Anchovy Paste Substitute

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Wondering what you might be able to use as an anchovy paste substitute? There are plenty of options that you may already have in your pantry that can yield comparable flavor to anchovy paste. Some options are even vegan! Want to know more? Join us as we explore ways you can achieve that delicious umami anchovy paste flavor both with and without using fresh anchovies.

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Let’s get started.

anchovy filets

What You Should Know About Anchovy Paste

How Do You Make Anchovy Paste?

Making anchovy paste is relatively simple as you’ll only need a few ingredients.

  1. Buy Anchovies

    To start, you’ll need anchovies. Pick these up at your local grocer. If they come in a can that is too small, you may need to purchase several of them. In general, we would recommend buying at least 8 ounces worth of anchovies. 

  2. Pulverize Anchovies

    Next, you’ll want to pulverize your anchovies with butter. To do this, you may use a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Either or will yield the same result.

  3. Add Your Spices

    Once your anchovies and butter resemble a smooth paste, go ahead and add in a few spices. We like a blend of cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper. You can even add a little cayenne pepper for a spicy kick! 

What Are the Ingredients in Anchovy Paste?

The Ingredients in anchovy paste can vary depending on tastes. We like a blend of warming spices and the kick of cayenne pepper, but you can do what you wish. Some recipes call for garlic, onions, and even pistachios!

The blend of spices is really up to you and your tastes, so be sure to find a recipe that utilizes flavors you love. 

What Does Anchovy Paste Do?

Anchovy paste can be used in a variety of ways. It is often used as a condiment or as a special addition to sandwiches or eggs.

Many times, anchovy paste is referred to as a flavor amplifier because of its robust umami flavor and its ability to perk up an otherwise drab meal. Thus, anchovy paste is also useful when seeking to add depth and flavor to stews, braised meats, soups, and many other dishes.

As you can see, it is certainly worth keeping a stash of anchovy paste on hand!

Is Anchovy Paste Made From Cooked Anchovies?

Anchovy paste can be made from cooked anchovies, but not always.

To be clear, anchovies in the tin are often not cooked. Rather, they are preserved by a salting process that keeps them free from bacteria. Thus, anchovies can be easily and safely enjoyed straight out of the can.

Still, many recipes call for anchovies to be cooked. It really depends on the recipe you select as to whether or not your anchovies will be cooked before being made into a paste. 

Anchovy Paste Recipe

Looking for an easy no-cook anchovy paste recipe? We’ve got you covered! The recipe below calls for 8oz of anchovies and only a few other ingredients so that you can whip up a delicious batch of anchovy paste any time you’ve got a hankering. Enjoy!

Anchovy Paste

  • 8oz of Anchovies
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 stick of butter
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ginger
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less according to taste)

No-Cook Anchovy Paste:

  1. Use a small blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle to combine butter and anchovies. The two should resemble a smooth paste once finished.
  2. Sprinkle in all spices along with the breadcrumbs.
  3. Place in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. Serve cold.
Fresh anchovies at the fish counter of a grocery store

Anchovy Substitutes 

There are many ways to substitute your favorite ingredients in recipes. Just as you could use a sumac substitute or flour substitutes in a recipe, you can also use alternatives for anchovies without having to sacrifice flavor.

Check out the following ways to substitute anchovies in your next dish.

What Can I Substitute for Anchovy Paste in Caesar Salad?

There are a couple of substitutes that can be made for anchovy paste in Caesar salad. One ingredient that you’ll likely already have on hand is Worcestershire sauce.

Because Worcestershire sauce already has anchovies in it, it is naturally the winning choice for substituting anchovy flavor.

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (1gal Jug)

To substitute Worcesterhire sauce for anchovies, use 1-2 teaspoons of the condiment to your Caesar salad dressing. This will achieve a similar flavor that would have been acquired if you would have used anchovy paste. 

What Is a Vegetarian Substitute for Anchovies?

If you are vegan, don’t worry, there are plenty of substitutes for anchovies and anchovy paste for you to select from.

Consider vegan substitutions such as:

Can You Use Worcestershire Sauce Instead of Anchovies?

Yes, you can use Worcestershire sauce instead of anchovies.

In fact, as long as you aren’t vegan, Worcestershire sauce is one of the topmost recommendations for substituting for anchovies. That’s because many Worcestershire sauces already contain anchovies as an ingredient.

Just add 1-2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce in place of your anchovies to add a similar flavor to anchovies in your dish. Worcestershire sauce also makes a great replacement for anchovy paste.

Can I Use Fish Sauce Instead of Anchovies?

When it comes to eating fish and other types of seafood, you may have questions like Can You Eat Saltwater Catfish and Can You Eat Starfish.

You may also wonder whether or not it is okay to use fish sauce instead of anchovies.

So, is it?

In most instances, yes, fish sauce is a great replacement for anchovies and anchovy paste. For reference, you’ll tend to need about ½ tsp of fish sauce per one anchovy filet in most recipes. 

Fresh fish in the market

Can I Replace Anchovies With Sardines?

Honestly? We think not.

Sardines and anchovies respond differently when cooked, have a different texture, and taste very different. As such, sardines might not make a great substitution for anchovies.

How Many Capers Replace Anchovies?

Capers are a popular substitute for anchovies. So, how many capers should you use to replace anchovies?

When choosing to substitute capers for anchovies, try using 1 ½ tbsp of capers for every six filets of anchovies that your recipe requires to achieve a similar anchovy-like flavor. 

Can You Use Miso Instead of Anchovies?

If you need a meatless anchovy alternative, miso is a great idea! Miso is a fermented paste that is made from soybeans and other ingredients. Its rich umami flavor is the perfect replacement for anchovies in many instances. 

Anchovy Paste Substitutes Are Out There…

There are plenty of anchovy paste substitute options available. From Worcestershire sauce to miso, there are ways you can do without anchovy paste without sacrificing flavor.

Don’t have any substitutes for anchovy paste hand? Don’t fret! Instead, try using our recipe above to make anchovy paste on your own using canned anchovies and a variety of ingredients depending on your flavor preferences. 

We hope this has helped inform you on ways you can achieve that incredibly unique anchovy paste flavor in your dishes even without anchovy paste. Enjoy!

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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