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Copycat Kirkland Smoked Salmon recipe (Dry Cured Salmon)

I wonder how many of you out there love the Costco’s Smoked Salmon as much as I do? What if I told you that you could make it at home, preservative free, in less then 24 hours, with no special equipment (including a smoker), at the fraction of the cost? You probably think that it’s too good to be true, but this is one of those things that IS true! I think if people knew how easy it is to make this, they would never buy store-bought Smoked Salmon again.

Copycat Kirkland Smoked Salmon recipe (Dry Cured Salmon)

Those that follow me on Instagram saw the fish that my husband caught about a week ago. In case it didn’t look big enough on the picture, let me just tell you, it was HUGE!

He’s caught big fish before, but never (King) salmon that was that big! I mean we’re talking a 20 lbs fish…and… that was just one of the fish, there was 3 more smaller than that one, but still big enough to feed us through a couple of winters. May be a not, but you get the picture.

With this abundance of fish, I wanted to test out every way possible of making fish. We’ve oven roasted it, smoked it, grilled it on a plank, pickled some in brine and dry cured. The last one is probably the easiest one of them all, the least time consuming (hands on) and one of the tastiest as well!

I had the hugest ‘aha’ moment a couple of months ago, when I read the label of my favorite smoked fish from Costco and realized that the fish is not even smoked! T

he only smoke that fish ever saw, was liquid infused with smoke. I bought this ‘liquid infused with smoke’ a while ago, and kept wanting to use it but didn’t know how. Then one day  Mom’sDish mentioned using liquid smoke to make cold smoked salmon.

Copycat Kirkland Smoked Salmon recipe (Dry Cured Salmon)

I followed to her website and used her recipe as a basis for curing my own salmon. I didn’t really use any kind of proportions, just salted the fish liberally and it worked just fine, but if you like the proportions better, I will use Mom’s Dish Recipe. Thank you, Natasha, for such a wonderful recipe!

Try these other salmon recipes:

Copycat Kirkland Smoked Salmon recipe (Dry Cured Salmon)

4.56 from 9 votes

Homemade smoked salmon recipe made with salmon fillets,
seasonings and water. A simple and delicious smoked salmon recipe!

Author: Natalya @ Mom's Dish
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: smoked salmon
Calories: 215 kcal
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 2 lbs Salmon fillet boneless, skinless, (previously frozen then thawed)
  • 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp Liquid smoke optional
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Rinse fish fillet under running water, pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Sprinkle with salt both sides of the fillet, pressing the salt into the fish.
  3. Mix liquid smoke & water. Pour on top of the fish.
  4. Allow the fish to cure in the fridge, overnight (24 hours). Depending on the thickness of your fish it might take more or less time.
  5. Rinse excess salt. Pat dry with paper towel. Slice thinly & serve.
  6. Store in closed container, refrigerated, for up to a week.

Recipe Notes

TIP: If the fish is overly salty after the brine, rinse it with water or soak it in water until it is desired saltiness.

If it is not salty enough, just keep in the salt a while longer.

Nutrition Facts
Copycat Kirkland Smoked Salmon recipe (Dry Cured Salmon)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 215 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 83mg28%
Sodium 9502mg413%
Potassium 741mg21%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 60IU1%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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If you would like to make actual SMOKED SALMON using a smoker, follow my recipe HERE.

The instructions are clear, so if you have a smoker, you can make it yourself! The Smoked Salmon comes out juicy and very flavorful.

Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • Carolyn Turner

    I bought a bunch of frozen salmon to cook for my SO who looooves Salmon. I myself am not a fan, tho I do love smoked salmon and sushi salmon. I tried this with one of the frozen fillets and I’m eating it in my lunch right now!

    Flipping it was a must, and it stayed in the fridge an extra day because I forgot to flip it sooner, but the flavor is SO good.

    · Reply
  • Tlc

    I really wanted this recipe to work. Unfortunately for me it did not have enough smoke flavor. I’m not going to give up on it but next time I think I will mix the liquid smoke with the salt and then packet on the fish. Maybe I should’ve flipped the fish a few times like some of the other reviewer’s. I am not giving up though because I want a smoked salmon that is easy and quick. If anyone knows what I may have done wrong feel free to respond. Thanks

    · Reply
    • Hi Tlc,
      I think the smokiness might depend on the type of liquid smoke you use. But you’re definitely on the right track with your ideas.

