Are Anchovies Good on Pizza? The Salty Fishy Fuss

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Perfectly proofed dough, juicy red tomatoes, delicately distributed mozzarella, and 2 to 3 pieces anchovies evenly laid – a perfect Napoli Pizza.

But anchovies – one that would ruin pizza?!

Like pineapple on pizza, anchovies as pizza toppings are also controversial. And can we blame anyone?

Thinking about anchovies brings a strong fishy smell to our minds – enough to stop us from trying the dish.

But then the question arises – why are anchovies used on traditional Italian pizzas? Are anchovies good on pizza?

Anchovies are incredibly delicious on pizza. However, it depends on the quality of the fish. Anchovies are cured long enough to lose odor and gain umami, salty-savory flavor. When combined with tomato sauce and cheese, they become more exquisite. Furthermore, it makes the pizza rich in omega-3.

To learn more about this pizza topping, stick around till the end.

Are Anchovies Good on Pizza?

Are Anchovies Good on Pizza

As one could have guessed, anchovy pizzas contain sea-water fish anchovies on the toppings. These small thin fishes (about four to ten inches long) are filled with umami and salty flavor.

The dish was originally introduced to the culinary world by the Italians in the 16th century, gradually growing in popularity. As non-Italian, anchovies may sound like a pizza ruiner for their strong smell, but they make the pizza dramatically delicious.

The umami-filled fish makes a good combo with tomato sauce, cheese, and fresh basil, creating a festival of flavor in your mouth. In addition, you get a touch of the sea, all thanks to the slight saltiness. These all together intensify the flavors of the pizza a lot.

Nevertheless, remember that pizzas can taste awful if a chef cannot properly cure the anchovies. Then the fishy odor may weave its way throughout the toppings, ruining your pizzas.

In short, correctly processed anchovies are mouthwatering on pizzas, but using them wrong can ruin all your pizza pleasure.

How Does Anchovy Pizza Taste?

A pizza topped with cured anchovies has a combination of savory, fruity, and umami taste to it. The first bite will also seem extremely salty, but your taste buds will eventually get used to the flavor, making the pizza seem rather addicting.  

In addition, while enjoying a slice of anchovy pizza, you might notice the slight spice created by adding garlic. While all chefs do not add the veggie as a garnish, most will, as its flavor only heightens the intensity of the used fish.

What Toppings Go With Anchovies On Pizza: 7 Anchovy Pizza Combinations

What Toppings Go With Anchovies On Pizza 7 Anchovy Pizza Combinations

A perfect companion means balance in life. The same goes for anchovy pizzas. Pairing the right ingredients with anchovies can enhance the pizza flavor incredibly.

Here are my 7 favorite anchovy pizza toppings combos that you can try.

1. Calabrian Chiles

Salty, spicy, juicy, and fruity Calabrian chilies create a perfect combination with anchovy pizza. This Italian pepper perfectly balances the salty flavor of anchovies on pizza.

2. Garlic

Tarty sweet garlic and salty curred anchovies – trust me; it’s one of the best combinations you have ever tasted on anchovy pizzas. Just crush the garlic, roast them, and spread it with anchovies – it’s heaven on your plate!

3. Pineapple

While many think combining these two controversial toppings is going too far, I cannot help but disagree. The sweetness of juicy pineapples makes the perfect addition to umami-filled salty anchovies.

Therefore, every pizza bite can create a burst of flavors in your mouth. As pineapples and anchovies are both nutrient-filled food options, such a pizza is also better for your health.

4. Tomato

Do you like the taste of anchovy pizzas but despise how it is often too acidic?

If yes, this will be the perfect pizza toppings combo for you!

Sliced tomatoes or tomato paste spread on the top, with anchovies, cheese, and sometimes basil leaves, create a perfect combo. The sweet juicy flavor of tomatoes cancels out the saltiness and gives your taste buds a balanced feel that is much easier to enjoy.

5. Lemon

A lemon is a perfect option with anchovies if you love the acidic edge.

The base of the pizza contains sour cream with onions and round lemon slices spread out on top with anchovies in between. The fish seems to melt almost into every slice of the tangy base.

You can spread fresh coriander leaves for a small splash of color and crunch.

