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Swedish Culture

FIKA’s Gravlax Recipe

May 11, 2021 By Lizzy Rode

Gravlax is one of the most traditional Swedish foods, found in the julbord (Christmas smörgåsbord), påskbord (Easter smörgåsbord), in frukost (breakfast) spreads, and on many a smörgås (open-faced sandwich). It’s ubiquitous and delicious, and appropriate for any time of year. Gravlax literally translates to “buried salmon,” and while it might seem intimidating, it’s actually fairly easy to make at home! In fact, ASI has hosted several Nordic Table workshops in the past instructing students on how to cure their own salmon. And at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair, the team from FIKA ran demonstrations (and samples) of how to make this traditional Swedish dish. Below is a gravlax recipe from FIKA’s executive chef Blake Meier.


  • lb Salmon 
  • 2 oz Fresh Dill 
  • 1 cup Salt 
  • 1 cup Sugar 
  • tbsp Juniper Berries 
  • 1 tsp Black Peppercorns 
  • 1 each Fresh Bay Leaf, minced 
  • 1 tsp Fennel Seed 
  • 1 Shot glass Aquavit 
  • 1 Shot glass Gin 
  • Zest of 2 Lemons 

Instructions :

Remove all pin bones from the salmon using a fish tweezers, or have someone at your fish counter do it for you .

Toast the juniper and black pepper in a skillet over low heat until fragrant, allow to cool and grind coarsely in a coffee grinder, or by hand with a mortar and pestle. 

Toast fennel seeds, cool and leave whole. 

Mix all ingredients, except for salmon and dill, in a large mixing bowl. 

Lay enough plastic wrap down on your counter or table to completely wrap the salmon thoroughly, and spread half of the salt and spice mix on the plastic, topped with half of the fresh dill. 

Place salmon, skin side down, over the cure mix, then spread the remaining cure over the flesh, topped with remaining dill. 

Pull the plastic wrap over the entirety of the fish, then wrap completely in foil, then place entire package in a low sided casserole dish. 

Place the salmon on the bottom shelf of refrigerator, and place a 1 or 2 pound, flat sided weight on top, such as a bag of sugar, or a box of salt. 

After 2 full days, the salmon can be rinsed well, and then placed back in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 8 hours, or up to 2 days, to dry, and to allow the cure to evenly distribute.