      · Reply
  • Anthony

    Can I still do this without liquid smoke?

    · Reply
  • wayne

    Wow Incredible Now Ill keep allthe trout and salmon ive been giving away

    · Reply
  • Nick

    OK… I must admit that I was just a tad skeptical about this recipe but thought I would give it a try. I had an 8 oz. piece of Alaskan salmon and adjusted the salt, water, liquid smoke accordingly. I put it in my refrigerator for exactly 24 hours and flipped the salmon a few times during this period. Wa-la… my skepticism flew out the window when I pulled out this beautiful piece of smoked salmon and rinsed it. I took out my bagel, put some Philly cream cheese with chives, sliced the lox and placed on the sliced red onion and capers. Please note that I sliced quite a bit of lox on the bagel. I put the other piece of bagel on top, closed my eyes and went to heaven. I’ve tried several lox recipes with varying degrees of success. Today, I deleted the others since this on is the keeper.

    Kind regards,


    · Reply
  • Janet Paula

    I’ve been making this recipe for about a year now. My daughter can’t stop eating it. It is delicious. My daughter and I think it is tastier than any store-bought lox that we have tried, and healthier too.

    I use pink Hymalayin thick salt and liquid smoke when preparing and never seem to use more than 1/2 cup of salt for all the recipe.
    I only use whole fresh salmon. After the initial 24 hours of soaking, I usually freeze the salmon in portions and then take it out of the freezer as needed and slice it on a mandolin when semi-frozen in order to get it as thin as possible.
    Thanks so much.

    · Reply
    • Oh my thanks so much for your comment and star review!

      When you say “whole salmon” do you mean actual whole salmon, or the salmon fillet? I wonder how you go about the skin and bones of the salmon. Do you salt it just inside? Do you cut pieces of fillet and then debone it before slicing it?

      Thank you for taking the time to comment!


      · Reply
  • Joan Brock

    I just made a batch and it is really delicious. Thanks for the tip on Freezing any parasites away. Also Slicing the fish after freezing lightly.

    · Reply
  • Leya bowen

    Your recipes are great,easy to fallow and very healty
    Thank you

    · Reply
  • Thomas

    Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 d2usx

    · Reply
  • Elizabeth

    This is so simple yet so delicious. For a salmon lover like me, this recipe comes right to the point. Thank you Marina!

    · Reply
  • Tyler-Rose

    While this recipe sounds totally yummy, I’m a commercial salmon fisherman’s wife and you really shouldn’t use fresh fish for raw or lightly cured recipes since it’s possible to get some pretty unpleasant parasites from undercooked fresh fish. You need to use commercially frozen fish or deep freeze the fresh stuff for more than 72 hours to kill all the creepy crawlies 0.0

    · Reply
    • Thank you Tyler-Rose! I’ll update my recipe to include that important tip!

      · Reply
    • Jim

      I was wondering about this as well. I have a lot of commercially frozen Sockeye in the freezer. Thanks for this comment!

      · Reply
  • Mark

    Trying this again. Rinse salt sooner as you suggested. Found solution to too salty salmon last time. I fried some potato rounds and did not salt them but instead spread the salmon spread I made on the chips.

    · Reply
  • katzpawz

    This Costco “smoked” salmon recipe is a huge hit with me! Thanks so much for sharing it!!!

    · Reply
  • Allen

    I read that you can put in the freezer for about an hour and slicing thin will be even easier.

    · Reply
  • Bill

    I followed the recipe, but the salmon still seems raw? How can I tell if the curing happened? How can I tell if it didn’t happen? Thanks…

    · Reply
    • Hi Bill,
      The curing is done when the salmon is thoroughly salted and does not have the raw taste. Sometimes if the salmon fillet is very thick it takes longer for the salt to penetrate. Turn the fillet to make sure that it’s all covered in salt and give it another day. If you want to, you can split the salmon horizontally into two thinner fillets for quicker curing.

      · Reply
      • Ceci

        Does it have to be sushi grade salmon or any salmon will do?

        · Reply
        • I guess that would be best. But I used fresh caught salmon for this.