6. Olives and Capers

When you need a salty flavor-filled push on a bad day, I suggest you turn to the olives and capers anchovy pizza. The saltiness of anchovies combines with that of the capers to pack a punch like none other.

While most people prefer having this plainly with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, I suggest you sprinkle some cut olives on top. The mildly sweet goodness not only adds flavor but also beautifies the appearance of your pizza by adding a different color.

7. Sausage

If you want to enjoy salty fish with a meaty flavor, pair sausage with anchovies. The silky fatty sausage perfectly blends with salty-oily fish and creates a harmony of taste.

Other Toppings

  • Chicken – for a fresh, meaty flavor, pair chicken with anchovies. Mince chicken, grind anchovies, mix them together, and spread over the dough. You will have a finger-licking experience.
  • Ricotta Cheese – the rich, creamy cheese with lemon and rosemary creates a palatable combination with anchovy pizza. This combo is irresistible and unbeatable.
  • Mushrooms – for a more balanced flavor, try the mushroom-anchovy combo. The salty fish and meaty mushrooms make the pizza extra mouthwatering.

The Best Anchovy Pizza Recipe

The Best Anchovy Pizza Recipe

Homemade pizza is always fun – to bake and eat both. However, in the case of anchovy pizza, if you don’t know the correct process, the savory journey may turn into a stinky one.

So, learn to make the best anchovy pizza with us.


To make the anchovy pizza, you need the following ingredients.




  • Tipo 00 flour (but you can use any flour eg. all-purpose flour or pizza flour)
  • Yeast
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Water.
  • Tomato Paste/ Sour Creem
  • Olive Oil
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Salt.
  • Anchovies
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Tomatoes/ Capers/ Sausage/
  • Red Peppers
  • Red Onions.

Step-By-Step Recipe

Let’s make the pizza.

  1. Take a bowl, mix flour, salt, and yeast, and shake them gently.
  2. Add olive oil and warm water and stir your mixture.
  3. Now, set the dough aside in a warm place for high hydration for an hour, covering it with clothes.
  4. After an hour, place the dough on a flat surface, stretch it with your fingers, fold it and finally shape it into a ball.
  5. Now, keep the flour ball aside for 30 minutes rest.
  6. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C.
  7. After 30 minutes, palace the dough on a pizza pan covered with parchment paper and stretch the dough into a 12-inch circle.
  8. Spread the sauce over the unbaked pizza dough.
  9. Add the toppings of your choice.
  10. Take 2 or 3 anchovies, put them into pieces, and spread them evenly over the pizza.
  11. Spread cheese.
  12. Now bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes until it becomes golden brown.
  13. Finally, serve the pizza and enjoy.

Nutritional Value Of Anchovy Pizza

The nutrient content of anchovy pizzas will vary according to your toppings and crust. So, the values mentioned down below are not exact but approximate.

Nutrient NameAmount in One Medium Slice
Total Fat7.4 g
Carbohydrate24 g
Cholesterol15 mg
Protein9.2 g
Sodium544 mg


  • Why are anchovies good on pizza?

Adding anchovies to your topping indicates the addition of a savory, salty, and fruity taste to your pizza. Fish is also packed with Omega 3 and proteins which are very good for the human body. Anchovies can, thus, make every bit of your pizza more nutritious and flavorful.  

  • What pizza topping goes best with anchovies?

When you go with cured anchovy toppings, you can create a nice combination by adding diced onions, sprinkles of lemon juice, and olives. Sour cream or marinara can also be mixed to create a unique blend.

  • How popular are anchovies on pizza?

Anchovies on pizza are extremely popular amongst Italians and some Americans. However, as many pizzerias are unable to properly cure the fish and get rid of the fishy smell, it tends to get often looked down upon.

  • Do pizza anchovies taste fishy?

No, the anchovies used on pizza toppings are cured until they lose their fishy smell completely. Instead, they develop a savory, fruity, and salty taste that consumers keep wanting to return to.

Final Words

Are anchovies good on pizza?

Yes, as long as your pizza chef knows the proper way of curing and incorporating it into the dish. You will also have to pick the right anchovy pizza combination to avoid scaring yourself away from the dish for life.

Written above are different combos that I believe you will love. So, take some time to read through them, and then order away!