How To Cook Salmon | Japanese Salted Salmon (Shiojake/Shiozake) 塩鮭

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How To Prepare Salmon | Japanese Salted Salmon (Shiojake/Shiozake) | JustOneCookbook.com

It’s been almost a week since we came back from Taiwan and my family is finally back to our regular routine.  After a long vacation, my family and I always miss eating simple Japanese food, like Hot Tofu (Yudofu) and this Salted Salmon (shiojake 塩鮭).

If you have been to Japan, you probably had tried or seen traditional Japanese breakfast similar to the picture below with Salted Salmon (Shiojake), rice, miso soup (I made Tonjiru), a vegetable side dish, and some egg (I made Tamagoyaki).

How To Prepare Salmon | Japanese Salted Salmon (Shiojake/Shiozake) | JustOneCookbook.com

I used to buy prepared salted salmon from a Japanese supermarket for convenience, just pop them in the toaster oven for 25 min and they’re ready.  However, the supermarket ones can be a bit salty.

Since my children loves salted salmon and its crispy skin, one day I decided to start making my own.  Fresh good quality salmon and right amount of salt – that’s all you need to make salted salmon.  It was ridiculously easy.  And you can make a lot at once too and keep them frozen to enjoy at a later time.  Since started making my own, I had never gone back to the prepared salted salmon from supermarket.

How To Prepare Salmon | Japanese Salted Salmon (Shiojake/Shiozake) | JustOneCookbook.com

Before my trip to Taiwan, I made some again knowing that I’d miss simple food.  I hope you will give it a try.  Make sure to have good Japanese premium short grain rice to go with this.  Hmm… nice to be home!

How To Prepare Salmon | Japanese Salted Salmon (Shiojake/Shiozake) | JustOneCookbook.com

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Japanese Salted Salmon (Shiojake/Shiozake) Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1.1 lb (500 g) salmon fillets with skin
  • 1 Tbsp. sake
  • 5 tsp. (25 g) sea salt (5% of salmon weight)
  • lemon wedges (optional)
Instructions
  1. Rinse the salmon under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Slice the salmon diagonally if it’s not pre-sliced.
  2. Pour and spread the sake on the salmon.
  3. After 10 minutes, pat dry the salmon with a paper towel.
  4. Apply sea salt on the skin first.
  5. Then sprinkle the remaining salt on both sides of the fillets. Use more salt on the skin.
  6. Line the bottom of an air-tight container (with lid) with a paper towel. This will absorb excess moisture from the fish.
  7. Place the fillets in the container in a single layer and lay a sheet of paper towel on top of the fillets.
  8. Then put the 2nd layer of the fillets on top of paper towel and lay another sheet of paper towel on top. Cover with lid and keep in the refrigerator for at least 2 days.
  9. This is after 2 days…
  10. Gently pat dry the fillets with a paper towel to get rid of any excess moisture.
  11. Place the fillets on parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure the skin side is up so the skin will become nice and crispy after baking. Bake at 400F (200C) for 20-25 minutes, or until the flesh is firm. Serve with a wedge of lemon.
  12. If you don’t plan on cooking the salmon right away, after drying the fillets with a paper towel, wrap the individual pieces with plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag to freeze. You can store the salmon in freezer for up to 1 month. Remember to defrost before cooking.
Notes
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

 

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  1. Salmon is a beautiful looking fish as well as tasting very good and this method of preparation highlights both those characteristics and in a very simple fashion. I look forward to trying something like this one day.

    It almost looks like there’s something in the middle of your sweet omelet. The whole meal is very inviting.

    2
  2. Vivalabbird

    Hi Nami,
    I can really use this meal today as I am feeling under the weather :(
    Anyways, one of my favourite things to order from my fave Japanese restaurant is ochazuke. Can I break up the salmon and use it as a topping?
    Looks super yum and really appreciate the frezing tip! It will be good for a lazy day meal.
    Hope that life is slowly going back to normal! Also, beautiful setting!