          · Reply
  • Seth

    I noticed the difference between the recipe from Mom’s Dish and this one. Mom’s Dish has sugar, so that may be the reason some find this recipe too salty. Liquid Smoke is relatively salty as well.

    · Reply
    • You’re right Seth, mine doesn’t have any sugar. The addition of sugar might cut down the saltiness, but cutting down the amount of time the fish stays in the brine might help with that as well. Also, my liquid smoke has no salt at all, so may be it depends on the brand? Thanks for your comment!

      · Reply
  • Copycat Kirkland Smoked Salmon recipe (Dry Cured Salmon) | Various stuff

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    · Reply
  • rs

    This is called gravlax. Google that for better recipes.

    · Reply
    • After posting the recipe I have found that some people call it that. This is replica of my favorite salmon from Costco, and they called it ‘Smoked Salmon’ and that is why I called it that 🙂

      · Reply
  • Evie

    I’m the only one in my family that eats ‘raw’ fish. Appreciate knowing how to change recipe for 1 lb of salmon, not 2 lbs. Thanks

    · Reply
    • Just use half of the ingredients listed. So if it says 1/2 cup salt, use only 1/4 salt for 1 lb fish.

      · Reply
  • Vera

    this looks so delicious. I love smoked fish. We don’t have salmon at my house right now but we have a lot of seledka. Do you think this recipe will work for seledka?

    · Reply
    • I think with herring you need to use a water based brine with the addition of vinegar and sugar because salt alone will not kill the ‘fresh fish’ smell, my sister tried just a salt brine and the fish still had a very strong fresh fish smell.

      · Reply
  • krista

    Are you wrapping the salmon in plastic wrap?? I have been doing homework on this and most recipes I have seen they wrap it up for 24/48 hours. Also, the process of curing is supposed to take the moisture out of the salmon, but with your recipe you are adding the liquid smoke with water and pouring on top of the salmon. I guess I am a little confused?!

    · Reply
    • The salt does draw the moisture out even if you add that additional liquid. I have done it two different ways, by rubbing it with salt and then dropping a couple if drops straight on the fillet and them rubbing it in with your hands (no plastic wrap, just in a container) and deluting the smoke with water and pouring it on top of the salted fish, both ways work the same way and work just fine. Hope this helps 🙂

      · Reply
  • Bagelman

    My supermarket had liquid smoke, two different choices. I just mixed it up, and the salmon is soaking now. I can’t wait for tomorrow, this is the first I’ve ever made Lox.

    · Reply
    • I myself just recently found the recipe and made it for the first time myself, now I can’t believe that I didn’t know about such easy way to make my favorite salmon! Let me know how you like it once you try yours! Also, depending on your fillet thickness, you might need more time for the salt to go all the way to the middle, so just try it after 24 hours and if it’s still not salty enough, leave it in the fridge until it’s salted to your liking 🙂

      · Reply
      • Bagelman

        The texture and smoke flavor was perfect after the second day. A bit too salty, so I soaked it in fresh water for one more day and it had the exact right taste. An interesting experiment.

        · Reply
        • Yes, you really have to rinse it with water well, or just like you did, soak it in water to bring it to the level of saltiness you want.

          · Reply
  • Copycat Kirkland Smoked Salmon recipe

    […] have Bagels and Lox with no Lox, and a fellow foodie has created a home made recipe you should try. Copycat Kirkland Smoked Salmon recipe was posted at Let The Baking Begin and it’s a great way to turn ordinary salmon into […]

    · Reply
  • Adi

    Wow! This looks amazing… I’ve missed the Costco smoked salmon ever since I moved away. The next time I get salmon will be for this!

    · Reply
    • Yeah, their salmon is great, but if you can make the same thing at home, why not, yeah? Especially if you can make 3 times the amount of salmon, for their price.

      · Reply
      • Adi

        Yep, cause three is more than one! (So happy I’m a Computer Science student, it comes in so handy to know all this math).

        · Reply
        • Haha yeap, going to school definitely helps when you’re working with numbers lol

          · Reply
  • zhanna filovets

    Where can u get liquid smoke?

    · Reply
    • I got mine at Sur la Table, but you can make it without the smoke and it will be just as delicious.

      · Reply

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