Herring salad with beets, also known as sillsallad is made using herring, beets, potatoes, onions, apple and dill pickle. Everything is tossed together with a simple vinegar marinade, and then topped with a delicious dill sour cream sauce.
Herring Salad Recipe
- This herring beet potato salad (also known as sillsalad) is traditionally served at Christmas or new year as an appetizer, side dish, or with a smorgasbord. It can be accompanied with crusty bread, butter, cheese, cold meats, hard-boiled eggs and smoked fish.
- This salad is savory using pickled herring, potatoes, and pickles in a vinegar marinade. Hints of sweetness come from crisp chopped apples and pickled beets. A simple dill cream sauce is added on top to serve.
- Ingredients can be chopped into smaller pieces which is how sillsallad is traditionally served. Or served in larger pieces like we did, whatever you prefer!
- Many people know herring salad in cream sauce. This recipe can easily be mixed with the dill sour cream dressing to create that delicious consistency.
HERRING: Look for a 12 oz jar of herring fillets in wine sauce. I buy them from Costco in the refrigerated section near dips and spreads. These can be served in chunks or chopped into smaller bite-size pieces. If onions come with the herring, those can be added too.
VEGETABLES: A variety of sweet and tangy vegetables including a jar of pickled red beets, an apple, a couple of dill pickles, chopped raw onion and a few potatoes complete the salad.
MARINADE: White vinegar (or red wine vinegar), granulated sugar, water, salt and pepper are mixed together to create the marinade tossed with the salad.
CREAM SAUCE: Sour cream, milk and dill are mixed together for the creamy sauce that’s served on top of the salad.
VARIATIONS: Add 2 or 3 chopped hard-boiled eggs. Substitute sour cream for yogurt, mayonnaise or whipped cream. Add extra fresh chopped dill to the salad for garnish.
How To Make Beet Potato Herring Salad (Sillsalad)
- Chop then boil potatoes in a small pot until tender. Drain and rinse.
- Add beets, herring, apple, pickle, onion and cooked potatoes to a large bowl.
- Mix vinegar, sugar, water, salt and pepper together. Drizzle overtop of the salad and toss together.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate salad for 2 hours according to the full recipe card instructions below.
- Mix together sour cream, fresh dill and milk. Spoon on top of salad while serving.
Leftover herring salad can be stored in the fridge up to 3-4 days. Toss the salad ingredients before serving. Store the dill sour cream in a separate container.
- The beet pigment will turn all ingredients a lovely pinkish hue. This is normal.
- Traditionally the ingredients of this sillsalad are chopped into small bite-size cubes. This can be done during the prep stage (don’t forget to chop the herring fillets and pickled beets and well). You can also keep the ingredients a little larger depending on preference.
- If possible, use a jar of herring fillets in wine sauce versus canned herring fillets for maximum freshness. I was able to find mine at Costco.
- Leave the dill sour cream in a separate bowl near the salad for guest to add themselves to their serving plate.
- The vinegar sauce can be made sugar free using monkfruit sweetener or stevia.
More Scandinavian Recipes
- German Potato Pancakes are delicious savory fried potato patties served with applesauce or yogurt.
- Swedish Meatballs are delicious in a gravy sauce and served with mashed potatoes.
Herring Salad With Beets (Sillsallad)
- 3 medium potatoes - chopped
- 12 oz jar of herring fillets in wine sauce, drained - (340 g or about 2 cups)
- 16 oz jar pickled beets - (3 cups) drained and cubed
- 1 apple - chopped
- ½ cup onion - chopped
- ¼ cup white vinegar (food grade) - or red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp white sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
Dill Sour Cream Sauce:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped - or 1 tsp dried dill
- Chop the potatoes into small bite-size pieces. Add to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until potatoes are tender when poked with a fork. Drain from liquid and set aside.
- Chop the onion, apple, pickles, herring, and beets into bite-size pieces.
- Mix together the marinade: add white vinegar, sugar, water, salt and pepper to a bowl.
- Add cooked potatoes, chopped herring, pickled beets, apple, pickles, and onions to a large bowl. Pour the marinade over top and toss everything together.
- Cover and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Mix together sour cream, milk and dill in a small bowl.
- Top chilled herring salad with a dollop of dill sour cream. Serve chilled and enjoy!