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Quick Devilled Mackerel Fillets

Devilled mackerel fillets in a spicy mustard and Worcestershire sauce coating served with a simple pickled pearl onion and tomato salad.

This delicious dish takes just 10 minutes to prepare and 10 to cook making it a great lunch or light dinner recipe.

Devilled mackerel fillets served with a pickled onion and tomato salad.

Simple Spiced Mackerel Fillets

This devilled or mackerel fillet recipe is delicious, quick, simple and all in all pretty frugal!

It also comes hot on the heels of devilled sausages and devilled mushrooms on toast recipes.

I love mackerel, it is the most delicious of all sea fish as far as I am concerned and it is pretty much the cheapest way to increase your oily fish consumption.

My 13 years in Hungary starved me of the fresh stuff, although I have a load of smoked mackerel recipes. Everything from smoked mackerel risotto to smoked mackerel salad.

This recipe is loosely modelled on old-school British recipes for devilled seasoning.

Worcestershire sauce, mustard and cayenne pepper all feature in Mrs Beeton’s recipes from the turn of the 19th century. Those telling you that us Brits are fond of “bland” food are 100% wrong!

Mackerel is a great fish to serve with spices because it has a big and bold flavour that stands up to it well. Other great examples of this are my Goan Mackerel curry and Thai choo chee curry recipes.

You can even cure it at home, I have a wonderful salt-cured mackerel salad recipe that illustrates the method perfectly.

Even my simplest whole baked mackerel recipe gets a little spice from some mustard!

This dish is also super quick, prep will take you 10 minutes at most, and cooking… well bolt-on 10 minutes for that too! So 20 minutes and dinner is served

Overhead devilled mackerel fillets served with a pickled onion and tomato salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you pin bone mackerel?

You will need a pair of tweezers, even better with fishbone tweezers, although you can get away with needle-nosed pliers.

Lay the fish skin side down and run your finger from the tail of the fish fillet to towards the head to locate the bones. Grab hold of each bone and pull towards the head end of the fillet.

It is important that you pull sideways parallel to the fish fillet and not upwards or perpendicular.

Do I have to use English mustard?

No, you can use any old mustard that you like. English mustard is the “pokiest” of readily available mustard, followed by German, American finally followed up by Dijon.

Do I have to use the Cayenne Pepper?

No, if you feel that the mustard will offer enough heat for you then feel free to omit it!

Can I use larger pickled onions?

Yes but try and cut them up into chunks roughly the same size as the tomatoes.

Close up devilled mackerel fillets served with a pickled onion and tomato salad.

Serving Suggestions

I serve this with a simple pickled onion and tomato salad here. However, it is a really versatile recipe and it works well with so many sides.

Simple salads work particularly well, everything from my spicy mango salad to a classic tabbouleh salad would work wonderfully. Of course, you could go with a simple green salad too!

Potatoes would be my go-to if I wanted to bulk out this dish and make it a heartier meal.

I would stick with the pickled onion salad and add some salty crispy fried potatoes or even straw potatoes instead of the bread.

Eggs are often associated with devilled recipes, and I would definitely serve this for breakfast with scrambled eggs on toast!

Devilled mackerel fillets served with a pickled pearl onion and tomato salad.

Equipment Used

Unless I think that it makes a “material” difference to a recipe I do not usually recommend specific brands of kit.

  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Mixing bowls and a Pbowl for marinating.
  • Sharp Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Pastry brush (optional) you could use kitchen paper or even your fingers.
  • Griddle pan, you could also toast the bread under a grill or broiler.
  • Non-stick frying pan 28cm or 11″ minimum.
  • Fish bone tweezers, you could also use some needle-nose pliers.
Devilled mackerel fillets served with a pickled pearl onion and tomato salad.
Yield: 2 Servings

Devilled Mackerel Fillets Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

A quick and simple devilled mackerel fillet recipe served with a picked onion and tomato salad that all comes together in just 20 minutes!


For the Mackerel:

  • 4 Mackerel Fillets
  • 1 Tbsp English Mustard
  • 2 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ Tsp Vinegar from PIckled Onions
  • ½ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Black Pepper
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil

For the Pickled Onion Salad:

  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Pickled Pearl Onions
  • 200g (1 Large) Tomato
  • 10g (¼ Cup) Chives
  • 1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Groundnut oil
  • 1 Tsp Honey
  • ¼ Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 4 Thin Slices of Baguette
  • 1 Tsp Olive Oil


  1. Dry the skin of the mackerel fillets with kitchen paper and allow them to warm a little whilst you prepare the salad and devilling mixture.
  2. Drain the pickled onions and place them in a bowl,
  3. Deseed the tomato and cut it into pieces the same size as the pearl onions and add them to the bowl.
  4. Chop the chives into 2-3mm long pieces and add them to the tomato and onions.
  5. Add the Worcestershire sauce, groundnut oil and honey to the pickled onion mix and stir to combine, then set aside.
  6. Mix together the mustard, cayenne pepper, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and salt for the mackerel.
  7. Trim up the mackerel fillets, pin bone them and then score the skin 4-5 times 1-2mm deep at a 45-degree angle to the fillet and place them on a plate.
  8. Pour the sauce over the fish fillets and coat them with the sauce, a pastry brush is the best tool for this.
  9. Heat a large non-stick frying pan (28cm+) over a medium heat and a griddle pan over
    a high heat.
  10. Drizzle the slices of baguette with the olive oil and toast them in the griddle pan until golden with some nice griddle marks. This will take 1-2 minutes a side if the pan is hot enough.
  11. Add the cooking oil for the mackerel to the nonstick frying pan and when it is hot fry the fillets for 90 seconds on each side.
  12. Serve the salad on the bread and add two fillets per serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 631Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 1326mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 45g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

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