9 Best Anchovy Paste Substitutes That You Can Try!

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If you are fond of the flavor of anchovies, anchovy paste is a staple in your pantry! But, in case you have run out of your favorite paste at the last minute, plenty of substitute options are available! Here, we will discuss the best anchovy paste substitutes! 

Anchovy Paste

The best substitutes for anchovy paste in various recipes are anchovy filets, fish sauce, yeast extract, shrimp paste, soy sauce, miso paste, and mushroom paste. 

Anchovy paste is an ingredient that can bring about a lot of debates. While there are people who absolutely love anchovies and the paste as well, there are people who hate it altogether. But nothing can replace that sharp umami flavor for those who love it. 

The paste is primarily made of only three ingredients: anchovies, salt, and olive oil. The oil works as a preservative, along with the salt and the seasoning. So, overall, anchovies have a very sharp flavor. 

The salt added to it makes the flavor even more intense, which can add a ton of flavor to various recipes. Anchovy paste is often used as a condiment on canapes and is added to eggs to give them an extra kick of flavor. 

The paste is highly popular in Italian cuisine. So yes, this ingredient may seem irreplaceable in most recipes. Luckily though, quite a few substitutes can work just as well in its place. Let us take a look at all these substitutes! 

9 Best Anchovy Paste Substitutes

Here are some of the best substitutes you can use instead of anchovy paste in almost any recipe, along with their substitution ratios. 

1. Anchovy Filets

The first and foremost substitute option is closest to the paste. Anchovy fillets are essentially what anchovy paste is made of, which means the flavor matches quite a lot! As you may have experienced, anchovy filets have a very sharp taste. 

Although they don’t have the paste-like consistency, that can be achieved. If you are thinking of a substitute for recipes like salad dressings or on top of canapes, then you could chop up the fillet and use it. 

Similarly, you can add the whole filet in recipes where you need to blend everything, and it will be good to go. Use one anchovy filet to substitute a single teaspoon of anchovy paste. 

2. Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce

This condiment, just like anchovy paste, has an intense flavor. Fish sauce is a good substitute for anchovy paste, but it may only work in some recipes. Usually, fish sauce is made with spicy fish, which could even be anchovies. 

But, the fish is mixed with a few other ingredients, and the flavor of the fish sauce is very concentrated. It may also taste metallic. So, using it modestly in any recipe as a substitute for anchovy paste is essential. 

For salad dressings or any such recipe, use ½ teaspoon of fish sauce as a substitute for each teaspoon of anchovy paste. 

3. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

This condiment is a staple in quite a few recipes, all because of its umami flavor. The fact that it can provide a similar sharp taste makes it a good enough substitute for anchovy paste in various recipes. 

But again, Worcestershire sauce can be a little spicy compared to anchovy paste and won’t provide that sharp fish flavor. So, if you use it as a substitute for anchovy paste, use it sparingly. Generally, half the Worcestershire sauce quantity, compared to anchovy paste, works fine. 

4. Miso Paste


If you are looking for a substitute for anchovy paste that has a sharp and umami flavor but is also plant-based, miso paste is the way to go! Unlike the other options mentioned, miso paste is made by fermentation of soybeans. 

So yes, the umami flavor is present and is plenty! Miso paste is also similar to anchovy paste in terms of how salty it is, which makes it even better! Use miso paste as a substitute in just about any recipe, in a 1:1 ratio of substitution. 

5. Shrimp Paste

Shrimp Paste

This is another creation made with seafood packed with umami flavor, just like anchovy paste. Shrimp paste is a good substitute option in most recipes since it is filled with that salty flavor and has the right texture. 

However, in most cases, shrimp paste is very concentrated in terms of flavor. This makes it a substitute that again needs to be used sparingly. While using shrimp paste as a substitute for anchovy paste, start with half the quantity, then check the flavor and add more only if needed. 

6. Yeast Extract

Marmite Yeast Extract

This substitute may not necessarily come to your mind, as it lacks the fishy flavor you expect from anchovies. However, yeast extract is packed with salty and umami flavors, which can make it a good substitute in certain situations.

Yeast extract is also a plant-based alternative to anchovy paste, which is a plus. Yeast extract can work primarily in salad dressings as a substitute for anchovy paste in a 1:1 ratio of substitution. 

7. Olives


Not just any olives, but kalamata olives, in particular, can work instead of anchovy paste in several recipes. Kalamata olives are packed with flavor and a briney finish, giving them a very similar mouthfeel to that of anchovy paste. 

Moreover, kalamata olives can be mushed and used as a substitute. If not kalamata olives, then consider options like capers and olive tapenade, all in a 1:1 ratio of substitution. 

8. Mushroom Paste

This is another vegan-friendly option, packed with umami flavor. Mushrooms, as you may know, already have a lovely umami flavor. Mushroom paste has some other added ingredients, which makes the taste sharper. 

The flavor is earthy and rich, and you can also use mushroom powder mixed with water if not mushroom paste, just that they won’t have the same salty flavor as anchovy paste. Regardless, a direct substitution will work perfectly fine. 

9. Soy Sauce

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last?

This is one of those condiments that I am sure must be stacked somewhere at the back of your pantry. Soy sauce is not the best substitute for anchovy paste, all because it has less of a sharp umami flavor. 

Although you can use it as a substitute for anchovy paste in a 1:1 ratio, there are a few things to remember. Please don’t go overboard with soy sauce; it has a thin consistency and is much darker in color than anchovy paste.

Short Recap For Anchovy Paste Substitutes

Here is a short recap of the best substitutes you can use instead of anchovy paste based on a few factors. 

Best Anchovy Paste Substitutes As Per Flavor: 

  1. Anchovy Fillet
  2. Miso Paste
  3. Shrimp Paste

Best Anchovy Paste Substitutes In Terms Of Availability: 

  1. Worcestershire Sauce
  2. Fish Sauce
  3. Olives
  4. Mushroom Paste

Anchovy Paste Substitutes That You Should Consider Using Last: 

  1. Fish Sauce
  2. Soy Sauce

How To Use Anchovy Paste Substitutes

Anchovy Paste

9 Best Anchovy Paste Substitutes That You Can Try

The best substitutes for anchovy paste in various recipes are anchovy filets, fish sauce, yeast extract, shrimp paste, soy sauce, miso paste, and mushroom paste.
5 from 1 vote


  • Anchovy Fillets
  • Fish Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Miso Paste
  • Shrimp Paste
  • Yeast Extract
  • Olives
  • Mushroom Paste
  • Soy Sauce


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
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Anchovy paste is a staple for many people, adding just the right amount of sharp and umami flavor to recipes. Although there is no way to replace this paste, a few options can be used if you are in a pinch. 

Most of the substitute options given above give a very similar flavor to anchovy paste, while there are a few options that you should only consider when in a pinch. If you pick the proper substitute, you won’t miss anchovy paste! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does anchovy paste have anything added to it other than anchovies? 

Yes, anchovy paste also has olive oil and salt added to it. 

Can oyster sauce be used as a substitute for anchovy paste? 

If you have no other option, then yes. But remember that oyster sauce does not taste even close to anchovy paste. 

Does miso paste have a fishy flavor? 

No, since miso paste is made with soybeans, the flavor is not fishy, but it is still a rich umami flavor. 

Can olive tapenade be used as a substitute for anchovy paste? 

Yes, you can use olive tapenade as a substitute for anchovy paste! 

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