Fennel and Kippers on Toast

For a quick and easy lunch or dinner that still tastes fantastic, you can’t beat fennel and kippers on toast.

Kippers are cold-smoked herrings. You can eat them hot or cold, but my preference is hot on top of something bright and crisp, like in this recipe.

The fennel is raw, which brings that incredible crunch and it works beautifully with the soft kippers and creamy crème fraiche. Once you try this, you’re going to want to eat it for lunch every day!

The recipe below serves one, but you can easily multiply it by however many people you want to serve.

Ingredients , Substitutions and Variations

  • Butter – I cook the kippers in butter, and it is the best way. You can use olive oil if you need to though.
  • Kippers – smoked mackerel would also work well in this dish.
  • Fennel – you’ll need a bulb of fresh fennel. Although you could switch this for other vegetables which bring a crunch, you won’t get that same aniseed flavour that cuts so beautifully through everything.
  • Crème fraiche – this ties everything together with its creaminess.
  • Sourdough – you can use any bread you like, but make sure that it’s fairly robust to hold everything without falling apart. I find that sourdough works best.

Top Tips

  1. Eat hot or cold

    You can eat kippers on toast cold – you don’t need to cook the kippers if you don’t want to. However, I prefer it.

  2. Serve for a crowd

    A platter full of these ‘open sandwiches’ would be absolutely amazing as part of a buffet. You can toast the bread under the grill to get more done at once.

  3. Add a little extra

    If you fancy it, some capers stirred into the crème fraiche would add a nice little salty bite.

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Fennel and Kippers on Toast

Save This Recipe
Harriet Young
Really simple but gourmet tasting, these smoky kippers on toast with fennel and crème fraiche make a brilliant breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Servings 1 person


  • 10 g butter
  • 2 kippers
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 2 tbsps crème fraiche
  • 2 slices sourdough bread


  • Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the kippers and cook gently skin side down for 3 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side for 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, finely slice the fennel bulb.
  • Toast your sourdough – either in a toaster or under a grill – until just crisp.
  • Spread one tablespoon of crème fraiche on each slice of bread. Share the fennel evenly between the two slices, then top each one with a kipper. Enjoy!
Keyword fennel, kippers, toast

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Hi there!

I’m Harriet, writer and cook, and I’m so pleased to have you here! I love nothing more than cooking delicious food and sharing it with the world. You can find out more about me here.