Capers can be stored as long as they are submerged in their brine so that you can grab a jar of pickled capers; until then, you can use these commonly found items as a substitute for capers.

The complete name for casually called Capers is Capparis Spinosa, which is also known as Flinders Rose Plant. Despite its popular edible flower buds, other parts of this shrub are also used in medicines and cosmetics. Capers are used brined or dried and it is valued due to the burst of flavor it gives to the dishes. It adds tanginess and texture to a great variety of recipes including different kinds of pasta, sauces, stew, and fish.

Easily Found Substitutes for Capers

Here are some tried and tested substitutes for capers. You may use these alternatives at the eleventh hour, as most of them would be buried somewhere in your refrigerator.


Yes, that’s right, lemons that are easily found in your fridge at any time can profoundly replace capers. You just have to add a little amount of crushed black pepper in the lemon juice for some bitterness and bites. Just remember to add a few drops of lemon juice at a time because lemons are intensely acidic and sour.

Green Olives

They are acidic, salty, and savory, and they are right there in your fridge; what else can you ask for? They bring just the right pop of brine in your dish, but you have to substitute two capers for one olive due to the difference in size.

Green Peppercorns

Green peppercorns are way less intense and spicy than black peppercorns and can unnoticeably substitute capers in your dish. But, of course, because of their small size, they will be used in a similar quantity as capers, or a little garnish of green peppercorn can do wonders too.


Thyme is a herb that offers your dish the caper-like bitterness if used in the early stage of your dish. The secret is to avoid using thyme in its dried and grounded state and let it cook on a slow flame. Its aroma is quite dapper too. Therefore, it can only be used as a substitute where capers are not the main lead.


Dill pickles or onion pickles can also serve as a suitable option for substituting caper; if you can afford to diversify from that dark green color, onion pickles will add a wonderful pink theme to your dish, and equally dill pickles will add an intense signature crunch. But, again, an equal amount of chopped pickles can do wonders.

Nasturtium Seeds

Well, the possibility to have nasturtium seeds in a regular spice cabinet is quite rare, but if you have these peppery seeds that can be used as a sub for capers and use them in the same quantity as capers. One can probably not find a pickled version in stores, but homemade nasturtium seed pickles will save your dish.

Artichoke Hearts

Whether marinated or picked; Artichokes adds a great flavor to your dish. Use them as per your taste in any kind of dish that includes chicken, pasta, fish, etc., just drain it before using.


Almost the size of olives, these caperberries are the ripened version of capers. You can use a 1:2 proportion of caperberries in comparison to capers. They are milder in taste but can be a pretty decent choice if you are out of capers.

Must-Try Recipes

Here are some interesting and quick recipes that you can add to your regular menu while using any of the shared substitutes for capers.


Capers possess a very distinctive taste that is not easy to substitute, but with some of the options mentioned above, you can save your dish and add a soul to your recipe that only capers could provide. You just have to play safely in using the right proportion, though.