Kippers on Toast


A comforting breakfast combining warm toast and salty tinned fish



When asking everyone to share a dish they wished the rest of the world knew about, I learned about a simple yet delightful breakfast dish – Kippers on toast! Kippers and other canned seafood tend to not get much recognition since they have a strong taste and smell, but they actually make a quick and tasty meal.  

Haggis and deep-fried Mars bars are generally what people think of when it comes to Scottish food, but Scottish food can be much more interesting and comforting. Heather McDonald submitted a video all the way from the small region of Sutherland, Scotland, describing the history of kippers. Kippers are essentially preserved herring, and they are cured, butterflied, and cold smoked. You can buy them freshly smoked or canned in oil. 

They make for a popular breakfast food enjoyed throughout the UK, especially in the quaint region of Sutherland, where there is the lowest population density in western Europe. Heather explains that her village in Sutherland was one of the biggest herring ports in Scotland, and it played a huge role in the economic growth of Scotland. Herring was considered a delicacy, and because they are small and oily, they had to be cured immediately to prevent them from spoiling. The herring boom peaked in 1907, and eventually, after World War II, the herring industry started to decline. 

A breakfast of kippers and toast is significant to Heather because it reminds her of the special times she ate it when visiting her granny, who lived on the North Coast of Scotland. She lived in a small village called Betty Hill, and Heather remembers waking up and sitting at the dining table and watching the sheep roam as she ate kippers and toast. She associates this delicious meal with spending time with her granny in a peaceful atmosphere.  

Kippers are generally served with buttery scrambled eggs, poached eggs, or boiled eggs. This recipe requires minimal cooking and can be easily made by even the least talented home cooks. If you are new to cooking and looking for a delicious and delicate breakfast, give these kippers and toast a try.  

Watch the Video

Kippers on Toast


  • smoked herring
  • bread
  • butter
  • eggs (optional)


  • Toast and butter your bread to your liking
  • Break up tinned kippers into smaller bits before putting on toast
  • Top with eggs of your choice, if using (hard-boiled, scrambled, poached).
  • Garnish the toast with onions, dill, or capers if desired.
Course: Breakfast
Region: Europe


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