Best Anchovy Substitutes

You’re planning a party to commemorate your best friend’s birthday. You intend to bake pizzas using anchovies as one of the toppings. You have everything you need except the anchovies, which you forgot to get at the shop.

You’re running out of time, and you still have a lot to accomplish. Your closest friend like anchovies on her pizza, but you don’t have the time to go shopping. What plan do you have? Not to worry, there is a solution to this difficulty.

Continue reading to discover more about anchovies and the many anchovy replacements available.

What Are Anchovies?

Anchovies are a kind of tiny saltwater fish that may be found in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic seas. They are available in a variety of forms, including whole, paste, and cans. To preserve them, packers bathe them in salt water.

The anchovies begin green with silver lines and eventually become gray after soaking in salt brine. The taste intensifies. They are matured and packaged in salt or oil. Chefs include them into salads, sauces, and soups.

Anchovies may be used alone or in combination with other ingredients. These may not always be accessible, leaving you in a dilemma. There are anchovy replacements that will work just as hard to make your food tasty as the anchovies.

Top 5 Anchovy Substitutes

1. Anchovy Paste as a Substitution for Anchovies

Anchovy paste is a great anchovy alternative. It is largely made up of anchovies, olives, oil, and salt. Sauces, soups, and sandwiches all benefit from anchovy paste.

Puttanesca sauce is one anchovy paste-containing sauce. To prepare the sauce, combine the paste, tomato paste, capers, and olives in a mixing bowl. Another famous sauce that incorporates anchovy paste is Caesar dressing. To prepare the Caesar dressing, combine lemon juice, olive oil, and parmesan cheese.

Because of its powerful flavor, you only need a sprinkle of it. Anchovy paste is sold in tubes at the grocery store between the condiments and tomato sauce. You may also manufacture your own paste by crushing entire anchovies or anchovy fillets until a paste forms. Add some vinegar to help balance out the flavor.

Half a teaspoon of anchovy paste equals one anchovy fillet. One teaspoon of anchovy paste is one teaspoon of crushed anchovies. If you don’t want to use paste, the fillets will simply dissolve in sauces.

Anchovy Paste Substitutes

Worcestershire sauce is a kind of anchovy paste that contains anchovies. It may be used as a marinade for various meats, poultry, and fish, or it can be added to salads and sandwiches. Worcestershire sauces come in a range of flavors to suit all tastes.

  • Gluten-free: This is made using white vinegar. The majority of Worcestershire sauces use malt vinegar, which contains gluten. Glutens are not recommended for persons who have digestive problems. White vinegar is devoid of gluten. Check the ingredients on the labels before purchasing.
  • Vegetarians abstain from meat, even anchovies. They may use vegetarian Worcestershire sauce since it does not include anchovies.
  • Reduced Sodium: Salt causes blood pressure to rise. For those who have high blood pressure, the low-sodium sauce is a choice.

Capers are another anchovy paste replacement. They are sold as pea-sized buds, generally in vinegar and salt water.

Capers are delicious in sauces and fish dishes. They have a distinct taste. To replace them for anchovy paste, use one-half tablespoon capers for one teaspoon paste.

2. Umeboshi Paste as a Substitute for Anchovies

Umeboshi paste, commonly known as pickled ume plums (pickled plums), is a spicy condiment used in Japanese cuisines to accompany rice. It may also be used as a replacement for anchovy paste. The paste is salty and rich of taste, making it an excellent substitute. Chefs include it into vegetarian recipes as well as salad dressings.

Because of its distinct umami taste, umeboshi paste is an excellent anchovy paste alternative. Another use might be in Thai cooking in lieu of fish sauce. Make a cheesy meal by combining it with miso paste.

3. Shrimp Paste as a Substitution for Anchovies

Shrimp paste is a salted shrimp paste from Southeast Asia and China. This paste, when used in place of anchovies, has the same taste and spiciness as ordinary anchovies. Thai curry often includes shrimp paste.

Owing to the strong flavor of shrimp paste, just a pinch is required. To make it taste softer, add pureed tomatoes. Replace half a teaspoon of anchovy paste with half a teaspoon of shrimp paste.

4. Asian Fish Sauce as a Substitute for Anchovies

Asian fish sauce has a deep umami (savory) flavor. Since the flavor and odor are similar to anchovies, use a tiny quantity at a time. It works well in soups, dressings, sauces, and salads. It is not suitable for foods such as pizza or spaghetti.

