Creamed herring, made with sour cream, apples, and onions, is a traditional matjes herring preparation. Some recipes also include ingredients such as yogurt, mayonnaise, or heavy cream.
Herring in creamy sauce is one of my favorite summertime meals, especially when paired with a crisp white wine or an Apfelschorle (apple juice with sparkling water).
If you enjoy herring or have leftover herring from this dish, try this quick and tasty herring sandwich aka Herringsbrötchen.
The delicious herring specialty is seasonal. In the months of May, June, and July, herring are typically refined into matjes after being caught.
The specialty is made by washing and then pickling herring. Pickling in brine allows the flavor to ripen optimally. Natural enzymes allow the herring meat to mature to the incomparable, tender matie.
The young herrings are throated immediately after the catch, usually while still on the fishing boats. Maties are said to have been invented around 1395 by Dutch fisherman Wilhelm Beukelzoon, who forgot to remove the fish's pancreas after cutting the throat.
He salted the herring as usual for preservation, and pancreatic enzymes added a unique flavor and improved fermentation.
For salting, matie herrings are traditionally stored in oak barrels. The technique of non-complete gutting described above is the key to its unique flavor.
How is this dish called in German?
This amazing fish dish is called "Hering in Sahnesauce" or “Matjeshering nach Hausfrauen Art”. “Hausfrau” is the German word for “Housewife” and "Matjeshering" means matie herring.
How do you pronounce "Matjeshering nach Hausfrauenart" in German?
Creamy Matjes Herring
This matjes herring in cream sauce recipe is a straightforward and easy dish, that tastes especially good in the summer time, due to the tangy-fresh sauce, which makes it deliciously light.
Matjes herring can be difficult to find in your local supermarket. However, the herrings specialty is available at Costco and quite often in European grocery stores.
- matjes herring filets
- sour cream
- heavy whipping cream
- bread and butter pickles
- lemon juice
See recipe card for quantities.
With just a few ingredients, you can make the creamed herring specialty from scratch.
In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream and heavy whipping cream.
Stir in the salt, pepper, sugar, and lemon juice.
Peel and core the apple, then cut it into thin slices. Peel and thinly slice the onion.
Cube pickles finely. Mix in the apple, onion, and pickles with the cream.
Rinse the herring filets, then pat them dry with a paper towel.
Then cut them into 2-inch-wide slices and add them to the bowl.
Chop the dill finely, add it with the herring to the bowl, and combine everything gently.
Marinate in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
- Low Carb / Keto - The apple adds delicious flavor to the dish, but if you're watching your carb intake, feel free to leave it out entirely or use only half of the apple called for in the recipe.
- Dairy free - Replace heavy cream with dairy-free cream. To make this dish dairy-free, simply replace the sour cream with a vegan alternative.
Try this alternative flavor combination:
- Pear - Swap out the apple for a pear. Pear's natural sweetness complements the herring's saltiness beautifully.
The dish is not only delicious, but it also leaves behind very few dirty plates, which is always a plus.
- cutting board
- medium sized bowl
Traditionally, you would serve this dish with fried or boiled potatoes or a crispy roll, but it also tastes great as a topping for jacket potatoes or potato pancakes.
Served on small slices of pumpernickel, this recipe makes a great appetizer and looks just like something served in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
The dish can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I don't recommend freezing this dish.
Make this creamed herring dish the day before you plan to serve it to guests. This will alleviate stress during cooking and allow the herring to fully absorb the flavorings.
Creamed Herring - Matjes Herring in Cream Sauce
- 10 matjes herring filets
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 14 oz. bread and butter pickles
- 1 large apple
- 1 large onion
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ½ bunch dill
- Mix sour cream and heavy whipping cream in a bowl.
- Add salt, pepper, sugar and lemon juice and stir well.
- Peel and core apple. Cut into fine slices.
- Peel and cut onion into fine slices.
- Finely cube pickles.
- Add apple, onion and pickles to the bowl.
- Rinse herring filets, cut into 2-inch-wide slices and add to the bowl.
- Chop dill finely and add to the bowl.
- Mix gently and allow to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.