Homemade Lox

May 28, 2014

My interest in traditional preservation methods like fermentation has recently extended into curing. There’s something just fascinating about the combination of time and science transforming food’s textures and flavors. I’m finding myself more and more motivated to experiment with techniques like fermenting and curing over cooking! Making lox is about as easy as it gets when it comes to curing meats. The process just involves packing a salmon filet in salt (and any other flavoring) and letting nature do its thing for about 5 days. Seriously, that’s it. For the sake of keeping this lox “homemade,” I took a shortcut and used liquid smoke which gave the salmon a very light smoked flavor. I also added a little brown sugar and pepper, but you could adjust the ratio to your preferences and add other flavors like dill or onion. Do not be intimidated by making homemade lox– the only skill you need to have is patience!

Homemade lox | HonestlyYUM

Start with a 2 pound salmon filet with skin on. Remove the pinbones with a pair of needle-nose pliers.


Make the smoked salt by combining the liquid smoke with the salt. The level of smokiness may vary from brand to brand. 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke resulted in a very light smokey flavor. If you like more, add a whole teaspoon. Add sugar and pepper.


Pack the top of the salmon with the salt mixture.

Salt lox

Wrap the filet in plastic wrap, leaving the ends unsealed and untucked so that liquid can drain out the ends as the salmon cures. Place the salmon on a wire rack and over a rimmed baking sheet to catch the liquid. Add another baking sheet over the salmon and weigh down the salmon with something heavy like a cast iron skillet.

Curing salmon

Wait 5 days. Check on the salmon every couple days to drain off any excess liquid collected in the baking sheet. Unwrap after about 5 days and remove excess salt. Lightly rinse the salt off and pat dry. Slice thinly against the grain.

Slicing lox

And that’s it!

Lox spread

I created this lox spread of my favorite toppings and condiments. Bagels, cream cheese, onions, and tomatoes are a must for me!

Bagels and lox



Lox platter | HonestlyYUM


  • 1/2 cup of sea or kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper


  • Remove pinbones from salmon filet
  • Combine salt, sugar, pepper and liquid smoke
  • Pack the salt mixture over the surface of the salmon
  • Wrap the salmon in plastic wrap leaving the ends open
  • Place on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and place another baking sheet over the salmon. Weigh the top with a cast iron skillet or something just as heavy
  • Cure in the refrigerator for 5 days. Check on the salmon after two days and drain off any excess liquid
  • Remove skin and thinly slice against the grain

(images by HonestlyYUM)


What is liquid smoke? I am not familiar with this.
Thank you for response.

I have a question, the recipe calls for 1/4 brown sugar. Is that teaspoons or cups. I have my salmon and am anxious to try this.

I did not have as simple a recipe as this one, but I made mine up last year, and froze them in individual packages. Having them semi frozen makes them easier to slice thinly.
I am going to try this recipe as soon as I get a few reds. Can’t wait.

I have this in my fridge right now. I left out the smoke flavour, I didn’t want to add it and I don’t use smoke flavour. I am excited to see how this turns out in a few days!!!

i have often made gravlax, but have never left the ends of the plastic wrap open. Does the fish not dry out after doing so?
Also, I was wondering if you have ever tried curing the salmon for less than 5 days, say 3 days?


Hi Karen,

Your display is GOR-ge-OUS!!! What size is your display board?

Thank you very much!


Looks so good. Thank you for making it so easy to do. I would really like to know, can I leave the sugar out or is that a must?

You can do it without the sugar since the salt is what cures it, but the sugar better flavor!

Oh my. I will not rest now until I make it 🙂 I think I could eat a pound of it all by myself. I wander if you can make it with other fish?

I also have the same question; how long does it stay fresh? Can you freeze it? Thanks for the recipe & beautiful pics.

Hi Amie I’m not sure how long it lasts but I kept mine for about 3/4 days in the fridge and it was just fine!

Oh my goodness, SUCH a beautiful file of salmont! Love love love (and totally brave enough now to make my own-thanks!).

That main picture is such a beauty! Awesome photos.. great cooking!

Stunning! I remember when I made smoked salmon in culinary school–and thought, ‘HEY! Why the heck haven’t I done this before now?!” Thanks for the reminder! I think I’ll make this for my dad for Father’s Day 🙂

I am not much of a seafood eater but this is totally unique and so beautiful!

OMG–Seriously gorgeous and delicious. I had no idea it was so easy. I can’t wait to try this.

We make our own gravlax too, but it never looks as pretty as this! Just lovely!

lox are absolutely fantastic..i cant believe you made this at home – bravo

Love lox! And honestly I would never think to make it myself, but you make it sound so easy. This is on my list to try for parties.

Oh, lox are my favorite! When I lived in Scotland it is literally all I ate every morning with cucumber and dill and just a bit of cream cheese on a sunflower-cranberry-orange bread. I used to pick it up from the fish monger after rowing practice in the mornings. I haven’t found lox that I thoroughly enjoy here but been meaning to try it myself! Gosh and these photos are lovely! x

That spread looks fantastic! It seems so easy to make but my question is: doesn’t it get really smelly when it’s curing?

Not at all! The salmon is wrapped in plastic and consistently draining the liquid will help, but I couldn’t smell anything.

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