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11 Differences Between Anchovies and Sardines, Which Is Better?

Tim Parry


Anchovies vs sardines are both types of herring, which is a type of fish. They are harvested in the Mediterranean Sea, but anchovies live in saltier water than sardines. Anchovies were originally salted to preserve them for an extended period of time due to their difference in living habits from other herrings. This difference has created a difference between anchovies and sardines when it comes to taste – anchovies have a stronger salty flavor. They also taste differently. Here is a list of 11 differences between these two types of fish.

What Are Anchovy And Sardine?

Anchovies are small, salt-water fish that are usually canned. They have a light flavor and no bones. Anchovies can be eaten raw or cooked with other foods like tomato sauce to make Italian dishes such as pasta puttanesca or pizza Margherita.

Sardines are small fish that can be eaten fresh or canned. They have a slightly sweet flavor and soft, edible bones. Sardines are usually cooked with their scales intact, which makes them easy to serve because the scales pop off when heated in water for cooking.

What Is The Difference Between Anchovies and Sardines?

Anchovies vs sardines are both small silverfish that can be used to add flavor (and a salty flavor) to many dishes. However, there is enough of a difference between them, which makes it useful for anyone who wants to use either one in their cooking. Here are some key differences between anchovies and sardines you need to know:

Where are they found in the world?

The first difference between anchovies vs sardines that you should know about is the fact that they come from different oceans. Anchovies are found in the Mediterranean Sea, while sardines live mostly around North America (from California to Canada), generally live in warmer waters near coasts or estuaries. Sometimes both these types of fish can be seen near Japan as well.

Sardines are smaller than anchovies 

While sardines are generally smaller than anchovies, the sizes of both can vary greatly depending on species and location.

Anchovies have a stronger taste than sardines 

Anchovies are saltier than sardines, so if you’re planning to eat them plain, then they will definitely need to be soaked in water for about an hour before cooking or eating. This removes some of the saltiness that can make anchovies difficult to eat on their own. It also makes it easier to remove the fish from their fillets.


Both fish have small heads with a large body that tapers to a sharp point at their tails. Anchovies tend to be more slender and silvery in appearance while sardines tend to be deeper and darker.


Very fresh sardines need very little preparation before you cook them – just a good scrub and a quick rinse, then cook them in whatever way you like.

However, anchovies can be eaten whole, while sardines need to be filleted before consumption.

The bones of anchovies are harder than sardines.

The bones of sardines tend to be softer than anchovies – this is because they don’t contain as much calcium carbonate (which gives the fish their solidity). This means that even though it might seem easier to eat sardines, some people find the bones a bit annoying, so they might be better off using anchovies for their dish.

Sardine oil is not as strong as anchovy oil.

Anchovy oil is stronger than sardine oil, and it’s actually very useful as an ingredient in many different dishes (including sauces). It can also help to flavor food before adding other ingredients like garlic or parsley – this makes it a great addition to your pantry.


Anchovies should be stored in a cool, dark place (like the fridge), and sardines can actually be kept at room temperature without spoiling for up to 24 hours or more. This means that anchovies need to stay fresh longer than sardines because they don’t keep as long.


Anchovies are a lot smaller than sardines, which means they’re also less expensive to buy. This can make them more practical for many people who might want to use the fish as an ingredient in their dishes instead of eating them on their own or adding just one or two fillets into a dish that serves four people.

Distinctive Smell

Anchovies have a distinctive taste and smell, which people either love or hate. Many recipes call for anchovy fillets because they add so much flavor to the dish – but if you don’t like anchovies, then sardines can be used instead (though it doesn’t work quite as well).


Anchovies are great for sandwiches, pasta dishes, and salads. Sardines can be used in the same way, but they’re usually eaten with other ingredients (rather than on their own). They also work well when combined with tomato sauce or salsa – like in ceviche. The only drawback is that sardine bones might get stuck between your teeth.

Anchovies Vs Sardines, Which Is Better?

Anchovies contain about two times the calcium in sardine, while both fish are low in fat and high in protein. They also contain more Vitamin A than Sardine, along with five times the amount of calcium. Anchovy contains less sodium per serving as well, which makes it better if you’re watching your salt intake.

Anchovies have a little over three times the Omega-three fatty acids than sardines, which is why Anchovy has been found to be good for cardiovascular health and reducing inflammation in the body while also helping with mental performance during stressful events. Remember, if you’re looking for a food that’s tasty and has high levels of Omega-three fatty acids, then anchovies vs sardines are both good options.

Anchovies are great for a tasty snack, and sardines are good to eat as well. It can be used in a variety of dishes, whereas Sardine has been made into canned food, being the most popular kind. Anchovies have also been found good for your brain, heart health and even better than some medicines!

How To Cook for Anchovies Vs Sardines?

How to cook for anchovies vs sardines

One of the best ways to prepare anchovies is marinating them for about half an hour with some olive oil, capers, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, chopped parsley leaves, and lemon juice squeezed over them before serving. You can use these ingredients to make a salad dressing as well.

Anchovies are low in calories, high in calcium and phosphorus, but they contain salt, so you should eat them moderately.

Sardines, on the other hand, can be served fresh or canned for cooking purposes. They taste great when added to salads with potatoes, rice, or pasta dishes. You can make a sauce by adding mayonnaise and lemon juice and use it to spice up your whole dinner.

There are many recipes you can make with anchovies or sardines, but some of them require more time than others do. If you want a quick meal idea, consider making some fish cakes by chopping the fish finely and mixing them with bread crumbs, chopped parsley leaves, minced onion, and some spices.


There are many different types of fish in the world, but anchovies vs sardines may be two of the most popular. These two varieties of herring have some differences between them – including taste and where they live. This blog post has outlined the difference between anchovies and sardines you should know about to make sure you get the right type for your dish!

Now that we’ve covered all these points on how to tell an anchovy from a sardine let us know what other questions you might still have by leaving us a comment below this article. We’ve got experts standing by, ready to answer any question or concern that arises while cooking with seafood like these tasty little anchovies!

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Tim Parry

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