Sardines in Olive Oil

Lee Thayer


Sardines are any type of small oily fish like sardines, mackerel, herring, milkfish,or even smelt, that have been preserved in oil or packed in sauce. I like sardines, I love sardines in olive oil, but I could only find one store that carried them in olive oil (Thai made as well) and was pricey to say the least. So I set out on an internet search and found this recipe, I have made this several times with excellent results.


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Makes a lot of sardines...
25 Min
6 Hr
Slow Cooker Crock Pot


  • ·
    brine, see instructions
  • 3-4
    mackerel, whole, about 12 inches long
  • 3/4 c
    olive oil
  • 3/4 c
  • 3/4 c
    pickle juice
  • 3
    bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp
    black peppercorns, whole

How to Make Sardines in Olive Oil


  1. Clean your fish, I use 4 mackerel, remove the head, tail, insides, and clean well on the inside along the backbone, a toothbrush is handy for this. Lightly scrub the skin, there is no scales just to make sure it is cleaned up nicely. Leave skin on and bones in.
  2. Cut each fish into 3-4 pieces, place all in a bowl with a lid.
  3. Prepare your brine with 1/4 salt for 2 cups of water. I do this separate so I don't make more brine than what is needed. Make a batch and pour over the fish pieces, make more as needed to cover the fish. Place a plate on the fish to keep them in the brine if needed.
  4. Refrigerate the fish for at least 3 hours, I normally refrigerate overnight.
  5. Remove the fish from the brine and place in a slow cooker, add the olive oil, water, pickle juice, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
  6. Put the slow cooker on Low setting for 3-6 hours, depending on size of fish, 3 hours for small fish, like milkfish, and 6 hours for mackerel. Check the fish about an hour before the time, you are looking for soft fish and soft bones, if the bones are not soft, go another hour and check again, repeat until the bones are soft.
  7. When done and the fish and bones are soft, allow to cool and store in the fridge in olive oil.
  8. Serve as is with or on a lettuce salad with tomatoes and garlic, or as a sandwich with bread spread with mustard.

Printable Recipe Card

About Sardines in Olive Oil

Course/Dish: Fish
Main Ingredient: Fish
Regional Style: American

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