Pickle Herring for Polish Rollmops (Rolmopsy)

Pickle herring for polish rollmops recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Freeze Time: 72 hrs
Total: 73 hrs
Servings: 9 servings
Yield: 18 rolls
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
76 Calories
6g Fat
4g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 9
Amount per serving
Calories 76
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 170mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 24mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 62mg 1%
*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.)

This recipe for Polish herring rollmops or rolmopsy marynowany w oleju (rrohl-MOHP-sih mah-rrin-oh-VAH-nih vef oh-LAY-yoo), or "rollmops marinated in oil," is from chef Marek (Mark) Widomski, founder, and director of the Culinary Institute in Cracow, Poland. It calls for whole salt herring that you clean and marinate yourself. It will take at least three days to pickle the herring, so plan accordingly. If you can't find whole salt herrings at an international deli, Nordic House is a good online source.

Traditionally, unskinned Bismarck herring fillets are used to make rollmops, a name derived from the German rollen or "to roll" plus mops or "pug dog." The connection to the pug dog is less clear.

Rollmops are easily prepared at home and recipes vary by region and taste. But, typically, salted herring fillets are soaked in water, spread with mustard and rolled up with a piece of pickled gherkin or pickled onion in the middle. A toothpick holds its shape. The rolled fillets are then transferred to a preserving jar and topped with a warm marinade made from vinegar, water, chopped onion, peppercorns, bay leaves, and mustard seeds. The rolls are marinated in the refrigerator for up to five days at which time they are ready for consumption and can then be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 additional days.

Here's another Polish rollmops recipe that is made with purchased marinated herring. All you do is stuff and fill them. And in this recipe for Herring in oil from chef Marek, cleaned salt herring is not rolled but simply cut into bite-size pieces and marinated in oil and spices for several days.


  • 4 whole salt herrings

  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons Polish grainy mustard

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 2 medium pickles, quartered

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or sunflower oil

  • 1 pinch sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pickled herring recipe
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Remove the heads from the herrings. Soak in a large pan of cold water about 24 hours, changing the water two to three times.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. To clean, make sure there are no scales on the fish. Slit the belly and remove the intestines. Remove the milt from male herring and set aside. Remove the roe from female herring and discard it. Wash the herring cavities well. Remove the bones.

    Filet fish
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. You should have 8 fillets. Spread each with some of the pepper, mustard, and onion. Place a pickle portion at the small end or large end of the fillet, as you prefer, and roll up, securing with a toothpick.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Place in a clean, sterilized jar. Continue with remaining fillets.

    Place in jar
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, water, bay leaf, and any remaining chopped onion to a full rolling boil. Let cool to lukewarm. Remove milt, if using, from sac and rub it through a sieve into the vinegar mixture.

    Add onion
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Add oil and sugar, and mix well. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Pour lukewarm pickling liquid over herring.

    Add oil
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Cover the jar and refrigerate three to five days at which time the herring will be ready to eat. It can be refrigerated for up to 10 additional days.

    Cover lid
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. This can be served as an appetizer or a main course with boiled potatoes and rye bread.

    Serve pickle herring
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga