Tinned fish is having a moment and this Anchovy Pizza is going to convince you that the salty, savory little fish are majorly underestimated as a pizza topping. You can easily switch up the toppings on this umami-packed pizza and make it a favorite in your home!
It's hard to find a more divisive food than anchovies. So many of us grew up saying, "eww anchovies!" despite the fact that we never really gave them a chance. At least I didn't.
Tinned fish are currently having a moment and that includes those little salty anchovies. Restaurants are launching entire menus with canned fish as the star and the general public is finally giving anchovies the chance they deserve.
As a lifelong lover of Caesar salads, I slowly came around to anchovy appreciation. There was a time when I always asked for them to be omitted from the salad... But I also knew that they are what gives the dressing that delicious pop of umami flavor. And it wouldn't be a Caesar salad without them.
In fact, even if you think you don't like anchovies, you should know that 95% of the time, anchovies are the secret ingredient.
Perhaps the most polarizing question regarding anchovies is whether or not you want them on pizza. Plenty of people say no... But once you try this anchovy pizza, I think you may change your mind!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
You'll love this anchovy pizza recipe because it will either change your mind about anchovies or it will solidify the fact that you're a fan of them. Because it's SO SO good!
It's also super simple to make and very easy to customize. You can make it just like I do or add on any toppings you want - I'll offer lots of suggestions later on in this post.
🐟 Benefits of anchovies
Aside from being packed with umami flavor, anchovies have tons of health benefits.
They're a calorie-efficient food that's rich in protein, iron, and omega-3s, a polyunsaturated fat that supports heart health and lowers cardiac disease risk (source).
Do note that tinned anchovies are often high in sodium and the serving size is usually pretty small because of this.
But ultimately, they're a great protein source to add to pizza!
Like I said, it's easy to customize this pizza how you want. But if you make it how I do, you don't need too many ingredients. I like to make my own pizza dough and I share that recipe with you here, but you can substitute with store-bought dough if you want.
Here's everything you need (but be sure to view the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions):
- Olive oil
- Pizza sauce
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Red onion
- Black olives: you can either use regular black olives or Kalamata olives. I love Kalamata, but they do add a lot of extra saltiness
- Anchovy fillets
- Red pepper flakes
- Basil leaves
- Shaved parmesan cheese
And if you're making homemade dough, here's what you need:
- Active dry yeast
- Lukewarm water
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- All-purpose flour
- Garlic powder
🍞 How to make homemade pizza dough
Have you made homemade pizza dough before? If so, you know how easy it is! Of course, you're more than welcome to buy a batch of dough from the store or your favorite pizza place, but if you have a couple extra hours to let it rise, making your own is always delicious!
Just mix yeast and water in a large bowl and let rest for 2 minutes.
Stir salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and honey into the mixture.
With a wooden spoon, mix the flour and garlic powder into the mixture. Once combined, use your hands to knead the dough within the bowl a few times.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rest in a warm spot for about 2 hours, so the dough can rise.
There's not much I love more than taking the towel off a bowl or rising dough and seeing how high it's gotten!
If you want to make the dough in advance, you can store it in fridge wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for 7-10 days.
Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before using.
🍕 How to make anchovy pizza
And now the rest of this recipe is a breeze... You just have to roll the dough out and load it up with toppings.
But first preheat your oven to 450 degrees and lightly sprinkle a little cornmeal on a round baking pan. This will help prevent the pizza from sticking to the pan after it's baked.
Stretch the dough out to fit it on the prepared baking sheet.
Brush it lightly with olive oil, making sure to get the edges.
And spread on the tomato sauce.
Sprinkle on shredded mozzarella cheese.
And add anchovies, sliced red onions, and olives.
Look at those yummy little fishies! If you prefer, you can chop them up so you have little anchovy pieces in every bite. But I like the way they look whole.
Finish the pizza off with shaved parmesan cheese and some basil leaves.
And bake for 9-13 minutes, until pizza is turning golden brown.
Remove from oven and top with more fresh basil, if desired. I love fresh basil on pizza.
Whether you love them or not, you have to admit that anchovies make a really pretty pizza!
