasts, etc., I handed over this task to him. It takes a very sharp knife with a long, thin blade and slicing the salmon against the grain, toward you, to achieve paper-thin slices. If some of the slices don't look great, it's OK ~ it's still delicious!

Gravlax is wonderful served as an appetizer on pumpernickel cocktail bread which has been swiped with cream cheese with chives; spicy mustard, dill butter or a little horseradish sauce. It works for breakfast with cream cheese and bagels or serving it with scrambled eggs and creamed potatoes. Maybe even top it with capers or a tomato slice.

By the way, gravlax means “buried salmon” in Swedish. It refers to the medieval custom of the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian fishermen using a special technique to cure their salmon. They salted and fermented it, burying it in the sand or wooden barrels for a few days or many months in the winter as a method of preserving the fish. The burial produced a smooth buttery aromatic delicacy. I like Stephen's way of doing it better. Thanks Stephen for the recipe!

The cure


Ready to slice

Here is Stephen's recipe:

Homemade Gravlax

 1 lb. skin-on salmon filet
2 tbsp kosher salt (or 1 ½ tbsp table salt)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dried dill

Line a glass (or non-reactive) loaf pan with plastic wrap. In a small bowl stir together the salt, sugar and dill.

Cut the salmon into 2 equal-size pieces. Put one piece skin side down in the loaf pan. Scatter half of the curing mix over it. Lay the second piece, skin side up, on piece number one, with the thick side over the thinner side of it. Nestle it together in other words. Sprinkle on the remaining curing mix. Wrap the plastic tightly around the salmon and weight it down with some jars or cans. Refrigerate for 2-3 days. Turn the salmon every 12 hours.
It’s done. Rinse the salmon pieces well under cold water and dry them with paper towels. Wrap in fresh plastic and store in the fridge. It will keep for a number of days, although in our house it don’t last long. To serve, slice against the grain very thinly. Put it on eggs, bruschetta, blanched potato slices, or whatever.

What a great delicious reward for something so effortless!

Check out my friend, Linda’s blog, at My Kind of Cooking for her great recipes and cookbook giveaway!


  1. Oh cool, thanks for the step by step.

  2. I love the variety of dishes on your blog! I follow Stephen's blog too. His blog is so well written, that even beginners can understand the instructions for his recipes, and experienced cooks, will find inspiration in the creative recipes he posts.

  3. Pam, I am thrilled you made gravlax. And I didn't know what the word meant until now. Your bacon press seems perfect. I have to use soup cans or some such thing.

  4. Que interesante receta, esto se ve muy apetitoso.


  5. We make our own also. Usually with fresh dill and either lemon or a bit of vodka.

  6. I always wanted to try making homemade gravlax. Thanks for the inspiration. :)
    Have a great day. Michael

  7. Wow, way to go! It looks delicious and great for snacking.

  8. I've never had gravlax before, but this sure does sound interesting!!

  9. Curing fish at home is quite easy. That gravlax looks great. One of my favorite was to enjoy salmon.

    Now you can go next level and move on to different fish.

  10. I've never heard of this dish before. I love learning something new.

  11. Jennifurla, you're welcome and thanks for the visit!

    Linda, thanks! You said it all! Stephen's blog is definitely filled with good things and twists too. And he always makes things easy by explaining it well.

    StephenC, I just happened to open the cabinet for something to set on the salmon and saw the bacon press. It worked perfectly. Thanks again for the recipe. It was delicious and we really enjoyed it!

    jose manuel, gracias! Es facil y delicioso!

    Pegasuslegend, that's the word for sure! Thanks!

    Susan, I bet yours is delicious also. Interesting with the lemon and vodka. Sounds good!

    Michael Toa, I hope you try it. It is unbelievable how easy it is and good too. You have a great rest of the day!

    Lisa, it is the best snack! We were amazed!

    Deborah, it was really good and hope you try it!

    Lazaro Cooks! I was really surprised with how easy this is, unlike smoking and trying to determine the best rub, etc. I wonder how cat fish would be with this method; if it would work. Thanks so much!

    M @ Betty Crapper, I do too. This was a great find on Stephen's blog!

  12. Oh really have to try this - I love Gravlax!

  13. Pam this sounds amazing. I am going shopping tomorrow for salmon filet :-) Diane

  14. hi pam...looks wonderful..would be really nice to have for the holidays...i have it on my list...

    always enjoy my visit here...


  15. I've not tried gravlax too. Sound good, will try that one day :D

  16. Oh sweet mother of pearl! That looks wonderful! I once tried to make Gravlax, a long, long time ago and something went wrong, so I've been a little scared to try it again. You've given me the courage and motivation to try it again -- this time I'll use your recipe! Thank you!

  17. I've seen it made on cooking shows and it always interested me, but never made it! How cool you did, and it looks delicious! I saved the recipe, maybe one of these days!

  18. this is cool bet it tastes lovely nice to learn how to make it

  19. Thanks for all this very helpful information. I love the result and I am sure it rewarded you for the effort you placed.

  20. Brownieville Girl, it's the best and a great recipe for it!

    Food, Fun and Life in the Charente, wonderful! Enjoy!

    My Farmhouse Kitchen, yes. It will be great for the holidays!

    Zoe, give it a try! Yum!

    Jenn Erickson, sweet mother of pearl--it is good! I hope you try this as it is so easy and good!

    Dishesdone, it's definitely worth trying. Have a good day!

    Chow and Chatter, thank you! It's a great recipe!

    Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover), you're welcome! Thanks for the visit!

    Katerina, it took little effort and it tasted wonderfully!

  21. I saw this on his site..and of course he tells me how simple it is and that it's a MUST try :) Good to see it got an awesome review by you too!

  22. Jenn, it is a must try! I was amazed with how easy and good it is! Stephen has some great recipes!

  23. There is nothing better than homemade gravlax! :)

  24. I had no idea gravlax was so simple! This is a keeper, for sure. Great for appetizers for entertaining!

  25. I have never heard of gravlax before, but as a salmon lover, I was thrilled to see this step-by-step tutorial. This would be great alongside eggs for a Sunday brunch. Thank you so much for sharing!

  26. Great idea for a cold meal too.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  27. Pam I am so thrilled you left me a message on my site yesterday so I could get to your site. I had save your site on my desktop but every time it opened it was to the one post about fish and it would not let me go to any other pages. So now I save your profile page and I can open it up from there.
    Long story but I have been wanting to stop by here and see what your doing and just could not get in. hahaha
    Now it is fish again now how funny is that.
    I have to catch up while I am here

  28. I have never made this before, but have always been so curious. I am not a fan of smoked salmon, but I like gravlax so maybe one of these days I'll make my own-thanks!

  29. Hee hee, so if i make this i will be the only one eating it... hubby hates salmon ;)

  30. You made Gravlax? We love that stuff, but can't buy it anywhere. Thanks for sharing this recipe that I will keep and try.


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Having passed the grain stalls they came to the fritanguerías – the fried stalls – where sweaty, plump women dropped thick pieces of fish into enormous frying pans. Laid out on the wooden trays that served as counters, the fillets of fried fish immediately cooled to take on an almost mineral appearance while thick slices of fried plantain – patacones – were heaped around them.

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