9 Best Anchovy Substitutes – How to Swap and Get the Same Flavor

Anchovies are a popular ingredient in dishes like Caesar salad and pizza. However, what do you do if you’re allergic to them or simply don’t have any on hand?

You can use substitutes for anchovy that will give you a similar flavor profile.

In this article, we’ll discuss the best substitutes for anchovy and how to use them. We’ll provide the ratios so that you can make a successful substitution every time!

The best substitutes are going to be those that provide a similar salty and umami flavor.

What Are Anchovies?

Anchovies are small, saltwater fish that is often used as a flavoring ingredient in various dishes.

Despite their strong flavor, anchovies are quite delicate and can easily be overcooked. When properly cooked, anchovies should be lightly browned and slightly crisp.

Anchovies are typically sold in cans or jars, either whole or filleted. They can also be found fresh, although they are not as common.

They are often used as a pizza topping and are also a key ingredient in Caesar salad dressing. In general, anchovies have a strong, salty flavor that some people find to be unpalatable.

However, when used sparingly, anchovies can add a unique depth of flavor to many dishes.

Substitutes For Anchovy

  1. Sardines
  2. Shrimp paste
  3. Worcestershire sauce
  4. Asian fish sauce
  5. Umeboshi
  6. Capers
  7. Other forms of anchovies
  8. Soy sauce
  9. Miso
  10. Kalamata olives


There are plenty of reasons you might want to substitute anchovies for sardines in your cooking. Maybe you’re trying to eat fewer anchovies, or you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option.

Either way, sardines are a perfectly acceptable replacement for anchovies. In fact, they share many of the same benefits. Both anchovies and sardines are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health.

They’re also both a good source of protein and low in mercury. So if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to anchovies, sardines are a great option.

Plus, they’re more versatile than you might think. You can use them in everything from salads to pasta dishes, and they’ll add a delicious savory flavor to your meal.

Anchovy Paste

Anchovy paste is a great replacement for those who don’t like the taste of anchovies or can’t eat them for health reasons. The paste is made from anchovies, olive oil, vinegar, and salt.

It’s a thick, dark paste that has a pungent umami flavor. You can use anchovy paste as a replacement for anchovies in many recipes that call for them.

The paste adds a depth of flavor to dishes without being overpowering.

If you’re looking for a healthy and flavorful anchovy replacement, anchovy paste is a great option.


If you’re out of anchovies and in need of a replacement, consider using capers.

These little green buds pack a big flavor punch and can be a great stand-in for anchovies in many recipes. While anchovies are often used for their salty, umami flavor, capers can provide a similar depth of flavor without being quite as salty.

They also have a bit of a tangy, lemony flavor that can brighten up a dish. If you’re making a Caesar salad or another dish that calls for anchovies, give capers a try.

You might just find that you prefer them to anchovies!

Worcestershire Sauce

Anchovies and Worcestershire sauce are both common ingredients in savory dishes. However, there are some cases where you can use Worcestershire sauce as a substitute for anchovies.

The ratio of Worcestershire sauce to anchovies is typically 1:1, so you can use the same amount of Worcestershire sauce as you would anchovies.

Additionally, Worcestershire sauce is one of the best substitutes for anchovies because it has a similar savory flavor. Anchovies also tend to be quite salty, so Worcestershire sauce can be a good way to add flavor without adding too much saltiness to a dish.

Overall, using Worcestershire sauce as a substitute for anchovies can be a good way to add flavor without changing the overall taste of the dish too much.

Soy Sauce

One common criticism of plant-based diets is that they lack variety. However, those who are willing to get a little creative with their cooking can find that there are many ways to add flavor to their meals without resorting to meat or dairy products.

For example, soy sauce can be used as a substitute for anchovies in many recipes. While the two ingredients have different flavors, soy sauce can help to add depth and umami to a dish.

In addition, soy sauce is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different cuisines. As a result, it is an ideal substitute for those who are looking for a way to add flavor to their dishes without using anchovies.

Fish Sauce

While some may find the smell of fish sauce off-putting, this umami-rich condiment can actually be quite versatile. In many cases, it can be used as a substitute for anchovies.

For instance, when making Caesar salad, you can add a teaspoon of fish sauce to the dressing in place of the anchovies. The fish sauce will help to round out the flavors and give the dressing a slightly salty kick.

You can also use fish sauce in place of anchovies when making puttanesca or other tomato-based sauces. The fish sauce will add depth and complexity to the dish without overwhelming it with fishy flavors.

