Cans of sardines and anchovies on a table
What's The Difference Between Anchovies And Sardines?
By Nick Johnson
Many people's primary association with seafood involves an aluminum cylinder and a can opener, as only a relatively small percentage of Americans can find freshly caught fish at their local market. Two slightly less common offerings in the canned food market are anchovies and sardines, which occupy similar spaces in the seafood sphere but have some key differences.
Anchovies and sardines are similar in that they are both small, have similar nutritional profiles, and reside in the pelagic zone, an oceanic middle-ground. They differ in flavor, as anchovies are preserved through curing and pack a powerful punch of salt with a fishy taste, and sardines are packed in olive oil, resulting in a more mild profile.
The way you eat each fish varies — for example, sardines can be eaten straight out of the can as the mild and rich fish ages in its olive oil bath, allowing its flavor to mature. However, anchovies are great for adding salty flavor to sauces because the briny fish adds a unique umami flavor, and they can be an excellent addition to spreads.