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beetroot cured salmon

Beetroot cured salmon makes an impressive looking starter on any dinner table, and despite appearances is really simple to prepare!

Beetroot cured salmon with 3 slices to the front to show the colour.

Beetroot cured salmon makes an impressive looking starter on any dinner table. However, despite appearances, it is a relatively easy starter to prepare. If you love salmon this is definitely a dish worth trying.

We paired our beetroot cured salmon with pickled cucumber, Creamy Horseradish Dressing and an avocado cream for one of our Supperclubs and have included those extra elements in the recipe card.

However, that’s just to give you an idea of how to plate it up. I can assure you it’s just as tasty loaded onto a toasted bagel with cream cheese and a wedge of lemon!

Curing fish is a really simple process, you cure the fish, in this case salmon, with salt and any other flavourings that you’d like to use. We took our flavour inspiration from Scandinavian gravalax and flavoured the cure with beetroot, carraway seeds and dill.

This cured salmon recipe takes very little time to prepare, you just need to remember to turn it regularly during the curing process. Turning the fish regularly not only improves the flavour but ensures the beetroot colour really shines through.

Beetroot cured salmon with 3 slices to the front to show the colour sitting on top of a wooden chopping board and some lemon wedges to garnish.

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Our cured salmon not only tastes great but is really pretty once plated up making it the ideal addition to any dinner menu.
  • Surprisingly simple to cure, yes this dish requires very little preparation.
  • Once decent sized side of salmon will easily feed 10 people and you will still have leftovers.

Is cured salmon still raw?

Yes cured salmon is still raw, it has just been cured with salt, and in the case of this recipe some beetroot, herbs and spices. But curing the salmon preserves the fish, making it safe to eat.

Curing is a very old method used for storing fish. The salt cure firms up the flesh of the fish, dehydrating it and thereby removing the liquid and killing bacteria.

To cure salmon you add salt to the salmon, along with any other flavourings that you want to add.

Is cured salmon safe to eat?

Yes cured salmon is safe to eat, just ensure you buy a really fresh side of fish. Whether it is cured as we have done here, or smoked which is how you often find it in on the shelves of your local store, if kept sealed and stored in the fridge it is safe to eat.

How to cure salmon?

Our process:

  • Cut the side of salmon fillet in half across the middle, trying to ensure each half is roughly the same length.
  • Place the salt, sugar, dill, caraway seeds and white peppercorns into a food processor along with the cooked beetroot and blitz to a pulp.
  • Look out a dish big enough to fit the salmon in.
  • Layer 2-3 sheets of clingfilm on top of each other inside the dish with plenty extra clingfilm to allow you to tuck it around the fish.
  • Place one half of the salmon skin side down on the clingfilm.
  • Pour the beetroot and salt cure over the flesh of the fish and place the other piece of salmon on top, skin side up.
  • Ensure the flesh of the salmon is completely covered in the cure and tightly wrap with clingfilm.
  • Wrap the salmon up tightly into a parcel, you don’t want any of the cure escaping into the dish.
  • Weigh the salmon down with something heavy and place the dish into the fridge.
  • Cure the salmon for 24-48 hours (ideally 48 hours as it intensifies both the colour and flavour).
  • Take care to turn the salmon every 12 hours to ensure an even marinate.
  • After 48 hours the salmon will feel firm to the touch – you will know that it is ready for serving.

How to prepare beetroot cured salmon for serving?

When ready to cut the salmon, discard the cure and brush away any excess on the salmon itself.

At this point many recipes suggest washing the salmon, however I think this washes away some of the flavour. Instead I tend to take my time to brush away any excess.

A really sharp knife is essential for cutting the salmon as you want nice even slices of fish.

How long does cured salmon last in the fridge?

This recipe is a 48 hour cure so any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and will be safe to eat for 2-3 days afterwards.

What flavours can be added when curing salmon?

In this case we opted for beetroot cured salmon with additional flavours of dill, caraway and white peppercorns, the basis of a simple gravalax.

However, you can get creative and cure using a variety of different flavours and flavour combinations. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Add cirtus: lemon, lime and orange zest
  • Add spice and berries: fennel seeds; coriander seeds; juniper berries; black, pink and white peppercorns; star anise;
  • Add fresh herbs: dill; parsley; tarragon; horseradish
  • Add alcohol: gin; whisky
A side of beetroot cured salmon on a wooden board.

Do I need to add the extra elements to this dish?

We served this cured salmon as a starter at one of our Supperclubs and our guests loved it. For that reason we have included the additional elements to the recipe card. These are entirely optional, you can do one or two, or leave them off the dish – it’s entirely up to you.

Can I prepare the extra elements ahead of time?

The extra elements that we’ve included our beetroot cured salmon recipe are really quick and easy to prepare. Each of these elements compliments the salmon and balances out this oily fish.

Put together they make an impressive plate of food. The pickled cucumber can be made ahead of time, a couple of days in advance of being served and kept in the fridge until you need it.

However, the horseradish and avocado cream sauces are best made on the day and served fresh to maintain their vibrancy.

