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Photo of Gravlax

The last time my parents visited, my Mom showed me how to prepare Gravlax (Swedish: "gravad laks", German: "Gravad Lachs"): Salmon cured with sugar, salt and dill.

The recipe is remarkably simple, and since then, I have made this dish many times. You just need a nice raw skin-on salmon fillet and a plastic container, ideally with a lock-on lid. After curing for a few days, it is best served with a special "mustard-dill sauce for gravlax" and bread. Gravlax makes a wonderful starter but (with enough bread) it can also provide a full meal.


  • 2 lb / 1kg raw salmon fillet (skin-on, scaled). After trying various varieties of salmon, I've settled on steelhead.
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch of dill, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried dill
  • 3 tbsp cognac


  1. Mix salt, sugar and freshly ground pepper
  2. Cut the fillet in half.

    Photo of Gravlax Cut in Half

  3. Place one half-fillet skin-down in a plastic container.
  4. Cover with the salt-pepper-and-sugar mixture.
  5. Distribute the chopped dill and the dried dill over the fillet.
  6. Place the second half of the fillet on top, this time skin-up.
  7. Pour cognac over the fillets.
  8. Weigh down the fillets. I found it is best to use a plastic container with a lock-on lid and place a smaller container upside down on top of the fish before putting on the lid. See pictures below.

    Photo of Gravlax in Open Container  Photo of Preparing Gravlax

  9. Cure in the refrigerator for a few days. Turn fillets about once a day.
  10. When finished curing, prepare the mustard-dill sauce for gravlax.
  11. Cut the fish into thin slices. Serve with the sauce


  • After curing and slicing, gravlax freezes very well. Just make sure to thaw carefully and slowly (in the refrigerator).

Preparation time: ca. 30 minutes plus 2-3 days of curing time