Anchovy Paste vs Anchovy Fillets: Swapping and Substitutes feature image

Anchovy Paste vs Anchovy Fillets: Swapping and Substitutes

Anchovy Paste vs Anchovy Fillets: Swapping and Substitutes

Everything you need to know for swapping between anchovy fillets and anchovy paste: substitutes, equivalents, and taste differences

Anchovies

Anchovies are an amazing ingredient. They are used whole in appetizers or anchovies on pizza. However, they are very useful chopped, mashed, or in a paste. They pack an umami flavor boost that can enhance dressings, sauces, braises, marinade, soups, and stews. Anchovies will usually get to you in the form of anchovy fillets or anchovy paste. Here we’ll go over anchovy paste vs anchovy fillets, and how to swap and substitute anchovy paste to anchovies in equivalent amounts.

Swapping between anchovy paste and anchovy fillets

Anchovy paste is made of ground anchovies and also may include olive oil, vinegar, sugar and spices. Anchovy fillets usually come in a can, tin, or jar stored in oil. When substituting anchovy paste for anchovy fillets, the question is 1 tsp anchovy paste is equal to how many anchovies? Also, we might want to know 1 tsp anchovy paste is equivalent to how much chopped or mashed anchovies?

1 teaspoon anchovy paste = 2 anchovy fillets

1 teaspoon anchovy paste = 1 teaspoon finely chopped or mashed anchovies

This makes it pretty simple to substitute anchovy paste and fillets. In terms of flavor, some preparations are better for swapping between anchovy paste and anchovies. In general, you can always substitute anchovy fillets for anchovy paste, but not necessarily vice versa. A general guideline for when to substitute is that you can always substitute anchovy paste for anchovies in a cooked preparation. In a raw preparation, you should use discretion. The flavor of the anchovy paste may be undesirable in such cases.

Cooked PreparationRaw Preparation
Can I substitute anchovy paste for fillets?YesUse Discretion
You can always substitute anchovy paste for anchovies in a cooked preparation. However, in a raw preparation, you should use discretion as the flavor of the anchovy paste may lead to an unwanted flavor.

Substituting other ingredients for anchovy paste and anchovy fillets

Sometimes you might want the umami flavor boost but not want to use anchovy fillets or anchovy paste at all. In such cases, you can get the umami flavor enhancement from other ingredients, such as fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or shrimp paste. The following table gives the substitutions:

Anchovy Paste SubstitutionEquivalent Amount for 1 tsp anchovy paste
Fish Sauce1 tsp
Worcestershire Sauce1.5 tsp
Shrimp Paste1 tsp

The Flavor Dance

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