sprats in a can

What Are Sprats And How To Eat Them

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sprats in a can

What are the sprats? Sprats are a kind of fish.  The sprats are tiny, and are normally sold canned – just like sardines.  Sprats are very popular in Russia where I’m originally from, and they are sold in European ethnic supermarkets in the US.  On this picture you can see a can of smoked sprats in oil.

opened can of smoked sprats in oil

Above is the view of the contents of the can of sprats from the top.  In this particular can, the sprats’ heads are removed.  However, I have seen the sprats canned with their heads included 🙂

You are supposed to eat the whole sprat.  The canned sprats are very very soft, so even the heads, tails and fins taste the same as the rest of the sprat – you can’t tell what part of the sprat you are eating.

sprats on a plate

On this picture the sprats are on a tiny plate.  Now you can see that the tails are included.  But you can’t really taste the tails – the whole sprat tastes the same 🙂

So how do you eat sprats? Straight out of a can! 🙂  Here are 3 different ways to eat sprats:

1) Sprats are great on top of the black rye bread

2) Sprats go really well with the side dish of mashed potatoes

3) You can mash the sprats with the fork and mix them with hot cooked pasta

If you are an adventurous eater, try the sprats!  They might become your new pantry staple!

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24 replies
  1. Dan
    Dan says:

    I eat these all the time. Fortunately, I don’t need to go to a speciality store. Sprats are available at the regular grocery stores in Toronto. I’m very fortunate that Toronto’s grocery stores are so diverse. You can find just about anything.

    Reply
  2. joey
    joey says:

    They look very much like the sardines (canned and bottled) they sell here (in Manila) and we also have smoked versions…I am sure they are delicious! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Casey
    Casey says:

    Sprats are new to my foodie mind. I am not sure, I would like them. To be fair, I should get them and taste them. Thanks for teaching me something new.

    Reply
  4. Gina
    Gina says:

    I haven’t had a sprat, but it’s fun to learn about them. My husband would like them I’m sure. I just think that picture of you holding the pizza is the cutest.
    -Gina-

    Reply
  5. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    Recently discovered Sprats at an ethnic market. They are delightful. Tinier than sardines, usually smoked and tastier than sardines. So, I am a big fan of these tiny adorable herrings.

    Reply
  6. john
    john says:

    I have eaten sprats for years. I remove the head, cover in flour and shallow fry for three minutes each side, serve with mashed potatos and peas.

    Reply
  7. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    Really enjoyed this article. Thank you. Another way of enjoying fresh sprats (or any whitebait fish) is to simply pan fry in a small amount of butter then squeeze lemo.n juice and a sprinkling of malt vinegar and season with a little black pepper. Yum 🙂

    Reply
  8. David
    David says:

    We just bought some smoked Sprads, in our new European style supermarket. I love fishing and seafood and to me there look like white bite, pilchard or blue bite how we call those in Australia. All of those taste great if pickeld, smoked, fryed or preserved in olive oil with a touch of fresh garlic, chilli and dill.
    With a slice of fresh baked sourdough bread and a glass of white wine, preferable from New Zealand it’s all perfect.
    Enjoy

    Reply
  9. Kenneth
    Kenneth says:

    Here in Plano Texas USA, we have a store called CCCP (soviet union), I just bought a can of Sprat, it’s made in Latvia, have not tried it yet, they also have Cod Liver, that may be my next thing to try.

    Reply
  10. Uncle Bea
    Uncle Bea says:

    I love the smoked Sprats canned from Poland. So lucky to have many international markets within ten minuets of our home…The wife and I are very adventures eaters. Life is too short to miss out on smoked Sprats !!!!!!

    Reply
  11. Ken
    Ken says:

    Our local supermarket was converted to FoodBasics (Hamilton, Ontario) and I noticed these in their “foods of the world” section, so I bought a can (on sale).

    Reply
  12. Matthew Sutton
    Matthew Sutton says:

    We have just had sprats for the first time with a set meal (in UK.) They were shallow fried, but as we were unsure on the heads and tails, we cut them off!
    Oh how much easier would it have been if we had seen this first!
    They were very nice though, in their light batter. Haven’t been a big fish eater, beyond Cod, Salmon, Haddock, and Tuna. I think I shall be more adventurous now though!

    Reply
  13. Lucy
    Lucy says:

    I found a can of Smoked Sprats Pate- same Russian brand as in your photo – at a middle Eastern market in San Diego that also carries Eastern European products. It’s very tasty. They are milder than sardines, and smoked. I love all smoked stuff, from paprika to Jewish Smoked whitefish “salad ” at Costco. I have been spreading the pate on toast in the morning and topping it with slices of marinated jalapeño I get as a condiment in Mexican fast food restaurants. The little spice & vinegar compliments it well. Would make a nice little hors d’oeuvre on a cracker.

    Reply
  14. Mark
    Mark says:

    Sorry, but smoked sprats are more like German heritage in Northern part of Europe. The name is coming from German sprotte – it is actually small herring living in Baltic sea. Kiel sprats are pretty known. Baltic Germans started to produce sprats for the Russian (Czar) Court and upper class in Latvia, Riga. Quality smoked sprats must be soft inside and same time skin must be dark golden and strong enough to keep the fish whole if you pick it up with the fork. There are lot of products all around the world claiming to be smoked sprats, they are not. They are smoked sprats like products.

    Reply
  15. Chris
    Chris says:

    I just finished a can of smoked sprat pate I bought at Target. They taste great. I get smoked fish whenever I am traveling along Lake Michigan and have tried smoked salmon spreads there. I was pretty sure I would like the sprats pate and I thought it was great. It only cost $1.09. It was great on crackers. They came from Latvia.

    Reply

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