Pickled Herring

NotesBlue herring is best for pickling. Mackerel or bluefish make good second choices. The pickling time depends on the thickness of the fish.


Cooking Methodpickling



Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseappetizer

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, low calorie, low carb, peanut free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealbrunch, dinner

Taste and Texturesalty, sweet, tart


  • 1 2/3 cups salt
  • 2 pounds herring fillets with skin, cut into 2-inch chunks (see Note)
  • 3 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spices
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded, deveined, and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined, and chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


  1. In a large nonreactive soup pot, add the salt to 1 gallon of water. Stir well and allow to sit until the salt dissolves, stirring occasionally.

  2. Rinse the fish fillets in cold water. Add the fillets to the salt brine and set aside for 45 minutes.

  3. In a nonreactive medium saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

  4. When the pickling mixture is cool, add the red and green peppers, white and red onions, and the dill. Drain the herring completely and add to the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days, gently stirring occasionally.

  5. Pack the herrings and vegetables in sterilized jars and fill with the pickling liquid. Cover and refrigerate. (Marinated fish will keep up to 3 weeks.)


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