gravlax salmon recipe

The Best Gravlax Recipe

24 hrs 5 mins
Vadim Rachok
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Gravlax Salmon is a delicious fish cured with salt and sugar. This simple combination gives you luxurious food that is a showstopper for a fancy brunch or dinner party. All you need to make Gravlax is 5 minutes and 7 simple ingredients. Then, all you have to do is wait a day to have this flavorful dish ready for the brunch table. There is nothing better than a bagel sandwich with homemade Gravlax salmon. It is perfect for breakfast or lunch. This easy gravlax salmon recipe will allow you to make a cured fish stake with just a few simple steps.

What is a Gravlax?

Gravlax salmon is a Nordic delicacy consisting of thinly cut raw salmon salted with a mixture of salt, sugar, and dill. The name “gravlax” means “buried salmon” in Swedish. It refers to the traditional method of curing salmon by burying it in a mixture of salt and sugar. Gravlax has a delicate, buttery texture. It has a subtly sweet and salty flavor profile. The curing process not only enhances the salmon’s flavor but also helps preserve it.

Gravlax originated in Scandinavia, particularly in Sweden. It has been enjoyed for centuries as a traditional dish served at festive occasions and celebrations. Historically, it was prepared by fishermen who would cure the salmon with salt and dill in order to preserve it for a longer period of time.

You can control the quality of the ingredients and customize the flavor to your liking by making gravlax at home. By curing the salmon yourself, you can experiment with different seasonings and spices. This allows you to create your own version of this classic dish. In addition, homemade gravlax is often fresher and more flavorful than store-bought varieties. This makes it a popular choice for special occasions and gatherings.

Gravlax Salmon Ingredients

recipe gravlax salmon

  • Fresh salmon: Fresh salmon is the main ingredient. It is the base for gravlax. It should be of high quality.
  • Sea Salt: For curing salmon, sea salt is essential. It preserves the fish and enhances its flavor by drawing moisture from the fish. In addition, salt inhibits bacterial growth during the curing process.
  • Sugar: Sugar balances the saltiness of the curing process. It adds a subtle sweetness to the gravlax. It also tenderizes the fish and contributes to the overall flavor.
  • Orange and Lemon Zest: Citrus zest adds bright, citrusy notes to the gravlax. It enhances the flavor and provides a refreshing contrast to the richness of the salmon.
  • Fresh Beetroot: Beetroot is often used in gravlax recipes because of its natural sweetness and vibrant color. It adds a unique earthy flavor. It also helps give the salmon a beautiful pink hue during the curing process.
  • Thyme: Fresh thyme leaves add an aromatic, herbal note to the gravlax that enhances the flavor profile of the dish and adds complexity to the dish.

How to Make Gravlax Salmon?

  1. First, peel the salmon and remove the skin, the excess fat, and the bones, if necessary.
  2. Then, mix the salt with the sugar, zest, and thyme.
  3. Place half of the sugar and salt mix in a bowl or box.
  4. Next, place the salmon on top and fill in the rest of the mix.
  5. Pour the beetroot juice on top. 
  6. Then, cover the salmon with foil and refrigerate for 24 hours. 
  7. After that, rinse the salmon in cold water and dry it with napkins.
  8. Serve with white bread croutons and green butter. 

Chef Recipe Tips:

  • After the salmon has been brined for 24 hours, it can be brushed with alcohol for additional disinfection and flavor.
  • You can also add fresh dill to the salt mixture. Another method: you can add pepper, cardamom, lemongrass, lime leaves, and ginger.

What Does Gravlax Taste Like?

how to make gravlax salmon

Gravlax tastes like a combination of salmon sashimi (imagine it seasoned with salt and flavored with fresh herbs) and the smoked salmon slices you buy in the store – but without the smoky flavor (because smoked salmon is made by smoking it).

This recipe for smoked salmon gravlax is perfect. It’s not too salty, and the meat is not overly cured, so it’s still nice and moist. But it’s cured enough that it’s easy to slice into thin pieces. (Which is practically impossible with raw fish.) It’s salty enough that you want to eat the slices on their own, but not so salty that you need to gulp down a glass of water with every bite.

What Makes Gravlax Different from Smoked Salmon?

homemade gravlax salmon recipe

Smoked salmon and gravlax are actually quite similar in flavor and texture. Both have a moist, silky texture that is “raw-like” rather than hard like jerky or cooked salmon. But the big difference is that smoked salmon is made by smoking raw salmon at low temperatures, giving it a smoky flavor that gravlax lacks.

Other than the smoky flavor, they are actually quite similar! In fact, you can use this homemade gravlax instead of smoked salmon.

What to Serve with Gravlaz Salmon?

  • Sliced bread or toast: Serve as an open-faced sandwich or enjoy the gravlax on its own with slices of crusty, rye, or toasted bread.
  • Dill Mustard Sauce: Mustard, sugar, vinegar, and fresh dill make this classic Scandinavian condiment. Complements the richness of the gravlax with its tangy, herbaceous flavor.
  • Lemon Wedges: Fresh lemon wedges provide a bright acidity that balances the salmon’s richness and enhances flavor.
  • Capers: Add a burst of flavor and texture to every bite of gravlax with these salty, tangy berries.
  • Red Onion: Thin slices of red onion add a sharp, slightly sweet contrast and crunch to the salmon.
  • Horseradish Cream: Creamy horseradish sauce adds tang and creamy texture to gravlax.
  • Boiled Potatoes: For a hearty accompaniment that complements salmon, serve boiled or steamed new potatoes on the side.
  • Pickled Cucumbers: Add a refreshing crunch and a hint of acidity to thinly sliced pickled cucumbers or cucumber salad.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Sliced hard-boiled eggs can be served with gravlax for a protein-rich meal.

The Best Gravlax Recipe
Author:Vadim Rachok
Gravlox is a popular item in Scandinavian Cuisine. Some, like this one, are made with vodka.
gravlax salmon recipe
Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
24 hrs
Total Time:
24 hrs 5 mins
The ingredients you need:
10,6 ounces (300 g) fresh salmon
6 ounces (160 g) sea salt
3 ounces (80 g) sugar
1 pc orange (zest)
1 pc lemon (zest)
2,5 ounces (70 g) fresh beetroot
2-3 branches thyme
Let’s start !

Peel the salmon and remove the skin, the excess fat, and the bones, if necessary.


Mix the salt with the sugar, zest, and thyme.


Place half of the sugar and salt mix in a bowl or box.


Place the salmon on top. Then, fill in the rest of the mix.


Pour the beetroot juice on top.


Cover with foil and refrigerate for 24 hours. 


After that, rinse the salmon in cold water and dry it with napkins.


Serve with white bread croutons and green butter.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 3 Calories: 890
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 34mg11%
Sodium 1356mg59%
Total Carbohydrate 3g1%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Total Sugars 3g 
Protein 11g23%
Vitamin C 4mg4%
Calcium 15mg1%
Iron 16mg89%
Potassium 238mg5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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