Herring and Beet Potato Salad (Traditional Polish Salad)

This Herring & Beet Potato Salad is a traditional Polish Holiday dish – we have this Salad for every Holiday, Christmas (Wiglia) and Easter alike. It is delicious and complex and totally worth it! Check it out!

Herring and Beet Potato Salad - traditional Polish Holiday dish

Do you subscribe to my YouTube channel? If yes, you might have seen a random salad making video with a background music of a beautiful Polish Christmas carol. I was originally going to publish the recipe to the herring and beet potato salad in the new year but decided I should end the year on a different note – on a more delicious note.

I hope your year 2012 was a successful one and I wish you all an even better year 2013! I can feel it in my bones that this coming year will be one of prosperity, happiness, and health. All you need is some faith and positive energy and I think you’re already halfway there!

Back to the food. This is the first traditional Polish holiday dish recipe I am posting. I was going to post the Christmas recipes from our Polish Christmas Eve (Wiglia) supper but I decided to wait and let you guys get happy with the two giveaways I have going on instead. Yeah, Christmas might be over but the gift-giving action most certainly is not. Enter to win BELIGHT tea, a weight loss tea – something that many may find helpful especially after this ever-indulgent month. Christmas always gets me and derails my efforts a bit. Sigh. Anyway, you should also enter to win a $100 gift card to h.h.gregg! To continue with your efforts on getting back on track, you can get yourself some fun fitness gear from the store if you win (or something else.. whatever, I won’t judge). Also, I have yet another giveaway coming to you next week, so remember to follow my blog and stay updated on these things!

Herring and Beet Potato Salad - traditional Polish Holiday dish

Here’s how the salad looks when it’s all done – in all its layered glory – the herring, potatoes, beets, and the egg topping… Yum. And yes, this photo is kind of crappy quality. Apparently I accidentally deleted some of the pics on my camera and left the copies on my parents’ computer. So I had to take a screen print pic from the video. Sigh, faaaaail.

Herring and Beet Potato Salad - traditional Polish Holiday dish

I did snap some pics of the process too though. Here’s my mom draining the onion after it’s been sitting in boiling water. Don’t skip this step, it is important to calm down the intensity of the onion.

Herring Potato Salad

Have I ever mentioned that beets are my big love? Yes, I love beets. They are just so yummy. That’s my dad cutting them up. We had a few left over for the red borscht at Wigilia (Christmas Eve) and one for me to eat by itself. Yes, I eat cooked beets. By themselves. They are good, what? Try it, you’ll see what I mean. Beet Love!

Herring Potato Salad

The salad is really gorgeous to look at. I recommend making it in a glass bowl. We don’t have one so we opted for a regular big bowl. But you will really enjoy looking at the layers of deliciousness if you use a clear bowl. Try this salad out! It’s one of my favorites, right next to the cooked vegetable and egg salad (recipe coming next week!)

If you’re thinking, No Kammie, this recipe looks time-consuming. Well, yes. It is. But that’s why you make a lot of it! We made the herring potato salad and the cooked vegetable and egg salad at the same time so that it ended up being more time saving that way. We cooked up a whole lot of vegetables and then we just went into a chopping frenzy and then all it took was layering and combining. It wasn’t so bad. The worst part is the peeling and cutting part. But the result is OH so worth it! So now, make sure you watch the video at the beginning of the post to see some of the steps how the salad was being made. It might clear up some questions you have. If it doesn’t, please shoot them my way and I’ll get back to you with an answer right away!

Herring Potato Salad (Traditional Polish Salad)

Yield: 8 servings

Herring Potato Salad (Traditional Polish Salad)


  • 4 medium potatoes, cooked whole with skin, cooled
  • 2 medium beets, cooked whole with skin, cooled
  • 2-3 large hard boiled eggs, cooled
  • 1 lb herring, salted in oil or water (ready to eat)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • Pepper to taste
  • Mayonnaise
  • Paprika


  • Peel and chop cooled vegetables into small cubes.
  • Chop herring into cubes.
  • Chop onion. Put the onion in a small bowl.
  • Boil water. Pour the boiled water into the bowl with onion and soak for 5 minutes. Drain.
  • To assemble:
  • Prepare a large wide bowl.
  • Begin with a layer of herring on the bottom of the bowl laid out.
  • Add a layer of chopped onion.
  • Sprinkle some pepper on top.
  • Add a layer of chopped potatoes.
  • Press on it gently so that the surface is smooth and level.
  • Spread some mayonnaise on the top.
  • Add a layer of chopped beets.
  • Press again and spread mayonnaise.
  • Grate peeled eggs on top of the salad evenly.
  • Sprinkle some paprika on top.
  • Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.
  • Serve.

Do you wanna check out the other traditional polish holiday dish we always make? It’s the Cooked Vegetable and Egg Salad and it is just as delicious as this one! Check out the recipe.

Cooked Vegetable and Egg salad - Traditional Polish Holiday Dish

Kammie wants to know:

  • Do you like herring?

  • Have you ever made a salad with fish in it?

Let me know in the comments below!

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xo Kammie


    • Kammie says

      Hey Mary, not sure if you have had herring before or not, but it is a very commonly eaten fish (in oil) in Poland. It has a very specific taste, it isn’t exactly fishy, and the way it is prepared it mostly salty but it is very specific. It gives the whole flavor to the salad and balances out the otherwise-bland mix of cooked veggies and mayo. It creates a nice contrast.