How to pickle mackerel

How to pickle mackerel

How to pickle mackerel

Pickling fish is a common Scandinavian technique. Originally conceived to preserve the fish, it is now used to add flavour and sharpness. Oily fish are particularly well-suited to pickling, which is why pickled mackerel is one of the most common pickled fish you'll find.

While you can buy pickled mackerel in the shops, it's incredibly easy to make at home and means it will be free from unnatural preservatives and you have total control over the flavours in the pickling liquor. Always use the freshest fillets you can find. The pickled mackerel recipe below is a great starting point, but do get inventive with herbs, spices and aromatics in the pickling liquor to add even more flavour – simply add them to the pan along with the water, vinegar, sugar and salt.



Mix the white wine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan and place over a medium heat
Bring to the boil then remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature
Place the fillets flesh-side down in a single layer in a dish and cover with the pickling liquid
Refrigerate for 1 hour then remove the mackerel and pat dry. When removed from the pickling liquid, the mackerel can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days.


The pickle can be further flavoured with herbs and spices such as bay leaf, peppercorns, chilli, fennel seeds and star anise.

Serving suggestions

Pickled mackerel goes wonderfully in a salad with fennel and cucumber. Try Christoffer Hruskova’s Pickled mackerel with buttermilk snow, cucumber and dill.