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How to Prepare Salmon for Sushi

How to Prepare Salmon for Sushi

People are usually in two camps with sushi: all in or all out. If you’re someone who loves the light, decadent flavors of sushi and sashimi, you probably wouldn’t mind having the ability to make it at home yourself! Today, we’re going to walk you through how to use salmon, one of the most popular sushi flavors, to make delicious raw sushi!

That’s right, we’re talking about raw sushi. The thought of prepping something raw likely sounds a little backward in your meat-and-potatoes kitchen, and the caution is well-warranted! Raw fish can teem with parasites and bacteria that can make you sick if it’s not properly prepped.

Luckily, we’re here to guide you through with step-by-step instructions. Don’t be intimidated. You’ll be prepping fresh salmon sushi at your own home in no time. Your next dinner guests are going to be highly impressed with your refined cooking skills!

How to Prepare Salmon for Sushi

Follow each step of the sushi-making process carefully to avoid contamination. Any haphazard handling of the sushi can easily poison the fish and render it unfit for consumption. Don’t worry, though, it’s not hard! Follow our steps for prepping salmon for sushi!

Step One: Pick a Fresh, High Quality Fish

The absolute most important thing when choosing salmon for sushi is quality of fish and freshness. Without a doubt, the freshest fish you can purchase is Oshēn Salmon. Oshēn Salmon is shipped

directly to consumers. In other words, it’s shipped directly from the ocean to your doorstep. There is no middle man, grocery store, or truck taking days to deliver your salmon. The fish is placed in temperature controlled packaging and shipped directly to you from the ocean. So it’s guaranteed 7 days fresher than any retailer. It really is the best option for quality and freshness. All Oshēn Salmon is sushi & sashimi grade fish. Which means it's PERFECT for sushi nights. Plus, it’s sustainable & ocean raised, ocean loved. Which means the fish is not only good for you, but good for the environment.

Try Oshēn Salmon for 15% off using code FRESH.


Of course, high quality fish tastes the best! And in addition to taste, there is always a risk of parasites and food borne illnesses when you're eating raw fish. So it's incredibly important to choose your fish wisely.

If you’re looking for more details on selecting a fresh salmon from a grocery store, know that they will always have traveled for a week or so before arriving in stores. So you want to be extra careful and only shop at high quality markets. Or if you already have salmon and want to know if it’s fresh, look at our article how to tell if salmon has gone bad.

Step Two: Prep Your Fish

Next, you’ll need to prepare your fish for sushi consumption. Eating raw sushi isn’t as easy as cubing the meat and adding some rice, but it’s still pretty simple!

Before you begin, make sure all your utensils are properly sanitized. Clean your countertops and cutting boards with a bleach solution (1 tablespoon to 1 gallon) an antibacterial solution, and wash your utensils in antibacterial dish soap. Ensure that once you handle a surface or utensil, you clean it again prior to using it for the next stage.

1. Salt

Pat your filets dry with a paper towel. Then on a cookie sheet, coat them in a thin layer of kosher salt until they're completely covered. Refrigerate them for one hour.

2. Bathe in Vinegar

Place the filets in a baking dish or roaster. Pour in rice vinegar until the filets are just barely covered. Add two cups of water and a few handfuls of ice. Refrigerate for one hour.

3. Freeze

Pat the filets dry with a paper towel until they’re totally dry. Seal the filets using a vacuum sealer or plastic wrap. Try to get them as airtight as you can! Finally, freeze for 48 hours. When you’re ready to use, thaw in the fridge.

Bonus Tip: If you’re looking for a non-raw version, you can use smoked salmon!

Step Three: Cut Fish for Sushi or Sashimi

Now that your filets are safe to consume raw, it’s time to prep them for eating! Your salmon still has a layer of cure, the skin, and a few bones, so it’s not quite ready for those sushi rolls! Cutting the salmon is the last step. Learn how to cut salmon sashimi style HERE or try two popular methods below.



Slice the filets in half. Then, cut off the skin and the thin layer of cure on the edges. Using pin bone tweezers, remove any pin bones. Finally, “sakudori,” which means cut the filets into the shape of a uniform rectangle.

Block it Out

Next, cube the meat! Or, if you’re looking to make nigiri, slice the salmon widthwise into thin pieces. You can lay those thin slices over your sushi rice or eat them with some soy sauce!

Step Four: Make Your Sushi

Now for the fun part! You can officially make your sushi using your safely prepared salmon! Using a sushi roller, some sheets of seaweed (nori), sushi rice, your salmon, and toppings of your choice assemble your perfect sushi combination!

Here are some great ingredients to go with your deliciously cured salmon:

  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Bell Peppers
  • Red Onions
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Green Onions
  • Jalapenos
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Wasabi
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Ponzu sauce
  • Spicy Mayo

Really you can add anything your sushi loving heart desires!


Time to eat your raw salmon sushi!

Great work! You now have all the tools to make a fresh roll of salmon sushi made by your own hands. If you’re still feeling a little nervous about using raw meat at home, check out our article how to eat raw salmon at home.

We hope that this gives you the confidence to replace your family’s weekly “Taco Tuesday,” with perhaps a revised ritual of “Sushi Sunday.” Enjoy your sushi and check back with us for sushi recipes and more tips on cooking with salmon.



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