Spanish-style Sardines Bangus in Oil

Spanish-style Sardines Bangus in Oil in Oil is easy to make in the pressure cooker and so delicious with steamed rice! And great for gift-giving, too!

We kicked off our holiday recipe series a few weeks with a party-worthy ham with pineapple made easy in the slow cooker and today, I’m following it up with a spicy sardines bangus in oil that’s sure to thrill your tastebuds!

Sardinas is not exactly what comes to mind when planning a Noche Buena feast and if you’re wondering why I’m including it on our list, it’s because like my yummy tropical magic bars, Spanish-style milkfish are great for gifting. If you’re on a tight budget this year or just want to make something special for the people in your life, homemade food gifts are a delicious way to spread Christmas cheer.


You can adjust the amounts to suit your personal tastes and double or triple the batch depending on the size of your pressure cooker.

  • Bangus/milkfish- if you have access to baby bangus, so much better!
  • Olive oil- or other neutral-tasting oil such as corn, canola, or vegetable oil
  • Carrots-cut into florets for a decorative touch
  • Green olives-pitted
  • Sliced Pickles- use sweet gherkins for a touch of sweetness
  • Garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves-for depth of flavor
  • Thai chili peppers-add more or less depending on the desired level of heat

Cooking instructions

  • Clean and gut the fish, but leave the scales intact. Slice into serving portions, keeping in mind the size of the jars you’re using for storage.
  • Soak in a salt solution for about 30 minutes to improve flavor and help the fish retain moisture.
  • Make sure to use rock salt and not regular table salt.
  • Layer the bay leaves, carrots, and garlic on the bottom of the pressure cooker first to keep the milkfish from sticking.
  • Arrange the fish in a single layer over the carrots and aromatics. Top with the sliced sweet pickles, pitted green olives, chili peppers, and peppercorns.
  • Season with rock salt. If using regular table salt, decrease the amount.
  • While you can make this homemade sardines in a regular pot over low heat,  pressure cooking allows even the bones and scales to become soft and tender without the fish falling apart.
  • The cooking time begins when the pressure cooker valve whistles as it means the inside has come to pressure.
  • Most pressure cookers have a safety mechanism that keeps them from opening until the pressure is released. Carefully lift the valve with tongs until all the pressure dissipates.
  • DO NOT try to open the lid during cooking.

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