Homemade Cured Salmon Recipe

Want to enjoy restaurant-quality smoked salmon in the comfort of your own home? Please, look no further than Christina Musgrave's recipe for homemade cured salmon with a little bit of lemon that is oh so healthy and oh so delicious! The possibilities to serve this dish are endless. Musgrave, recipe developer at Tasting with Tina, says that the salmon is "more like smoked salmon than sashimi," and "it's essentially smoked salmon without the smoke!"  Is your mouth watering yet? 

The other major positive about this entrée (or appetizer) is that it involves little prep, and if you serve it for guests, they'll be impressed with your culinary skills. It's perfect for any season or occasion, but something about it just screams sweet summertime. Keep scrolling to find out how to make homemade cured salmon with lemon. Trust us — you're going to want to bookmark this recipe! 

Gather the ingredients for your homemade cured salmon

This is one of those wonderful recipes that only calls for a handful of ingredients, but it's still full of incredible flavors. You'll need sashimi-grade salmon fillets and white or brown sugar. Take a trip to your spice cabinet and grab the cracked black pepper and sea salt — heads up, you're going to need about a cup of it. To round off the ingredients, you'll need a few lemon wedges and freshly chopped dill for serving. Now, let's get down to business!

Dry the salmon and combine the seasoning

For the first step, you'll want to pat your salmon fillets dry to remove any moisture. Next, remove any bones from the fish. "I feel around the salmon for bones," Musgrave says. "Usually if you get sashimi-grade salmon, they have checked for bones at the fish market, but it's good to still check."

Then, get out a small bowl and combine the black pepper, sea salt, and sugar. Give them a good mix, so everything blends well. Set aside and move to the next step.

Wrap and season the homemade cured salmon

Take out a large piece of plastic wrap, and place it on the counter in front of you. Once it's smooth and all the wrinkles are out, spread half of the salt mixture on top of the wrap. Set aside the remainder to use in just a minute.

Take the salmon and place it skin-side down on the plastic wrap. Now grab your salt mixture, and sprinkle the rest over the top of the fish. Wrap it up and move on to the next task.

Refrigerate the wrapped salmon

Put the wrapped piece of fish in a large, shallow dish of your choice. Next, get out a flat cutting board and place it on top of the salmon. Now, you'll want to put a heavy object, such as a cast-iron skillet, on top of the cutting board. Don't worry, there's a method to this madness. "The heavy object thins out the salmon, giving it the right texture for serving," Musgrave shares. Stick the stacked items in the fridge for 12 hours to really let the salt mixture soak in.

Remove the cured salmon from fridge and repeat

There's no doubt that the waiting is one of the longest parts of the prep process, but it will be well worth your time. Remove the salmon from the fridge and take off the heavy object. Next, keep the salmon wrapped, but drain the liquid from the dish. Place back in the fridge for 12 more hours. The result is a medium cured salmon. If you prefer a harder cure, repeat the steps one more time.

The last step!

After 24 hours in the fridge, your salmon should be cured. Unwrap it, and wipe it with a wet paper towel to get any excess salt mixture off, and then pat it dry. Now is the fun part! Slice the salmon thinly against the grain with a sharp knife. Plate the salmon however you choose, and serve it with dill and lemon wedges. Musgrave says enjoying this salmon "on a bagel with cream cheese is the most popular option, but you could also serve as an appetizer on a crostini with vegetables or on toast." Yum!

Homemade Cured Salmon Recipe
5 from 43 ratings
Want to enjoy restaurant-quality smoked salmon in the comfort of your own home? Look no further than Christina Musgrave's recipe for homemade cured salmon.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Homemade Cured Salmon slices on bagel
Total time: 10 minutes
  • 2 pounds sashimi-grade salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) white or brown sugar
Optional Ingredients
  • Freshly chopped dill
  • Lemon wedges, to serve
  1. Pat salmon fillets dry and remove any bones.
  2. In a bowl, combine the black pepper, salt, and sugar.
  3. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Spread half of the salt mixture on the plastic wrap.
  4. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the plastic wrap. Top with remaining salt, and wrap with plastic wrap.
  5. Place the salmon in a large, shallow dish. Top with a flat cutting board, then top with a heavy object, like a cast iron skillet. Refrigerate for 12 hours.
  6. After 12 hours, remove from the fridge and discard the liquid in the dish. Flip the wrapped salmon, top with the flat cutting board, then top with the heavy object, and refrigerate for 12 more hours. This yields a medium cured salmon. For a harder cure, repeat steps 5 and 6.
  7. After salmon is cured, unwrap it and wipe it with a wet paper towel and then pat dry.
  8. Slice the salmon thinly against the grain with a sharp knife.
  9. Serve with dill and lemon wedges, either on a bagel with cream cheese, on a crostini, or on toast -- however you'd like!
Calories per Serving 276
Total Fat 12.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 49.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Total Sugars 22.0 g
Sodium 264.4 mg
Protein 18.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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