12 Best Anchovy Substitutes For You

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Looking for the best anchovy substitutes? Not surprising. You might have recently heard anchovies give a mouthwatering twist when cooked with spaghetti. You decide to try it out, but you cannot find any. What can you use that can simulate the taste and flavor of anchovies? Substitutes, of course!

Fried Anchovies

Wondering which are the ingredients that work as best substitutes for anchovy? Some of the best substitutes for anchovies are anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, shrimp paste, sardines, and soy sauce.

Anchovy is a small saltwater fish found in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It is an edible fish that is a popular topping on pizzas. It is also a classic seasoning agent in Swedish and Finnish cuisines. What happens if you are out of anchovies but still need them to complete your recipe? Don’t worry. Rather than running to the store, you can still go ahead with your recipe with the substitutes detailed in this article.

Anchovy In The Culinary World


Anchovies are oily, saltwater fishes. They have darker, reddish-gray-colored flesh due to the curing process they undergo. They also have a characteristic oversized mouth with distinguished eyes. Anchovies are quite known for their distinct umami flavor. They have a meaty, glossy texture. Some of the different types of anchovies are agostino reccas, don bocarte, martel, martiz and delfino. 

Uses of Anchovy

Popular recipes such as Pissaladière, caesar, anchovy butter, and Puttanesca sauce use these delicious fish’s salty, savory flavors. Anchovies are used to embellish pizzas, sandwiches, and burgers in sauces, dips, and dressings.

Anchovy On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Anchovies are a significant source of vitamins and minerals. They are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which boost the cardiovascular system. The presence of selenium in anchovies mitigates the risk of cancer.

Why Should We Substitute Anchovy?

Anchovies are quite expensive due to their limited supply. This makes their availability a matter of concern if you plan a seafood fiesta. That’s where the best substitutes for anchovy come in. If you are also allergic to seafood, you again need the help of the best anchovy substitutes so that you can relish their flavor without using them. So, shall we discuss the best anchovy substitutes?

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

12 Best Anchovy Substitutes 

Now that you know everything you need to know about anchovies let us discuss the twelve best substitutes for anchovies.

1. Anchovy Paste

The best and closest substitute for anchovies will undoubtedly be products made of anchovies. Anchovy paste, dry or non-dry, and canned anchovies are some options to consider as best anchovy substitutes. With anchovy paste, the salty flavor of anchovies can be easily emulated in whatever recipe you intend to try out. Anchovy paste has a heavy texture and flavor, which requires you to be mindful while substituting.

2. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a popular sauce variety from the UK. It is dark-colored with an intense, umami flavor. Anchovies and soy sauce are some of the primary ingredients that make it one of the best substitutes for anchovies. With an unmissable umami flavor and a liquid-like consistency, Worcestershire sauce can be used as a substitute for anchovy in pizzas, salads, stews, soups, and sauces.

3. Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is another worthy substitute for anchovies, noted for its bold and aggressive umami flavor. You can use fish sauce in lieu of anchovies in soups, salads, or sauces for a similar flavor. Although a perfect substitute for anchovies in seafood recipes, be extremely guarded while adding fish sauce considering its intense flavor. This can make or break your dish.

4. Shrimp Paste

Shrimp paste is made by mashing salted shrimps and fermenting them for about two weeks. The resultant paste is of a thick variety and texture with a salty, briny flavor. For a light anchovy flavor, you can go with shrimp paste as an anchovy substitute which guarantees the same flavor with less intensity. Also, it is relatively easier to find than anchovy paste. What more do you want from a substitute?

5. Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a prominent condiment used in Chinese cuisine and is now used across the world for its flavor and versatility. It is made of soybeans, salt, wheat, and a fermenting agent. Light soy sauce and dark soy sauce are two popular varieties. 

Soy sauce is well known for its balanced flavor profile – it gives sweet, salty, and umami flavor notes and has a syrupy consistency. Soy sauce is a good substitute for anchovy due to its umami flavor. It can satisfy your craving for anchovies flavorwise definitely.

6. Bragg Liquid Aminos

Bragg Liquid Aminos

Bragg Liquid Aminos is a protein concentrate prepared using soybeans and purified water. It is a gluten-free, kosher-free ingredient with an intense, powerful umami flavor and sweetness. Bragg Liquid Aminos is a considerable substitute for anchovy due to its mildly sweet and rich umami flavor. It can be used in sauces, soups, dressings, and more and gives an enriching flavor to dishes.

