Mackerel tartar is nothing else but de-boned and skinned raw mackerel filet, sliced in small pieces.  Although you can eat it raw as is, often the pieces are mixed with some lemon juice, salt, a quail egg and some pepper to make ceviche, that can be eaten after 10 minutes of mixing.

The art of making mackerel tartar

I prefer to use deep, flash frozen mackerel filets to make the mackerel tartar. The freezing will eliminate the presence of any worms, and in frozen state the mackerel remains fresh during storage. Then rinse the mackerel under tap water and as soon as possible. Cut the pectoral and two dorsal fins out, the caudal and anal fin, if still present, and skin the filet by pulling off the skin and de-bone it. For the latter you need to feel with your fingers the bones, including the pin bones. Store on ice, not more than 12 hours before consumption.

Special equipment

pair of tweezers

mackerel tartar ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Mackerel tartar

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine South American
Servings 10


What you need

  • 4 medium sized frozen mackerel halves


How to do

  • Rinse the frozen halves under tap water for a minute
  • Dry the halves with kitchen paper
  • For each half: cut out the pectoral fin and the two dorsal fins, and the caudal and anal fin, if present
  • Remove the thin skin if you can; if you really cannot do it, leave it.
  • Take all bones out with a pair of tweezers
  • Cut up the filet in small pieces. This is to make it more easy to 'cook' them later in lemon juice
  • Store the sliced fish on ice for maximum 12 h.


Method: raw
Food allergy & intolerance information: none
Keyword ceviche, raw mackerel,, small sliced, tartar


For an idea to make the mackerel cerviche in-situ, refer to the salmon tartar recipe

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