Caesar dressing - fish sauce?

Has anyone subbed fish sauce for anchovies before, and to what effect? I’m wanting to make caesar tonight for dinner and apparently don’t have any of the little fishies right now…

Yep :grin:

I literally just read this today while looking up subs

Timing is everything

Oh, except they say nope.
In Caesar dressing, where the flavor of the anchovies plays a dominant role, the fish sauce didn’t work. It came across as too fishy and slightly metallic, and it made the consistency too loose and runny.
Oh well.

I would try a tiny batch and decide from there. The flavors are diff but you might like it. Fish sauce varies a lot one brand to another too.


I might try a tad little bit of oil from good quality canned tuna…

Fwiw, recipes/utensil reviews have ever had, I’ve never   put a lot of faith in Cook’s Illustrated’s “taste tests”, and as far as “metallicness” and “fishiness” are concerned, that description strongly suggests to me that they used run-of-the-mill fish sauce in their attempts. Did they identify the brand(s) they used?

But that aside, fish sauce really doesn’t taste anything  like unfermented anchovies (imo anyway), but if it’s all you’ve got and it’s a good quality fish sauce, I think it would be better than not using anything “fishy” at all, or for that matter, tuna, either. (And in terms of basic flavor, I vastly prefer tuna to anchovies. I just don’t think it would work well as a “Caesar salad” component…)

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I thought worchestershire sauce was the traditional sub for anchovies. I use both when I make my dressing.


Don’t have either fish in oil in the pantry on the regular. We buy albacore tuna in water as our “daily” tuna and that’s what is sitting around.

In any case, I did put in a little fish sauce. Little bc it was the only even slightly relevant substitute that I had. And it turned out pretty yummy.


Yes, I’ve used it and it was just fine! Glad you found it yummy.

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FWIW I tend to put fish sauce in everything (that’s not sweet), including dressing for Caesar salad which I also put anchovies in unless I don’t have any in the house, which is rare. As you would expect me to say, I think it’s a fine addition to that and everything else. These days I usually have Red Boat in the house but I use other brands too.

BTW just few days ago I bought two 14oz. cans of anchovies (Moroccan wild caught) from Amazon for $15. Such a deal.

The original Caesar Salad used worchestershire sauce. Anchovies was a later addition.


I’ve often used capers and nutritional yeast to emulate the anchovies & worchestershire sauce. Because vegetarians also like a Caesar salad :wink:

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It’s really not the same.

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For future reference, I find that keeping a tube of anchovy paste around comes in very handy.

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Agreed. Lots of things available in tubes that keep well and taste good. Tomato paste, ginger, many herbs in oil, and of course anchovy. At my grocery most are in a display in produce although some are in canned goods. The stuff lasts forever. If you find a tube in an Egyptian pyramid you can eat it.

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Whether it’s a jar or a tube, eventually if you use something then it runs out and needs to be replaced. We were in that situation last week, with a snow storm. Roads unplowed. Cold cold temps that made a person not really want to walk to the grocery store. Anyhow, it worked out ok. Thanks all for the support.

No question. Honestly not picking on you. Sorry about the snow. We put things (technically “stuff” grin) into three categories: staples (flour, salt, pasta, …), regulars (chicken, pork, beef, frozen veg, produce, bread), and specials (grape leaves, lamb, …). Some things move back and forth between regular and special depending on time of year and whimsy. Rice paper is a regular for us but is probably a special for most people. Anchovy paste is a special for us, could be a regular for others.

We hit the “buy more” trigger for chicken when there is less than a pound in the freezer. Beef is two servings. Pork when we run out. Never run out of Triscuits. grin We haven’t set a level for cheese as there seems to be no risk of ever running out.

We might not be able to make whatever occurs to us but we can eat well snowed in for a week, maybe two. We won’t be hungry for a month. There will be Triscuits at the end.