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Cold Smoked Salmon Recipe (Without a Smoker)

Cold Smoked Salmon marries sweet fish with an irresistible smokey, salty brine mixture. Learn how to smoke salmon at home, with no smoker required. Whether you enjoy it with bagels over brunch, or as a satisfying dinner, this is one of my favorite smoked salmon recipes ever.

A few of my other favorite ways to enjoy salmon include cured salmon, my one-pan potato, asparagus and salmon recipe, and cheesy crusted salmon bake.

Cold Smoked salmon with capers and fresh dill picked up with a fork.

Smoked salmon is a hit with my entire family—my children hardly know they are eagerly consuming fish, thanks to the rich, smokey flavor. This homemade salmon is coated in a rub that is easily adjustable. You can make the fish taste more sweet or salty (or both!).

This is also one of the best salmon recipes to make during the hottest parts of summer since no oven or smoker is needed. The salmon is a no-cook meal that is both refreshing and satisfying.

Is it Healthy to Eat Smoked Salmon?

Salmon is one of the healthiest meats you can consume. It is filled with high-quality protein, potassium, selenium and the energy-building vitamin B-12. The high Omega-3 fatty acid content in salmon is also essential in building and sustaining healthy brain function, joint function and the reduction of inflammation.

Smoked salmon recipes tend to have a higher sodium content thanks to the brine ingredients that give it that rich, smokey flavor. However, those who are sodium-sensitive can also enjoy eating this recipe, as the sodium levels can be adjusted up and down.

Smoked salmon with fresh lemon and dill, onions and bagel slices.

Are Smoked Salmon Recipes Cooked or Raw?

There are two ways to make smoked salmon recipes. One method involves using a smoker (like in this recipe) to get that perfect smokey flavor.

The second method involves using a salty brine to draw out the moisture in the fish. The fish sits in the brine for 24 hours to help kill potentially harmful bacteria. It is not cooked after but should be safe to consume. Because it is not cooked, it’s important to buy the highest quality salmon fillet possible, or better yet – sushi grade.

Smoked Salmon on a bagel with cream cheeses, onions, cucumbers and radishes.

What is the Best Way to Eat Smoked Salmon?

Once you discover how to smoke salmon with this easy recipe, there are so many ways you can enjoy it. Here is a sampling of the many ways you can devour this easy salmon recipe:

  • Eat it with bagels and cream cheese.
  • Top a creamy soup with it for extra flavor.
  • Make a tart for a brunch treat.
  • Try your hand at DIY sushi.
  • Serve it as part of an appetizer tray along with fresh cut fruits and veggies.
  • Make a sandwich with cucumber and smashed avocado.
  • Use it to top off a salad along with fresh dill and lemon dressing.

Smoked salmon recipes - this is shown with salmon, bagels, capers, onions, lemons and radish.

How to Smoke Salmon in This No Smoker Easy Recipe

This simple recipe has two parts, and each is vital to the success of the recipe. First, you must choose the freshest, best quality, previously frozen salmon fillets you can find—and make sure they are boneless to make things easy for yourself.

Secondly, you will need to create the perfect brine to complement the fish. Smoked salmon recipes each have a different brine, but this one is definitely easy. Simply combine three ingredients, and lay the fish into the brine. Coat it with more brine on top, seal it up and wait 24 hours, then enjoy.

smoked salmon with fresh dill and capers

How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last?

If properly brined, this recipe will last about five days in the fridge. It is important to note that while many websites will argue smoked salmon can last 2 weeks or longer, that is only the case if the environment and brine were completely sanitary. Personally, this recipe has never lasted more than 2-3 days without being consumed.

Can you freeze smoked salmon recipes?

This salmon can be frozen after making it. If you choose to do this, it is best to consume frozen salmon within 3 months for the most optimal flavor.

Want more seafood? Try these favorites

Smoked Salmon Without a Smoker

Learn the trick to make homemade cold smoked salmon at home with an irresistible smokey, salty brine mixture—no smoker required.

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: cured salmon, lox, smoked salmon
Calories: 368 kcal
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 10 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients

Smoked Salmon Ingredients

  • 8 oz salmon fillet boneless,

Dry Rub Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 drops liquid smoke

Instructions

How to Make Cold Smoked Salmon

Make the Dry Rub

  1. Combine the salt, sugar, liquid smoke and mix it well for the liquid smoke to be evenly distributed all throughout. 

Cover the Salmon in Dry Rub

  1. Line a small container with plastic wrap. Place half the dry rub on the bottom, then place the salmon piece on top. Add the second half of the dry rub and move it around to completely cover the salmon. 

  2. Gather all ends of the plastic wrap and twist so that the salmon and the salt are completely encased. You want the twist to be tight, so that once the salt and sugar liquify, they do not leak out. 

  3. Cover the container with a lid and refrigerate for 24 hours. Trim off a piece of the salmon and decide if the salmon is salty enough for your liking. 

    If it is, remove the salmon from the brine, pat dry and refrigerate in a clean container. 

How to Cut the Smoked Salmon

  1. Freeze the salmon for about 30 minutes, to make it easier to cut. 
    Now, using a sharp fillet knife cut it into thin strips, against the grain. 

Recipe Notes

How to make the Smoked Salmon less salty?

If you have kept the salmon in the brine too long and it became too salty to your liking, simply submerge the fish in some boiled, then cooled water for 30+ minutes until it is at the desired level of saltiness.

Nutrition Facts
Smoked Salmon Without a Smoker
Amount Per Serving
Calories 368 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 124mg41%
Sodium 7080mg308%
Potassium 1111mg32%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 45g90%
Vitamin A 90IU2%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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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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