9 Best Anchovy Substitutes

Anchovy is a type of salt-cured and fermented fish and it has been used as an ingredient in various cuisines around the world. It has a strong salty taste and offers a good source of Vitamin B12 and calcium.

However, not many people like the taste of anchovy. The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to this salty fish.

If you don’t like the strong taste of this fish, then below are some good substitutes for anchovy.

The nine great anchovy substitutes you can use today are Worcestershire sauce, Sardines, Shrimp paste, Asian fish sauce, Miso, Capers, Umeboshi paste, Soya sauce, and Kalamata olives.

Keep on scrolling to know how you can use these handy substitutes in place of anchovy in your food.

What is Anchovy?

Anchovy is a small, salt-water fish with a greenish color and delicate scales. It belongs to the family Engraulidae and is found in abundance along with the coastal areas of the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans.

It has been used as an ingredient in various cuisines around the world. It has a strong salty taste that can offer a good source of Vitamin B12 and calcium.

Sea salt, water, and anchovy fillets are the main ingredients used in the curing process to produce anchovy paste. This is an excellent ingredient in soups, stews, and sauces. 

Adding these fish to the food enhances its taste and aroma without adding too much sodium.

Although many people like the taste of anchovy, there are plenty of alternatives for this salty fish. Here are nine great substitutes for anchovy you can use today!

9 Best Anchovy Substitutes

1. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a good substitute for anchovy. This is a traditional sauce that is prepared with anchovy as one of the main ingredients.

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It has a tangy taste of fermented tamarind, molasses, or sugarcane with the addition of garlic and onions.

If you are not aware of how to use it, just add half a teaspoon of this sauce to your dish while cooking it.

2. Sardines

Sardines are a good substitute for anchovy. This is a small oily fish packed with calcium, protein, and Vitamin D. It is a nutritious and healthy fish that can provide you with plenty of health benefits.

Just eat these small fish raw or cook them before eating to remove the strong odor.

You can use fresh sardine or canned ones to substitute anchovy in your dish. Just add around ¼ cup of sardines to your dish and you will get the similar salty taste of anchovy without any unpleasant odor.

3. Shrimp Paste

Shrimp paste is a unique ingredient that people use as a substitute for anchovy. It has been used as a traditional ingredient in Asian cuisine and is one of the main ingredients used to make Thai curry pastes.

It has a very strong fishy flavor and taste. Just mix the shrimp paste with lime juice before adding it to your dish to reduce its pungent smell. This will make your dish tasty without any unpleasant odor.

You can also use it as spreading on bread, fries, etc., or add it to your soup, pasta sauce, and stir fry.

4. Asian Fish Sauce

Asian fish sauce is another amazing substitute for anchovy. This is basically a clear brown liquid made from the fermented salted fish of different types.

It is a popular condiment used in various cuisines, including Vietnamese, Thai, and Cambodian cuisine. It has a high sodium content that makes it perfect as an oil-free alternative to fish sauce.

The complex taste of this sauce will give your dish a pleasant flavor that is similar to anchovy. You can substitute it with an equal amount of anchovy in your recipe while cooking.

It has a very strong flavor and adding just one tablespoon of this sauce will enhance the taste of your dish without overpowering it.

5. Miso Paste – Vegan Alternative

Miso Paste

Miso is a traditional Japanese ingredient mainly prepared from fermented soybeans and salt. It offers a sweet and nutty flavor that is similar to anchovy.

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If you are vegan or do not like anchovy, then it is a great substitute for this fish.

Just add some miso paste to your dish while cooking to get the same taste of anchovy without any side effects.

6. Capers

Capers are another popular ingredient used as a substitute for anchovy. Just add around 2 tablespoons of these sour-bitter flower buds in your dish to get the similar flavors and aroma of this salty fish.

You can use capers in salads, pasta, or any other dish you like with the addition of encapsulated fish flavors. These are also available canned in different stores that label them like capers.

7. Umeboshi Paste

Umeboshi is a Japanese pickled plum that has a similar flavor to anchovy. It is an essential ingredient in Umeboshi vinegar, shiso leaves, and ume extract.

Adding this paste to your dish will give it a natural saltiness and will enhance the taste of your dish very well.

You can add some umeboshi paste in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, and mirin to make your own umami flavoring.

8. Soya Sauce

Soyaki Sauce

Soya sauce is a popular condiment that can be used as a substitute for anchovy. This is a blend of fermented soybeans, roasted grains, and salt.

It offers a deep, savory flavor that is similar to fish flavors with the addition of fish sauce or shrimp paste. You can use soya sauce as an alternative for anchovy in your dish and make it tasty.

9. Kalamata Olives

Kalamata olives are another great substitute for anchovy. These are very popular Mediterranean small black-purple olives that provide an excellent flavor to any dish you like with the addition of anchovy flavors.

Just add a few chopped olives to your dish while cooking and get a similar taste as anchovy. This will enhance the flavor of your dish without making it sourer or salty.

You can also use black olives to substitute anchovy in your dish.

What does Anchovy Taste Like?

It tastes like fish, but it is much saltier than other species of fish.

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When you buy anchovy in the supermarket, they are packed in salt because this keeps them preserved longer. If you eat it straight from the tin, it will taste very salty.

Anchovies vs Sardines: What’s the Difference?

Anchovies and sardines are both fish, but there are some differences between them.

The whole anchovy is a small saltwater fish with an average size of 1 to 3 inches. Its name is derived from the Latin word “anchua”, which means spear because it has a long body that resembles a spear.

The fish is rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin A. It also contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12, and D.

Sardines are members of the herring family that are saltwater fishes with silvery bodies. They may look very similar to anchovies because they have a long body and taste very salty.

Sardines and anchovies are both rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improved heart health and anti-inflammatory properties.

Both of these fishes are preserved by being packed with salt so they can be stored for a longer time. This is why they contain very high levels of sodium compared to other fishes.

What Is a Vegetarian Substitute for Anchovies?

Vegetarians can use soya sauce instead of anchovy. It has a salty and savory flavor with the addition of some more vegetables, such as carrots and onions.

You can also add soy sauce or miso paste to your dish while cooking for a similar taste of anchovy.

What Is Vegan Substitute for Anchovies?

You can use miso paste or kalamata olives in your vegan dishes. These are very popular olives that provide a salty flavor to any dish, without the addition of fish oil or meat products.

Can You Eat Anchovies Out of the Can?

Yes. You can eat them straight from the can or add them to your dishes such as salads, pasta, and rice dish. These fishes are packed with salt and high in sodium, but they also contain calcium and vitamin D.

Why Are Anchovies So Salty?

Anchovies are packed with salt because it helps them to preserve for longer. These fishes are also rich in sodium, which makes them even saltier than other fish products.

Final Words

There are plenty of alternatives for anchovy. I hope that this article has been helpful to you.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments by leaving a message in the comment box below.

Thank you for reading!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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