    3
    • Oh yeah, ochazuke!

      Yes, you break up pieces (I usually save leftover baked salted salmon especially for ochazuke or homemade furikake) and use for ochazuke.

      I should have save some for that… I guess I need to make more shiojake for ochazuke soon!

      71
  3. We love salty salmon in our house too. But we are eating it without cooking. Usually I put salt and a little of sugar and refrigerate for a couple of days. But I guess it’s completely different dish. Next time I will try your version, let you know how it is! I love the small vase with yellow flowers. Very appetizing photos!

    4
  4. I’ve had salted salmon, but only once or twice. Pretty good stuff! And I had no clue how easy it was to make! Great tip on the salt quantity being 5% of the weight of the fish. Good recipe – thanks.

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  5. Caroline Foo

    Hi Nami

    Thanks for another lovely recipe. Will cook this dish tomorrow. Why do you need to spread sake on the salmon?

    Thanks.

    Caroline

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  6. Cheryl S.

    Mmmm….this looks wonderful! Definitely going to try this ! :)
    I like my salmon kind of on the rare side. How many minutes then for a piece of salmon about as thick as the pieces in your photos?

    7
  7. donna mikasa

    Oh yum! Next to misoyaki salmon, this would be my favorite! But I didn’t know I have to wait 2 days! I guess freezing them after salting would be a way to eat them whenever you want. Thanks for sharing!

    9
    • Hi Donna! Some people do just overnight, 1 day, or even longer. It’s really up to your liking. After I experimented over times, I learned my favorite length is 2 days . :)

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  8. Kimmi

    My mom used to make salmon for family dinners, and I miss it a lot! I haven’t had the courage to make salmon on my own (and because I didn’t think it was worth the effort to make only one serving for me). But your tip about packing and freezing the extras motivates me to try it myself! Thanks very much for sharing the simple and delicious recipe!

    11
    • Hi Kimmi! This is a perfect recipe especially you can make several and freeze for a busy day. You just need to defrost ahead and pop in the (toaster)oven! It’s really simple to prepare, and cooking is all done in the (toaster)oven. :)

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  9. Hi Nami, I can see that you had a great time with your family in Taiwan :)
    I had never seen the salted salmon, sounds interesting! I’d love to try it one day. Thanks for sharing! The whole meal looks delicious!

    14
  10. It’s SO hard to get fresh fish here unless it’s farm-raised. I can get farm raised salmon, but it’s not near as good as wild salmon. However, I bet this is the perfect way to prepare it so that it actually has some flavor. Thank you so much for this recipe/process. It looks quite easy. I would just need to have some patience to wait for the 2 days in the fridge. :)

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  11. Wow, that’s really easy. My family loves salmons too. I gotta try this recipe soon. I think you’re right on, it’s better to prepare this at home so you can control the amount of salt in your recipe. 😉

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  12. Jayne

    I’ve never seen this before! And so happen I have some salmon fillets in my freezer right now. Going to try this. We love salmon in our household!

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  13. thanks for sharing this, nami ^^ it’s exactly what i need! though i really didn’t expect the use of sake for preparing this.. how interesting ^^ now i can say bye bye to store-bought salted salmon!

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  14. Home made is best…. what a wonderful tutorial. I wish I could taste it. We have a salted dried fish in Sri Lanka that is deepfried and I love it…I bet I would love this salted salmon too. :)

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  15. Oh what a delightful recipe for salted salmon! We ordered this a lot on our last trip to Tokyo and really loved it. It’s so good on rice or on udon noodles! I must try it soon. I’ll send my son this recipe ~ I’m sure he will love to make this as well. Thanks for sharing, Nami. Hope you’ve recovered from your family trip to Taiwan. I’m sure it was fun! Happy Mon.!

