Polish Herrings in Oil (Sledz w Oleju)

Polish Herrings in Oil (Sledz w Oleju) in a white plate

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 70 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Marinate: 48 hrs
Total: 49 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
19 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 19
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 150901mg 6,561%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 0g
Calcium 122mg 9%
*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 herrings in oil, sledz w oleju (SHLEDGE vef oh-LAY-yoo), is from chef Marek (Mark) Widomski, founder, and director of the Culinary Institute in Cracow, Poland. Herring is one of Poland's favorite appetizers. Salt herring, required for this recipe, are generally available from the barrel at Polish, Jewish, and other international delis. Raw herring is heavily salted to prevent spoilage, so you will need to soak them to get rid of the saltiness.

Poles love herring in myriad forms—pickled, creamed, fried, whole, fillets—and in another appetizer recipe known as rollmops or rolmopsy in Polish. 

Herring is featured throughout the year in Poland but especially at holiday times like Christmas Eve, known as wigilia, New Year's Eve celebrations, and on Shrove Tuesday before Lent.


  • 8 salt herring fillets
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, or enough to cover the fish
  • 3 allspice seeds
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Polish Herrings in Oil (Sledz w Oleju) ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Soak herring in cold water for at least 1 hour. If very salty, repeat, changing the water each time.

    herring in a bowl with water

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Drain thoroughly and slice herring into bite-size pieces.

    Chopped herring on a cutting board with a knife

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Place in a jar large enough to accommodate the pieces and cover with oil, allspice, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Close the jar. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 days before eating. This will keep refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

    Herrings with oil, allspice, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a jar

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Serve with finely chopped onion or onion slices, lemon, and parsley or dill.

    Polish Herrings in Oil (Sledz w Oleju) served with finely sliced onions, lemon, and parsley in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga