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How To Make Cured Cold Smoked Salmon

You can easily make your own cured cold smoked salmon and save a lot of money. We have been making this simple cured cold smoked salmon recipe for years and all you need are a few ingredients and a few days.

We like to make it ahead of time prior to holiday events. It’s great because you can freeze and have on hand for all your parties or unexpected guests. This recipe also keeps well in the freezer for up to a year.

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What is Cured Salmon?

Cured Salmon or Gravlax is a method of preserving salmon by using sugar and salt. Just wrap up the ingredients for about 3-4 days and it’s cured. The texture and appearance is similar to slow smoked salmon without the smokey taste.

Why Should You Make Your Own Smoked Salmon?

Have you purchased large quantities of smoked salmon for parties? This 1.5 lbs. on Amazon is $105.00. The cost is prohibitive and we previously only served it on special occasions.

However, the cost to make a 1.5 lb. homemade cured smoked salmon in our market is approx. $14.00.

The only negative is the time it takes to cure and smoke the salmon. However, you can make ahead and freeze for those special occasions.

What is Cold Smoke?

Have you heard of cold smoke? It’s a method of smoking meats, fish, cheeses, etc. without any heat.

The food is placed in a confined area such as a grill with a cold smoke tube.

The tube is filled with wood smoker pellets which are lit with a lighter or match. They will initially catch on fire but quickly extinguish and just produce smoke. Close the grill lid and allow the smoke to do its job.

What is Cured Cold Smoked Salmon?

To make this cured smoked salmon recipe, you begin by curing the fish for approx. 3 days and then you cold smoke the cured salmon for an additional 3 hours.

Now you have cured salmon with that great smokey flavor.

Cured Cold Smoked Salmon Recipe

First, let’s cure the fresh salmon.

Begin by placing plastic wrap inside a rectangle shaped pan or baking dish and then place the salmon filet on top of the plastic. Cover the top with a generous amount of salt.

Add salt to salmon for cured smoked salmon recipe

Next, top the salt with an equal amount of sugar. Mix and press the sugar and salt into the fish.

The top of the salmon should now be completely white.

Add sugar to salmon on curing.

Then add a generous amount of fresh dill on top of the sugar and salt. You can used dried dill as well.

Add dill to top of salmon for cured smoked salmon recipe.

Wrap the plastic wrap firmly around the entire piece locking in the salt, sugar and dill.

Be sure to leave wrapped salmon in a pan because moisture will leak as it cures.

wrap salmon in plastic for making cured smoked salmon.

Add weight with water bottles or vintage flat irons to keep it pressed in the pan.

I can’t resist using my thrift store finds in every post. LOL

Press salmon with heavy object while curing before making smoked salmon recipe

Finally, place the weighted salmon in the refrigerator for 48 – 72 hours. We usually leave a minimum of 48 house in our outdoor kitchen refrigerator.

Press salmon with heavy object while curing before making smoked salmon recipe and keep in refrigerator

Cured Salmon

Once it is cured, remove from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap.

Rinse throughly from running water being sure to remove all dill and salt.

Rinse cured salmon with cold water

Now, pat it dry with paper towels and be sure all moisture is removed.

Your cured salmon is now edible at this point, however if you love a smoky flavor like we do, you’ll want to continue with the recipe.

Preparing Salmon for Cold Smoking

To prepare for smoking, wrap the cured salmon once again in plastic wrap and return to refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight.

This allows the outside of the salmon to become tacky so the smoke will absorb better.

Dry Salmon after rinsing

Finally place the cured salmon inside a grill with a cold smoke tube.

Fill the cold smoke tube approx. 1/2 full with smoker wood pellets and light.

Close the grill and smoke for approximately 3 hours.

Note: Brad uses the cold smoker tubes for smoking cheese and other meats as well.

Cured Salmon in Grill for Cold Smoking.  Cold Smoke Salmon with cold smoke Tube

Remove and refrigerate for as long as a week. You can also freeze for up to one year.

This cured smoked salmon recipe is easy and delicious. It’s always a huge success at our annual Christmas Party. Another great make ahead appetizer recipe is Artichoke & Sun Dried Tomato Bites.

Finally to serve, slice into thin strips with a sharp knife.

Thin Slice Cured Smoked Salmon is great for appetizer. Cold Smoke

Place on a cracker with cream cheese, capers and onion (optional).


Yield: 8 - 12

Cured Smoked Salmon Recipe

Cured Smoked Salmon Recipe

Money Saving Delicious Cured Smoke Salmon Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 days
Additional Time 10 hours
Total Time 2 days 10 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 lb. fresh salmon filet
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Fresh Dill


  1. Place Plastic Wrap Inside Baking Dish
  2. Place Salmon Filet with skin side down on plastic wrap
  3. Sprinkle Salt and Sugar over the salmon
  4. Mix and press into the filet
  5. Place Dill on top
  6. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap
  7. Leave wrapped salmon in pan and add weight on top. Use water bottles or anything to keep the salmon pressed down.
  8. Place in weighted salmon in refrigerator for 48-72 hours
  9. Remove and rinse throughly
  10. Pat Dry
  11. Cured Salmon is edible at this point however if you like a smoky flavor continue.
  12. Wrap the dry salmon in plastic wrap again and return to refrigerator for another 6-8 hours or overnight. This will allow the salmon to become tacky and allow the smoke to absorb better.
  13. Place in a cold grill with a cold smoke tube. Fill tube approx. 1/2 full of smoke pellets and light.
  14. Smoke for approx. 3 hours.
  15. Store in refrigerator for up to one week.
  16. Freezes well for up to one year.
  17. Slice thinly with a very sharp knife.
  18. Serve with crackers, cream cheese, capers and onion (optional)


Serving Size is based on 4 Crackers filled with salmon per person. If you are serving several appetizers in addition to the salmon, you may need less. 1 lb. will make approx. 32 crackers.

Cook time may vary depending on the thickness of the salmon filet.

Leave skin attached to salmon because it helps to slice into small pieces.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

4 crackers

Amount Per Serving Calories 141Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 36mgSodium 3571mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 0gSugar 6gProtein 13g

Please note that I am not a medical or nutritional professional. I include basic calorie and nutrition information for recipes as a courtesy. However, due to wide variations in brands, nutrition data is subject to change for every user. Nutrition data is calculated using Calorie Counter App and information is entered as accurately as possible. We subtract all sugar alcohols from erythritol and xylitol from the final carb count because that is how THM calculates carbs.

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Thanks so much for stopping by. I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you.

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