If you decide to give these extra element a go, we’ve attached a photo below of how we served it up to help you with the plating.

A closeup view of a black matt plate serving of sliced beetroot cured salmon on top of a horseradish cream with cubes of beetroot, slices of pickled cucumber rolled and avocado dil cream served around the plate and finished with fresh dill and pea shoots.

What to do with leftover cured salmon?

As cured salmon does keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days, leftovers can be used to make other dishes. Treat our beetroot cured salmon as you would a smoked salmon and you won’t go wrong. The options are endless:

  • Think brunch and serve the beetroot cured salmon on top of a toasted muffin, with a hollandaise sauce and soft poached egg.
  • Or how about with some buttery scrambled eggs on toast.
  • Toast a bagel, spread it with cream cheese and load on some thin slices of the salmon for a delicious lunch.
  • Use this salmon in a simple pasta dish, adding just a little olive oil, basil and garlic to the sauce, keep it simple so as not to overpower the delicate flavour of the fish.
  • Leftover salmon makes great fishcakes. Mix the salmon with some mashed potato, spring onions or chives and coat in some panko breadcrumbs for added crunch.
  • Enjoy cured salmon in a salad with new potatoes, asparagus and peashoots.
Beetroot cured salmon slices on a bagel with cream cheese and a slice of lemon wedge

Can you freeze salmon?

In the same way that you can freeze smoked salmon, you can also freeze cured salmon. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I like to lay any leftovers out on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Lay them in a single layer and then pop into either a box or a bag.

If placing more salmon on top, separate each layer with greaseproof paper as this stops the slices of beetroot cured salmon sticking together in the freezer.

Pin the recipe:

A pinterest graphic for beetroot cured salmon.

Additional recipe suggestions:

If you like this recipe then why not try some of our other great starters:

Beetroot Cured Salmon

Beetroot cured salmon makes and impressive looking starter on any dinner table. For some optional ideas we've paired the salmon with pickled cucumber, horseradish sauce and an avocado cream.
5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 1 hour
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 188kcal


Salmon Cure

  • 1 kg side of salmon (skin on and de-boned)
  • 300 g cooked beetroot
  • 100 g salt
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 1 large bunch fresh dill
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns

Pickled Cucumber – Optional

  • 2 whole cucumber
  • 150 ml white wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 large bunch fresh dill

Horseradish Sauce – Optional

  • 2 tsp horseradish sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • salt & pepper
  • 175 ml double cream

Avocado Cream – Optional

  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 4 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • ½ tsp salt


Salmon Cure

  • Place the salt, sugar, dill, caraway seeds and white peppercorns into a food processor along with the cooked beetroot. Blitz to a pulp.
  • Lay 2-3 sheets of clingfilm on top of each other. Cut the salmon side in half. Place one half of the salmon skin side down on the clingfilm. Pour the beetroot and salt mixture over the flesh of the fish and place the other piece of salmon on top, skin side up. Ensure the flesh of the salmon is completely covered in the cure and tightly wrap with clingfilm.
  • Place the wrapped up salmon into a tray and allow it to rest and chill in the fridge for 48 hours. Turn the fish every 12 hours. After 48 hours the salmon will feel firm to the touch.
  • Remove the salmon from the cling film and discard any excess cure.
  • Using a sharp knife cut the salmon into thin slices, much as you would if cutting smoked salmon.

Pickled Cucumber – Optional

  • Pare the cucumber into thin ribbons along the length, using a potato peeler. Place the ribbons in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and cover with ice cold water. Set aside for an hour to draw out any excess water.
  • After an hour drain thoroughly and wash off any residual salt. Place the ribbons on kitchen paper and dry completely. 
  • Meanwhile place the vinegar, sugar and dill into a saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Place the cucumber ribbons in a plastic container with a tight sealing lid. Pour over the pickling liquor and stir to combine. Allow to cool completely, then cover with lid and place in the fridge for a minimum of two hours but ideally 2 days.

Horseradish Cream – Optional

  • Mix together the horseradish sauce, mustard, vinegar and sugar. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  • Whip the double cream into peaks and stir through the horseradish mixture. Place in the fridge to chill until ready to serve.

Avocado Cream – Optional

  • Place the avocado and creme fraiche in a bowl and mix together with a stick blender, add the dill and season with salt and further blitz to a smooth cream. Set aside until ready to serve.


It is really important to turn the salmon every 12 hours, this will ensure an even distribution of the cure.
Once cured cut, wrap the salmon tightly in parchment paper and it will keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
We have given some additional options to serve alongside the cured salmon. Just a few ideas if you want to serve this as a starter for a dinner party of special occasion. These suggestions are entirely optional and as such are not included within the nutritional breakdown.
Nutrition Facts
Beetroot Cured Salmon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 188 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 55mg18%
Sodium 3943mg171%
Potassium 595mg17%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 59IU1%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 25mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •

Course : Canape, Starter, Side
Cuisine : British, Scottish
Keyword : beetroot cured salmon, Fish, how to cure salmon, Seafood
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