Skip to Content

What to Serve with Pickled Herring? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Pickled herring is a popular food or ingredient in many dishes in European cuisines.

It’s a traditional method of preserving herring either by curing or pickling.

It’s also served on many occasions, like Christmas eve and other social events.

Pickled herring is one of the most frequently served dishes in several European countries, and it’s usually paired with different items.

Boiled potatoes, sour cream, crispbread, and sandwiches are some items to enjoy with pickled herring.

If you want to know what to serve with pickled herring, don’t look further because you will see the names of the ten best items to have with pickled herring below.

Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Pickled Herring?

It’s a delicacy, but it’s impractical to eat pickled herring on its own because it has an acidic and salty flavor.

You’ll have a balanced meal when you serve other items like the ones mentioned above.

It will also look awkward if you serve only pickled herring at dinner or any party you host.

You have to add side dishes, or you won’t have enough food for everyone.

How can it be fun when you only have pickled herring for a meal? It will be boring even if you’re alone having food.

You’ll enjoy your meal only when you have extra items.

You’ll feel full and also absorb all the essential nutrients.

What to Serve with Pickled Herring? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Here are some dishes to serve with pickled herring.

1 – Dark Rye Bread

Bread is a typical food served with pickled herring.

Among various bread types, dark rye bread is one of the most popular kinds that people et with pickled fish.

It’s a bread made of rye flour from the edible grains of cereal rye or winter rye plant.

The bread gets its dark hue from other ingredients like cocoa powder, brown sugar, and molasses.

It also contains caraway seeds which gives a slight crunch.

Dark rye bread makes a fantastic pairing with pickled herring.

You can eat the two items separately or place the pickled fish on the bread and eat it like bruschetta or a sandwich.

2 – Sour Cream

It may seem odd, but sour cream is a popular side dish with pickled herring and many other foods.

It has a tangy flavor, as the name suggests, and complements foods with different tastes.

Sour cream is readily available at the stores, so you won’t have trouble getting hold of it.

However, it’s also easy to make sour cream from scratch.

Hence, instead of buying readymade stuff, you can make it home.

Freshly made sour cream will be yummy, and everyone can enjoy the combo with pickled herring.

You’ll need milk, heavy cream, and distilled white vinegar to make homemade sour cream.

However, it needs at least 24 hours to set, so you have to make it in advance.

You can also use buttermilk instead of vinegar and milk if you have the former and not the latter.

3 – Boiled Potatoes

Spuds appear in almost all side dishes lists, but that’s because they’re versatile, delicious, readily available, and combine nicely with pickled herring.

There are many ways to cook potatoes, and any dish will taste great.

But pickled herring is typically served with boiled potatoes, so we added the dish to this list.

You don’t have to undergo many steps to boil potatoes.

If you have waxy potatoes like red or new, butter, salt, pepper, and garlic, your potatoes will be perfect.

While new and red potatoes boil the best and hold their shape, you can use Yukon gold, too, if you can’t get the other two.

It’s an all-purpose potato and can substitute for most potato varieties.

4 – Sandwiches

Like boiled potatoes, sandwiches are also compatible with pickled herring.

The combo makes a fine pairing and can be suitable to serve at large gatherings.

There are two ways you can serve them.

First of all, you can serve them separately and eat them one after the other, and secondly, you can include the fish in the sandwiches as an ingredient.

You can make the sandwich with various items like cucumber, tomato, onion, cheese, and other ingredients.

Any fresh vegetable will work with cured fish, so you have plenty of options.

5 – Crisp Bread

Crispbread, also called knackerbrod, hartbrod or crisp bread, is a kind of flat and dry bread that resembles a cracker.

It’s a staple in Nordic and Scandinavian countries and is often served with pickled herring.

It’s a savory bread made of rye flour, salt, and water.

Since it’s dry and lightweight, crisp bread can remain fresh for long periods.

So, it’s safe to make the bread in advance.

If you aren’t in a position to make crispbread, you can find readymade products from numerous brands at the store.

So, you can find the best crispbread and serve those with cured fish.

6 – Cucumber Salad

Salads work with pickled fish, so the list will be incomplete without them.

They bring a fresh aspect to your meal, balanced flavors, and cleanse your palate.

Cucumber salad is one of the most straightforward but versatile and popular.

You can also find cucumbers all year round so it’s convenient to make the dish.

You don’t have to go to extra lengths to make cucumber salad.

If you have the veggie, onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper and lemon juice, the salad will be awesome.

But cucumber is a perishable rather than a hardy vegetable for storage.

So buy fresh veggies and use them fast, or they won’t taste great.

7 – Steamed Broccoli

Earlier, we mentioned that pickled fish pairs well with any veggie so here is a dish you and your guests will love.

Steamed broccoli is simple but delicious and makes a lovely combo with cured fish.

Broccoli isn’t only tasty but also a nutritional powerhouse that contains many nutrients.

So, you get to absorb the goodness and enjoy the delicate flavor.

Steamed broccoli is easy to cook, and there isn’t any need to use many ingredients.

Broccoli can get mushy if cooked too long.

They have to be just crisp-tender, so see that you don’t go beyond the recommended cooking time.

8 – Chopped Chives and Onions

If you’re short of time and don’t have sufficient extra dishes, fresh chopped chives and onions can also work as a side dish for pickled herring.

The two veggies belong to the allium family and have similar features.

When considering serving chopped chives and onions as a side dish, you don’t have to do much.

You only have to prep the veggies, chop them and serve them in a bowl.

You can top the fish with the veggies and eat them together.

However, you have to use fresh veggies.

Onions are hardy but chives are perishable.

So, you have to use them as soon as you buy the veggies.

If you buy them in advance, store them properly in the fridge.

9 – Hard Cheese

Cheese is also an excellent item to serve with pickled herring.

They’re compatible and don’t overwhelm each other.

Cheese is also a convenient item to serve, as there’s no cooking involved.

There are various types of cheese to choose from, so you have several options.

However, hard cheese, especially the sharp variety, matches the best with pickled herring.

Cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere, Asiago, Manchego, and Emmental are some hard cheese varieties you can serve with cured herring.

You can taste each one with the fish and serve the ones that bring out the best flavor.

10 – Arugula Salad

We’re ending the list with a salad that offers freshness and goodness simultaneously.

It’s arugula salad, and it complements pickled herring.

It tones down the saltiness and tangy flavor and balances the meal, so you have a good combo.

Making arugula salad is simple, just like any other green salad.

Besides, you don’t have to use too many ingredients.

You’ll need arugula leaves, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice, and salt and pepper, and your salad will be lovely.

Older arugula leaves have a stronger flavor which can be unpleasant for some people.

So, make the salad with baby arugula leaves, as they’re milder in taste.


With the presentation of ten items, you won’t have to worry too much about side dishes when you serve pickled herring.

Each one is yummy and complements the pickle, so you have several choices.

You can make several items when you have more guests and go with fewer items when there are only a few people to eat.

But be sure to use a different dish each time and not repeat any dish, or it can get tedious.

What to Serve with Pickled Herring? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Complete your pickled herring experience with these 10 best side dishes that will complement the briny and tangy flavors of the fish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Dark Rye Bread
  • Sour Cream
  • Boiled Potatoes
  • Sandwiches
  • Crisp Bread
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Steamed Broccoli
  • Chopped Chives and Onions
  • Hard Cheese
  • Arugula Salad


  • Pick your favorite recipe from the article.
  • Organize your ingredients and utensils.
  • Follow the detailed instructions in the recipe to make your side dish.
  • Prepare and serve for delicious meal!
Keyword What to Serve with Pickled Herring
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating