How to Cure Sardines

Image of Sardines Curing

Molly Watson

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Curing Time: 36 hrs
Total: 36 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 12 sardines
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
54 Calories
3g Fat
0g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 37mg 12%
Sodium 9511mg 414%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 105mg 8%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 105mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sardines are wonderfully flavorful and nutritious little fish. Curing them with a bit of salt overnight softens their strong flavor and makes them perfect for topping salads, putting on toast or bagels and cream cheese, or serving as an easy, elegant appetizer.

Cured sardines can be kept, covered with oil, for up to a week. As you might guess from looking at it, this recipe is easy to double or triple as needed.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Use a sharp knife to cut off the heads of the sardines just past where their gills are. Cut a slit down their bellies to the tail. Under running water open them up and slip out their guts. (You can ask your fishmonger to do this, but if you're new to cleaning fish, sardines are a super easy first attempt!) Don't bother trying to remove the skin, it's much easier to slip off after they've been cured.

  3. Rinse the fish clean and pat them dry. Place them in a baking pan or similar container and sprinkle them on both sides with the salt. Cover the pan thoroughly with plastic wrap (a few layers is in order) and tuck the pan in the fridge for about 2 days (36 to 48 hours).

  4. Remove the sardines from the pan and rinse them clean of salt. Peel off their skin, if you like (it's easy to do now), and serve or cover them completely with oil and store them in the fridge for up to a week.

  5. Enjoy!