Marinierter Hering

Marinierter Hering, or marinated herring, is a classic dish in German and Scandinavian cuisine. It features herring fillets marinated in a flavorful mixture, often including vinegar, onions, spices, and sometimes sugar. It’s typically served cold and is a popular dish during festive seasons and as part of a cold buffet. Here’s a traditional recipe for marinierter Hering:

Marinierter Hering (Marinated Herring)


  • For the Herring:
    • 6-8 herring fillets (salted or pickled), rinsed and soaked in water if too salty
    • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
    • 2-3 bay leaves
    • 10-12 whole black peppercorns
    • 4-5 whole allspice berries
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 2 cloves
    • 1 cup white vinegar
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional, to taste)
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • Fresh dill, chopped (optional, for garnish)


  1. Prepare the Herring Fillets:
    • If using salted herring fillets, rinse them thoroughly under cold water. Soak them in a bowl of cold water for a few hours to reduce the saltiness, changing the water a couple of times. Drain well.
  2. Prepare the Marinade:
    • In a saucepan, combine the white vinegar, water, sugar (if using), and salt. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
    • Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice berries, mustard seeds, and cloves to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the marinade cool to room temperature.
  3. Assemble the Marinade with Herring:
    • In a clean, non-reactive container (such as a glass or ceramic dish), layer the herring fillets and sliced onions.
    • Pour the cooled marinade over the herring and onions, ensuring everything is well-submerged. Cover the container tightly with a lid or plastic wrap.
  4. Marinate:
    • Refrigerate the herring for at least 24 hours, preferably 2-3 days, to allow the flavors to meld and the herring to absorb the marinade.
  5. Serve:
    • Before serving, you can garnish the marinated herring with fresh dill.
    • Serve the herring cold, as part of a cold buffet, or as an appetizer. It pairs well with boiled potatoes, rye bread, or crispbread, and can be accompanied by sour cream or a light vinaigrette.


  • If you prefer a sweeter marinade, you can adjust the amount of sugar to taste.
  • You can add thinly sliced carrots and beets to the marinade for added flavor and color.
  • For a creamier version, you can mix some of the marinated herring with sour cream, diced apples, and chopped pickles just before serving.

Marinierter Hering is a flavorful and refreshing dish that’s perfect for special occasions or as a tasty addition to everyday meals. Enjoy!