What Do Anchovies Taste Like?

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Anchovies TasteIf you have never had anchovies, we are certain that you will be motivated to try the fish once you read this article.

In this article, we will discuss aspects of Anchovies, such as what it tastes like? How is it cooked? What are its health benefits? Etc.

Lastly, we will also go through some queries related to Anchovies.

What Are Anchovies?

Anchovy is a small-sized, common forage fish that belongs to the Engraulidae family.

Most Anchovy species live in freshwater, but sometimes they enter brackish waters.

In parts of South America, the fish are restricted to freshwater.

What Does Anchovies Taste Like?

While Anchovies are nose-turners due to their pungent smell, many chefs use the fish as an ingredient to enrich the depth of flavor of a recipe.

These small fish pack a sweet, bitter, Umami, salty flavor, and a fishy taste.

How Are Anchovies Made?

Here is the preparation method for Anchovies:

Carefully Remove The Anchovies From The Can

Pluck the Anchovies from the tin cans carefully.

Work slowly and be careful since the fish are often packed tight, and you can break them easily.

Replace The Salt

After you have carefully removed all the fish from the can, you will need to replace the salt and brine the fish.

Some people like to transfer the Anchovies and the brine/salt to a plastic container or glass to store the Anchovies for a long period of time.

However, you can also store the can in the fridge, which will last for months.

Rinse The Anchovies

Now, you will have to rinse the Anchovies thoroughly.

However, you will need to clean the fish gently under running water (cold).

The goal here is to eliminate the salt-encrusted Anchovies.

It is fine if some portions of the silver skin come off, but you will still need to handle the fish carefully.

Dry The Anchovies

Lay the rinsed Anchovies on a piece of paper towel, which will soak up all the excess liquid from the Anchovies.

Sometimes, the Anchovies will be cured enough for you to fillet them.

Always check if the fish are tender and plump before filleting them.

Soak The Anchovies

You will need to soak the fish to soften up the Anchovies and remove the salt.

Some people use milk or white wine to soak the fish; however, usually, water is used.

However, wine can add extra flavors to the Anchovies, so if you have White wine, use it.

How long should you soak the fish? That depends on how firm the Anchovies are.

If you soak the Anchovies for too long, they will become mushy and soft.

However, if you take the fish out of the liquid too early, it will become tough to fillet the Anchovies, and the flesh can become brittle.

Typically, 15 to 30 minutes of soaking is good enough, but if the fish is too firm, let them soak for a bit longer.

Filleting The Anchovies

Once the fish is soaked, it should be flexible and plump but not soft and mushy.

Now, it is time to fillet the Anchovies.

Begin by pinching the Anchovies near the tail and carefully prying the spine and tail.

Once you get hold of the flesh, gently lift it from the bone cage.

During this step, be careful and take your time, especially if you want to keep the Anchovies fillets intact.

Once you have lifted the flesh of the first fish, lay the skin side down.

Pull away any silver skin or viscera from organs and discard it.

Grab the part of the flesh still attached to the spine, and free the spine and tail.

Carefully inspect every fillet, and remove the dorsal fin.

How Do You Cook Anchovies?

Here is how you can cook Anchovies:

Pan-Fried Anchovies


  • Fresh and Cleaned Anchovies: 32
  • Toasted and Unseasoned Dry Breadcrumbs: 1 Cup
  • Freshly Ground Pepper and Salt: As per need
  • Pure Olive Oil: For Frying
  • Fresh Lemon Wedges: For Serving


Rinse the Anchovies and shake them; leave some water with the fish, as it will help you put on the breadcrumb.

Spread the breadcrumbs in a pie dish or shallow bowl, and season with Black pepper and salt.

In a heavy or large cast-iron skillet, heat about ΒΌ inch of olive oil.

Start dropping batches of Anchovies in the oil.

Please ensure the fish are lying flat in the oil.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the Anchovies are golden brown; this process should take around 3 minutes.

Once at a time, flip the Anchovies, and continue to cook them until they have a tender center.

With the help of a slotted spatula, transfer the Anchovies to a baking sheet and sprinkle salt.

Increase the heat between the batches of Anchovies, and wipe out the brown crumbs from the pan or strain them.

What Do You Eat Anchovies With?

Here is how you can eat Anchovies:

Pasta Dishes

Make your favorite pasta dish, and pair it with Anchovies.

You can add the fish to the recipe or pair them with the pasta when it’s ready.


Anchovies are perfect with pizza, especially homemade pizza.

Once you have made the pizza home, top it with pan-fried Anchovies.

Toasted Bread

Cut 10-millimeter slices of bread, and top them with Anchovies and Echire unsalted butter.


Beetroot and Anchovies pair well because of the sweetness of Beetroot, which compensates for the savory and intense flavor of the Anchovies.


This may sound unusual, but pineapple and Anchovies pairing is part of Vietnamese cuisine.

This pairing can also accompany other recipes.

Are Anchovies Good For You?

Can Improve Heart Health

Anchovies have a high content of selenium and Omega-3 fatty acids; these nutrients can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also improve triglyceride, inflammation, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels and improve blood flow and blood vessel function.

These properties enable the Omega-3 fatty acids to lower the risk of a stroke or a heart attack.

A study concluded that a daily intake of 566 milligrams of EPA and DHA combined can reduce the risk of dying from heart disease by up to 37 %.

You can easily obtain that content of Omega-3 fatty acids from regularly consuming anchovies.  

Check out 5 Best Juicers Under $ 200.

High Protein Source

Anchovies are high in protein and offer around 13 grams per serving.

Consuming a diet high in protein can promote weight loss and help you stay full for a longer period.

Diets rich in protein can also promote lower weight gain, help maintain weight loss and preserve a lean body mass.

Can Improve Brain Health

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for normal brain functioning.

The deficiency in Omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to an increased risk of depression, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and accelerated brain aging.

Check out 5 Best Vegetable Juicers and 5 Best Wheatgrass Juicers.

May Have Cancer-Fighting Properties

The anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3 fatty acids and selenium’s antioxidant properties can help prevent the risk of developing cancer by preventing the spread and growth of tumors.

Related Questions About Anchovies? 

Nutrient Profile Of Anchovies?

A 45 gram (2 ounces) serving of Anchovies offers the following nutrients:

  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Calories: 95
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Selenium: 55 % of DV
  • Vitamin B3: 56 % of DV
  • Iron: 12 % of DV
  • Calcium: 8 % of DV

Can Diabetics Eat Anchovies?

Fish can be good for Diabetics since they are good for heart health and high in Omega-3 fatty acids.  Check out 5 Best Pizza Peels and 5 Best Organic Ketchups


This article covered everything related to Anchovies, such as what they taste like? Are they Healthy? How can you cook them? Etc.

Hopefully, this article will offer much-needed clarity and inspire you to make Anchovies a part of your diet.