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Learn to make it from scratch.

Homemade Gefilte Fish

Homemade Gefilte Fish


Homemade Gefilte Fish

Learn to make it from scratch.
Passover Recipes, Shabbat Foods, Food; Eating

Some would say gefilte fish is the quintessential Jewish food. So, why not learn how to make it from scratch?

This recipe is relatively simple, and kosher for Passover, of course. The recipe I’m sharing yields 60 gefilte fish balls, which sounds like a lot. Okay, it is a lot. But they freeze well, and the recipe also divides in half easily, so you can make a small batch.

First you’ll need to put up a stock of water, onion, carrot, salt and sugar.

While that comes to a boil, mix the fish ball ingredients together. You’ll need ground pike and whitefish, ground onion, eggs, water, sugar and salt. The batter will not be very firm, but it will still roll into balls.

Note: Many people do not wet their matzah on Passover. That is why there is no matzah meal in this recipe. If you are making this fish during the year, or if this is not your custom, you can add some matzah meal to the batter to stiffen it up. I would estimate about half a cup, adding slowly as you go.

Bring the stock to a rolling boil. Keep it at a boil while you roll the balls and drop them in gently, a few at a time.

Tip: Wet your hands between every few fish balls to help with the rolling.

When you’ve made all the fish balls and they’re all in the pot, turn it down to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, then remove from the fire.

Take the fish balls and carrots out of the stock and let them cool. Discard the stock. Refrigerate the fish and carrots for up to 3 days. Or freeze for later use.

Gefilte fish is traditionally served cold, with a piece of carrot on top and some chrein (beet & horseradish dip) on the side. But there’s no wrong way to eat it.

Fish Ingredients

  • 5 lbs. ground fish (mixture of pike and whitefish)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and ground
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1½ cups sugar

Stock Ingredients:

  • 16 cups water
  • 4 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks


  1. Put the stock ingredients into a strong pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Mix the fish ingredients together. Roll into balls.
  3. When the stock comes to a rolling boil, drop the balls into it gently.
  4. When all the balls are in the pot, turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Remove the fish balls and the carrots from the liquid. Refrigerate, or freeze for later use. Discard the liquid. Fish lasts about 3 days in the fridge.

Yield: 60 fish balls. Recipe can easily be divided in half for a smaller yield.

Have you ever made gefilte fish before? Are you a fan? Tell us about your first gefilte fish experience . . . And if you have an exceptional gefilte fish recipe, share that with us too!

Miriam Szokovski is the author of the historical novel Exiled Down Under, and a member of the editorial team. She shares her love of cooking, baking and food photography on’s food blog, Cook It Kosher.
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MARGARET JOY GORDON 3 Monticello, Johannesburg, South Africa September 16, 2017

Dear Miriam, My late Mother and her younger sisters made fabulous Gefilte Fish that always looked and tasted appetising . Instead of a whiter shade of pale , the fish had a sunshine hue , together with the congealed jelly surrounding the fish and the carrot toppings had a glazed (glace) appearance.
Their secret ingredient was Egg Yellow which was introduced very slowly with the edge of a teaspoon into the stock pot with ample bones,until the desired colour was obtained.
After doing a comprehensive search cannot find one recipe that includes this method.
With interest I forward this to you from sunny South Africa.
Margaret Joy Gordon Reply

Rouillie Wilkerson USA April 15, 2017

I've never made it from scratch. But this reads tastier than the jarred version, as you can tweak it to your liking. Thanks for this! Reply

Miriam Szokovski April 21, 2016

freeze Yes, you can freeze it. Reply

Anonymous MD April 20, 2016

Can a freeze gefilte fish? Reply

Roseanne Diaz SPANAWAY April 19, 2016

My first try of gifiltafish was when I was maybe 9 or 10. My pastor who is now passed, invited my sister and I to dinner with his family. I remember feeling very hungry and didn't each much at the table, then when the fish came out to be served. The family didn't know if we would like it but served us anyway. I quite loved it and they were surprised that I liked it so much, I asked for more. To me this dish tasted exactly like my father and aunt's fish head soup they always cooked every year. So, I suppose in a way, my taste bud were broken in to accept the fast of gifiltafish. I know that it is an aquired taste and that not everyone likes it. I sure did. I will try your recipe for Passover! Reply