    33
  16. Wow! This does look incredibly easy. I’ve never had salted salmon before, but we do love our salmon here. I have a feeling we would really enjoy this. I hope you had a great family vacation Nami and that you’re getting settled in back at home. :)

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  17. This is a great idea Nami. I’ve never had salted salmon before, this sounds like a really appetizing and simple dish. Gonna go to the supermarket and get some nice salmon cuts tomorrow to make this, thanks!!

    40
  18. I am glad things are settling down Nami. Isn’t it funny how when you go on vacation, all you want is to try new and different food and when you come home all you want to have are simple recipes!
    I have never tried salted salmon before, it sounds really interesting

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  19. I have never been to Japan but know I know that I’ll love breakfast there. I much prefer savory breakfast than sugar loaded ones. Salmon is so delicious and this sounds perfect. I was thinking it would be something that took a couple of weeks to prepare. So happy that it’s easy and fast:) Thanks for sharing Nami!

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  20. All the hotels I’ve stayed at in Japan always had two breakfast menus. The hotels with the breakfast buffets were a dance for the eyes at all the different things people could choose for breakfast.

    These are such good photos.

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  21. Great easy and healthy dinner recipe Nami :) And Salmon is probably the only type of fish that I really like ~ I think I’m going to have to try this recipe soon! So easy to prepare and just wipe up after work.

    Thanks Nami for sharing!

    49
  22. Ooooh….I love this. I also made it but then I pan fry it. I must try to bake it too….less oily. So good for fried rice. I need to make again. Thanks very much for reminding.

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  23. This seem like a delicious meal. Salmon is my all time favorite fish. I was checking if Sake was Gluten free and it looks it is because it said that they make it from fermented rice. Will find out more.

    53
  24. Welcome back! It was really nice hearing about Taiwan, but I really did miss your comforting Japanese recipes. I love the simplicity of this dish. Does the sake remove some of the fish taste and make it more mellow? I adore your sweet little pea chopstick holders. Ja Mata, BAM

    57
    • Hi Bam! Yes, the sake to remove the fish smell. We use sake on fish and meat for the same reason. :) Ahh I’m so happy you noticed my new favorite pea chopstick! 😉

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  25. Yummy ~~ I love shiozake!! I can eat it plain over hot rice and that’s all. I make a lot and keep in the freezer for anytime “emergency” 😀

    59
  26. Wow, this is really an easy recipe, and it looks really good too! Since I usually buy big packets of fresh salmon from costco, I can stash away several slices to try making this the next time. Can’t wait to try homemade salted salmon! =)

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  27. I’ve never been to Japan and I truly hope I will be able to make this trip one day! Now I know what I will ask for breakfast once I will be there! Very beautiful pics Nami!

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  28. Hi, this recipe is so nice and I will definitely try it. It also looks so easy and if there is one fish that I can find really fresh in Sweden i salmon.
    Ciao.

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  29. So this is the famous salted salmon! I’m really grateful for this post because I remember I asked you what salted salmon meant (I have never seen it here). Some ready-to-cook food products are so easy to make at home that once we discover the method, we prefer to control the process ourselves.
    This is the reason why I make my own dashi. I find it very expensive here and at least I know that mine doesn’t contain salt, so I can add more miso 😉
    Thank you so much for this very useful and so well explained method! I am not surprised you have missed such a gorgeous Japanese breakfast :-)

    73
  30. Hi Nami – at first I thought this might be some sort of cured salmon, like the Swedish gravlax, but then I noticed it was cooked at the end. It looks so pretty with those cut slices. I remember when I was staying in the Izu peninsula in a traditional Japanese hotel… my ex-girlfriend was so mad because I slept in and missed the traditional breakfast (oops) – maybe they would have served something like this there! It looks very tasty though… I’ll remember to try it sometime!

    77
    • Hi Hatsuho! Yayy!! I’m so happy to hear you already tried this recipe and enjoyed it! Thanks so much for letting me know! :) Your meal is very healthy and delicious!!

