There is no party in Germany that doesn't feature herring salad on the table. It's typical for Hamburg, where it's often served between Christmas and New Year. It's a very hearty and also sour dish – perfect after having eaten all those sweets over the festive season.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (15 votes)


  • 10 Matjes fillets (pickled herring)
  • 200 g bottled or canned beetroot, drained, diced
  • 2 white onions, finely diced
  • 150 g roast beef, diced
  • 250 g gherkins, diced
  • 250 g peeled apple, diced
  • ¼ cup (45 g) baby capers
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • black rye bread to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Soaking time 1-2 hours

Cover Matjes fillets with water and leave for 1-2 hours to wash off the salt. Drain and dry with paper towel, and cut into dice.

Bring a small saucepan of water to boil over medium-high heat. Add eggs, lower heat and gently simmer until hard boiled (8-10 minutes), place into cold water and peel. Combine Matjes, beetroot, onions, roast beef, gherkins, apples and capers in a bowl or on a platter. Mix oil and vinegar, and drizzle over salad. Coarsely grate eggs over the salad and serve immediately.


• Matjes fillets are available at selected Continental delicatessens and selected supermarkets.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.