Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How to Cure Salmon in One Savory Recipe

Cured salmon is a staple in many Northern-leaning cuisines around the world. Whether it is brined, such as with lox, or cured with salt and spices as the Scottish and others do, one thing can be agreed upon – it is delicious.

Whether it’s topping a fresh bagel or rolled with a caper and simply popped in your mouth, you really can’t go wrong with cured salmon. With that in mind, we wanted to know just how hard it was to cure our own salmon. Luckily, a new book was right there for us.

Related Videos

This recipe comes to us from Jon Wipfli in his new book Fish: Recipes and Techniques for Freshwater Fish (Harvard Common Press 2019). In the book, Wipfli not only covers recipes for the most-often-consumed freshwater fish, but techniques for how to prepare them, such as the curing below or an even more necessary act, scaling a fish.

After you learn to cure the salmon, we recommend plating it using the crème fraîche, lemon, and dill-on-toast recipe below.

How to Cure Salmon

Salt, Sugar, and Dill-Cured Salmon Recipe

Colleen Eversman

“Curing with salt, sugar, and dill is one of the most traditional methods for making cured salmon. It’s a tried-and-true technique you can’t go wrong with as long as you use fresh salmon. In the following recipe, I pair this salmon with crème fraîche and some traditional accents on toast — but I encourage you to use your imagination. It can make its way into omelets, top bagels or eggs Benedict, or be plainly sliced onto a charcuterie platter. It’s an extremely versatile ingredient. You can also use this same process with other fish, such as trout or bass.”

(Serves 10 to 12 when used as part of other recipes)


  • 1 c (300 g) kosher salt
  • 1 c (200 g) sugar
  • Two 24-oz (680 g) salmon fillets, bones removed as needed
  • 2 bunches fresh dill, roughly chopped


  1. In a small bowl, stir together the salt and sugar until blended.
  2. Sprinkle the bottom of an 8 x 12-inch (20 x 30-cm) glass baking dish with a layer of the salt and sugar mixture and a layer of dill. Lightly season the skin side of one salmon fillet with the salt and sugar mixture and place it, skin side down, in the baking dish.
  3. Aggressively season the flesh side of that fillet with the salt and sugar mixture and spread a handful of dill over the fish. Aggressively season the flesh side of the second fillet and place it on top of the fillet in the dish so that flesh is resting on flesh. Aggressively season the skin side of the exposed salmon and spread the remaining dill over the top.
  4. Cover the salmon with plastic wrap and place some weights, such as bricks or a couple of large tomato cans resting on a sheet of parchment, on it, pressing the salmon down evenly. Refrigerate.
  5. Flip the fish every 12 hours and drain the juices collected each time it’s flipped. Do this four times over a curing period of 48 hours.
  6. After 48 hours, wipe away any excess salt with a damp cloth and the salmon is ready to eat. When you’re ready to serve it, remove the skin.

Cured Salmon with Crème Fraîche, Lemon, and Dill on Toast Recipe

Colleen Eversman

This is a straightforward dish that seems to please everyone. The star is diced cured salmon with some added fat in the form of crème fraîche, fresh lemon for acidity, and dill for a pop of freshness. Shallots and capers add to the depth of flavor, but aren’t necessary for a great-tasting end result. If you don’t have time to cure the salmon yourself, buy cured salmon for this recipe.”

(Serves 4 to 6 as a snack)


  • .5 cup (112 g) crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon (9 g) capers, rinsed and chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 to 6 slices hearty bread, such as rye, toasted
  • 1 lb (454 g) cured salmon, thinly sliced (recipe above)
  • .5 cup (70 g) quick cucumber pickles (recipe below*)
  • .5 cup (80 g) pickled red onion, drained of liquid (recipe below**)
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp (4 g) fresh dill


  1. In a small bowl, stir together the crème fraîche and capers.
  2. Season the mixture with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Lightly spread the toast with the crème fraîche.
  4. Fold slices of salmon onto the coated bread.
  5. Top with quick pickles and red onion.
  6. Sprinkle a bit of fresh lemon juice over the fish and garnish with dill.

*Quick Cucumber Pickles Recipe


  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • .5 cup (120 ml) rice vinegar
  • .5 cup (120 ml) water


  1. Place the cucumber slices in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Squeeze the cucumbers to get rid of their water and return them to the bowl. Add the vinegar and water. Let sit at room temperature until needed.

