How to Make Schmaltz Herring

by Francis Keaveney ; Updated September 28, 2017

Start to Finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 9 to 12

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Schmaltz herring is a mature herring caught when it has a high concentration of fat. It is then cured by pickling before it's eaten. It has an acquired taste and smell that is enjoyed in Jewish and Scandinavian cuisine. Curing herring is a two-step process that begins with salt; you can buy salted herring fillets from a local butcher. This recipe is adapted from's DIY Pickled Herring.


  • 2 pounds salt herring fillets (skin intact) 
  • 2 cups water (for soaking) 
  • 3⁄4 cup additional water  
  • 3⁄4 cup white vinegar  
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed 
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice 
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds 
  • 2 whole garlic cloves 
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar  
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced 
  • 1 bay leaf  
  • 1 sprig fresh dill 


Serving Suggestions

Pickled herring is eaten on special occasions, such as Shabbat meals on Jewish Shabbat, or Sabbath, days. It can be served with potato salad with sour cream, cheese and rye bread or as a side dish with rice. You can enjoy pickled herring with beer or boiled potatoes with butter.

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About the Author

Francis Keaveney has been a chef and writer since 2011. He has worked in Japan, Korea and is currently based in London. He holds a Master of Arts in contemporary history from Birmingham University.