5 Substitutes For Capers

Capers are well known for their sharp and instantly recognizable flavor. They can be added to countless recipes to add a very tangy and vibrant note to just about any dish.

This means that they can be rather difficult to replace should you ever find yourself running out of them.

But are there any perfect substitutes for capers that you can depend on to bring similar flavors? Though it is a difficult job, there are a few ingredients that you can depend on to bring a similar flavor! 

So why don’t we take a look at these ingredients now? 

Green Olives

1. Green Olives

Grab a jar of green olives in brine, chop them up, and you will very quickly have a substitute for capers that boasts the perfect briny flavor that you seek.

Just make sure that you use green olives, because black olives are a little softer in their texture, and lack the firmness that makes capers so delightful.

Substituting capers and olives is also easy thanks to the fact that you can simply add 1 tablespoon of chopped green olives for every tablespoon of capers that you need. 

Dill Pickles

2. Dill Pickles

Dill pickles are able to offer a perfect alternative to the flavor of capers, thanks to the fact that they are rather sour, as well as slightly sweet. 

In order to make them a perfect substitute, you should make sure to chop the dill pickles into small chunks that you can easily scatter into a salad or other recipes. 

Just make sure to keep in mind that dill pickles have a slightly crunchier texture than capers, so you should expect the texture of your finished recipe to be slightly different than you may otherwise expect. 


3. Thyme

If you do not care too much about emulating the texture of capers in your dish, but you still want the iconic flavor, then you can easily opt for thyme instead.

It is likely that you already have thyme in your kitchen pantry, which makes this one of the most useful alternative options!

Thyme can easily add immense flavor to any dish, and has a very herby taste that can stand perfectly in for capers.

Make sure to add the thyme to your dish towards the start of the cooking process, as this will allow the herb to release its flavors, making it work best as a substitute.

Nasturtium Seeds

4. Nasturtium Seeds

The seeds of the Nasturtium flower can stand in perfectly for capers, as they are very peppery in taste, which means that they quickly fill your mouth with flavor as soon as you bite into them.

You can also easily pickle the seeds, to add a briny flavor, or grow them into Nasturtium flowers that also carry the same peppery flavor, but have a much different texture that can really add some variety to salads and other dishes!


5. Caperberries 

Caperberries are very similar to capers, though they are slightly larger, and contain seeds within, which makes them a little more difficult to substitute.

However, they taste almost identical to standard capers, if a little less strong. If you often find that capers are a little too strong for your tastes, then caperberries may be the perfect option for you!

If you want to use caperberries, make sure to chop them down and remove as many of the seeds as possible.

This will help you to achieve a texture that is very similar to ordinary capers.

If you want to achieve the exact same flavor that capers provide, then make sure to add a few more chopped caperberries to your recipe, as they are naturally less intense!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Leave Capers Out Of A Recipe?

Yes. If you feel that they are unimportant, then it is totally fine to omit capers from a recipe. However, you should keep in mind that capers have an intense flavor, so recipes that omit them may seem rather lacking!

Do Capers Taste Fishy?

No. Capers can more accurately be described as having a flavor combination of olives, lemon, and salt. This makes them very distinct.

Are Capers A Fruit Or Vegetable?

Capers are actually considered a fruit, despite having such a savory taste. This is because they are considered to be berries!

5 Substitutes For Capers

5 Substitutes For Capers

Recipe by Jenna

Capers have very strong and iconic flavors that are almost unmistakable, but what can you use in those awkward moments when you run out? Join us to see!

Course: Substitutes
5 from 1 vote


  • Green Olives

  • Dill Pickles

  • Thyme

  • Nasturtium Seeds

  • Caperberries 


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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