Substitute for Capers (8 Handy and Delicious Ways)

Capers are known for their unique flavor, which is hard to replicate. The ingredient offers tangy, salty flavors to your meals. So, you find yourself in a challenging situation when your recipe calls for capers, and you don’t have the stock in your fridge. Don’t panic, as there are a couple of options that you may use as a substitute for capers. 

There are endless substitutes for capers that you can easily find in your pantry, ranging from green olives to thyme, green peppercorns to nasturtium buds, and dill pickles. The list is endless, and these are some of the easy substitutes that you may use when you are all out. 

So, enjoy learning the easy substitutes for capers and find out how you can use them in your recipes to achieve the taste and flavor of capers. 

What are the Best Substitutes for Capers?

If you are cooking a recipe where capers are the crucial ingredient and don’t have the stock in the fridge, you may use the following substitutes to finish that recipe. You have to keep an open mind with the following substitutes because their taste and flavors are close to capers, but you can’t substitute capers 100%. 

1. Green Olives

Green olives are the best substitute for capers because they share the same bitter flavor and salty profile. Green olives can replace capers in casseroles, chicken Piccata, salads, and sauces. Green olives resemble capers in color. So, you can use the green olives in slices or small pieces for garnishing salmon or use them in beef tartar.

2. Nasturtium Buds

Nasturtium is an edible flower and can be used for alternative capers. The ingredient lacks a bitter flavor like capers, but it is good to achieve a strong peppery flavor in the recipes. The secret to using this ingredient is to pick its buds when they are still green or young. Store them in a small jar of onion, dill, vinegar, or garlic.

The ingredient can be used in multiple dishes, and it makes a great choice for garnishing the dishes.

3. Thyme 

Thyme is a commonly used herb that is known for its spicy flavor. It carries a robust lemony, bitter taste that resembles the taste and flavor of capers. You must slow-cook the sauces or casserole with fresh thyme for a comparable flavor. 

Unfortunately, fresh thyme will not work in recipes where capers are the main ingredient, such as beef tartar. 

4. Green Peppercorns 

The immature version of black peppercorns is called green peppercorns. Since they are harvested immaturely, it lacks extreme spiciness like their black counterparts. You may use the green peppercorns as a substitute for capers, especially if you want to achieve capers’ visual appearance and look in your recipes. 

Green peppercorns and capers look similar, and the mild spiciness of the green peppercorns won’t ruin the recipe.

5. Dill Pickles 

Dill pickles offer a sour and sweet taste blend in a single crunchy bite. These pickles are a great addition to pasta salads, tartar sauces, and antipasto platters in slices. However, the flavor of the pickles is different from the capers as it has a crisper texture and it lacks a strong bitter taste. 

6. Anchovies

Anchovies are the best substitute for capers, especially when you want to add salty flavor to slow-cooked recipes. They taste differently than capers, but they can add the required saltiness to your casseroles. Add in a small amount if you don’t want to give your meal a fishy flavor. These ingredients are a great alternative to your Italian pasta sauces. 

7. Caper Berries

Pickled caper berries are the larger version of the traditional capers, and they comprise a seed. The caper berries lack the intense flavor of capers, but they make a great choice for your recipes when you don’t have capers stocked in your fridge. It is the best substitute for capers, especially when you don’t want to add overpowering ingredients to your recipes. 

8. Lemon

Juices of fresh lemon can make a huge difference in your recipes. Lemon juice can help you achieve the zip and acidity of capers. You may add freshly ground black pepper into the juice to achieve the bitterness of capers. Since lemon juice is acidic and intently sour, you must substitute them for capers by using your taste as your guide. 

What are the Substitutes for Capers in Chicken Piccata?

You have two substitutes for capers that can give you the similar taste and flavors in your Chicken PICCATA. You may use green olives or fresh thyme in the recipe to achieve the same taste and flavor as capers. There are other substitutes for capers that can be used in the recipe, but green olives and thyme make a great choice. 

What is the Substitute for Capers in Pasta?

The best substitute for capers in pasta is green olives. You may use green olive slices or the pickled version of olives in the pasta dish. The green olives can substitute the salty flavor of capers in the pasta. You must use one tablespoon of sliced green olives instead of one tablespoon of capers. Use them in the same amount to achieve the same taste and flavor. 

Are Peppercorns and Capers Same?

Both capers and peppercorns are different, except for the look. Peppercorns look like Capers because both are small and round. But, they are different in terms of taste and texture. Peppercorns have a dried, crispy texture and peppery flavor. 


Hopefully, you know that finding the substitute for capers is not challenging. One can find some of the substitutes in their kitchen pantry. If you enjoy the taste and flavors and don’t have them in stock, use green olives instead of capers to achieve a similar taste in your recipe. If you don’t enjoy capers much and are looking for a substitute, use dill pickles, green peppercorns, or thyme in your recipe.

You must know that the substitutes shared here will not imitate capers 100%, but they are enough to offer a similar taste and flavor in your recipe where capers are used as an ingredient.

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About Joy

Hi, I'm Martin and my friends call me Joy. From an early age, I was interested in food, vegetables, and fruits. I even have a nutritionist certificate. While searching for some information, I didn't find the answer, so I start a page

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