      100
  31. Nami, just outdid yourself with this post for Salted Salmon! Not only does the recipe sound and look amazing, the pictures are just utterly fantastic! Your blog posts never cease to amaze me!

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  32. Ira Rodrigues

    I like this recipe so much nami! simple and absolutely seducing…to be honest, I only like to eat raw salmon with Japanese souya but after seeing your recipe I convinced to try it.

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  33. 簡単そうに見えて、結構手間かけてますね。やっぱりそこが、料理上手になるコツかな?手抜きの多い私、ちょっと反省。いつも美味しそう。

    86
  34. Simple homemade meal like this is always a winner, especially having to eat out most of the time on a holiday. Even if we treat ourselves at a good restaurant, the foods can be overly salted and heavy on oil. Glad to hear that you managed to get to the routine after a holiday. Love salmon cooked in any manner. My dad used to cook fish by curing them with salt. Although he hasn’t been making them for eons, I remember the taste was simply the best.

    87
  35. Your taiwan trip looks so fun! I miss taipei, especially the food.
    I’ve never tried this salted salmon before, and the trick of putting salt on the skin and season it for 2 days.. genius! just to clarify, it’s using grill and not baking in the oven, correct?

    90
    • Hi Shannon!

      I use a toaster oven for cooking my fish (very easy!), and my setting is usually “bake” and 400F. If you use a regular oven, please adjust the cooking time. :)

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  36. Wow Nami, what lovely photos in this post. I was really struck by that very first shot. Beautiful. :) This makes me so hungry to read! Love the idea of treating the fish with Sake first. I look forward to trying that. Hope you are well!

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  37. My husband would love this salmon dish too, too bad for me I am allergic to salmon so I have to pass on eating it but I love this post-your photos are spectacular;-) I’m glad you’re settling into your routine after your trip;-)

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  38. Welcome home! How nice to come back to simple, delicious food such as this salmon. I appreciate your detailed recipe and can’t wait to try it. I know my family will really enjoy this one!

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  39. We are very picky here at home with salmon recipes because the fish has strong taste. But I like how Japanese prepare salmon because there is no strong smell or taste that lingers! Maybe the diagonal cut has something to do with it, too – make it more fine and thin, therefore not much of the strong smell. I will definitely try this one at home. Can’t wait!

    98
  40. I’m not sure I’ve ever tried this in a Japanese restaurant, I’m very curious to give it a try at home next time I get salmon. I can certainly identify with longing simple homey food after a big trip. And what a gorgeous photo of the salmon!

    101
  41. I am so glad that you posted this. I am definitely going to try this. I am amazing on all you do Nami…with the travel, family, blog and much more. :) I have missed you and checking in here each day! Hope to have a working computer soon so I can keep in touch with everyone. Have a wonderful Christmas!

    104
    • Hi David! I’m really happy to hear you liked this recipe! Unfortunately I couldn’t see the link you provided (maybe because of your privacy setting), but I appreciate you stopped by to give me your feedback! Thank you!

      106
        • Hi David! Now I could see it! Thank you!! I tried to “share” the photo on my fan page but somehow I couldn’t. It looks perfect! I’m happy you enjoyed this dish.

          And how did the cheesecake go this time? I’m crossing my fingers. :)

          108
          • David Ng

            OK, I think I fixed it so you can share the photos on your fan page. I think it was a permissions issue on my end. Can you let me know if it works now?

            Also, I posted both the Japanese Salted Salmon and the recent Japanese Cheesecake pics up on your fan page. ^_^

            109
            • Thank you David! I got the pictures you uploaded to my fan page, and I could share from there. Thank you so much for sending! Your cheesecake method is awesome! I wish I have a bigger cake pan, but my ovens are relatively small so I assume I cannot fit… Thanks again!

