Matjes Herring in Cream Sauce

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Matjes herring, also known as “young herring,” is a delicacy in Northern Germany and the Netherlands and is a must-try for seafood lovers. The word “Matjes” comes from the Dutch and it means “maiden”. It refers to the young virgin herrings that are used for this meal. They have a very soft texture and a mild taste and are usually caught in the springtime before they mate. Matjes herring is typically served pickled, and its delicate flavor pairs perfectly with sour cream, onions, and potatoes.

When you first open the jar of pickled matjes herring, you’ll be struck by the rich aroma of the herring. The herring is firm and succulent, with a sweet and tangy flavor that’s slightly salty. The texture of the herring is delicate and buttery, and it melts in your mouth.

What to eat with Matjes Herring

To enjoy matjes herring, you can serve it as an appetizer or as a main dish. Since the spring also comes with new, small potatoes, the Matjes Herring is usually enjoyed with some fresh, new potatoes. We cook them in their skin and while the Herring and sauce are cold, the potatoes are supposed to be hot. It’s a perfect mix, just trust me on that!  You can also serve it with a dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh dill for an extra burst of flavor.

For a more substantial meal, you can try making a sandwich with matjes herring. Simply layer some thinly sliced onions, lettuce, and tomato on a slice of rye bread, add a few pieces of matjes herring, and top with another slice of bread. This sandwich is perfect for lunch or a light dinner.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also try making a traditional Dutch dish called “haringhapje.” This dish consists of a small piece of matjes herring wrapped in a slice of pickled cucumber, and it’s a delicious and refreshing appetizer.


In conclusion, matjes herring is a must-try for seafood lovers. Its delicate flavor and buttery texture make it a delicious addition to any meal, and its versatility means you can enjoy it in many different ways. Whether you’re serving it as an appetizer, main dish, or sandwich, matjes herring is sure to impress.

Matjes herring in cream sauce is a classic and delicious way to enjoy this delicacy. The creamy sauce complements the sweet and tangy flavor of the herring perfectly. Here is a recipe for matjes herring in cream sauce:

Matjes Herring
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Matjes Herring in Cream Sauce

A typical spring meal from the northern part of Germany
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Resting time12 hours
Total Time12 hours 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: German
Keyword: Fish, Matjes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 647kcal


  • 4-6 Matjes herring fillets
  • 1 small Onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • ¼ cup Sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • 1 tbsp. White wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh Dill chopped, for garnish


  • Rinse the matjes herring fillets under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the fillets into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a small saucepan, sauté the chopped onion over medium heat until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream, sour cream, Dijon mustard, honey, and white wine vinegar to the saucepan, stirring until well combined.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly.
  • Season the cream sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Let the sauce cool down
  • Add the matjes herring pieces to the saucepan, gently stirring to coat the herring with the cream sauce.
  • Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  • Enjoy cold with fresh boiled hot potatoes


Calories: 647kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 226mg | Sodium: 287mg | Potassium: 926mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1200IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 203mg | Iron: 3mg

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