RD brooklyn April 18, 2016

i'm in! my mouth is watering already!
i ordered the fish today and am planning to make it on wednesday
i'll let you know how it comes out, Miriam! Reply

Roseanne Diaz Federal Way April 19, 2017
in response to RD:

Mouth watering... Shalom, Miriyam!

So how did it go?? I was planning on making fish-head soup over the weekend. Hoping to find some whole fish. :) For Passover, I made a chicken soup. ;) Can't wait to hear your outcome! Reply

Alyssa B Florida April 4, 2016

Will try it! I have never tried making my own Gefilte Fish but this recipe makes it look easy! I have a few more items to get recipes this year but I have found one of my favorite seltzer's to use for Passover is Syfo Sparkling Water, which also has a lemon-lime flavor that is Kosher. The next on my recipe list is Matzah balls! Reply

Anonymous Israel December 25, 2015


What is pike fish in Hebrew (all google will give me is a "ZEAV DAG" or "DAG KIDON")

Thanks and a Gutten Erev Shabbos Reply

Karen via December 13, 2015

I love sweet Gefilte Fish.p with Horseradish. Since I am now gluten free I have not been able to find a store that sells it without Matzah Meal. Thank you for the recipe. I am not a cook but I may try it. Reply

Sandy Slingerlands April 1, 2015

Fish for Gefilte Fish Cannot find pike or carp - can I substitute something else with the whitefish? Reply

Sharon Boynton Beach, Fl. February 11, 2015

Where do you get ground fish in boynton beach florida area Reply

Miriam Szokovski June 2, 2014

Yes, add a binder Hi Helen,

Thanks for letting me know. I'm glad you added a binder. I definitely recommend that, I just omitted it for Passover when there are less options.

Glad you found the recipe easy to make! Reply

Helen London June 1, 2014

Just tried to make this - mixture wouldn't bind at all! I added GF oat matza meal, it's in the pot now hope it tastes good! Otherwise was very easy recipe to follow for a first timer thank you! Reply

Rishe May 4, 2014

YUMMMMMMMMM we tried this and it was abs. delish. thanks Miriam another winner! Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn ny April 20, 2014

How to freeze 2 Hi thanks for your reply. I ended up freezing the mixture in a container upside down to kinda make an airtight barrier then defrosted and rolled into balls.
It worked out great! Thanks Reply

Miriam Szokovski April 20, 2014

Some answers - Anonymous in RI - it's come to my attention that there is a pike shortage at the moment, because of the very cold winter we had here in the Northeast this year.

Anonymous in Brooklyn - I would either freeze it already rolled into balls, so all you need to do is drop it into the stock and cook. Or freeze it when it's already cooked (but don't freeze it in the stock).

Anonymous in LA - I don't cook with artificial sweeteners, so I can't advise you about that. Sorry.

Anonymous in London - thanks for the tip! Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn April 10, 2014

How to freeze Is it better to freeze raw batter or in balls or after it's cooked? Reply

Anonymous London, UK April 10, 2014

I put the fish heads and bones into the stock. Take them out before putting the fish balls into it. After they are cooked and carrots and fish balls are removed strain the stock. Return the fish and carrots to the stock and refrigerate. The liquid will turn into a gel when cold and keep your gefilte fish moist. Reply

Anonymous RI April 9, 2014

Where to buy these fish? Where do I buy pike or other freshwater fish? Gefilte fish does not taste good without them, but I cannot find them anywhere. Reply

Anonymous Los Angeles April 8, 2014

if diabetes is an issue, can you substitute splenda for the sugar? the onions typically also contain a fair amount of sugar, so is there a specific variety to use to minimize the sugar content? Reply

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