Ilene's Gefilte Fish


  • 4 pounds fish ground (any firm-fleshed fish, whitefish, pike, carp/trout) reserve the fish racks including heads
  • 3 medium sweet onions quartered
  • 3 carrots cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons matzo meal regular or gluten free up to 1/2 cup for desired consistency
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sugar optional
  • 3 large carrots cut into 1/4 inch discs
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves
  • 1 large onion cut into quarters
  • reserved fish bones and heads
  • 3 quarts water
  • additional salt and pepper to taste


  • Place the bones in mesh bags (to avoid having any bones in the fish).
  • In a large stock pot, add the water, fish bones, salt, pepper, sugar, carrots, and onion. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Continue to simmer while preparing the fish.
  • Place the fish in a large bowl.
  • Grind the onions in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add the onions to the fish. Without cleaning the processor bowl, grind the carrots until coarsely ground. Add to the fish and onions.
  • Mix in the black pepper, salt, sugar, matzo meal and eggs. If the mixture seems dry, add up to 1/2 cup ice water. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out fish mixture then shape into “football” shaped fish portions. Place each piece of shaped fish into the prepared stock.
  • Bring the fish to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low. Lightly cover the pot, leaving a steam vent. Cook the fish for 1 1/2 hours, then taste a cooked piece to determine if additional seasoning is required in the stock. Add necessary seasoning, then cook fish for an additional 1/2 hour.
  • Remove fish, carrots and onions from the stock, and place in a large container or aluminum pans. Continue to simmer the stock until it is reduced by half. Pour the remaining stock over the fish.
  • Allow the fish to cool, then refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
  • Serve the chilled fish garnished with lettuce and fish carrots.


Ask your Harbor Fish Market fishmonger to fillet the fish for you and ask to keep the head-on racks. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!