Substitute for capers

Substitute for capers
Substitute for capers

Caper bush, caper Spinosa or flinders rose is an enduring plant with fleshy, rounded leaves and big pinkish-white flowers. It is popular for its eatable flower buds called capers. Capers are used for seasoning dishes, and the caper berries are eaten addition, some parts of capers are used in the manufacturing of cosmetics and medicines. The plant has several different species thus, it is highly flexible. You do not have to worry when you are out of capers; here are the substitutes.

1. Green Peppercorns

These are amazing replacements for capers. Purchase a jar near your grocery store or from your kitchen garden. You can confuse them with capers because they look alike. Follow these instructions

  • boil water in a container,
  • add 3 tablespoons of turmeric and 2 spoons of salt
  • cool the mixture
  • take the solution in a jar, add green peppercorns


For perfect results, let the solution mature for at least one week. Nutritional facts include 223 calories, 19g fat, 7g carbs, and 5g protein. Green peppercorns help to reduce gas, increase gastric juice, and fight the growth of bacteria. Also, it improves the digestive tract, acts as antioxidants and reduces stomach upset.

2. Green olives

They are the best substitutes for capers but much bigger than them. Therefore, half of the green olives will make a good substitute. For instance, two green olives substitute four capers. Cut green olives in small parts and add them to your recipe. It is hard to recognize since they both have the same taste.


Per 3.5 ounces, green olives have 115 calories, 80% water, 0.8g protein, 3.2 g fiber, 1.42 g saturated fats, 7.89 g monounsaturated and 0.91g polyunsaturated. Moreover, they are a source of minerals, vitamins, and other great antioxidants. These antioxidants are tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, oleanolic acid, and oleuropein. Vitamin E is rich in fat and serves as antioxidants. Calcium contained in olives is important for muscle, bone, and the functioning of nerves. Copper is an essential mineral, and its deficiency may result in heart conditions. Also, they are sources of iron that help red blood cells.

3. Nasturtium seeds

Nasturtium is a type of flower eaten with its leaves. Its pepper taste helps to enhance pasta or salad. When pickled, nasturtium seeds can substitute capers. The buds also serve as a great substitute. Furthermore, the seeds can be bought from a local florist and grown in your small garden. They need water and soil to flourish. However, do not use pesticides, seeing that flowers and leaves are consumable. Add 50ml vinegar, onion, peppercorns, dill seeds, and garlic to pickle the green pods.


The plant contains vitamin C, iron, mustard oil, myrosin, oxalic acid, carotenoids, flavonoids, spilanthol, and glucosinolates. The plant serves as a healing and disinfectant agent. It has strong antimicrobial and antibiotic properties. Nasturtium treats urinary tract infections, respiratory tract, scrapes, cuts, and bacterial infections. Moreover, it is rich in vitamin C, which helps to overcome influenza and the common cold. Stimulates the growth of hair and treats hair loss. Prevent yeast and fungal infection when put externally. Lastly, nasturtium promotes the formation of red blood cells and treats scurvy.

4. Thyme

Thyme is a culinary herb used as a flavor and seasoning in food. It is a great substitute for capers. The herb has a strong flavor like capers. Get a similar flavor like calipers by adding thyme during the first stage of your cooking. For this reason, flavor and fragrance will be absorbed completely with other ingredients. You can use leaves with stems or just leaves; both will bring the same results. Thyme can be used while fresh, grounded or dried.


Nutritional facts per serving size of 100g have 7.4g, 55mg sodium, 64g carbs, 9.1g protein, 814mg potassium, 1890mg calcium, and 123.60mg iron. The herb contains many health benefits essential to our body. It has the highest antioxidants like lutein, luteolin, apigenin, thymosin, naringenin, and zeaxanthin. Potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium, and manganese are minerals available. Rich in vitamins like B complex, folic acid, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A. vitamin C help the body to develop resistance from diseases and free radicles. Vitamin A is important for vision and helps the human body to be healthy.

5. Dill pickles

They get the powerful flavor from brine including spices, vinegar, and salt. Cucumber pickles can be a great substitute for capers. You can add more time and other ingredients so as to create flavor. They are good when used in cold dishes and pasta salads.


A whole pickle has 23% vitamin K useful in blood clotting and strong bones. 24% vitamin A helps to improve vision and immune system. 4% vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and protects the cell from damage. 7% calcium assists the body to develop healthy bones and teeth. 5% potassium helps to maintain nerves.

6. Mustard greens

Enjoy classic food with mustard greens if you do not like pickled foods. They have pleasant flavor just like capers. You can chop them into small pieces and add salt to substitute them with capers.


Nutritional values per one cup are 15 calories, 3 carbs, 1gram sugar, 2g fiber, 44% vitamin C, 8% vitamin E, 120% vitamin K, 10% copper and 6% vitamin B6. Mustard greens are rich in antioxidants that fight diseases and help in blood clotting. It has anti-cancer effects, benefits eyes, and heart health.

7. Pickled artichoke hearts

Artichoke hearts are highly flavored and do well when used in fish and chicken recipes. Try them in at home when you do not have a caper near you.


The half-cup contains 110 calories, 380mg of sodium, 20% vitamin A, and 35% vitamin C. Health benefits include healing wounds, immune function, slower risk of getting breast cancer, stop bacteria, and maintaining health.

8. Lemon and black pepper

Achieve a favorite substitute of caper by blending lemon and black pepper. Add the mixture to your cooking as a replacement for the caper.


Lemon contains 29 calories, 89% water, 1.1g protein, 2.5g sugar, 0.3g fat, and 2.8g fiber. Dietary fiber helps lower blood sugar levels by lowering the digestion of starch and sugar. Lemons provide potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. The minerals help to maintain skin health, lower blood pressure, and convert food to energy, respectively.

Summary Table

Ingredient Calories Total Fats (g) Carbohydrates (g) Proteins (g) Source Works Best In
Green Peppercorns 251 1.9 62.3 10.4 Spice stores Sauces, meats
Green Olives 145 15.3 3.8 0.8 Grocery stores Salads, Mediterranean dishes
Nasturtium Seeds 97 6.7 7.1 2.5 Garden or specialty stores Salads, garnishes
Thyme 101 1.7 24.4 5.6 Spice stores Cooking, seasoning
Dill Pickles 12 0.3 2.5 0.4 Grocery stores Burgers, sandwiches
Mustard Greens 27 0.6 4.7 2.9 Grocery stores Salads, stir-fries
Pickled Artichoke Hearts 22 0.2 5.2 1.1 Grocery stores Appetizers, salads
Lemon and Black Pepper N/A N/A N/A N/A Grocery stores Seasoning, marinades


What is taste like capers?

Capers have a unique flavor that is difficult to replicate exactly. They are slightly tangy, salty, and mildly peppery, with a distinctive taste that adds complexity to dishes.

What do capers add to a recipe?

Capers add a burst of flavor to recipes. Their tangy and briny profile can contrast other flavors in a dish, enhancing its overall taste and depth.

Are capers a good substitute for green olives?

While capers and green olives share some similarities in terms of being salty and tangy, they are not a direct substitute due to their differences in size and texture. However, they can serve a similar purpose in adding flavor to dishes.

What are capers compared to?

Capers are often compared to tangy and salty ingredients like pickles, pickled green peppercorns, and green olives. These ingredients can provide a similar tanginess and complexity to various dishes.

Yuki Tanaka

Written by Yuki Tanaka

I'm from Utashinai and I love tasty food and nice words. I also write blogs, take pictures of food, and create recipes. Cooking and baking are my favorite things to do!

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