Smoked Mackerel Stew

Savor and enjoy your meal with a comforting, hearty, and delicious African dish – Smoked Mackerel Stew!

There is no surprise that Smoked Mackerel Stew is one of the most popular soups and stews in Africa. Aside from its smoky and rich pepper sauce, you will also love how soft, tender, and flavorful the mackerel is.

Once you know how to cook it, every spoonful will surely have an awesome blend of savory, smoky, and spicy flavors that you won’t be able to get enough of. It will certainly make your family and guests feel at home and relaxed.

smoked mackerel stew

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The Smoked Mackerel Stew may have complex flavors, but it’s actually easy to make at home. As long as you cook it right, you can experience how perfect the flavor and texture of the stew will be!

It might even make you feel like you’re on a culinary adventure to Nigeria!

How to Make Smoked Mackerel Stew

Cooking Smoked Mackerel Stew is like hitting two birds with one stone. You will learn how to cook Smoked Mackerel and how to make pepper sauce. The result will be a fantastic Smoked Mackerel Stew that will give you the best dining experience.

First, let’s talk about the ingredients of this dish.


Here is everything you need to make Smoked Mackerel Stew:

Smoked mackerel

You will surely smile all of your worries away with smoked mackerel for your stew.

How tastier can the Smoked Mackerel get? Once cooked, it will have a tender texture, pleasant aroma, and rich flavor. It is usually seasoned with salt because of how tasteful it already is. 

Cooking it into a stew is one of the best ways to make the most out of smoked mackerel. The fish’s light flesh will surely escalate the quality of the stew. According to Nutrition Advance, mackerel is also good for your heart, brain, and immunity.

For more ways to use your smoked mackerel, I suggest cooking other Nigerian delicacies like Moi Moi, Fish Rolls, and Egg Omelet Toast

Bell peppers, sweet peppers, and scotch bonnet

When you have bell peppers, sweet peppers, and scotch bonnets, you can easily make pepper sauce at home. Because of these blends of peppers and scotch bonnets, the sauce will certainly have a rich, sweet, and savory flavor.

Meanwhile, a scotch bonnet adds a kick of spice to balance the sweetness. It also makes the dish extra smokey. Aside from using it to cook mackerel, you can also use the pepper sauce with meat and other seafood options.

You can also use the sauce to cook Jollof Rice, Egusi Soup, and Fish Stew


Don’t forget to add tomatoes to the pepper sauce. These tomatoes will give it a sweet and tarty flavor that tastes amazing with peppers and scotch bonnets. Even their vibrant red colors make everything better.

Aside from using fresh tomatoes, you can use tomato sauce or paste instead. Tomatoes are also the top ingredients for sauces in African dishes. I also put my tomatoes to good use by cooking Spaghetti, Pizza Sauce, and Tortilla Wrap


For the aromatics, use garlic, red onion, and white onion. They have a pungent flavor and amazing aroma that can improve almost any dish. The garlic’s signature pungent and sweet quality tastes incredible with the onions.

The red onion also has a mild flavor, making it good to use even if raw. Meanwhile, the white onion has a sweeter flavor and crunchy texture, making it suitable for frying. 

Herbs and spices

The Smoked Mackerel Stew recipe will not be complete without herbs and spices. Use curry powder, mixed herbs, knorr cubes, smoked paprika, and salt to bring out the best in this dish.

These herbs and spices will certainly make the stew taste awesome!

Corn oil

Corn oil has a high smoke point and neutral flavor. It can properly cook the pepper sauce without burning it. Moreover, frying the sauce gives the dish an overall better flavor.

Add these to your grocery list to make Smoked Mackerel Stew for your next celebration. I’m sure that these will give you the best results!


Put your apron on, and let’s get cooking! 

  1. Slice the tomatoes, sweet peppers, bell peppers, scotch bonnet, red onion, and garlic with a knife.
  2. Pulse them in a blender until roughly chopped.
  3. Debone and break the smoked mackerel into chunks.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium fire.
  5. Fry the diced white onion for a minute. 
  6. Stir in the pepper sauce and cook until the sauce thickens.
  7. Season the sauce with curry powder, mixed herbs, smoked paprika, sea salt, and knorr stock cubes.
  8. Then, mix the stew with a wooden spatula.
  9. Fry the sauce for three minutes on low heat.
  10. Add the smoked mackerel chunks.
  11. Let it simmer for two minutes. 
  12. Finally, serve the Smoked Mackerel Stew with your favorite side dishes! 

Doesn’t it smell and taste absolutely divine? Smoked Mackerel Stew will surely make you fall in love with African cuisine! 


Smoked Mackerel

Did you know that you can make quality Smoked Mackerel at home?

It is also one of the best ways to store mackerel for soups and stews. In fact, you can pair it with other sauces for an enriched flavor! 

Buy fresh mackerel and store it in the fridge or freezer properly. You can easily smoke fish in the oven, which only takes about 30 minutes to cook! 

  1. Gut and clean the mackerel. 
  2. Fold the mackerel until its mouth reaches the tail. 
  3. Then, secure it with a toothpick.
  4. Cook it in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes on each side.
  5. Use it for this stew by deboning and breaking it into chunks.

You can also make smoked mackerel in the air fryer or frying pan! 