              110
    • Hi Nic! For mackerel (鯖の塩焼き) you don’t really need to marinade for 2 days. You score the skin and sprinkle salt, then leave it for about 10 minutes. :) Hope this helps. :)

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    • It’s regular salmon and I bought them in Japanese grocery store. The cut is different and this is typical cut for Japanese salmon fillet. You can use salmon in any cut for this recipe. :)

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  42. Yesim

    I just ate the Shiozake that I cooked :) That is so tasty and easy, thanks for the recipe Nami. I am so happy to run across your website when I live in Japan.

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    • Hi Yesim! I’m so happy you liked it! It’s so easy to make, and the most difficult part is to wait for 2 days… You live in Japan? Enjoy your stay!! :)

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  43. Nat

    Hi nami! I love all your recipes and I’ve been looking up your blog again to find ideas on what to cook for my one year old boy who recently started refusing foods.. I was just wondering, do u think it is safe to soak salmon in sake if I were to serve it to a one year old? I’m thinking perhaps during cooking, all alcohol would have evaporated anyway but I thought I’d better ask… I’ll probably skip the salt on his portion or put very little salt, and just salt the rest of our portions. Do you think it would work? Thank you so much in advance!

    120
    • Hi Nat! Thank you so much for following my blog! I’m so sorry for my late response… a bit busy with holiday season. I understand your concern. For sake, most is evaporated and I (or most Japanese) don’t worry too much about alcohol content for a recipe like this. However you need to be careful with the salt content. You already mentioned that you won’t put too much salt. In a way, his salmon doesn’t have to have any salt at all – let him enjoy the natural flavor. Once he’s used to salty food from small child, he thinks food needs to be at certain level of saltiness and it’s hard to change. :) Hope you enjoy this recipe! :)

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  44. Olive Rentz

    Hello! I love your recipes, they all look so tasty! I have a question, I was wondering if there’s a substitute for sake? I’m only 14 and I don’t think I could get my hands on some. Haha. If you could answer, that would be awesome!

    Pleasure,
    Olive

    122
    • Hi Olive! Well, substitute for sake is still alcohol, so in your case, you can simply omit. FYI, in Asian store, there is “cooking” sake which include alcohol but not enough for drinking (therefore for cooking). Those are “condiments” and you should be able to buy it. :)

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  45. Hi Nami!

    I LOVE this recipe. I’ve been making it frequently and my fiance’ who used to brag about how much he hated fish and all seafood, loves this!
    I wanted to ask if the skin needs to be scaled. They don’t scale fish here in Italy..but I still eat it haha. I also just make a big piece instead of slicing them into small pieces. It still tastes fantastic! Thanks for sharing! You are my source of Asian cooking 😉

    xxx
    Catt

    124
    • Hi Catt! I’m so glad to hear you enjoy this recipe. Sure, you can use a big piece too. Typical Japanese salted salmon is always sliced in angle and thin, just like how you see in the picture. Depending on the thickness, time you leave the salmon is different, especially if you use a whole block of salmon, the surface area is limited. And yes, you should scale fish (usually any kinds of fish) before cooking. :)

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  46. Karen

    I love salted salmon. When we used to get it in Japan it was always in the form of a salmon steak though – with the skin all along the outside and the bone in the middle.

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  47. Diane

    Hi Nami,

    I’m trying out this recipe and realise I can’t figure out how to cut the salmon as nicely as you did yours! Mine all look really bad =(
    Possible to share a video on how to slice up a slab of salmon into this size?
    Thanks much!
    Hope the taste of my salmon turns out ok =)

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  48. Hanatsuki Kitsune

    Sounds delicious! I heard somewhere that sometimes salmon flakes are stored in jars in the fridge and can be given as gifts. Is this the recipe for that?

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    • Yes, you can shred the salmon and keep them in a jar. However, those store-bought jars have preservatives to keep it longer, but for home use, you should finish it soon, or freeze it. :)

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