Cured mackerel in mustard sauce hails back to a great Swedish tradition where people eat marinated herring in mustard sauce at festive occasions. As the fat content of mackerels caught in the fall is similar to that of herring and can reach values exceeding 20% by weight, mackerel is a good substitute for countries where it is difficult to obtain herring.

The art of making mackerel in mustard sauce

For the basics of the marinated or cured mackerel we follow the sugar cured mackerel recipe. This guarantees proper curing, and the infusion of dill and juniper notes is obvious.  We cure for a minimum of 24 h and maximum 36 h, otherwise the fish loses too much moist.

After skinning and de-boning, the mackerel is sliced in 1 inch wide pieces.

The mustard sauce uses a mayonaise as a base, but with more mustard and more sugar added to it. We make the sauce here from scratch. If you want to do it easy, start with a Japanese mustard and add mustard and honey to taste. When you need more vinegar taste, add apple cider vinegar or even fresh lemon juice. If the sauce is too thick, just add a little water.

Special equipment

a pair of tweezers to de-bone the fish

a whisk to bring the sauce together

cured mackerel in mustard sauce ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Cured mackerel in mustard sauce

Prep Time 1 day 12 hours
Total Time 1 day 12 hours
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Swedish
Servings 20


for the curing

  • see the sugar cured mackerel recipe

for the mustard sauce

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 knife point xanthan gum
  • 1.8 oz (50 g) Dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar dill infused white vinegar optional
  • 2 tbsp (22 g) sugar
  • 1 cup rapeseed oil
  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp maggi or similar sauce


to make the mustard sauce

  • Place the egg yolk, the xanthan gum, the mustard the sugar and the apple cider vinegar in a bowl
  • Mix the contents with a whisk, until no sugar granules can be detected and the mixture is smooth
  • Measure the oil and start adding drop wise to the bowl, whisking all the time
  • Thanks to the emulsifying properties of the egg yolk, the xanthan gum and the mustard, the emulsification will always work out perfect
  • You can add the oil in larger amounts and a think consistency of the sauce forms
  • Add the lemon juice, upon which the sauce will become more whitish and slightly thinner
  • If you want the sauce to be slightly thinner, add some water, while stirring.

Bringing it together

  • Add the mackerel pieces to the sauce and store for a few weeks in the refrigerator.
    cured mackerel in mustard sauce ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh


Method: mixing
Food allergy & intolerance information: none
Keyword cured mackerel, mustard mayonaise, mustard sauce, pickled mackerel, sugar cured mackerel


There are many ways to bring the sauce together. If you add dill you may also start out with our pickled mackerel recipe.

Otherwise the cured mackerel in mustard sauce is fail proof.

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