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5 Top Sardine Substitutes: Perk Up Recipes

Remember that one time we opened a can of sardines and the whole room had opinions? Yeah, us too. Well, sardines are a classic, but sometimes it’s fun to mix things up.

We’re here to spill the beans on five sardine substitutes that’ll punch up your recipes without making your kitchen smell like a fishing trip. We’ve tested these out, so your taste buds are in for a treat.

Ready to try something new? Let’s get right into it!

5 Easy Substitutes for Sardines

For those who aren’t familiar, sardines are small oily fish that are usually canned in oil or water. They have a distinct flavor that some love and others…well, not so much. Here are five alternatives to try if you’re tired of the same old sardine taste.

1 – Anchovies

First things first, these little guys pack a serious punch when it comes to flavor. Anchovies have a strong, salty taste that can elevate anything from a Caesar salad to a pizza. They’re tiny but mighty.

Anchovies and sardines come from the same family but there’s a world of difference in taste. Anchovies are saltier and more intense than sardines. Perfect if you’re looking to add a savory kick.

Use them sparingly—start with half the amount of sardines your recipe calls for and adjust to taste.

We found this detailed guide on Anchovy Substitutes super helpful too. If you’re curious, give it a read!

2 – Mackerel

Then we have mackerel, which is a superstar in the fish world. Mackerel’s rich, slightly sweet flavor makes it a great sardine stand-in. It’s less salty than anchovies, but still packs a flavor punch.

Use mackerel in recipes where you’d normally use sardines, but keep in mind it’s a bit meatier and fishier. So if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sardines, start with 3/4 cup mackerel to balance the taste.

Grill it, broil it, or toss it in a salad. It fits well in almost any dish. Want more mackerel ideas? Check out this guide on Mackerel Substitutes for some inspiration.

Whether in pasta or a spicy curry, mackerel’s versatility is unmatched. Swap it in and enjoy a deeper, richer taste.

3 – Herring

Herring is next on our list. Herring’s taste is milder and a bit tangy compared to sardines. It’s light on the salt, with a hint of sweetness.

This fish works great in salads and sandwiches. For every cup of sardines, use a full cup of herring. The flavor profile is gentler, so it blends well with creamy dressings and mustard.

We’ve tried herring in various dishes and found it adaptable. It’s perfect for those who find sardines too overpowering.

Try it grilled or smoked to add a bit of depth. You can’t go wrong with this versatile fish.

Check out our herring substitutes for more creative ideas. By the way, it pairs amazingly with mustard sauce.

4 – Tuna

While sardines have their charm, tuna is a versatile alternative with a milder taste. This fish has a firmer texture, making it a great swap in sandwiches, salads, or even pasta dishes.

For every cup of sardines, use one cup of tuna. It’s less salty and fishy, offering a more subtle flavor. We’ve tried it in a Nicoise salad, and the light, flaky texture was perfect.

Fancy more tuna ideas? Here’s a guide on Tuna Substitutes you might enjoy. Ideal for those wanting a change, tuna keeps things simple and delicious.

5 – Kippers

Last but definitely not least, let’s talk about kippers. Kippers bring a smoky, slightly salty flavour that’s hard to resist. If sardines don’t do it for you, these guys might. We love how their robust taste can elevate a simple meal.

For a swap, use one-to-one ratio—one cup of kippers for one cup of sardines. The smoked essence stands out, making every bite flavorful. We tried kippers in a salad, and it was a game-changer.

They work wonders in sandwiches as well, giving them a nice, rich twist. Just grill or lightly fry them before adding to your dish. Simple, tasty, and irresistible every time.