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Bold and Salty Flavors: What Do Anchovies Taste Like?

If you are a fish lover, then we may have something fishy for you.

No, we are not talking about a plot but a mouthwatering treat that will leave you wanting for more.

Anchovies can be a new term for many, but this small fish packs in many taste elements that can elevate any dish.

So what do anchovies taste like? Well! It is known for its salty and savory taste.

This potent ingredient blends well with salads, salsas, sauces, and pasta dishes.

Used in many popular and famous dishes across the United States and Europe, it has become a tasty alternate for regular fish sauce.

What are Anchovies?


Anchovies are the native dwellers of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. This saltwater fish mostly eat plankton and move along in large groups or schools.

Their length may vary from 1 to 4 inches and are smaller and slimmer than sardines.

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, anchovies contain impressive amounts of vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and lots of nutrients.

Often misunderstood for its intense flavor and smell, people refuse anchovies and deprive themselves of the health benefits. The fish promotes bone growth, assists tissue repair, and also helps in losing weight.

You can get anchovies fresh, dried, or preserved in tin cans in your local stores.

What Do Anchovies Taste Like? Do Anchovies Taste Good?


Anchovies are somehow nose-turners, but many chefs use it as a secret ingredient to enrich their flavors.

This little fish packs in flavors such as sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, along with a fifth flavor known as Umami. This fifth flavor provides multiple layers of savory taste to your dish and makes it more appealing.

Anchovies have a characterized fishy taste and so comparing it with other foods will not be appropriate.

Anchovy fish, also known as Handalla in Sri Lanka, has some similarities with the Worcestershire sauce and the Japanese Umeboshi paste.

As Anchovies contain Inosinic and Glutamic acid, it scores high on every savory lover’s chart. Mostly packaged in filets, anchovies have been a profitable product for many companies.

According to Serious Eats, most anchovies filets score above 6.5 on a scale of ten for a taste test.

If you want to keep your sodium level down, then anchovies may not excite you, but for everyone else, it is a nutritional treat.

A 100g of anchovy packs in 131 calories and is composed of 40% protein, 20% cholesterol, 18% iron, and 11% calcium as per the USDA National Nutrient Database. This nutritional value is higher than most seafood.

How to Cook with Anchovies?


Anchovies come in various form factors and each one with their unique taste. Brined anchovy fillets are cheaper and more common, whereas salted anchovies are firmer and meatier.

But if you consider flavor, choosing oil-packed anchovies is your best bet. You can use any of these in your recipe and satisfy your taste bud.

Please note: If you are working with salted anchovies, then rinsing them with water should be your first step.

You also would want to soak them in white wine or milk to soften them. You can store them in a sealed container after putting olive oil, and that should last for two months.

Below are some delicious ideas on how you can use your anchovies.

  • Lamb chops with anchovy butter
  • Toppings for mouthwatering tarts or Pissaladiere
  • Garnish your pizza with smoked anchovy fillets
  • Enhance any salad with anchovy fillets
  • Balance your pasta with the savory flavor of anchovies
  • Anchovy fillets add a perfect salty twist to toasted brioche and eggs

You can check out these recipes listed by the Huffington Post, which uses anchovies.


Anchovies have been a part of human diets for centuries and considered prized possessions to the early Romans, yet many people today stay away from anchovies.

With so many health benefits and a taste that can create magic with your recipes, anchovies deserve a second chance.

anchovy fillets

What Do Anchovies Taste Like? Do Anchovies Taste Good?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 1 Serving


  • Anchovies
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  • Depending on the recipes you choose, the taste can vastly differ.
  • For authentic results, it is important to choose a recipe that will highlight the original flavor.
  • Have fun experimenting with different recipes and taste tests!
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