How To Pickle Fish | Discover The Delicious Pickling Secrets

How To Pickle Fish

The following is an article on how to pickle fish. Pickled fish is an excellent way to preserve fish for future consumption. And fish is a healthy snack you can eat any time. Fish provides your body with fatty acids that are great for cholesterol-lowering. I enjoy eating pickled fish with crackers as a midnight snack.

In this article, I will show you what ingredients are involved in pickling fish and how to go about sealing the pickled fish so you can store the fish for future use.

Ingredients Used In Pickling Fish

There are Eight ingredients that go into pickling fish. Here is what you will need:

  1. Distilled  White Vinegar
  2. Red Wine Vinegar
  3. White Wine – Any brand of white wine will do.
  4. White Sugar
  5. Pickling or Canning Salt
  6. Peppercorn
  7. White Onion
  8. Fish Fillets

That’s it just eight easy-to-find ingredients to pickle fish. You might have all these ingredients in your kitchen right now. If you don’t, it will take a quick trip to the grocery store to get them. Or if you are lucky enough to live in a big city that has Amazon grocery delivery, you could do that as well.

The white wine can be substituted with blush if that’s what you have on hand. And all these ingredients can be any brand you choose. By the way, the fish tastes better if you catch it yourself lol! You can use just about any kind of freshwater fish for this pickling recipe.

How To Pickle Fish – The Recipe

How To Make Pickled Fish

The recipe for pickling fish is very straightforward, and you don’t have to have a degree in fine cuisine to do this. Here is what you need and how to go about whipping this pickled fish recipe out.

  • Fish Fillets – First you want to get four to five pounds of fish fillets. Make sure that your skin and debone the fillets before proceeding.
  • Onion – You will want to have a medium white onion. Slice the onion thin like you would for when slicing them up to put on a hamburger. Don’t dice the onion.
  • Distilled Vinegar – 1 ½ Cups of Distilled White Vinegar.
  • Red Wine Vinegar –  ½ Cup of Red Wine Vinegar.
  • Pickling Salt – ½ Cup of Pickling or Canning Salt
  • White Sugar – 1 Cup of White Sugar
  • White Wine – ¾ Cup of White Wine
  • Peppercorn – 2 Tablespoons of Peppercorn. You can use more if you like a stronger spice taste to your pickled fish.

Pickled Fish Recipe Directions

  1. First, you will want to freeze the fish fillets for about three or more days. After the fish has been frozen you will want to thaw them out in the refrigerator this helps keep the fish fillets firm.
  2. You will want to cut the fish fillets into 2” pieces. You can cut them up smaller if you wish. The size of the fish pieces depends on what size jars you will be putting the pickled fish in.
  3. For this recipe, we will be using five-pint-sized jars. You can use smaller containers if you want smaller servings, but you will need more jars. Also if you are using smaller than pint-sized jars, you will want to cut the fish fillets smaller at about 1” pieces. Next, place the fish pieces and onions in layers in the jars.
  4.  Now tighten the lids on the jars and put them in the refrigerator.

Preparing The Pickling Brine

While the fish pieces and onions are marinating in the refrigerator, it’s time to cook the pickling brine that will go in the jars of fish and onions.

  1. You will need a saucepan. Pour in the saucepan the wine, sugar, peppercorn, pickling salt and both kinds of vinegar.
  2. Bring the pickling brine to a boil. Dissolve the sugar by stirring the brine mixture constantly. Once the sugar is dissolved turn the heat off and let the brine mixture cool.

How To Pickle Fish – Final Steps

  1. Now that the pickle brine is completely cooled you will want to take the jars of fish pieces and onions out of the refrigerator. Pour the brine into each jar covering the fish pieces and onions completely.
  2. Put the sealing lids on the jars and tighten so that the jars are completely sealed.
  3. Once the jars are sealed, you will want to refrigerate the jars for ten to twelve days. Doing this lets the pickling brine do its magic. Believe me; it’s well worth the wait!

Once the fish has had time to marinate for the ten to twelve days you can take the jars out of the refrigerator. All that’s left to do is enjoy the delicious pickled fish!

The pickled fish can be stored in the refrigerator for about a month or two. Some people say you can store it longer, but I would stay on the safe side and consume it within a month or two.

