Marinated Anchovies: the tasty appetizer recipe for making Italian-style alici marinate

Total time: 20 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 15 people
By Cookist
300 g
Olive oil
White vinegar
700 ml
250 ml
Red pepper

Marinated anchovies, or alici marinate in Italian, are an easy, fresh appetizer recipe from Italian cooking among Italy's coasts, where every family probably has their own special twist on the recipe.

When the fish comes in contact with the vinegary marinade, it turns white and gets a salty, rich, and slightly acidic flavor. The process is very easy. You boil the anchovy fillets in vinegar, layer the anchovies with other fresh ingredients (garlic and parsley) and refrigerate it.

Serve it with crusty bread, and you have a simple, yet satisfying lunch. Don’t think these are the overly fishy anchovies you’ve tasted before on pizza. These salty morsels are a level-up in flavor. Sure, you can buy them in a jar from the supermarket, but where’s the fun in that?

Marinated Anchovies Origins

As with many foods, it’s not quite clear where marinated anchovies originated. Some say that the recipe hails from the southern Mediterranean, while others say it dates back to Ancient Greece. Documents from 1890 already feature alici in bianco, meaning anchovies in white. This refers to the whitish color the fish take on once it comes in contact with the vinegar during the process.

Preservation techniques like this one have been done since the times of ancient Greece. Back then, there were not many other ways to preserve foods (other than drying), so fish was often preserved in salt or acidic ingredients.

After many years, marinated anchovies are still popular, often eaten as an antipasto, or added to main dishes to enhance flavor.


How To Marinate Anchovies

Prepare the marinade. Pour vinegar into a pan, then place the clean and open anchovies into the vinegar. Fill with more vinegar, then add salt and water. Boil for about 2 minutes.

Pour a bit of oil into a glass container. Layer the anchovies with parsley, garlic, and red pepper. Continue until all the ingredients are used and the anchovies are covered with oil. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving!

How To Serve Italian Marinated Anchovies

Serve the marinated anchovies as a meze on fresh, crusty bread or crackers. You can also add them to stews or pastas an extra punch of umami flavor.


This recipe is similar to the Greek version (Gavros marinates).

This recipe must be made with fresh anchovies!  To prepare the anchovies, remove the head, spine, and then gut the fish.

You can also enjoy marinated anchovies as a pizza topping!

How To Store Marinated Anchovies

Store the marinated anchovies in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, make sure it’s covered with olive oil.


Pour vinegar into a pan.

Place the clean and open anchovies in the vinegar.

Fill with more vinegar, then add salt and water.

Boil for 2 minutes. Pour some oil into a glass container and carefully place several anchovies in the container.

Add parsley, garlic, and red pepper. Repeat the steps until the container is filled with anchovies that are very well covered with oil, garlic, and parsley. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.


Anchovies are a healthy food choice. They’re rich in minerals, vitamins, and Omega-3 and help to prevent heart disease and improve cholesterol levels.

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