The 4 Substitutes For Capers You Should Try In Your Next Dish

substitutes for capers

Cooking is a free-for-all hobby that gives the chef full control of their cooking. No one likes to run out of ingredient sin the kitchen, and then its flavor is vital to the success of the dish. Depending on the combination of flavors, each dish comes out differently. However, one of the most disappointing parts of cooking is when a flavor doesn’t turn out right because of a missing ingredient.


For example, capers are a hard flavor to match. Not only are the capers flavorful, but they are also pungent as well, so finding the right alternative may be difficult. The good news is that there are great alternatives that will fill the spot of the capers well.

Capers are brined flower buds from the Capparis spinosa bush. This particular plant is native to the Mediterranean and is a low growing bush. They get picked just before they reach ripeness and are usually dark green in color. The flavor is savory and is described as tangy, briny, and lemony. If you’re looking for a substitute for capers, here’s a short list to make it easier for you.

#1 Green Olives

Green olives come in first in the list as it is the closest to the capers in flavor, as both are equally pungent. Before you reach for a jar of olives to add to your dish, take note that due to the size of the olives you will have to use half the required amount due to the size difference. For example, four capers are equivalent to 2 whole olives.

substitutes for capers

Green olives have a lot of health benefits for its tiny size. It is rich in antioxidants, Vitamin E, monosaturated fat, Vitamin A, Iron, and is an anti-inflammatory. It has cardiovascular benefits, cancer prevention, prevents glaucoma, and gives energy as well.

Most of the time green olives are a favorite ingredient to use in sandwiches, pesto, salads, and the healthy fats are extracted to produce extra virgin olive oil. Olives are one of the key ingredients used in a healthy Mediterranean diet.

#2 Green Peppercorns

Right from the get go these peppercorns could pass for capers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit as an alternative to capers without going through the brining process. So after you purchase some green peppercorns make sure you brine it with lemon, turmeric powder, and salt for a few hours.

substitutes for capers

These green peppercorns surprisingly have a lot of antioxidants. It can even prevent cancer especially when paired with turmeric powder. Other health benefits are that it aids digestion, helps with diabetes as it stabilizes blood sugar. It also reduces high blood pressure and can aid weight loss thanks to the piperine in the peppercorns.

#3 Thyme

This herb is an unlikely alternative for capers, but it packs a punch similar to capers. It has a strong flavor that can serve as a perfect substitute in caper-less dishes. Plus, fresh or dried thyme packs on the same flavor no matter what.

substitutes for capers

Also, just like many other herbs, it comes with a lot of health benefits. Thyme doesn’t just have carotenoids, Iron, and Vitamin A, it is also an anti-fungal and anti-oxidant as well.

There are also some treatments that thyme can aid in, such as a sore throat, flatulence, diarrhea, stomachache, arthritis, bronchitis, and colic. It even relieves stress, improves blood circulation, and improves vision as well.

#4 Nasturtium Seeds

Here is another alternative that could pass for being a caper at just a glance. These seeds grow into edible flowers that are used in dishes and eaten whole. In order become a substitute for capers you will still have to brine the seeds with vinegar, an onion slice, dill seeds, a clove of garlic, and peppercorns.

substitutes for capers

While many are more familiar with the leaves and Nasturtium flowers used in cooking, the seed pods are used as well. It is rich in mustard oil, flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C, and glucosinolates. It is best known for being a disinfectant and a healing agent thanks to the plant’s antimicrobial and antibiotic properties.

Those who have intestinal problems will be glad to know the Nasturtium buds have a strong laxative effect that won’t damage the intestinal flora. So apart from being a tasty alternative to capers, it also has a lot of great health benefits as well.


Based on the list, your best bet will be green olives. This is because it is easy to find and it can be used in a lot of dishes. While olives top the list as the best substitute for capers, it is also good to know that there are other alternatives just in case olives aren’t in stock.

Now that you know the substitutes for capers, you’ll be able to cook your favorite dishes and be more flexible even when you run out of capers. This is a great thing to know since finding the right alternative to capers is so hard.

I hope that this article was informative and helpful to you. If you happened to know about any other substitutes for coriander of have used these substitutes before, please do share them in the comments section below. I’d love to be informed and read more about it.

Charlotte Lane

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