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Marinated Sardines
Traditional Slovenian Food

Marinated Sardines

Marinated Sardines (Sardele na šavor) is a Slovenian recipe that's easy, light, and tasty. Make it up to a week ahead and serve it as the main or appetizer.

Marinated Sardines
When we researched Slovenian recipes in the coastal area, we came across a dish name "sardine na šavor." Even though we had no idea what that was, we quickly realized, after reading the recipe, that Jernej's mom had been making that recipe for years. In the original version, tomatoes aren't added, but my mother-in-law adds them all the time, as they add freshness and slightly sweet flavor, which in our humble opinion, makes the sardines even better. This budget-friendly dish can be made up to a week ahead. Just pop it in the fridge; you can eat it anytime without reheating. Just make sure to cover it with clingfilm. Healthy, delicious, and traditional.

Marinated Sardines

If you're looking for fish recipes to make ahead, then you're in the right place. You can serve Marinated Sardines as an appetizer or main dish. These are the top reasons you should make this traditional Slovenian recipe soon.

  • juicy and perfectly crispy fried sardines
  • well-balanced and delicious marinade that's slightly sour and fresh
  • use frozen (and thawed) or fresh sardines for this recipe
  • quick and easy recipe, perfect to make ahead
  • beginner-friendly 
  • dairy-free

Marinated Sardines

Marinated Sardines

What to serve with Marinated Sardines

This amazing Sardines recipe deserves a fantastic side dish. We love serving it with a glass of white wine and one of these delicious side dishes:


Feel free to store the Marinated Sardines, covered with clingfilm, in the fridge for up to 7 days. Serve cold.

Marinated Sardines

Marinated Sardines

How to make Marinated Sardines at home (video)

Check this quick video to master making Marinated Sardines at home. This recipe is made in collab with

Next, try these fish recipes


Lets get cooking!

  • serves
  • preparation:
  • cook:
  • rest:
    - 4 hours
  • total time:
    minutes (+ rest)


  • clean the sardines

    Clean the sardines. Using a small knife, gently rub the skin of the sardine until the scales are removed. Then cut open the belly of the fish using the same small knife. Run your thumb along the spine and push out the bloody guts. Rinse the sardines under cold running water. Drain well on a kitchen towel and tap dry.

  • fry the sardines

    Add flour to a plate. Coat the sardines in flour and place on a large plate. Pour both oils into a large pan and place over high heat. Bring the oil to 170 °C / 340°F. Working in batches of two, fry the first batch of sardines. Fry for 1 - 2 minutes per side or until golden but not brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and repeat the process with the rest of the sardines. Set aside until needed.

  • marinade

    Add olive oil to a pan. Cut the onion into thick slices and cut the garlic into thin slices. Add the onion to a pan and saute for 2 - 3 minutes for the onion to soften. Add the garlic and halved cherry tomatoes, if using. Fry for 2 minutes, then increase the heat and pour the white wine, vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil, then add the bay leaf, rosemary, peppercorns, and breadcrumbs. Stir to combine and cook for 6 - 8 minutes or until the alcohol evaporates. Remove from the heat. Stir half the chopped parsley, season with salt, stir, and set aside.

  • layers

    Choose a small baking dish. Arrange half the sardines in a single layer, then pour half of the marinade over the fish. Arrange the rest of the sardines on top and cover with the rest of the marinade. Add lemon slices and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Bring to room temperature, then cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 3 - 4 hours or overnight.

  • serve

    Serve the Marinated Sardines as an appetizer or main dish. Offer fresh bread and a glass of good white wine as a side.


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