**Pickled Red Onion Recipe


  • 1 qt (960 ml) distilled white vinegar
  • 1 qt (960 ml) water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp (9 g) peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp (5 g) coriander seeds
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, halved lengthwise
  • 1 sprig marjoram
  • Big pinch sea salt
  • Big pinch sugar
  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced


  1. In a 6-quart (5.8 L) saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, water, lime juice, peppercorns, coriander seeds, jalapeño, marjoram, salt, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, and up to 5 days. Drain the onions from the liquid before using.

Pick up your copy of Fish here .

Recipe and images courtesy of Fish: Recipes and Techniques for Freshwater Fish by Jon Wipfli, Harvard Common Press 2019. Photography by Colleen Eversman.

Editors' Recommendations

This is how a hot dog is made (and yes, it’s as gross as you think)
How are hot dogs made (You know you're curious)
Hot dogs.

When it comes to hot dogs, most of us live in a pleasant bubble of deniability. This phallic little meat medley has had people looking the other way for over a century. Thanks to the high school trauma we all undoubtedly suffered after reading The Jungle, it's a wonder we aren't all vegetarians. There's a reason we don't want to know how hot dogs are made, or what hot dogs are made of. The truth is, though, hot dogs are delicious. And if we shove our fingers in our ears far enough when people start cracking mystery meat jokes, we don't have to really think about "how the sausage gets made." And then a video like this comes along.
Some people aren't affected by the less-than-glamorous truth behind certain foods. Of these people, I am jealous. My brother, for example, once paused Super Size Me to leave his house and drive through McDonald's. He returned home, unpaused the film, and enjoyed watching the rest of it while dipping his nuggets in sweet and sour. I applaud him, and the others who fall into this rather tenacious camp. But as for the rest of us, this video may be a little hard to stomach.
How It's Made: Hot Dogs
We will say that the hot dog making process does get high marks for sustainability, using parts of the (many) animals that would otherwise go to waste. Scraps and trimmings from beef, pork, and chicken are ground and combined to create a mostly waste-free food. That's a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, the beauty stops there.
Once the ground meat is combined, "processed chicken trimmings" (we dare not ask) are added along with starches and seasonings. Give the mix a gargantuan churning with industrial-sized wheels, slosh in some water, and a shocking amount of corn syrup, and you get what the video actually calls...meat batter. The use of this word combined with the visuals shown at the moment it's used is something that will undoubtedly haunt your nightmares in the years to come. Don't say we didn't warn you.
From here, the horror eases a bit. The...meat cased in cellulose, linked, baked, removed from the casing, inspected, and packaged. And that's how hot dogs are made.
Now that your morbid curiosity has been satisfied, go grab yourself a drink. We sure did.

Read more
Nam prik, the fiery Thai chili dip you should be adding to everything
Chiang Mai native Chef Setalat Prasert of Spicy Shallot breaks down this amazing Thai favorite
Spicy Shallot Nam Prik in a basket.

Fiery, herbaceous, tart, and savory, nam prik is a chili sauce that's absolutely beloved throughout Thailand. With more than a dozen varieties, this hot sauce and dip is enjoyed with everything from raw and steamed vegetables to grilled meats or fish. While the dip is traditionally prepared in a mortar and pestle (or a Thai krok), modern cooks often use a blender or food processor to make this vibrant chili dip. 

To guide us through this Thai delicacy is Chiang Mai native Chef Setalat "George" Prasert of Spicy Shallot. Spicy Shallot, located in Elmhurst, Queens, on a three-block stretch of Woodside Avenue named Little Thailand Way, serves a unique blend of Thai cuisine and Japanese sushi. The restaurant is also a showcase of Prasert's favorite — nam prik kha.

Read more
Why you should sous vide your baby back ribs this summer
Once you make your baby back ribs this way, you'll never go back
why you should sous vide baby back ribs

Summertime is coming, and that means ribs. Sweet and spicy, fall-off-the-bone, savory, meaty, delicious ribs. And while you may already have your grilled or baked ribs mastered, we bet you haven't yet tried sous vide ribs.
Before you roll your eyes at the idea of something as primitive and macho as ribs being prepared in something as modern and geeky as a sous vide machine (how dare you), hear us out. You're going to want to try this the next time you get that delivery from .

Sous vide ribs are more tender (and customizable)
We're sure your grilled or baked ribs are tender. But not like this. Really.

Read more