Pickled Herring on Rye Toast

Well shoot, I’ll say it—I love pickled herring! Pickled herring, śledzie in Polish, are popular throughout the entire Baltic region. There are even a few bars in Kraków dedicated to herring and vodka (oh yes, I went…listen man, to each his own).

I almost never do the pickling myself, but luckily there are some pretty good jarred varieties out there. I use herring that are seasoned and pickled with a lot of onions, so I don’t have to add much myself. You can find good herring in most Eastern European stores, and often times in most grocery stores.

If you want to make your own, I have included a recipe below.


  • 9-10 oz. jarred pickled herring with onion
  • 3 slices rye bread
  • 2 tbsp coarse chopped fresh dill
  • 2 oz. cream cheese


Allow cream cheese to soften at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes.

Toast rye bread and cut bread and spread very thin layer of cream cheese on bread. Then, cut bread into quarters.

Add herring fillet on top of bread with spread. Top with dill and serve.

Recipe for making pickled herring:

  • 1.5 – 2 lbs. salted herrings
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 10 full stems fresh dill
  • 2-inch piece fresh horseradish, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut into thirds

Soak the salted fillets in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator for at least 12 (max 24) hours, changing the water at least twice.

In a saucepan, combine water, vinegar, allspice, mustard seeds, pepper, bay leaves, and sugar, and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Drain and rinse the fillets with cold water and pat dry. Remove bones and cut into 2-in. strips

Thinly slice onion, and arrange herring and onion, garlic, dill, and horseradish in alternate layers in sterilized jars. Cover with pickling liquid and close the jars.

Refrigerate at least 3 days before serving. These will keep for approximately 3 weeks.


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