How to cure Salmon for Sushi and Sashimi?

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

(Updated October 2021)


Video Tutorial:


This is something you can do at home when you want to make homemade sushi.

Curing fish is an almost necessary thing to do for sashimi and It is related to two things one is taste and second is texture.


Many people have asked us how to prepare salmon for sushi, so we decided to put the step-by-step instructions.


Buy Ora King Salmon from Monterey Fish Market, Berkeley, CA

Ora King Salmon is farm-raised in New Zealand and is rated as sustainable by Seafood Watch Guide. Monterey Fish Market carries this salmon, so go and purchase them.



2. Freeze salmon

Wild salmon comes with parasites. In order to kill parasites, you need to freeze the salmon at a specific temperature and a specific time.


This is a bit tricky, but to simplify:

Home freezer - 7 days

Commercial freezer - 1 - 2 days


The reason I say "tricky" is because some of the Farm-Raised salmon like Ora King is parasite-free. If that is the case, there is no need for freezing.


To find out if your farm-raised salmon is parasite-free or not, you need to ask the fishmonger or the manufacture(farm) of the salmon. If you are not sure, then freezing gives you an extra layer of security against foodborne illness.


3. Thaw in your fridge

The slower, the better flavor


4. Make a "Cure" mix

Mix sugar (we use cane sugar) and Sea Salt (3:1 ratio)


5. Sheet Pan, Salmon, Cover with cure mix

6. Add Lemon Zest



7. Let's sit for 1 to 1.5 hours

Water will start to come out and the color will change from orange to red-orange.

8. Wash in water. Dry. Cut

Optional 9. Hickory Smoke using a smoke gun

We use a small plastic bag to smoke, then let it sit in the fridge until we serve.