Anchovy Vs Sprat: What’s the Difference?

If you’re like most people, you may not know the difference between these two fish types: anchovy and sprat.

And to be honest, they can be hard to tell apart sometimes.

But there are some key differences between these two types of fish that can help you make the right decision when it comes time to order them in a restaurant or buy them at the grocery store.

So today we’re going to take a closer look at both of these fish and figure out just what makes them unique.

Stay tuned.

What are anchovies?

Anchovies are a type of small, oily fish that are commonly used as a flavoring or seasoning ingredient.

Though they have a strong, salty flavor, anchovies can add a subtle depth of flavor to many dishes.

They are often used in Mediterranean and Asian cuisines and are a common ingredient in Worcestershire sauce and Caesar salad dressing.

Anchovies are also popular as a pizza topping, and their small size makes them easy to incorporate into many recipes.

Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying that anchovies are a versatile and popular ingredient.

What are sprats?

Sprats are small, oily fish that are found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans.

They are an important food source for many animals, including whales, seals, and birds.

Sprats are also popular as baitfish, and they are commonly used in commercial fishing.

In addition to being a food source, sprats also play an important role in the ocean ecosystem.

They are a key part of the food chain, and their population levels can help scientists to understand the health of the marine environment.

Anchovy vs sprat – Main differences


The first difference between these two fish is their habitats.

Anchovies are found in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, while sprats are found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans.

That means that sprats are more widely distributed than anchovies.


The second difference between these two fish is their size.

Anchovies are typically 3-5 inches long, while sprats can be up to 5-7 inches long.

That means that sprats can give you more bang for your buck when it comes to size.


When it comes to texture, anchovies are softer and more delicate than sprats.

Sprats have a firmer texture, which makes them better suited for grilling or frying.

In addition, sprats have a higher fat content than anchovies, which gives them a richer flavor.

Fishing methods

Another difference between these two fish is the fishing methods that are used to catch them.

Anchovies are typically caught with a net, while sprats are often caught with a hook and line.


In terms of taste, anchovies are saltier than sprats.

Sprats have a milder flavor, and their flesh is softer and more delicate.

Health benefits

Both anchovies and sprats are good sources of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A and D.

However, sprats contain more omega-3 fatty acids than anchovies.

Calories per serving

Each serving of anchovies (3 ounces) contains 120 calories, while each serving of sprats (3 ounces) contains only 90 calories.

That means that sprats are a better choice for those watching their weight.

How to use them in recipes

Anchovies can be used in a variety of recipes, including pizza toppings, Caesar salad dressings, and Worcestershire sauce.

Sprats can also be used in many recipes, but their firmer texture makes them better suited for grilling or frying.


Finally, the last difference between these two fish is price.

Anchovies are typically more expensive than sprats.

That’s because anchovies are in higher demand and they are not as widely available as sprats.

A simple anchovy recipe to try

Here is a very simple anchovy recipe that you can try at home.

You will need:

  • 1 can of anchovies
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Simply heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and then add the garlic and anchovies.

Cook for a few minutes until the anchovies are melted into the oil.

Then add the lemon juice and remove it from heat.

This makes a very quick and easy anchovy sauce that you can use on pasta, pizza, or simply as a dip.

What not to do when cooking anchovies?

Here are the things you should avoid doing when cooking with anchovies:

  • Don’t use too many. A little goes a long way with these salty fish, so use them sparingly.
  • Don’t overcook them. Anchovies are best added at the end of cooking so they don’t have a chance to get mushy.
  • Don’t forget to rinse them. Rinse the anchovies in cold water before adding them to your dish to get rid of any excess salt.
  • Don’t mix them with strong flavors. Anchovies have a strong flavor that can easily be overwhelming, so pair them with milder ingredients.

A simple sprat recipe to try

Cooking a good dish of sprats could be simple.

Here is my favorite recipe for them.


  • 2 cans of sprats
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning to taste


1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning.

3. Spread the mixture on a plate.

4. Dredge each sprat in the flour mixture until coated and set aside.

5. Dice the onion into small pieces.

6. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

7. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until translucent.

8. Add the sprats to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

9. Transfer the sprats to a baking dish and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.

10. Serve hot and enjoy.

This recipe is simple and delicious – perfect for a quick and easy meal.

And it’s sure to please everyone at the table.

What not to do when cooking sprats?

If you want to cook sprats the right way, avoid doing the following:

  • Don’t overcook them. Sprats are best enjoyed when they’re cooked just long enough so that they’re slightly pink in the middle. If you overcook them, they’ll be dry and unappetizing.
  • Don’t undercook them. On the other hand, if you don’t cook them long enough, they may not be safe to eat. Make sure to cook them until they’re opaque all the way through.
  • Don’t use too much oil. Sprats are already quite oily, so you don’t need to add more oil to the pan. A little bit of oil will do.
  • Don’t add too many seasonings. Sprats are already quite flavorful, so you don’t need to go overboard with the seasonings. A simple seasoning of salt and pepper will do.
  • Don’t eat them straight from the can. Sprats are often sold in cans, but they’re best enjoyed when they’re freshly cooked. If you do eat them straight from the can, make sure to rinse them off first.
  • Don’t forget to remove the head and guts. Before cooking sprats, be sure to remove the head and guts. Otherwise, they’ll be quite unappetizing.

Anchovy vs sprat – Conclusion

In summary, both anchovy and sprat are small, oily fish that are found in different oceans.

They can be different in many aspects, but they both offer some nutritional benefits and can be used in a variety of recipes.

When it comes to price, anchovies are typically more expensive than sprats.

So, the choice between these two fish is up to you and your personal preferences.

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