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Easy Gravlax: Only 5 Ingredients

Gravlax is easily one of my favourite ways to enjoy salmon and brings back many happy childhood memories. While it is expensive to purchase, it is incredibly easy to make and if you have 2 days to allow it to cure, making this yourself will save you quite a bit of money.

Half of my family is Jewish and, at least for us, smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese have often been a go-to menu option for large get-togethers (both my brain and stomach feel very comfortable with this stereotype).

I didn’t grow up in a religious household - the dichotomy between Polish-Catholic and Russian-Jewish is a bit vast, to say the least - but I have embraced my cultural roots on both sides through food and learning to make gravlax has made me feel a bit closer to my Jewish side. I don’t have a smoker (yet), which is why I went for gravlax over smoked salmon - it's cured instead.

This recipe requires 15 minutes of prep and 48 hours of curing time in the fridge. This is the cheapest version of the recipe that I have tried since it does not require alcohol - I use limes instead.

Gravlax Recipe

Preparation: 15 Minutes Curing Time: 48 Hours


1.5 Pounds of fresh salmon, cut symmetrically into 2 pieces

1 Lime, 3 thin slices from the middle

1 Bunch of fresh dill

1 Tbsp. Sea Salt, finely ground

3 Tbsp. Sugar


Step 1: In a small bowl, mix salt and sugar together and set aside.

Step 2: Wash fresh dill and pat dry with a paper towel. Roughly chop away the largest stems and set aside.

Step 3: Cut 3 thin slices of lime (from the center, so that the slices will be the widest that they can be) and set aside.

Step 4: Rinse salmon in cold water, pat dry with a paper towel and cut your salmon into 2 symmetrical pieces (or ask the fishmonger to do it for you - if you let them know that you are making gravlax, they will cut it for you) - make sure that all bones have been removed. To check, gently run your hands (clean hands please) over the top of the flesh and feel for hard bits. If you come across any, gently remove with some tweezers (if you eat a lot of fish, a pair of designated kitchen tweezers may be a good idea) and set aside.


Step 1: On top of a cutting board, lay 2 pieces of saran wrap over top one another and lay your salmon, face up (skin side on cutting board). You are going to be tightly wrapping your salmon at the end so make sure that one side is near the top centre.

Step 2: Spread out all of your salt/sugar mixture evenly between both pieces of salmon. You do not need to go all of the way to the edge- over the next 2 days it will all absorb as it cures.

Step 3: Cover both pieces of salmon with a thick layer of dill. The dill will act as a protective layer from the lime - which is so acidic that it will discolour the salmon if it is physically touching it.

Step 4: Place lime slices evenly on one piece of fish (ideally the one that you are not flipping on top of the other). Make sure that the lime is only touching the dill, and not the fish directly.

Step 5: The hardest part - flip one piece of salmon on top of the other to make a ‘sandwich’. Try to do this quickly and keep the dill in place as best as you can. Once flipped, adjust the stuffing that may have fallen out of place and again, make sure that the lime is not directly touching the fish.

Step 6: Tightly wrap your salmon with the saran wrap that it is laying on. The tighter that you wrap it, the better and more evenly it will cure. As it cures, it will seep some liquid (very normal and you do want this), and keeping it tight will keep more of this curing liquid with the salmon. I like to double wrap mine (second time in a different direction).

Curing Process

Step 1: Place your saran wrapped salmon bundle on a plate and put it in the fridge (take note of the time - you want to remove it exactly 48 hours later). The plate is important as the curing liquid will leak out a bit and make a mess (it’ll be a bit sticky from the sugar).

Step 2: Flip salmon on plate every 12 hours to encourage even curing.

Step 3: After 48 hours (do not take out any earlier than 47 hours - it won’t be finished, or later than 49 hours - it will continue to cure and texture will be a little tough), remove from the fridge and unwrap on a cutting board. Remove dill and lime slices and throw away. Rinse gravlax quickly under cold water and pat dry.

Step 4: Gravlax is ready for slicing - it is up to you how thin or thick you would like to make it. Store in the fridge.


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