Homemade Pickled Herring Recipe- Paleo, Sweetener Free, GAPS Legal

When doing a strict paleo diet, one of the hardest things for me to figure out was breakfast for myself. You see, I grew up never ever ever eating meat in the morning, not bacon, not sausages, nothing meat. It always was dairy for breakfast, maybe eggs. And sometimes vegan, if I included a vegan protein source like peanut butter or otherwise.
So wrapping my mind around eating meat for breakfast- well, I'll do it, but I was looking for some alternatives.
Eggs, of course, are the obvious breakfast choice for paleo eaters, however, since my body really doesn't tolerate eggs (and I've tried so many ways to get it to tolerate eggs, from duck eggs to egg yolks only, baked eggs, etc...) I needed to figure out something else.
And then I thought- pickled herring!

I figured it should be simple enough to find some paleo herring, but nope, not easy at all, since pickled herring nearly always contains sugar and many of them contain vegetable oils as well.
Therefore, I decided to make my own pickled herring.
No, I didn't make it entirely from scratch, since herring are usually salted right on the boat, and it is nearly impossible to get them fresh. I used the salted herring that I got and used it to make my pickled herring.
It came out delicious, better than store bought pickled herring if I may say so myself. As for if it is cheaper- I don't know. I didn't do a cost comparison. Next time I make it, I will try and see if it is cheaper or not.
My kids really liked this, as did everyone in my family.

Homemade Pickled Herring Recipe- Paleo, Sweetener Free, GAPS Legal

3 whole salted herrings, filleted
1 onion
1 apple (of a sweet variety- I used Golden Delicious)
1 teaspoon  mustard seeds
2 teaspoons allspice berries
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
3 cloves
1 lemon

1. First you need to fillet your herrings if they aren't already filleted. I used the instructions in this video to fillet my herrings. Don't just throw out the innards though- remove the "good stuff" like the hearts and livers and enjoy them- they taste good.

2. Soak your filleted herring in water for a few hours to remove some of the salt.

3. Chop up your apples, onions, and lemons. I did my lemons and onions in rings and apples diced.

4. Slice up your herring.

5. Put the herring, onion, apples, lemon, cloves, allspice, mustard seeds, and peppercorns into jars. I used one big jar and one medium sized jar.

6. Mix your water and vinegar, and pour into the jars, making sure the liquid goes between the packed mixture.

7. Let sit to marinate for 2-3 days.


Are you a fan of herring? Does your family like to eat it? Do you usually buy your herring ready made or have you ever made your own homemade pickled herring? Does this seem like a recipe you'd enjoy?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. I have not had pickled herring often (too expensive) but I like it. I will certainly try this recipe, maybe even for breakfast.

  2. is it made with raw herring? we do not get herring here in Bangladesh but mackerel is available & I thought of doing it with that cant eat salty foods so thought of just cooking it lightly & putting it in a jar we do not get good apples so is there any substitute?

    1. salt is a preservative so you can't make true pickles without it. You could probably get a similar affect by blanching the mackerel and soaking it in vinegar and the listed seasoning. The apples make it sweet, so the substitute would be any other sweetener, even sugar, which is also a preservative.

    2. thanks a lot plan to get mackerel & try it using the spices

  3. let sit on counter or in fridge?
    I am in a city close to yours,
    and not sure if I can find salted herring in store,
    but if I do, not sure about leaving it out in the heat.
    liza bennett

  4. That recipe reminds me of my Minnesota relatives -- always looking for ways to eat herring! Wanted to also give you a tip on a new coupon website to check out. T Coupons can help you save lots of cash! http://www.tcoupons.com/ Thanks for the great tips and I'll be back to see what else you're making...

Previous Post Next Post