So next time you’re in a pinch, reach for the fish sauce instead of the anchovies.

Miso Paste

For anyone who’s ever played the game of substitute-this-ingredient-for-that, miso paste is a goldmine.

This fermented soybean condiment can be used in Anchovy’s place to provide a similar (if not identical) umami flavor profile. Just be mindful that because miso is a fermented food, it will add a touch of acidity to your dish as well – but that might be exactly what your recipe needs.

Additionally, because miso is already quite salty, you may want to reduce the amount of salt called for in the recipe. And while we’re on the subject of oil, substitute anchovies’ oil with an equal amount of miso paste for an umami-rich consistency boost.

Who knew such small fish could pack such a big flavor – or that their replacements could be so easy to find?

With miso paste on hand, you’ll never have to suffer through a dish without that elusive fifth taste again.

Umeboshi Paste

Umeboshi paste is a substitute for anchovies that can be used in a variety of dishes. The main benefit of using this substitute is that it is much lower in sodium than anchovies.

In addition, umeboshi paste has a milder flavor, making it ideal for dishes that should not be too salty. To substitute umeboshi paste for anchovies, use a 1:1 ratio.

For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of anchovies, use 1 tablespoon of umeboshi paste instead.

With these simple substitutions, you can enjoy all your favorite dishes without the worry of excessive salt intake.

Shrimp Paste

Shrimp paste is an excellent substitute for anchovies in a number of recipes. While the two ingredients have different flavors, they are both umami-rich, making them ideal for dishes that need a little extra savoriness.

In addition, shrimp paste is less fishy-tasting than anchovies, so it won’t overwhelm other flavors in a dish. And because it’s more potent than anchovies, you’ll need to use less of it to achieve the same flavor.

This means that shrimp paste is also a more economical substitute for anchovies.

So the next time your recipe calls for anchovies, give shrimp paste a try – you might be surprised at how well it works.

Kalamata olives

Kalamata olives are a great vegan substitute for anchovies. They have a sweet and sour flavor, with a hint of fruity flavor that works well with every dish.

There are many benefits to using this substitute, including the fact that it is vegan and does not contain any animal products. It is also a healthy alternative to anchovies, which are high in sodium and fat.

In addition, Kalamata olives are a good source of fiber and vitamins, which makes them a healthy option for those on a vegan diet.

So, if you are looking for a substitute for anchovies that is vegan and healthy, then Kalamata olives are a great option.

Other forms of anchovies

If you cannot find fresh anchovies then it is not a problem anymore. You can try other sorts of anchovies available in the stores.

Dry or canned anchovies can be used to add depth of flavor to soups, stews, and sauces. Anchovy paste is also a good way to add flavor without adding too much fishy taste.

One great thing about dry or canned anchovies is that they usually have a longer shelf life. So, you can buy a bunch of anchovies beforehand and use them for a few months.


What are some good substitutes for anchovies?

Soy sauce, fish sauce, miso paste, and umeboshi paste are all excellent substitutes for anchovies. Each one provides a different flavor profile, so you can choose the one that best suits your dish.

Do I have to use a substitute?

No, you don’t have to use a substitute for anchovies. However, if you’re looking for a way to add flavor to your dish without using anchovies, these substitutes are a great option.

How much should I use?

The amount of substitute you need will depend on the dish you’re making and the flavor profile you’re going for. Generally, a 1:1 ratio is a good starting point.

What should I do if my recipe calls for oil?

If your recipe calls for oil and you’re using a substitute like miso paste, simply mix the two together before adding them to the recipe.

What can I substitute for anchovies in Caesar dressing?

Worcestershire sauce works as a great alternative for anchovies in Caesar salad dressing. As this condiment already contains anchovies, you will get a similar taste from it.

However, if you want an even more accurate flavor, just use anchovy paste instead.

What is the best anchovy substitute in pasta?

Anchovy is often used in pasta to give it a unique and strong flavor But if you cannot find anchovies, soy sauce or miso also gives a similar taste.

You can also use Worcestershire sauce to give the pasta the authentic anchovy flavor.

What is the best vegan substitute for anchovies?

If you are a vega then soy sauce, miso, kalamata olives, and umeboshi are great anchovy substitutes. These ingredients offer a similar taste profile without the need of using any anchovies.


There are many substitutes for anchovies that you can use to give your dish a similar taste. Whether you are looking for a vegan option or just want to add more depth of flavor, these substitutes will do the trick. Just remember to start with a small amount and add more to the taste.