Are you tired of that strong, salty taste in your favorite pizza or pasta dish? Do you find yourself picking out those little fishy bits from your food? If so, you’re not alone. Anchovies are a common ingredient in many dishes, but not everyone enjoys their flavor.

Luckily, there are many substitutes and alternatives available that can provide a similar taste without the fishy aftertaste. So, whether you’re a picky eater or just looking to switch things up, keep reading to discover the perfect anchovy alternative for your next meal.

List of Substitutes for Anchovy

List of Substitutes for Anchovy


Capers are a popular ingredient in many dishes that require a salty and tangy flavor. They are often used as a substitute for anchovies, which are also known for their salty and savory taste.

Capers are a great alternative for those who prefer not to use anchovies due to dietary restrictions, personal taste preferences, or availability. Additionally, capers are much easier to find in grocery stores and have a longer shelf life compared to anchovies.

They can be used in various dishes like salads, pasta sauces, and dressings to add a flavorful punch without the fishy taste of anchovies. Overall, capers are a versatile and tasty ingredient that can be used as a substitute for anchovies in many different recipes.


Olives can be considered a substitute for anchovies because both have a salty and savory flavor profile. Olives have a similar umami taste and are often used in Mediterranean dishes as a replacement for anchovies.

Additionally, both ingredients can add depth and complexity to a dish, making them interchangeable in certain recipes. Olives can also provide a similar texture to anchovies when chopped or pureed.

Overall, olives can be a suitable substitute for anchovies in dishes where a salty and savory flavor is desired.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are an excellent substitute for anchovies due to their intense umami flavor, similar saltiness, and ability to add depth to dishes. They provide a savory taste that can enhance the overall flavor profile of a recipe. Moreover, sun-dried tomatoes offer a vegetarian alternative, making them an ideal choice for individuals who follow a meatless or seafood-free diet.

One of the advantages of using sun-dried tomatoes as a substitute is their widespread availability in most grocery stores. They can be easily found, ensuring convenience for home cooks. Additionally, sun-dried tomatoes can be used in a variety of dishes, such as pasta sauces, salads, and pizzas, allowing for their versatile application in various culinary creations.

By incorporating sun-dried tomatoes, you can enjoy a similar flavor profile to anchovies without the fishy taste. Their intense umami flavor contributes a robust and satisfying element to dishes, providing a delightful substitute.

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a viable substitute for anchovies due to its shared salty and tangy flavor, which can contribute depth to dishes. Anchovies are commonly utilized in sauces, dressings, and as pizza toppings, but some individuals may not enjoy their pronounced fishy taste. In contrast, feta cheese offers a similar salty and tangy flavor profile without the fishiness, making it a desirable alternative.

Feta cheese can be crumbled on top of salads or incorporated into pasta dishes, providing a savory punch that adds a delightful taste dimension. Its versatility allows for various culinary applications, allowing individuals to enjoy the salty kick without the distinctive fish flavor associated with anchovies.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese can serve as a substitute for anchovies, offering a comparable salty and umami flavor. While the two ingredients have distinct tastes, Parmesan cheese can be used as a substitute in recipes where the anchovy flavor is not the primary focal point.

The versatility and widespread availability of Parmesan cheese make it a convenient alternative for those who do not have access to anchovies or prefer to use a more easily accessible ingredient. It is a common staple in many households and can be readily found in most grocery stores.

When substituting Parmesan cheese for anchovies, it’s important to consider the specific recipe and its flavor requirements. Parmesan cheese can provide a similar depth of flavor, but it may not replicate the exact taste of anchovies. It works particularly well in recipes where the anchovy flavor plays a supporting role rather than being the star.

Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is a suitable substitute for anchovies, as it possesses a similar flavor profile. Both ingredients offer a salty and savory taste that contributes depth to dishes. Moreover, smoked salmon can be conveniently flaked or chopped and incorporated into recipes in a manner comparable to anchovies.

Choosing smoked salmon as a substitute can also be a healthier option. It tends to be lower in sodium and calories compared to anchovies, making it a favorable alternative for individuals concerned about their dietary intake.

The versatility of smoked salmon allows it to be used in a wide range of recipes, providing a unique and distinctive flavor. Whether added to salads, pasta dishes, spreads, or as a topping for pizzas or canapés, smoked salmon can elevate the taste experience and offer an excellent alternative to anchovies.