Alternative Fish Cooking Method

Pickled Fish

If you are worried about killing all the bacteria and larvae that the fish might have in them, you can add the fish to pickle brine cooking process and cook the fish. Doing this will ensure that you kill all the harmful bacteria. The one bacteria you will want to avoid is found in northern pike, and it’s called the broad fish tapeworm or Diphyllobothrium.

Of course, you don’t want to be getting this tapeworm in your intestines so if you are pickling northern pike make sure to cook the fish in the pickling brine. Make sure not to overcook the fish if you can pierce it with a fork it is done. After you have cooked the fish in the brine, you put it in the canning jars with the onions and put it in the refrigerator.


Now that you have the information you need on how to pickle fish you can enjoy pickled fish all year long. I enjoy my pickled fish on Ritz crackers with a little cheddar cheese. Some people like pickled fish with tomatoes or other fresh vegetables. The combinations of things you can add with your pickled fish are endless. I have heard certain wines pair well with pickled fish.

How to Pickle Fish Summary

Let’s break down how to pickle fish in a quick summary.

Ingredients – there are 8 ingredients that go into my pickled fish recipe. They are:

  • Distilled  White Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • White Wine – Any brand of white wine will do.
  • White Sugar
  • Pickling or Canning Salt
  • Peppercorn
  • White Onion
  • Fish Fillets 

Recipe – First, debone and skin the fish fillets. Slice thinly a medium white onion the long way. Refer to the recipe section for ingredient amounts. Next, you want to freeze the fish fillets for three or more days. Then you thaw them in the fridge this helps keep them firm for pickling.

Second, cut them up into two pieces or smaller so they fit in the jar.

Third, get five pintsize jars or smaller depending on the serving size you would like. Layer the fish pieces and onions in the jars. Tighten the lids on the jars and put them in the refrigerator.

Prepare the brine – now you will cook the pickling brine. Get a saucepan and pour the wine, sugar, peppercorn, pickling salt, and both kinds of vinegar in the pan.

Bring all of this to a boil and mix the brine constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Then turn the heat off and let the brine cool.

Finally, pour the brine into the jars of fish fillets and onions. Seal the jars and put them in the refrigerator for ten to twelve days.

This is a very easy and straightforward recipe that will provide you with delicious pickled fish year-round! You will appreciate that you pickled fish especially in the middle of the winter when you can just open up a jar and enjoy.


Get creative and enjoy your pickled fish with whatever suits your fancy. Fish is a great source of protein and it has fatty acids that your body needs. And of course, it tastes great! Although I recommend keeping it refrigerated it will last at room temperature for months. Do yourself a favor give pickling fish a try you will be glad you did.

I hope you enjoyed this article and got some useful information on how to pickle fish. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below. Happy Fishing and happy eating! And as always remember you can Catch Your Fish and Eat’em 2!!

Cory is a content writer-editor and founder of Tackle Box Talk. Favorite Quote: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

19 thoughts on “How To Pickle Fish | Discover The Delicious Pickling Secrets”

  1. Pickling of Fishes is entirely a new topic to me, but am glad i have been enlightened after reading your article on it. I must confess that your article is really easy to understand and its well articulated. The way you posted the pictures to depict what you mean is also very impressive and the video really explained all. I have bookmarked this page to show my girl (smile)

    • I hope you and your girl enjoy the pickled fish!

  2. Awesome article and brilliant writeup about How To Pickle Fish. I really got to learn about the processes and procedures involved in carrying out such. The ingredients too are superb and I already have access to most of them. I’m gonna bookmark the site to be able to follow up more procedures. Great work, keep it up. 

    • Thank you and enjoy your pickled fish.

  3. This is a great article! Thoroughly put together, even a “dummy” can do it the way you put it!I am love Pickling Fish recipes. I love fish in any form: in soup, barbecue, pies and so on. I will try this Pickling Fish out with my little daughter. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I have bookmarked your site for reference.Would you share more fish recipes? I love anything fish!

    • Hi Jay. Glad you enjoyed the article. I will do more fish recipes in the future. 