5. Soy Sauce as a Substitution for Anchovies

This is a frequent anchovy substitute. It is made out of fermentation-processed soybeans, wheat, yeast, and salt. Because of the soybeans, it is rich in protein. There are five varieties of soy sauce in Japan: dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, tamari, Shiro, and saishikomi.

Light soy sauce is salty and thin. It’s great for stir-frying chicken or veggies. Dark soy sauce is thicker and more flavorful. It colors the noodles as they are cooking.

Soy sauce contains a lot of salt, which might raise your blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, this is not a suitable option for you. You might use a low-sodium soy sauce instead.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is an ingredient used to increase taste in soy sauce. It may be found in almost all canned or sealed goods. MSG may have harmful consequences on the body, such as headaches, asthma issues, and memory impairments.


Anchovies are widely used in a variety of dishes. Every day, people utilize them to add flavor to their foods. Pizza is a popular cuisine to which they are added for a savory taste.

They are available in a variety of forms, including whole, in cans or jars, marinated, and as filets. Cans soaked in sunflower or olive oil are less costly and easier to locate.

If you prefer whole anchovies, anticipate on spending around 30 minutes preparing them. Filet them and thoroughly rinse them under running water. After that, soak them in milk or white wine to soften them.

Anchovies are simple to hide in some recipes to add savory taste, particularly if they are chopped up. You may be unaware that they are present. If your cuisine has a distinct pop to it, the anchovies are most likely to blame. Pay attention to the labels and choose items that meet your requirements. Eating healthy does not have to mean sacrificing a tasty dinner.

Whatever your scenario, there are anchovy replacements accessible when you’re in a need and need a fast fix. Try one of those alternatives and see if you can detect the difference.


What can I use instead of anchovies in Caesar salad?

If you’re wondering “how to make Caesar dressing without anchovies,” go no farther than this recipe. Anchovies offer a salty and umami taste, which we replicate using Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard. You may absolutely add additional Worcestershire sauce if you like the anchovies taste.

What can I substitute for anchovies in Italian cooking?

Per anchovy fillet, use 2 teaspoons fish sauce. Hence, in dishes where anchovies are used to enhance taste, feel free to substitute 1 anchovy.

What fish is similar to anchovies?

The grocery consumer has a broad variety of canned fish alternatives, but the two most popular are sardines and anchovies. Despite the fact that they are both tiny and fatty, these canned fish have diverse tastes, looks, and origins.

What is a substitute for anchovies in pasta puttanesca?

Although the majority of the components in a classic puttanesca sauce are vegan, the canned anchovies (fish) are not. The good news is that dried seaweed (nori) may be used to replace the fishy flavor of anchovies. If you don’t like dried seaweed, just leave it out.

What can I substitute for anchovies in Ragu?

You could substitute the anchovies with an additional tablespoon of drained capers, which would be the simplest choice since capers are already in the recipe. As an alternative, you may add 6-8 pitted black olives, but choose the cured sort that is vacuum packed rather than the olives sold in brine.

What is a vegetarian substitute for anchovies?

We hit on a strong combination after some experimenting: miso combined with ground toasted nori (toasting brings up the nutty taste of the seaweed). Miso is high in glutamates, whereas nori contains both glutamates and ribonucleotides (including some of the same ones that are in anchovies).

What can I use instead of anchovies in Caesar dressing vegetarian?

Capers: Capers are an excellent alternative for anchovies in classic Caesar dressing. Capers, luckily, are vegetarian-friendly. They’re preserved in a salty brine and have a delicious olive or lemon taste.

Why do chefs use anchovies?

Anchovies are prized by chefs and home cooks around the world for their funky, briny flavor and extraordinary versatility. They don’t just adorn pizzas, salads, and sandwiches; they also make their way into unique sauces, rubs, dressings, and dips, where they lend a meaty umami backbone to, well, anything.

Are capers and anchovies similar?


So, fish and capers are not the same thing. Yet they’re high in salt and umami, which may come in handy when you’re in a need, particularly when paired with a spritz of lemon. If you really want to amp up the fishy taste, go mild on the anchovies. A little amount goes a long way.

Are anchovies just sardines?

They’re two completely distinct species. Anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus) are 4 to 10 inches long, but sardines (Sardina pilchardus) are 6 to 12 inches long. Anchovies are more likely to be salt cured, and the small dark-brown filets are available canned or in olive oil jars.

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