Easy Saba Shioyaki (Shime Saba) Recipe

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A simple yet delicious recipe for Saba Shioyaki is a perfect addition to your dinner menu due to how easy it is to make.

The crispy skin and burst of flavor will keep the family coming back for more.

How Did Saba Shioyaki Get Its Name?

The name Saba Shioyaki is a combination of terms from the Japanese.

  • Saba means mackerel in Japanese.
  • Shio means salt
  • Yaki means grilling

So Saba Shioyaki translates to salt grilled mackerel.

If you’re looking for a fish recipe that is reasonably priced, delicious, and only needs a few ingredients to tase amazing, then this is it.

Mackerel or Saba is a popular type of fish for cooking in Japan. The one down side to mackerel is that it does spoil quickly so it is important to use it within a day of purchasing it.

So, it is important to pay attention to the freshness of this fish. You should always ensure you cook or freeze it properly as well.

saba shioyaki on plate with vegetables

Is Saba The Same As Mackerel?

On a basic level, yes Saba is a type of mackerel that is found in the seas of Japan. It is just one of many fish that are classified as a mackerel.

Easy Saba Shioyaki Recipe

Saba Shioyaki is so simple that anyone can make it. Just a few simple ingredients and a short time in the oven and you have a meal that will make you feel like you are fine dining for the evening.


  • 2 saba fillets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Sake or Mirin


  • Pat fish dry with paper towels
  • Lightly brush sake or mirin on the skin of the fish
  • Sprinkle salt generously on both the skin and meat of the fish
  • Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Dab fish lightly to remove extra liquid that formed after sitting
  • Remove excess salt
  • Put olive oil on pan to prevent fish from sticking
  • Place fish skin side down on pan
  • Cook 15-20 minutes or until fish is cooked all the way through

For an extra crispiness factor you can put your oven on broil for 5 minutes or so.

Additional Notes

If you want to make a version that does not have an alcohol, you can remove the sake completely or use Mirin which has a lower alcohol content.

The fish will still be amazing without the sake since it is the salt that is really making most of the magic happen.

cucumber smoothie with lemon

Lemon Cucumber Mint Smoothie

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Refreshing and healthy, the lemon cucumber smoothie with a touch of mint is the perfect detox addition or summer refresher.


  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • 10 mint leaves (approximately)
  • Ice cubes
  • Water
  • Cane sugar


  1. Peel the cucumber skin
  2. Cut cucumber into pieces
  3. Squeeze juice from lemon
  4. Mix the cucumber, lemon juice, mint leaves, and ice in blender until smooth
  5. Add additional water if it seems to thick
  6. Pour half of the preparation into each glass and taste
  7. If not sweet enough add cane sugar to taste

What To Serve With Saba Shioyaki

There are so many options for sides that will complement this dish. A few of my favorites include:

  • Plain steamed rice (shown here)
  • Vegetable mixed brown rice
  • Miso soba noodle soup
  • Pickled cabbage and carrots (shown here)
Saba Shioyaki fish recipe

Is Saba Healthy?

Mackerel is a very nutritious fish, rich in protein, iron, and vitamins B1 and B2. Like sardine and tuna, it also contains quite a lot of Omega 3.

Normally in Japan, it is eaten grilled, simmered, or fried.

With mackerel, we often make sushi and sashimi by marinating them in vinegar. But most choose not to eat it raw because of the risk of anisakis.

If you do not have enough experience to cook this fish, I recommend that you do not eat it raw!

Great For Bento Boxes

Whether for your own lunch, or for the kids – this is a great meal for that bento box. Perfect for picnics, afternoons out, or when you need a snack for the road trips.

Saba Shioyaki recipe for bento box

2 thoughts on “Easy Saba Shioyaki (Shime Saba) Recipe”

  1. Hi! We make this recipe all the time. I love the simplicity and the healthiness – can’t beat delicious mackerel at home 🙂 I really do think the step of marinating with sake/mirin is important so I never skip it. Sometimes I will broil at the end for extra crisp. Great for leftovers too!


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