But it's also a pizza that's absolutely delicious and packed with flavor.
This anchovy pizza contains three foods that are known for their umami properties: anchovies, parmesan cheese, and olives.
It's a salt lover's dream, but it's the kind of salty that's also flavor packed.
⏲️ How to store leftovers
Chances are, you won't have any leftovers of this anchovy pizza. But if you do, you can easily store it to enjoy later.
Store the pizza in an airtight container or tightly wrap it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge until ready to eat. It should stay fresh for about 3 days.
You can heat up in the oven, toaster oven, or an air fryer. Of course, you could also put it in the microwave, but that's not my favorite way of reheating pizza.
🎉 Variations on recipe
I love red sauce pizza with anchovies, olives, red onions, and mozzarella and parmesan cheese. But there are SO many topping combinations that would make for a delicious anchovy pizza.
When you're planning your toppings, keep in mind that anchovies are pretty salty, so while additions like prosciutto and capers would be delicious, they'll add even more salty flavor.
Here are some other topping ideas:
- White sauce: I used red sauce for this pizza, but anchovies also go so well with a white sauce on pizza. They would be delicious as a topping on this basil and garlic olive oil pizza.
- Fresh tomatoes
- Bell peppers
- Other cheeses: goat cheese or fontina cheese would be delicious. Feta cheese is a great complement, too, but don't forget that it will add more salt. Instead of shredded, you can also use fresh mozzarella.
- Minced Garlic
- Fresh lemon juice and/or lemon zest
- Fresh parsley
- Black pepper (you definitely shouldn't need any added salt!)
- Pineapple: to make the most controversial pizza in the world!
🥗 Servings suggestions
This anchovy pizza makes an excellent pizza night entree, but you might want to serve it with a side or two. Here are some yummy serving suggestions:
- Caesar Salad: Carry the anchovy component throughout your meal with a delicious caesar salad. I like making my salad with kale to add some extra nutrition to the meal. You can also make a caesar salad alternative with brussels sprouts.
- Greek Salad: Pull in some more flavors with salty feta cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
👩🍳 More pizza recipes
If anchovies aren't quite your thing, but you love the idea of a homemade pizza, I've got plenty of recipes for you! Here are some of my favorites:
Of course, you can always add anchovies to any of the pizza recipes above for a little extra protein, omega-3s, and umami!
If you're curious about adding more anchovies to your diet, this is one of the best ways to do it. Try it at your next pizza night and let me know what everyone thinks!
Are you an anchovy pizza lover?
- Cornmeal (for dusting pan)
- 1 batch pizza dough, store-bought or homemade with recipe below
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ⅓ cup pizza sauce (if you like a saucier pizza, use more)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 2-oz. tin anchovy fillets (I like to add them whole, but you can chop them up if you prefer)
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion (from ½ small onion)
- ⅓ cup sliced black olives or kalamata olives (note that kalamata olives will add more saltiness)
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 10 small basil leaves, plus more for topping if desired
- ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese
Homemade Pizza Dough
- 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
- ¾ cup lukewarm water
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and lightly dust a round baking pan with cornmeal.
- Stretch dough out to fit it on the prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil, making sure to brush all the way to the edges of dough.
- Spoon sauce over the top and using a spatula or knife gently spread around.
- Sprinkle on shredded mozzarella cheese and layer on anchovies, sliced red onions, and olives. Top with shaved parmesan cheese and basil leaves
- Bake pizza for 9-13 minutes, until edges are turning golden brown.
- Remove from oven and top with more fresh basil before serving, if desired.
Homemade Pizza Dough
- Mix yeast and water in a large bowl and let rest for 2 minutes.
- Stir salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and honey into the mixture.
- With a wooden spoon, mix the flour and garlic powder into the mixture. If dough feels too wet, you can add in another Tbsp flour. Form dough into a ball, gently knead a few times in the bowl.
- Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let rest in a warm spot for about 2 hours, so dough can rise.
- If you want to make dough in advance, you can store it in fridge wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for 7-10 days.
- If your dough is refrigerated, be sure to bring it to room temperature before using.