Anchovies Marinated in Vinegar (Boquerones en Vinagre)

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Prep: 6 hrs
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 6 hrs
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
563 Calories
43g Fat
8g Carbs
32g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 563
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 43g 56%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 91mg 30%
Sodium 218mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 32g
Calcium 276mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Anchovies have a bad reputation sometimes, which isn't quite fair. In Spain, these delicious and healthy little fish are prepared in a variety of ways: salt-cured, marinated, or pickled, and even battered and fried. There is a preparation for everyone and quality also varies greatly (for the salt-cured anchovies you can find a tin that costs about $1 and another that costs $30—you'd better bet there is a big difference in taste between the two). 

One of our favorite Spanish anchovy recipes is this one, which is for fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar, olive oil, and minced garlic. In Spain, they are called boquerones en vinagre and they are a traditional and very popular tapa all throughout the country. Every family has at least one cook who prepares these tasty pickled anchovies, often topping them with heaps of fresh parsley. It is an easy recipe, and the hardest part is waiting for the fish to marinate. Since this is a raw-fish recipe, we strongly recommend deep freezing the anchovies after cleaning to prevent any possibility of illness.

These pickled anchovies are typically eaten as a snack and served with an alcoholic drink—sometimes as the free tapa that comes with the drink, especially in Madrid. They might be served over potato chips or with olives. One of the most typical Spanish beverages they are served with is ​vermouth, a Spanish fortified and aromatized wine. 


  • 2 pounds fresh anchovies
  • 1 to 2 cups/250 to 500 ml white-wine vinegar
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup/250ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 4 sprigs Italian parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Clean the anchovies. This is not difficult, but you'll get better at it with practice. First, you'll remove the heads from the anchovies. Then, using your thumb, remove the innards and spine. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water.

  3. Lay the anchovies flat, covering the bottom of a glass baking dish. (Note: It is important to use a glass dish, not metal, so the fish do not take on a metallic taste.)

  4. Place them in the freezer for 3 hours to completely freeze the fish. Freezing the anchovies to -4 F/-20 C can prevent illness from parasites found in raw fish.

  5. Remove the anchovies from the freezer.

  6. Cover them in vinegar until all anchovies are submerged in liquid.

  7. Finely chop the garlic and sprinkle over the anchovies, then pour the olive oil into the baking dish.

  8. Seal tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to marinate for 2 to 3 hours.

  9. Season to taste with salt and top with freshly cut parsley. 

  10. Serve with slices of rustic bread and Spanish olives.