Herring in Oatmeal

This delicious traditional Scottish recipe is so easy to make and really nice served with the creamy egg and potato salad in the recipe below. The cheesy bacon scallops are a fishy bonus for you all and based on a traditional way to serve them

You can watch the full recipe in the video below from The Wee Larder Youtube Channel or you can print of the recipe from the recipe card at the bottom of this page.

This delicious herring in oatmeal is made with fresh seasonal herring and ground oatmeal. It is so incredibly easy to make and works really well with the classic egg and potato combo. The scallops are quite possibly one of my favourite seafoods ever, regularly purchased from the fish van, I love them cooked fresh but with light heat to keep them tender on the inside.

These fish recipes would also work really well alongside my other Scottish recipes. A traditional Scottish soup like cock a leekie would be delicious as a starter for a three course Scottish meal. The delicious Summer strawberry tart would be delicious served as a pudding and because this lovely herring in oatmeal dish is so light and simple there is definitely room in your tummy for pudding!

Tips for making this recipe!

  • You really need to source some delicious fresh seasonal herring. We buy our herring from the local fish van that comes around. It’s a bit tricky to find in our supermarkets unless it is prepacked as pickled herring so you might need to ask around to source it.
  • The recipe is so simple and is based on the old traditional ways of making herring in oatmeal. If you find for whatever reason that the oatmeal is not sticking or you want your oatmeal a little bit thicker on the fish you could coat your herring lightly in flour, then dip in egg then cover in the oatmeal. I like it simple like in the video above.
  • I think the herring is delicious hot or cold with salad like the one in this recipe. A fresh green salad would also work really well too.
  • You want to cook this dish quite gently so keep the heat at a medium temperature to cook it well. It doesn’t take long so keep a close eye so you don’t dry it out.

Traditional Scottish Herring in Oatmeal

This traditional Scottish dish of Herring in Oatmeal is so incredibly easy to make and despite it being such a simple dish it is lovely to enjoy at this time of year especially with a salad. An egg and potato salad recipe is included here.
Cuisine traditional Scottish
Servings 2 people


  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 2 Fresh Herring Fillets washed & dried
  • 6 tbsp Oatmeal Approx
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 6 Baby potatoes sliced in half
  • 2 Eggs medium organic
  • 2 Spring Onions roughly chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp Mayonaise
  • Lemon wedges to serve


  • Boil two pans of water. One for the potatoes and one for the eggs and salt the water that the potatoes are going in.
  • Carefully place the potatoes in the salted water and the eggs in the other pan and simmer them both on a high heat until cooked through. Drain and set aside to cool
  • Melt the butter in a large frying pan for the herring to cook in. I like to use my cast iron gridle on a medium heat.
  • Wash and dry your herring fillets if nessecary. You want them as dry as possible so use kitchen towel if you need to.
  • Pour out your oatmeal into a small shallow dish. Season well with salt and pepper and mix through.
  • Place a fillet of herring into the oatmeal and press down gently. Sprinkle the top of the herring to ensure the herring is well covered in the oatmeal. Turn the fillet over and repeat on the other side.
  • Turn the fillets several times in the oatmeal until there is a good quantity of oatmeal attached to the herring fillet and it can't hold any more.
  • Place the herring fillet skin side down into the pan and cook in the melted butter gently for 4-5 minutes. Flip around to the other side for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Lift out of the pan and repeat with the other fillet and any others you are cooking.
  • Chop the cooked potatoes into small cubes and peel and chop the eggs into a similiar size. Add the mayo and mix around gently. Sprinkle in the spring onions and herbs and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve the cooked herring alongside the salad and add in any additional salad items like greens or some sliced/ tomato. Enjoy!
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You may also like to explore some of my other Scottish inspired recipes below: