12 Substitutes For Anchovies You Have To Try!

If you’re an anchovy fan, then chances are you’ve been searching for substitutes when your favorite fish isn’t available. You won’t believe how many delicious and easy substitutes there are!

Fortunately, there is a wide variety of choices that will satisfy your craving! In the following article, we’ll go over 11 different options to try if you need a quick fix.

As foodies, we all know how important it is to be prepared for the next cooking endeavor. However, what do you do when your star ingredient is unavailable?

In this article, we will look at what constitutes a good substitute when anchovies are unavailable.

A good substitute for anchovies in Worcestershire as it contains anchovy. Fish sauce can sometimes be too overpowering with saltiness, whilst Worcestershire Sauce manages to replicate the brininess typically found in anchovy dishes in a subtler way.

Sardines, Capers, Kalamata Olives, and Miso also make good alternatives for anchovies. 

1) Worcestershire sauce 

Worcestershire sauce is a perfect substitute for things like casseroles, soups, stews, and sauces. It’s also great to add a dash of Worcestershire Sauce when you want Cesar dressing or any other type of sauce that needs an anchovy flavor punch.

Worcestershire sauce comes with a dropper-style top which is perfect for adding a dash as you go.

For many generations, Worcestershire sauce has been a kitchen staple and is an old-time favorite of chefs and home cooks alike because it packs such a strong flavor.

These days you don’t need anchovy paste or even bacon, but if you want those flavors, Worcestershire does well at replicating them (though I recommend adding less salt).

When it comes to Worcestershire sauce, there is only one brand to recommend, and that’s Lea & Perrins. They’ve been making this for decades and are the number one sauce provider for a good reason.

2) Sardines

When it comes to a like-for-like substitute for anchovies, look no further than sardines. These fish are cousins and are similar enough to be successful substitutes.

Sardines tend to have a slightly softer texture than anchovies and similarly have a subtler flavor too. In some dishes, the softer flavor can be a benefit if, however, you want that full anchovy taste just add either miso paste or Worcestershire sauce to the sardine fillets before cooking them up!

Tinned sardines are the best way to get your fish and have a slightly saltier taste akin to anchovies. I can recommend Ocean Prince Sardines as they are caught in the wild so no hormones have been added as there would be in fish farms.

3) Soy Sauce

Never fear for those who can’t find any anchovies; soy sauce is a perfect substitute for anchovies.
Soy Sauce has been used in Japan since time immemorial as they have an abundance of saltwater fish but no freshwater stocks nearby.

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It remains popular today due to its versatility, where it not only works with Japanese cuisine and Western dishes like stir-fries, soups, and salads! Just add some soy sauce to your pizza sauce or pasta sauce, and it will give that salty taste we all know so well.

When it comes to recommending a soy sauce, I can whole-heartedly recommend Kikkoman Lite Soy Sauce. I have been using this for years and switched from the regular to the lite about 5 years ago. Flavor-wise it matches up to the original, and it is a whole lot better for your heart.

4) Shrimp Paste

In Asian cuisine, shrimp paste can often be used to substitute for anchovy products to achieve the same flavor. Shrimp and other sea animals are ground up with salt before being allowed time to ferment to create this popular paste found across Southeast Asia.

Shrimp paste can be used in any recipe or dish, which calls for anchovy paste for a quick and easy substitute. Por Kwan Shrimp Paste is a full-flavored and popular shrimp paste that is high quality and tasty too.

5) Fish Sauce

Another substitute for anchovies is fish sauce. Fish sauce can be used in place of anchovies when cooking Thai food, Vietnamese dishes like Pho and Goi Cuon, or Southeast Asian curries such as green curry and Panang curry. You’ll find that this substitution works best with things like noodles, stir-fries, and soups.

The fish sauce packs a lot of flavor into a little jar, and it can have quite the potent taste. So when cooking with this substitution for anchovies, use caution when adding it to your dish; a little goes a long way.

Red Boat Fish Sauce actually has anchovies listed as the main ingredient, making it a perfect substitute for filleted anchovies in sauces and dressings particularly.

6) Miso 

Miso uses soybeans as the primary ingredient to form either a liquid or a paste. Miso can be found in different varieties, and it typically comes with three types: white (a lighter flavor), red or brown (rich flavors), or black/white combo pack misos for when you want to mix things up!

You may have noticed how often foodies use anchovies because they are so flavorful; well, now there’s an alternative available without any animal products at all – pick your favorite variety and whether you want to work with a liquid or paste and get cooking!

Miso can be used as a substitute for broth because it has an intense and rich flavor. It’s also versatile, so you won’t have to worry about the dish becoming bland or watery when using this ingredient in place of anchovies, which are typically used by people who want that bold taste.

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Muso From Japan Smart Miso is a premium and delicious paste which is a light and sweet miso paste. They also offer alternatives such as Brown Rice and Dark Aged miso paste.

7) Capers

Everyone has heard of anchovies on pizza but what do you do when you can’t find the anchovies? Maybe you want something different because there are not a lot of options for what pizzerias can use instead?

Capers are the next best thing! You can either put them on top as an additional topping OR mix it into your sauce – either way works great.

Capers make a popular substitute because they aren’t just a sauce or a paste, these are small, salty little buds with an intense pickling flavor. 

They aren’t just for pizza though. Try a sprinkling of capers in salads or over pasta for some added zing!

Untapered capers salted fresh quality for decades to elevate your cooking from Agostino Recca are an absolute favorite of mine that I can recommend you try in your next dish!

8) Kalamata Olives

Kalamata olives are the right substitute for when you can’t find anchovies. They have a hint of fruity flavor, but what really stands out is the tangy juice that comes with them. They’re very versatile, so if you want to make a paste or perhaps add to your salad, this is your winning substitute!

Substituting olives for anchovies doesn’t just make a dish vegetarian-friendly. It also makes it healthier. Olives are full of antioxidants and nutrients that help fight against the aging process.

When you want to cut back on seafood but still have plenty of protein in your diet, use olives as an anchovy alternative.

Along with the unique texture that olives bring and a little bit of savory flavor from their juice, these are an excellent option for almost every dietary requirement.

When substituting anchovies for olives, it’s important to consider both textures as well as flavors. Olives add some needed saltiness while also having enough natural oils not to dry out the overall dish.

And because of this high-quality olive oil in them, there is no need to worry about frying them beforehand.

Get the best out of your dish with authentic greek kalamata olives from Greece using Roland Foods. A firm staple in my fridge, this is my number one recommendation for authentic Greek olives.

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9) Seaweed

Nori seaweed – is a brilliant alternative to anchovies and also packs some added health benefits.

A quick search on Google will tell you that Nori is a great substitute because it has many flavors as anchovy and can be used in sweet or savory dishes.

However, when combined with other ingredients, it’s best to create a more complex sauce like combining miso paste and tamari or adding some ginger to taste, depending on what kind of dish you’re making!

Organic Sushi Nori Roasted Seaweed sheets from ONE ORGANIC are delicious and make a phenomenal addition to salads when anchovies are not to hand.

10) Bragg Liquid Aminos

Bragg’s “Liquid Aminos” is made of soybeans like the popular Asian condiment found in most grocery stores and has a milder taste and less salt than traditional soy sauce. Unlike regular soy sauce, Bragg Liquid Aminos does not contain wheat and therefore is gluten-free.

Bragg Liquid Aminos is a versatile condiment commonly used as an alternative for anchovies in dressings, sauces, soups, and more. This salty-tasting sauce adds bold flavor to any dish that can use it. 

Get the one and only Bragg Liquid Aminos here.

11) Umeboshi

If you are a lover of sushi or Japanese cuisine, then you may have heard of Umeboshi before. This ingredient brings an extremely intense flavor, so it should be used sparingly. It makes a great substitute in dishes that use anchovies paste by adding “umami” flavoring instead! 

This vegan-friendly condiment can be used as a substitute in Thai dishes that traditionally contain fish sauce or anchovy paste to give the dish more protein and depth of flavor without adding any animal products. I can recommend the Shirakiku Umaboshi for authentic flavor at a great price!

12) Marmite and Vegemite

Marmite and Vegemite, British and Australian staples respectively, are surprising substitutes for anchovy paste. Marmite has a salty, umami taste, while the bitterness in Vegemite is more distinctive, making either of them great substitutes for different dishes such as soups, sandwiches, sauces, and pasta!

For Marmite, click here and if it is the undeniable Vegemite taste you are after your link is here.


Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Who doesn’t have a jar of anchovies in their fridge? With these alternatives, there are still plenty of ways for your dishes to be absolutely delicious!

With these alternatives, there are still plenty of ways for your dishes to be absolutely delicious!

But it’s not always the easiest thing to find, and when that happens, it is always good to know that there are plenty of other options out there.