Peppers, tomatoes, and scotch bonnet

Buying peppers, tomatoes, and scotch bonnet
  • Buy peppers, tomatoes, and scotch bonnets with smooth and clear skin.
  • The stems should also be attached.
  • They should feel heavy for their size. 
Storing peppers, tomatoes, and scotch bonnet
  • You can keep them at room temperature for several days.
  • However, store them in the fridge to extend their shelf life.
  • They can also be frozen to make them last longer.

Mixed herbs

Mixed herbs are multi-purpose seasoning for almost any dish. It combines basil, oregano, parsley, marjoram, tarragon, sage, and thyme. Moreover, use a spice grinder to get the best texture.

No-Blender Pepper Sauce

If you don’t have a blender, then use a food processor or miller to pulse the ingredients. Otherwise, use a knife or grater to get similar results.

Smoked Mackerel Stew Variations

It’s never too late to explore other versions of the Smoked Mackerel Stew!

The best thing about cooking Smoked Mackerel Stew is that you can season it according to your desired flavor. It can be as sweet, spicy, or savory as you want to make the meal more enjoyable.

In cooking smoked mackerel, I suggest seasoning it with salt, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, and more. Moreover, you can further improve the dish with other herbs and spices that you like.

More Stew Recipes

  • Frying pan: Cook the Smoked Mackerel Stew in a frying pan.
  • Blender: Prepare the pepper sauce in a blender.
  • Wooden spatula: Stir the stew with a wooden spatula.
  • Knife: Chop the ingredients using a knife.

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How to Serve Smoked Mackerel Stew

I love how Smoked Mackerel Stew goes with so many dishes.

One of the best ways to enjoy it is to serve it over rice, couscous, and salads. Some side dishes with potatoes, plantains, and other vegetables, too. No matter how you serve it, the stew will surely have a hearty quality.

You can serve it hot or warm, depending on your mood. I suggest cooking it on a cold and warm night to give a soothing and satisfying experience. It’s perfect to serve for your family and guests.

smoked mackerel sauce serving options

I love serving it for lunch and dinner to give everyone a filling meal. Indeed, you will never run out of ways to serve it! Furthermore, check out these excellent side dishes for the stew:

  • Bread – dip your bread in the broth of the stew.
  • Rice – no matter what rice it is, the stew will surely taste amazing.
  • Fried Yam – relish starchy yams with a savory dish.
  • Roasted Plantains – this stew is truly better with plantains on the side.
  • Beans – every bite is so smooth and satisfying.

Storage Tips

At room temperature: Eat the Smoked Mackerel Stew within several hours at room temperature.

make ahead

In the fridge: Store the stew in an airtight container. Then, refrigerate for three days.

To freeze: I suggest separately freezing the smoked mackerel and pepper sauce for a few weeks or months. Otherwise, keep the stew in the freezer for about a month.

Nigerian smoked mackerel sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you cook smoked mackerel?

Yes, you can cook Smoked Mackerel. In this recipe, you just need to soak and cook it in pepper sauce to infuse it with the best flavors. Smoking mackerel in the oven is actually a practical way of making it last longer while making it tastier.

Is smoked mackerel healthy to eat?

Yes, it is. Eating smoked mackerel is effective for your heart, brain, and overall health. It is also a good source of protein, vitamins, and potassium. Mackerel is also low in mercury for a better diet.

What is a good cooking technique for mackerel?

It depends on your preference. You can cook Smoked Mackerel in the oven, or you can also cook it in a pot to get delicious fish liquid stock that you can use for other recipes.

How do you eat canned smoked mackerel?

For canned smoked mackerel, you can best enjoy it with crackers, bread, salads, wraps, sandwiches, pasta, omelets, rice, grains, and soups.

smoked mackerel sauce

Smoked Mackerel Stew

5 from 2 votes
This simple but delicious recipe will become your favorite smoked mackerel and pepper sauce in one fabulous dish!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 10
Course Stew
Cuisine Nigerian
Calories 456kcal


For the pepper sauce

  • 5 tomatoes
  • 3 sweet peppers
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 scotch bonnet
  • 2 garlic cloves

For the stew


Prepare the pepper sauce and smoked mackerel

  • Rinse the vegetables. Slice them using a knife.
  • Pulse the tomatoes, sweet peppers, bell peppers, scotch bonnet, red onion, and garlic in a blender until roughly chopped.
  • Debone and break the smoked mackerel into chunks.

Cook the smoked mackerel stew

  • Heat corn oil in a frying pan over medium fire.
  • Fry the white onion for a minute.
  • Stir in the pepper sauce and cook until the sauce thickens.
  • Season the sauce with curry powder, mixed herbs, smoked paprika, sea salt, and knorr stock cubes.
  • Mix the stew with a wooden spatula.
  • Fry the sauce for 3 minutes on low heat.
  • Add the smoked mackerel chunks.
  • Let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Serve the smoked mackerel stew with your favorite side dishes!



  • Make smoked mackerel at home by cooking it in the oven, air fryer, or frying pan. 
  • Use a food processor or miller instead of a blender.
  • Cook the sauce in oil with a high smoke point to prevent burning.


Serving: 1 (of 10)Calories: 456kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 29gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 315mgPotassium: 899mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 2947IUVitamin C: 106mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 2mg
Keyword authentic smoked mackerel stew, easy smoked mackerel stew, homemade smoked mackerel stew, nigerian smoked mackerel stew, quick smoked mackerel stew

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