Stuffed Anchovies: the savory, classic Italian recipe

Total time: 40 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 14 people
By Cookist

Stuffed Anchovies is an easy Italian appetizer recipe. Even though you will find it on menus all over Italy, anchovies were once considered a poor man’s food. So stuffed anchovies were somewhat thought of as poor man’s cuisine.

Even though they’re often confused with sardines (or pilchards), anchovies belong to a different family of fish. They’re small, oily fish found in the Mediterranean Sea. There are various ways to enjoy these little fish. They can be fried, marinated, or baked. For this recipe, they’re stuffed and fried.

You will need fresh, large anchovies and ingredients for the breading. Once they’re fried, they become crispy and full of flavor. Pair with a glass of sparkling wine, and you’ll have a simple, but tasty meal on the table.

What To Serve With Stuffed Anchovies

Enjoy the stuffed anchovies with a side salad and a glass of wine. Alternatively, use them in a salad, or add to a rich tomato-based sauce for added flavor.



If you want, you can also bake the anchovies in the oven. Place the crumbed anchovies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until golden.

Feel free to use another type of cheese. Feta cheese or goat’s cheese will both work well. If you prefer, you can leave out the cheese completely.

This recipe must be made with fresh anchovies!  To prepare the anchovies, remove the head, spine, and then gut the fish. You can also rinse them if you want.

Use canola, peanut, sunflower, or corn oil for frying as these are more suitable for frying at high temperatures. The oil temperature should be about 350°F.

How To Store Stuffed Anchovies

Store leftover stuffed anchovies in the fridge for up to one day. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months. Allow to thaw completely, then add them to a sauce-based dish.

3 slices
100 ml
Grated parmesan cheese
50 g
Fresh parsley
3 tbsp
3 tbsp
anchovy fillets
extra breadcrumbs
for the yogurt sauce
Olive oil
2 tbsp
Greek Yogurt
170 g
Lemon zest
fresh min leaves, chopped

How To Make Stuffed Anchovies

In a small bowl, mix together the egg and milk.

Crush the bread into pieces in a bowl.

Add the egg-milk mixture to the bread. Leave it for a few minutes, then mash it with your fingers.

Add chopped parsley, cheese, pepper, and breadcrumbs.

Mix until all the ingredients are combined.

Place the stuffing on top of the anchovy fillets.

Close with the other fillet.

Dip each stuffed anchovy into the beaten eggs and then follow by dipping them into the breadcrumbs.

Fry the anchovies in a saucepan in oil until golden brown.

To make the yogurt sauce mix all the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.

Serve stuffed anchovies with yogurt sauce.


If you cannot find large fresh anchovies in a store near you, you can also use fresh sardines. Sardines are also easier to clean!

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