Pickled Herring

In certain recipes, pickled herring can serve as a substitute for anchovies due to their shared strong, salty flavor. While anchovies are small, oily fish, pickled herring is a preserved fish that undergoes a curing process in vinegar or brine. Both ingredients have the potential to enhance the depth of flavor in dishes like Caesar salad, pasta puttanesca, and pizza.

It’s important to acknowledge that pickled herring has a milder taste compared to anchovies, which may affect the final outcome of certain recipes. The substitution might work well in some cases, but it may not deliver the exact flavor profile desired. Additionally, pickled herring can exhibit a slightly sweet taste resulting from the curing process. This sweetness may not harmonize well with certain dishes and could potentially alter their intended flavor profile.

When considering pickled herring as a substitute for anchovies, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate the specific recipe and its flavor requirements. While it can contribute a similar salty and robust taste, the milder flavor and subtle sweetness of pickled herring may not be suitable for every application.


Sardines are an excellent substitute for anchovies due to their comparable taste and texture. Both fish possess an oily and salty profile, making them highly sought-after ingredients in numerous culinary preparations. An advantage of sardines is their wide availability and lower cost compared to anchovies, which can be appealing to budget-conscious home cooks.

Like anchovies, sardines can be utilized in various ways, such as in pasta sauces, salads, and pizzas. They can contribute a similar flavor profile, although they may not be an exact replica of anchovies. Nonetheless, sardines offer a viable alternative for individuals seeking to achieve a comparable taste in their dishes.

By incorporating sardines, you can infuse your recipes with a savory and briny essence that adds depth and complexity. Whether you’re looking to enhance a sauce, elevate the flavors in a salad, or top a pizza with a distinctive twist, sardines can deliver the desired results.

Miso Paste

Miso paste, a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine, is an excellent substitute for anchovies in various recipes. It is derived from fermented soybeans and boasts a rich, savory flavor that closely resembles that of anchovies. Furthermore, its texture is similar, allowing it to be utilized in dressings, sauces, and marinades, just like anchovies.

What makes miso paste particularly appealing is its suitability for vegetarians and those seeking healthier alternatives. It is low in fat and calories while still delivering ample flavor. This makes it an ideal choice for individuals who want to enjoy the depth and richness that anchovies bring to dishes, without compromising their dietary preferences or health goals.

Miso paste’s versatility knows no bounds—it can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes to elevate their taste profiles. Whether used as a seasoning, a base for soups, or a flavor enhancer in stir-fries, miso paste provides an umami-packed punch that enhances the overall culinary experience.

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a popular condiment that can be used as a substitute for anchovy in cooking. It has a similar savory and umami flavor profile that can add depth and complexity to dishes.

The sauce is made with a blend of ingredients including vinegar, molasses, tamarind, and spices, which help to mimic the salty and fishy taste of anchovies. This combination creates a unique flavor that can enhance the taste of various dishes.

One of the advantages of Worcestershire sauce is its availability and affordability. Unlike anchovies, which may be harder to find or more expensive, Worcestershire sauce is widely accessible in most grocery stores. This makes it a convenient alternative for home cooks who want to incorporate a similar flavor without the hassle or cost.

In culinary applications, Worcestershire sauce can be used in a variety of recipes to add a rich and savory taste. Its versatility allows it to be used in marinades, dressings, sauces, and even as a seasoning for grilled meats or vegetables.

What Does Anchovy Taste Like?

What Does Anchovy Taste Like

Anchovies have a very strong, salty, and pungent taste. They have a distinct umami flavor that is often described as fishy or briny. The taste can be overwhelming for some people, but for others, it is a beloved flavor that adds depth and complexity to dishes.

The texture of anchovies is also unique. When cooked, they become soft and almost melt in your mouth. However, when eaten raw, they are quite firm and chewy. The tiny bones that run through the fish can also add a slightly crunchy texture.

Overall, the taste and texture of anchovies can be an acquired taste, but they are a staple ingredient in many Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. They are often used to add flavor to dishes like pizza, pasta, Caesar salads, and sauces.

Storage and Shelf Life for Anchovy

Storage and Shelf Life for Anchovy

Shelf Life

Anchovies have a relatively long shelf life compared to other seafood. They can last up to 2 years if stored properly.


Anchovies should be stored at a cool temperature. Ideally, they should be kept at a temperature between 32°F and 38°F.


