A traditional and simple lunch in Hamburg: Brathering with fried potatoes

Brathering (/ˈbrɑːtˌhrɪŋ/ listen; German: [ˈbʁaːtˌheːʁɪŋ] ; English: "fried herring") is a simple and traditional German dish of marinated fried herring. It is typical of the cuisine in northern Germany and the northern parts of the Netherlands, either for lunch or as a snack at fast food stands or take-out restaurants.[1]


Two cans of Brathering as sold in German supermarkets

Usually, the green (i.e., fresh) herring with the heads and guts removed are either breaded or simply turned in flour, then fried, and finally pickled in a marinade of white vinegar and briefly boiled water, onion, salt, spices like pepper, bay leaves, mustard seeds, and a little sugar. The thin bones of the green herring are partially dissolved in the marinade, so that they hardly interfere with eating.[2]

If refrigerated, fried herring may be preserved for up to two weeks. Brathering is also available as a commercial product in cans.

Typical servings

Brathering itself is served well pervaded and cold, together with warm fried potatoes (Bratkartoffeln) or cold potato salad (Kartoffelsalat).[3]

Sometimes, Brathering is also offered as part of fish sandwiches (Fischbrötchen).

In culture



  1. ^ Zipner, Helmut (2002): Kulinarischer Norden. Rezepte von Profiköchen und Publikum. Schlütersche. ISBN 9783877068595. Page 23.
  2. ^ Sälzer, Sabine (1998): Die echte deutsche Küche. Gräfe und Unzer. ISBN 9783774215382.
  3. ^ Hering, Richard and Walter Bickel (Ed.) (1978): Herings Lexikon der Küche. Fachbuchverlag Pfanneberg. Gießen. ISBN 3-8057-0218-3. Page 194.
  4. ^ Kawerau, Gustav (1903): Martin Luther, Sein Leben und Seine Schriften. Duncker. Page 497.