  4. This article is so full of information on how to pickle fish and the delicious pickling secrets truly

    this is my first time of reading about how to pickle fish and am so interested in trying it out .reading this article I don’t before that pickling fish is easy like this. I always have it in mind that it is hard to do that why I never try it before and I heard in the past that there are large amounts of important nutrients found in pickling fish

  5. Hi there, Cory! Excellent article and I easy to follow. I personally love salt water fishing. I’m not big into freshwater catch. My husband often laughs at me when we go to a seafood restaurant and I ask the server, “Does the fish taste or smell fishy?” I have tried pickling and canning over the past few years, and I have to admit that I’m not that good at it. Either the pickling juice (recipe) taste horrible, or the veggies or cherries come out limp and or sour. I’m a little hesitant about pickling fish. Would this recipe work with Salmon or Tuna? Also, some white wines are very overpowering. I used one recently, I think it was a Pinot Grigio called Voga. Super strong … Anyway, I thanks for the recipe. I’ll be sure to give it a go. -AJ

    • Hi AJ. Salmon and tuna should work great with this pickled fish recipe. I haven’t experimented very much with different white wines. I use Reisling white wine which is a sweet wine. I’m happy you enjoyed the article.

  6. This is a very nice article on how to pickle fish. I didn’t know this method exists till now. I the step by step description and the recipes included. However, I will go for the Alternative Fish Cooking Method to ensure the bacterial and larvae that the fish might have in them are eliminated especially the broad fish tapeworm or Diphyllobothrium. and be very sure they are hygienic enough for consumption. This will save one from having tapeworm in one’s intestines

    I really have learned a lot from this article and I am going to put this into practice. Thank you for this post.

    • It’s better to be on the safe side and cooked the fish before pickling it. Thanks for reading glad you enjoyed the article about how to pickle fish.

  7. Thanks Cory for this educative post. I’m hearing of Pickled fish for the first time, and sincerely I have gained some new things on how fish can be preserved using pickly method. Thanks for the elaborate instructions on the recipe, the detailed direction you provided on how the pickly brine can be prepared. With this people like me learning of pickly fish can go ahead and prepare one without any difficulty,Very informative piece.

  8. I absolutely love fish but don’t particularly like the bones. Pickling them is a concept to be honest is not something that I have heard of before now. This article is informative and engaging. It actually does want me to go out and try this technique. I am not well versed with a rod and reel but I can fish with a cane pole like my granddaddy showed me. There are also many waterways where I live to catch fresh fish as well as fish markets that sell fresh fish. My favorites are flounder, salmon and catfish. We caught about 250 pounds of catfish on our last excursion. Just to clarify, the jars MUST stay refrigerated correct? – Unlike other canning techniques that allow shelf storage. I am an emerging prepper and this is a great way, if you have the space, to enjoy your fresh catch without having to worry about cooking a big meal. Thanks for sharing. 

    • The fish will last a lot longer if you keep them refrigerated. Pickling fish is a great way for a prepper to have fresh fish anytime he or she would want.

  9. HEY CORY,

    I have read the article about How To Pickle Fish | Discover The Delicious Pickling Secrets!I haven’t heard before such kind of pickle.But after reading your article i have become familiar with pickle fish and also learn how to make this tasty pickle fish.By reading your article one can learn how to make this tasty pickle fish according to your recipe instructions that you mentioned in this article.It seems to be a healthy snack.I am going to try make this pickle fish as it looks like very yummy.Thank you for sharing such an interesting and unique article.I will share this article with my friends and relatives so that they can know about this tasty pickled fish.

  10. Thank you Cory, I love fish and I love cooking fish but I have never pickled fish. This is a great lesson on pickling fish. I would love to pickle fish using your recipe but, I don’t take alcohol and I don’t take sugar. What ingredients can I use instead of white wine, red wine and sugar? I will definitely be cooking the fish to kill all germs. 

    • The alcohol will evaporate from the wine in the cooking process and for sugar try using a sugar substitute. I can’t guarantee that the taste would be the same though.

  11. Hi Cory,

    Thank you for sharing this great informational article about Pickle Fish. I really learnt great ideas from it, personally. You have written lots of helpful article which encouraged lots of people about Pickled Fish Recipe. I am very interested in making with Fish Recipe. But i did not know how to make the recipe with fish. Now i have learned from your article. I will keep your article bookmarked.

  12. Hi Cory,

    I have read your whole article about How To Pickle Fish | Discover The Delicious Pickling Secrets!. I did not have any idea about it. By reading your article I got acquainted with it and learn how to make this tasty pickle fish. After reading your article anyone can make this tasty pickle fish according to your recipe instructions. It is a healthy snack. I am going to make this pickle fish as it looks like very yummy. Thank you for sharing this great article. I will share this with my friends and relatives.


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