Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.

Pickled Herring

Christmas, Fish & seafood, Holiday, LunchTove Balle-PedersenComment
Pickled Herring

Pickled Herring

9th Day of Christmas.

Pickled herring is an acquired taste, but it is a staple at every holiday lunch parties in Denmark. The fresh herring is cleaned and salted before getting pickled, aka marinated in a sugary vinegar dressing. The flavoring can vary, but this is the most basic and classic version. 



  • 200 g salted herring fillets
  • 4-500 ml water

Pickling Solution:

  • 150 g sugar
  • 200 ml white vinegar
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leave
  • 10 whole black peppercorns


Rinse the salted herring fillets, and place them in a large shallow pan where they need to soak in cold water for 12-18 hours. The fillets have to be completely covered in water, but you need to have as much water as you do herring. This will remove the worst saltiness from the herring. After 12 hours take a small bite to test the saltiness. The fish has to be more salty than you would like to eat, the saltiness will mix with the pickling solution.

 Put all the ingredients for the pickling solution in a large pan, and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, and remove from heat, and let it cool completely. 

Place the herring fillets in a large glass jar and pour the cooled pickling solution over. Again you want to have as much pickling solution as herring. Let the herring pickle covered in the refrigerator for at least 3 days before serving. The herring will keep in the refrigerator 14-16 days.