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7 Top Mackerel Substitutes: Intensify the Taste

So, we’re making dinner, right? We’ve got that killer mackerel recipe in mind, but – surprise! – no mackerel in sight. No need to sweat it. We’ve all been there, standing in the grocery aisle, scratching our heads.

Here’s a nugget: there are plenty of fish in the sea. Literally! Subbing for mackerel doesn’t have to be a headache. Some alternatives will even elevate your dish. Each brings its own twist.

Get ready to shake up your cooking game with some easy-to-find, flavorful options. After all, who said you can’t improvise in style?

7 Easy Substitutes for Mackerel

While mackerel has a unique flavor, there are other fish that can add an intense and delicious touch to your dishes. Here are seven of our top picks for mackerel substitutes:

1 – Sardines

First, let’s talk sardines. Sardines are a top-notch swap for mackerel. They have that same oily richness and strong flavor that we love. They’re smaller, so you might need more of them, but they can seriously amp up your dish.

Sardines are a bit saltier and have a firmer texture. Think mackerel’s feisty little cousin. Perfect for grilling or tossing on a salad. If you’re curious about more fish swaps, check out this list of sardine substitutes.

Good news – one can of sardines equals about one fillet of mackerel. Give them a try next time, we promise, you won’t miss the mackerel.

2 – Anchovies

The taste of the Mediterranean, anchovies are our next mackerel buddy. Anchovies pack a bold, salty flavor. They’re smaller, but don’t be fooled. Their intense taste can elevate many dishes. These little fishies are often packed in oil, making them extra rich. Think of them as mackerel’s intense older brother. Perfect in pasta sauces or on pizzas. They melt in and give that umami kick.

Normal usage: one anchovy fillet equals one mackerel fillet. Want more ideas with anchovies? Check out this list of anchovy substitutes. Use them liberally; you won’t miss mackerel.

3 – Tuna

While mackerel is hard to find, tuna is our go-to fish.

Tuna has a mellow, versatile flavor compared to mackerel’s boldness. It brings a tender, meaty texture.

Short on mackerel? Use an equal amount of tuna. Great in salads, pasta, or grilled.

Fun fact, tuna’s flavor adapts to different seasonings. We love tossing it in a zesty lime marinade.

Want more ideas for fish swaps? Check out our tuna substitutes article.

Tuna brings a new twist to your dishes. Get creative and enjoy your meal!

4 – Salmon

The king of versatile fish, salmon hits the mark as a substitute for mackerel. Salmon has a rich, buttery flavor that’s less intense but just as satisfying. Its texture is tender and flaky.

We love grilling it or tossing it in a salad. Use one salmon fillet for every mackerel fillet. Want to flex your cooking skills? Pair it with a honey glaze.

Curious about more swaps? Check out these fab salmon substitutes. You’ll never sweat missing mackerel again.

5 – Trout

The fish that brings it home. Trout has a mild flavor that’s rich but less intense than mackerel. Its texture is delicate and flaky.

We love cooking it on the grill. For every mackerel fillet, use one trout fillet. Trout pairs well with almost anything.

We’ve tried it with lemon and herbs, and it’s perfect. Trout’s similar oily goodness makes it a solid mackerel swap. For more fishy tips, check out our guide on best rainbow trout substitutes.

6 – Herring

The cool cousin of mackerel, herring has a rich, savory flavor. It’s a tad milder, which makes it approachable. This fish brings a slight hint of sweetness, adding depth to your dish.

We swap one mackerel fillet with one herring fillet. Perfect for grilling or smoking. Remember that time we tried herring in a sandwich? It was a hit!

Herring’s texture is tender and flaky. Check out our herring substitutes for more creative ideas. By the way, it pairs amazingly with mustard sauce.

7 – Bluefish

Last one on our list, bluefish. This fish is all about bold flavor. It’s oily, rich, and packs a savory punch. Bluefish has a firm texture, making it perfect for grilling.

We love its strong taste. It’s a bit like mackerel’s sassy twin. Replace mackerel with bluefish one-to-one. Try it smoked or grilled with a bit of lemon.

Our favorite way to cook it? Throw it on the grill for a tasty twist.