7. Sardines

Sardines are a group of tiny, forage fishes related to the Herring. They are also known as pillars. They have an oily texture with a mild salty flavor. It may not be the absolute best in substituting for anchovies. This is primarily due to the differences in flavor and texture. But with added Worcestershire sauce, sardines can be good substitutes for anchovies.

8. Capers

Capers are the edible flower buds of the caper plant which are classically used for seasoning and garnishing. They have a salty, tangy flavor with a touch of olivey flavor. Capers are not the best substitutes for anchovies, among others substitutes. However, as an anchovy substitute, capers can save you with a decent taste similar to anchovies without a fishy flavor.

9. Umeboshi Paste

Umeboshi is a type of pickled ume fruit found in Japan. The word umeboshi translates into Japanese plums in English. It is found in both smooth and wrinkled varieties. Umeboshi has a salty, sour taste due to their high citric acid content. Umeboshi paste can very well be used to substitute for anchovy paste due to the salty flavor they share. It is a popular option for vegans as well.

10. Miso Paste

Miso paste is a classic seasoning ingredient in Japanese cuisine prepared using fermented soybean. It has a deep sweet-savory flavor with a smooth, gluey texture. The umami flavor of miso paste can make it a good substitute for anchovies in salads, sauces, stews, or soups. Making sure you don’t overheat miso paste to avoid killing the active bacteria in it is imperative to retain its health benefits.

11. Seaweed

You might already know what seaweed is. It comprises a group of marine algae with multitudinous uses in various industries. Seaweeds have been used for ages for their ability to modify texture with their gelling properties. So, how are they good alternatives for anchovies? The salty flavor of seaweed, a characteristic of seafood, makes it a considerable substitute for anchovies by vegans and vegetarian lovers!

12. Kalamata Olives

Kalamata Olives

Kalamata olives are large, dark brown-colored olives originating in Kalamata, Greece. They are categorized as drupes. They have a rich, fruity flavor and a meaty texture. Kalamata olives are healthy substitutes for anchovy, which have a rich flavor. They should be your cup of choice if you want a substitute for anchovy that is not based on seafood.

Short Recap Of Best Anchovy Substitutes

That must have been an exhaustive read on the best anchovy substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.

Best Anchovy Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor and Texture-

  1. Anchovy paste
  2. Worcestershire sauce
  3. Fish Sauce

Best Anchovy Substitutes For Vegetarians-

  1. Bragg Liquid Aminos
  2. Miso Paste
  3. Seaweed
  4. Umeboshi Paste

Final Musings

The list of best substitutes for anchovies is ready for you to try out in your cooking trials. Most of them can emulate the taste and flavor of anchovies, but differences in texture must be considered before choosing. Regardless, let me know what worked out best for you. See you soon with another article!

How To Use Anchovy Substitutes In A Recipe

Fried Anchovies

Anchovy Substitutes

Who can miss the awesome treat that anchovy can give you when cooked with spaghetti? But if you are out of anchovy, you can use some substitutes instead. Some of the best substitutes for anchovies are anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, shrimp paste, sardines, and soy sauce.
5 from 2 votes


  • Anchovy Paste
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Fish Sauce
  • Shrimp Paste
  • Soy Sauce
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • Sardines
  • Capers
  • Umeboshi Paste
  • Miso Paste
  • Seaweed
  • Kalamata Olives


  • 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.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I use instead of anchovies in Caesar salad?

Worcestershire sauce can be used instead of anchovies in Caesar salad.

What is a vegetarian substitute for anchovies?

Soy sauce, Bragg liquid aminos, seaweed, miso paste, umeboshi paste are good vegetarian substitutes for anchovies.

What can I use instead of anchovies in puttanesca?

Seaweed and tamari can be used instead of anchovies in puttanesca.

What’s healthier sardines or anchovies?

Anchovies are healthier than sardines due to the rich presence of omega-3 fatty acids.

How much Worcestershire sauce to substitute for anchovies?

Two teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce can substitute for anchovies.

What is the substitute anchovy paste for filets?

A teaspoon of anchovy paste can replace two anchovy filets.

What is the substitute for anchovies in Tapenade?

Anchovies can be replaced with black olives in Tapenade.

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