Anchovy Paste: The Secret Ingredient for Boosting Flavor in Your Dishes

If you’re a fan of bold, savory flavors, then you may want to consider adding anchovy paste to your pantry. This pungent condiment is made from ground anchovies, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, and spices, and is known for its rich, umami flavor. 

In this article, we’ll explore the many uses of anchovy paste and how to make it at home.

But before you turn your nose up at the thought of using anchovy paste, consider this: it’s a versatile condiment that can add depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes, from soups and stews to salad dressings and marinara sauce.

And despite its pungent aroma, anchovy paste doesn’t taste overwhelmingly “fishy” when used in small amounts.

What is anchovy paste?

Anchovy paste is made from anchovy fillets that have been ground up and mixed with other ingredients to form a paste. It is often used as a condiment or flavor enhancer in many dishes, including sauces, dressings, and marinades. Its strong, salty flavor and umami taste can add depth and complexity to a variety of dishes.

In addition to its flavor, anchovy paste is also a nutritious food. Anchovies are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health and brain function. They are also a good source of vitamins B and E, as well as minerals such as calcium and phosphorus.

There are many ways to use anchovy paste in cooking. It can be added to sauces and dressings for a savory flavor boost or used to marinate meats and vegetables. It can also be used as a condiment on its own, spread on toast or crackers as an appetizer, or used to flavor pasta dishes or sauces. Overall, anchovy paste is a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can be used in many different dishes.

How to make anchovy paste

To make anchovy paste at home, you will need a food processor and the following ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 pinch of pepper
  • 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of milk
  • 200 g of anchovies in olive oil


  1. Add the garlic, pepper, balsamic vinegar, milk, and anchovies into the food processor bowl.
  2. Process the ingredients for about 30 seconds, then stop.
  3. Process the mixture again, pouring the olive oil in a thin stream through the opening.
  4. Continue processing until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

That’s it! Your homemade anchovy paste is now ready to use in a variety of dishes. Be sure to store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

How to use anchovy paste

Anchovy paste can be used in a variety of dishes to add depth of flavor. Some ideas for using it include:

  • Enhancing hearty soups and stews in the winter
  • Adding a teaspoon to vinaigrettes, tomato sauces, or meat rubs for grilling in the summer
  • Using it as a background condiment in Italian tomato sauces and/or ragu, similar to the way Asian fish sauce is used
  • Adding it to salad dressings, especially strong-flavored ones like Caesar salad
  • Substituting it for Worcestershire sauce in recipes
  • Using it when making marinara sauce by stirring in a teaspoon of paste when sautéing onions and peppers

Is anchovy paste the same as anchovy fillets?

No, anchovy paste is made of ground anchovies and other ingredients, while anchovy fillets are typically sold in a can, tin, or jar and are stored in oil.

Can I substitute anchovy paste for anchovy fillets in a recipe?

Yes, one-half teaspoon of anchovy paste is typically equivalent to one anchovy fillet. There are a few other alternatives to anchovy paste that you can use in your cooking if you don’t have any on hand or if you prefer a different flavor profile. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Fish sauce: Fish sauce is a common condiment in many Asian cuisines and is made from fermented fish. It has a strong, salty flavor and is often used as a substitute for anchovy paste in many recipes.
  • Miso paste: Miso paste is a fermented soybean paste that is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It has a savory, umami flavor and can be used as a substitute for anchovy paste in many dishes.
  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce is a fermented condiment made from soybeans, wheat, and salt. It has a salty, savory flavor and can be used as a substitute for anchovy paste in many recipes, although it will add a distinct soy flavor to the dish.
  • Tamari: Tamari is a type of soy sauce that is made without wheat, making it a suitable option for those with gluten sensitivities. It has a similar flavor to soy sauce and can be used as a substitute for anchovy paste in many recipes.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Worcestershire sauce is a condiment made from anchovies, vinegar, molasses, and a blend of spices. It has a savory, slightly sweet flavor and is often used as a substitute for anchovy paste in many recipes.

It’s worth noting that these substitutes may not have the exact same flavor as anchovy paste and may alter the overall taste of the dish. Experiment with different amounts and combinations of these substitutes to find the right balance of flavors for your recipe.

How to store anchovy paste

Anchovy paste should be stored in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. After opening the tube or jar, simply close it tightly and place it in the refrigerator for later use. The paste will keep for several months when stored properly and its flavor will remain bold and enjoyable.

Nutrition facts

Anchovy paste is a concentrated source of nutrients, including protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Here are the nutrition facts for a serving size of 1 tablespoon (15 g) of anchovy paste:

  • Calories: 25
  • Total fat: 3%
  • Saturated fat: 0%
  • Trans fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0%
  • Sodium: 57%
  • Total carbohydrate: 0%
  • Dietary fiber: 0%
  • Total sugars: 0 g (includes 0 g of added sugars)
  • Protein: 2 g

In addition to the nutrients listed above, anchovy paste also contains small amounts of vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium. It’s important to note that these values are based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet and may vary depending on the specific brand of anchovy paste you choose.


The ingredients in anchovy paste may vary depending on the brand, but most commonly include anchovies, salt, sunflower oil, olive oil, and fish. Some brands may also include acetic acid and other spices.

Related posts:

What is the difference between anchovy paste and anchovy fillets?

How Many Anchovies are in One Tablespoon of Anchovy Paste?

What is the shelf life of anchovies and anchovy paste?

Anchovies vs sardines: What is the difference?

Why are anchovies so salty?

Are anchovies good on pizza?


If you’re looking to add a boost of savory flavor to your dishes, anchovy paste is a versatile condiment worth trying.

Whether you’re using it to enhance soups and stews in the winter or adding a teaspoon to your vinaigrettes and tomato sauces in the summer, anchovy paste is sure to bring a depth of flavor to your cooking.

Plus, it’s easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients. Give it a try and see how it can transform your dishes!

Leave a Comment