6 portions. Approximate cost: £7.15, 

Skill level: Easy, 

Total cooking time: 30 minutes, 

  • Prep time: 30 minutes, 
  • Cooking time: N/A, 

Equipment used: Food processor, large bowl, 

Original recipe: The Guardian’s “How to make the perfect smoked mackerel pate”


There are many, many recipes for mackerel pate – In these, not only does the ratio of  mackerel to cream cheese differ (between 300g and 600g for every 180g cream cheese) but the use of cream cheese itself also varies;  some using crème fraiche, others ricotta (the current Prime Minister favours cottage cheese). Alternatively,  you could avoid cheese altogether and opt for soured cream. It appears that you literally cannot go wrong with whatever you throw in. 

Homemade mackerel pateIf unsure, simply blitz your fish and add what looks like a decent amount of some cheesy substance that you like. Blitz again, taste and add more if you think it needs it. I opted for 2 packets of smoked mackerel (about 500g in total or 4 fillets) and 250g of cream cheese. 

Both the pate and the cucumber can be made in advance (fine to do the night before) leaving only the bread to toast just before serving. 


To prepare:

(Original recipe in bold font)

For the mackerel pate:

Skin 3 mackerel fillets and do a quick check for any bones – they’re not unknown. Flake three quarters into a food processor with 1 tub (approx 220g) cream cheese or crème fraîche and horseradish and whizz until smooth. 

Add a good grinding of black pepper and the juice from 1 lemon to taste. Serve with toasted ciabatta. 


For the pickled cucumber:

Use a fork to score the outside of the cucumber (I’m not sure if this is to allow the pickle to penetrate or simply because it makes the cucumber slices prettier) and then thinly slice using a mandolin or a knife.

Toss the cucumber slices with a generous pinch of sea salt and tip into a colander. Cover with a small saucer and place a weight, such as a tin of beans, on top – this will help push out the excess water. Set aside for 20 minutes ( a sink is a good place for this)

Remove the plate and squeeze the cucumber gently between your hands to get rid of any remaining water, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Add into a pretty dish with 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp of sugar and a handful of chopped dill.



All prices from Sainsbury’s, March 2017, unless otherwise stated

For the mackerel pate:

  • 1 packet of smoked mackerel fillets (£2.80 each)
  • 1 x 220g tub of cream cheese (£1.20)
  • juice of 1 lemon (35p)
  • a dollop of horseradish (optional)
  • To serve: ciabatta  (£1.60 for a large loaf)


For the pickled cucumber:

  • 1 cucumber (50p)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh dill (70p for a packet), plus a handful of small sprigs to garnish the pate


View as part of a Sunday lunch menu

View other recipes that require a food processor