When handling anchovies, it is important to use clean utensils and surfaces to prevent contamination. Gloves should be worn to avoid skin irritation caused by the salt in the anchovies.


Anchovies should be stored in a well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup and mold growth.


Anchovies should be refrigerated immediately after purchase. They should be stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to prevent moisture loss.


Anchovies should be separated from other foods to prevent cross-contamination.


Anchovies are typically sold in tins or jars. Once opened, they should be transferred to an airtight container for storage.


Anchovies can be frozen for up to 6 months. They should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container before freezing. Thawed anchovies should be used immediately and not refrozen.

Nutritional Info: What Goes into a Serving of Anchovy

What Goes Into A Serving of Anchovy
  • Serving size: 100 grams of anchovy
  • Calories: 210
  • Protein: 28.9 grams
  • Fat: 9.71 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugars: 0 grams
  • Potassium: 544 milligrams
  • Magnesium: 69 milligrams
  • Sodium: 3670 milligrams
  • Selenium 68.1 micrograms

You can find this information on USDA FoodData Central

Health Benefits of Anchovy

Health Benefits of Anchovy

Anchovies are small, saltwater fish that are commonly used as a flavoring ingredient in various dishes. They are a rich source of several important nutrients and offer numerous health benefits.

High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Anchovies are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining good heart health. Omega-3s can help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Rich in Protein

Anchovies are an excellent source of protein, making them a great addition to any diet. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, and it can also help keep you feeling full and satisfied after a meal.

Packed with Vitamins and Minerals

Anchovies are a rich source of several important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, and calcium. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, while vitamin B12 is important for a healthy nervous system. Calcium is also important for bone health, as well as for muscle and nerve function.

Low in Calories

Anchovies are low in calories, making them a great addition to any weight loss or calorie-restricted diet. They are also a good source of healthy fats, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals.

Interesting Facts About Anchovy

Interesting Facts About Anchovy
  • Anchovies are small, saltwater fish that belong to the Engraulidae family.
  • They are found in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans.
  • Anchovies are a popular ingredient in Caesar salad dressing and Worcestershire sauce.
  • They are also commonly used as a pizza topping in Italy and other Mediterranean countries.
  • Anchovies are a key ingredient in the traditional French sauce, “sauce provençale.”
  • In the ancient Roman times, anchovies were used as a seasoning or condiment.
  • Anchovies are important to the food chain as they serve as prey for larger fish, sea birds, and marine mammals.
  • They have a strong sense of smell and use it to locate their prey.
  • Anchovies can lay up to 50,000 eggs at a time.
  • They have been used for centuries in traditional medicine for various ailments such as arthritis and asthma.

Frequently Asked Questions About Anchovy

Frequently Asked Questions About Anchovy

Q: What is an anchovy?
A: An anchovy is a small, saltwater fish that is often used as a flavoring ingredient in various dishes.

Q: Where are anchovies typically found?
A: Anchovies are found in various oceans around the world, including the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Pacific.

Q: What is the history of anchovies in cooking?
A: Anchovies have been used in cooking for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Rome and Greece.

Q: What types of dishes are anchovies commonly used in?
A: Anchovies are commonly used in dishes such as Caesar salad dressing, pizza toppings, and pasta sauces.

Q: Are anchovies a sustainable seafood option?
A: It depends on the specific source of the anchovies. Some anchovy populations are overfished, while others are harvested sustainably.

Q: Can anchovies be used in vegetarian or vegan dishes?
A: No, anchovies are not suitable for vegetarian or vegan diets as they are a type of fish.

Q: What is the difference between anchovies and sardines?
A: Anchovies are smaller and have a saltier, more intense flavor than sardines. Sardines are also typically sold canned, while anchovies are often sold in jars or tins.

Q: Can anchovies be eaten raw?
A: Yes, anchovies can be eaten raw, but they are more commonly used in cooked dishes.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, there are plenty of anchovy substitutes available for those who do not prefer the taste of anchovies or are looking for a vegetarian or vegan option.

Capers, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, parmesan cheese, smoked salmon, pickled herring, sardines, miso paste, and Worcestershire sauce are all great alternatives to anchovies.

Each of these substitutes has its own unique flavor profile and can be used in different recipes to give a similar umami taste. So, you can experiment with these alternatives and find the one that works best for you.