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Homemade lox on a bagel with red onion and dill.

How to Make Lox (cured salmon)

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  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Refrigeration Time: 36 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 36 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Fish
  • Method: Refrigerator
  • Cuisine: American


How to Make Lox – a simple, easy tutorial that teaches you how to make homemade lox! Simple ingredients and sugar-free!


  • 2lb sushi-grade salmon fillet
  • 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt (more if needed)
  • (optional) 1/4 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • (optional) 2 tablespoons white pepper


  1. Find a shallow baking dish and lay plastic wrap across – enough to cover your piece of salmon.
  2. Sprinkle HALF of the salt inside the pan and on top of the plastic wrap in the shape of the salmon fillet.  Sprinkle HALF the pepper and HALF the dill on top of the salt, if using.
  3. Place the salmon on top of the salt mixture (skin-side down). 
  4. Pour the rest of the salt on top of the salmon (as well as the dill and pepper, if using). 
  5. Wrap the salmon up tightly with the plastic wrap. 
  6. Place a small baking pan on top of it – place a couple canned goods inside that baking pan to weigh it down. 
  7. Place the entire pan into the fridge and let sit 12 hours. 
  8. Remove salmon from the refrigerator.  Some liquid may have gathered inside the plastic wrap. Use a sharp knife to make a small slit in the corner and drain any liquid you can. 
  9. Flip the salmon over (so it is now skin-side up) and place back into the baking pan. Place the secondary baking pan on top along with the canned goods. Place back in the fridge for another 12 hours. 
  10. Repeat the draining process and flip the salmon over one more time (so skin-side is down) and replace weighted pan on top of salmon. Place back in the refrigerator for another 12 hours (so 36 total hours). 
  11. Remove from the fridge and unwrap the plastic. Rinse off excess salt. Place salmon on a plate and pat dry. Place back in the refrigerator for another 3-4 hours. 
  12. Thinly slice and eat as-is or in your favorite recipe (we love these Ultimate Lox Bagels!).


  • Sushi-Grade Salmon: it is important to use high-quality sushi-grade salmon for this recipe as the salmon isn’t exactly fully cooked after curing. Check your local fishmonger for sushi-grade options or a place like Whole Foods. 
  • Dill + Pepper: these are totally optional, but add a lovely flavor. There are other options and traditional add-ins – feel free to do whatever works best for you. 
  • Curing Time: the recipe stated above will result in about a medium-cure. Cure a bit less or a lighter cure and a bit longer for a harder cure. 
  • Table Salt: do not use table salt in this recipe. You can use rock salt if desired. 
  • Storage: store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 
  • Frozen Salmon: yes, you can use high-quality frozen salmon (thaw before using it in this recipe).