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Best Substitutes For Anchovy Paste For That Umami Flavor

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Outside of a Caesar salad or maybe even pizza, you may have never really thought about Anchovy Paste. And if you have never heard of it then you certainly have no idea what to do with it!

Best Substitutes For Anchovy Paste For That Umami Flavor

Anchovy Paste is made from anchovies. No surprise there. It has a distinct salt flavor that adds the perfect intensity to any dish. However, finding it can be tricky. 

If you have come across a recipe that is in need of Anchovy Paste but has none in your pantry, then you have come to the right place.

We have 5 of the best substitutes from Anchovy Paste including Fish Sauce, Capers, and Miso Paste. 

Whatever dish you are making, it will never be lacking flavor!

5 Best Substitutes For Anchovy Paste 

Finding a substitute for Anchovy Paste is actually a lot easier than one might think. In fact, you probably have a few in your pantry already. 

However, knowing which ones to use when is where it gets tricky. We have 5 of the best substitutes for Anchovy Paste and when to use them. 

SubstituteProteinSubstitute RatioCalories 
Anchovy Filets 1.2 g1:18.4 Kcals
Fish Sauce0.9g1:16.3 Kcals
Capers 0.1g1 teaspoon0.7 Kcals
Worcestershire Sauce0g1:18.8 Kcals 
Miso Paste2.2g1:134 Kcals

What Does Anchovy Paste Taste Like?

Anchovy Paste is a rather unique salty flavor. It is made from fresh anchovies, a small oily fish that is canned and shipped all around the world. 

The anchovies are then ground into a paste that is thick and extremely flavorful.

It is most commonly used for making salad dressings. But it can be added to various sauces, marinades, pizzas, and even soups. 

While it is made from fish, the flavor is not overrun but fish. It is mostly salty and has plenty of umami flavor in such a small dish

Nutritional Value Of Anchovy Paste 

30 Kcals1.7g2.6g0g0g

Best Substitutes For Anchovy Paste 

1. Anchovy Filets

As mentioned above, anchovies are tiny fish that are common in different cuisines around the world.  

Anchovies can give meals a depth of flavor that is difficult to replicate with other ingredients, despite the fact that they may not be everyone’s favorite food.

You will mostly have Anchovy filets in a can or in a jar. Much like sardines. Just make sure to drain and rinse them before you begin snacking. 

Anchovy Filets work great as a substitute for Anchovy Pasta as it gives the same salt flavor while adding texture to the dish. Perfect for adding to salads or as a pizza topping. 

Canned or jarred Anchovy Filets have a more intense salt flavor due to the brine. This means being slightly more cautious with your measurements. 

2. Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce is an extremely popular ingredient within Asian cultures.

For the very reason that we love Anchovy Paste. It adds a salty flavor without having to use a lot of it. 

It is a crucial component of Thai, Vietnamese, and Cambodian cuisines, among many others in Southeast Asia.

Fish sauce can be used as a marinade, a dipping sauce, or even a flavoring ingredient in soups or stir-fries.

It is more versatile than Anchovy Paste and is an excellent condiment to have in your pantry all year round. 

3. Capers

Mashed Capers are the perfect substitute for Anchovy Paste due to their intense flavor.

They are often kept in a brine that adds a strong umami flavor that is perfect for salads and marinades. 

Capers are often paired with smoked salmon on bagels or sandwiches due to their incredibly salty flavor. 

While intense, they are still slightly more subtle than Anchovy Paste.

This is great if you find Anchovy Paste to overpower the other flavors on the plate or if you are new to the salty flavors. 

You only need a few mashed capers to get a strong flavor that will bring everything together. 

Add them to your salads, sandwiches, or even pizzas for a healthier alternative to salt. 

4. Worcestershire Sauce

Have you ever wondered what gives Worcestershire sauce its unique flavor? It adds flavor to numerous meals.

In addition to vinegar, tamarind, soy sauce, garlic, onion, and chili peppers, the sauce also includes other components.

It is often added to dishes to add smokiness and is commonly included in BBQ dishes. However, it can also add that saltiness that we are looking for. 

Add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce for every tablespoon of Anchovy Paste.

While it won’t taste exactly the same, it does add a gorgeous roundness to any sauces or dishes it is added to. 

5. Miso Paste

Miso Paste is a staple in Japanese cuisine that is used in various dishes. It is typically used in soups or in ramen to add depth and flavor to the broth. 

It is a rather complicated flavoring agent that is both subtle and strong depending on the ingredients it is paired with. 

It works as a great vegan alternative for Anchovy Paste and offers just as much intensity. 

Garlic Anchovy Pasta

Pasta is one of the best dishes to make with Anchovy Paste and it is extremely popular in Italian cuisine.

This Garlic Anchovy Pasta is easy and simple, making it perfect for any night of the week. 

Make sure to use some of the pasta water to bring everything together. Add a few chopped Anchovy Filets for an even better flavor. 

It takes less than 20 minutes to cook and is utterly delicious. 

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

One of the biggest uses of anchovies is in a Caesar Salad. It adds depth and an umami flavor that goes perfectly with chicken and croutons. 

This recipe allows you to make it home, anytime you want using Anchovy Paste.

No flavor is too strong. Everything just comes together easily and can be stored in the fridge when you need it. 

Spread it on salads, sandwiches, and even on top of pasta for that finishing touch. 

Anchovy Sauce

Another way to enjoy Anchovy Paste is by turning it into a thick, creamy sauce. A concentrated, creamy, umami-rich, zingy saltiness that will put your taste senses into overdrive.

This is the perfect sauce to have on the table when enjoying a cheese and meat board with some wine, or for even dipping your fries into. 

It is extremely versatile and offers a wonderful salty flavor that you didn’t know was missing from your life. 

Final Thoughts

Many people dismiss anchovies before you can even say the word. They are strange, oily little fish and no one wants to taste just pure fish in their mouth. 

Anchovy paste is a great way to introduce the salty flavor of anchovies to your dishes without being too overpowering. 

However, if you cannot find Anchovy Paste at the store, don’t panic. We have 5 of the best substitutes for Anchovy Paste. 

From miso paste to capers, there is something for everyone to enjoy the umami flavor we love from Anchovy Paste. 

Check them out above and explore a whole new world of flavor. 

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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