Easy Marinated Herring

We don’t always find it easy to get fresh herring in our area, so this recipe is a quick and painless way to freshen up jarred, marinated herring from the supermarket, resulting in a very acceptable version of the traditional Scandinavian cold table favorite.

Easy Marinated Herring

Easy Marinated Herring

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Store-bought marinated herring gets a fresh makeover in this easy recipe that replicates the traditional Scandinavian favorite.


  • 1 jar (8-ounce) herring
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon aquavit (see recipe notes)
  • 6 allspice berries (see recipe notes)
  • 3 juniper berries (see recipe notes)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced paper thin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped


  1. In a glass measure, combine the vinegar and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the aquavit, allspice and juniper berries.
  2. Drain the jarred herring in a colander and rinse in cold water. Remove the herring pieces, pat dry with paper towels and cut into uniform bite-sized pieces. Place half of the herring in a single layer in a glass bowl. Top with half of the onions and dill, repeat with the remaining ingredients and pour the marinade over the fish.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours. To serve, drain the excess liquid and discard the berries. Garnish with additional fresh dill if desired.


Recipe Notes:

The aquavit, allspice and juniper add some unique character to this dish, but any or all of them can be easily omitted without sacrificing the overall sweet and pungent flavor.