The easiest & quickest smoked mackerel pâté in the world!

This is an insanely simple and almost instant smoked mackerel pâté that is seriously big on flavour – perfect spread liberally on hot toast or eaten with a baguette as part of a light snack.

The pickled gherkins are quite wonderful in here and really lift the pâté somewhat: I tend use use the sliced gherkins that are in a sweet vinegar as they give the best flavour here.

A great bake!

One of my favourite ways to use it in my baking is to make them into “sausage rolls”, which initially happened quite by accident after having some pastry and some pâté left over. In which case, add a beaten egg to the pâté and wrap it in puff pastry, as though you were making sausage rolls. Perhaps even with a sprinkling of fennel seeds before it goes into the oven……..

About this recipe

This is a deliberately rustic pâté, with identifiable chunks of mackerel and the other goodies within. And I think it needs to be rustic.

I have been making this version of smoked mackerel pâté for many years after getting fed up with the mass-produced grey purées that pass for commercial smoked mackerel pâté: grey and fishy, with very little else, are not really thrilling qualities.

I rarely deviate too much from my recipe below, but if I do feel like doing so, a little ground cayenne pepper or some lightly toasted and crushed fennel seeds make good additions or even a little of the spiced, sweet vinegar from the gherkins………

Smoked mackerel pâté (makes about 400g)

  • 300g smoked mackerel, skinned and boned
  • a tablespoon or two at most of mayonnaise, crème fraîche or cream cheese
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of capers, roughly chopped or left whole
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped pickled gherkins or pickled cucumbers
  • 2-3 heaped teaspoons horseradish sauce (or about 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish)
  • a little grated zest and the juice of half a lemon
  • a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh chives
  • freshly milled black pepper

To make the pâté simply put the ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a fork until incorporated, retaining some of the chunks of mackerel. Add more horseradish if you feel it needs it. It shouldn’t need salt but if you feel it does, add a little.

Link: my recipe for smoked mackerel pastry rolls



  1. I make an almost identical pate but instead of horse radish I add a good dollop of mustard!
    Love eating that on fresh sourdough or sometimes fill chunky, slightly hollowed our cucumber “trunks” with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds delicious,I’d love to try it, but isn’t mackerel very bony?


    1. Thanks Mary. Yes, it is indeed a bony fish but I usually buy the ones that have had the bones taken out for total simplicity and speed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Where I live, they don’t debone smoked mackerel, Philip. Do you think that wizzing the fish with a stick blender will mash them up at all?


      2. I wouldn’t whizz them up as the bones are too firm. However, if there are bones in the fillets you can feel the line of them by running your finger along the flesh: then pull each out, ideally with tweezers: only takes a few minutes per mackerel


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