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Substitute for Worcestershire Sauce


Worcestershire sauce is one of those ingredients that happen to be in nearly every type of food dish. You can find it in sauces, burgers, drinks, marinades, salad dressings, and much more.

So, what do you do when you need a few splashes but you can’t find your trusty Worcestershire bottle? Check the substitute for Worcestershire sauce list below for some ideas.

What is Worcestershire Sauce?

Worcestershire sauce adds a slightly sweet and salty flavor to any dish you’ll add it to. It has an umami flavor. This sauce is noted as having a thicker consistency than other sauces.

Worcestershire sauce has a fascinating history that is partly documented and partly unknown. What is known about this sauce is that it began being sold in 1837 in England by Lea & Perrins. They requested for the sauce to be sold to ships and used during mealtime. The popularity of this sauce quickly spread and became a widely used condiment throughout the world. This sauce is no longer only produced in England. Now, it is also made in the United States.

Best Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes

1. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a fantastic Worcestershire sauce substitute. When you inquire about what to use in its absence, soy sauce often arises as one of the first options. This has to do with the similar flavor profile that both soy sauce and Worcestershire provide and the similar consistency.

Both sauces are darker in color and have a sweeter flavor. They also both provide an umami flavor. For those not familiar with umami, it is a condiment that provides a “meaty” flavor to dishes.

Pros
Soy sauce provides a very similar taste in dishes as Worcestershire. It also provides a similar consistency making it easy to swap into recipes. Soy sauce is easily found in stores.

Cons
Most soy sauce options have high amounts of salt. It’s best to use soy sauce in small amounts to avoid consuming too much sodium. Soy sauce also lacks the tangy flavor provided by Worcestershire, so the final dish may taste slightly different.

Cooking Tip:
Use in a 1:1 ratio as a substitution for Worcestershire sauce.
Combine ½ tablespoon ketchup plus ½ tablespoon soy sauce to add a tangy taste to your recipes that more closely mimics Worcestershire.

2. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is another Worcestershire substitute that can be used in recipes. It provides the same color as Worcestershire sauce. Balsamic vinegar also has a sweetness and tang that can be compared to Worcestershire.

It is created from grapes that are not fermented. Besides the above flavors, you can also expect acidity and some sour notes. This vinegar is not used in cooking but rather as a drizzle over meat or vegetables or salad dressings.

Pros
Balsamic vinegar adds sweetness, tang, and a similar color to dishes that it is included in. Most people have this condiment in their homes already, so it can easily be swapped with Worcestershire. It also contains acetic acid, which provides probiotics.

Cons
The consistency of balsamic vinegar is much thinner than that of Worcestershire. It does not work well for cooked dishes, limiting the number of recipes you can use this alternative.

Cooking Tip:
Start with a splash or two of balsamic vinegar in your dishes. Due to the acidic flavor, it can be overwhelming in certain salad dressings.

3. BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce works as a Worcestershire sauce replacement due to its sweetness, tang, and thicker consistency. Since BBQ sauce has distinct flavors, it can limit the recipes that it can be used in.

Opt to use BBQ sauce as an alternative for meat and vegetable-based recipes – avoid using it in salad dressings or as a garnish.

Pros
BBQ sauce provides a similar sweetness and even onion flavor to dishes that Worcestershire does typically.

Cons
The consistency of BBQ sauce is much thicker than Worcestershire. BBQ sauce typically has a good amount of sugar. Use it in moderation or avoid it if you have dietary restrictions.

Cooking Tip:
If using BBQ sauce as a marinade for meat/vegetables, you can use it in a 1:1 ratio.
You may want to consider adding in a small amount of water to make this sauce thinner.
Add a small amount of anchovy paste for a similar umami flavor.

4. Fish Sauce

The fish sauce works as a replacement for Worcestershire sauce as they both have a main ingredient of anchovies. This works as an excellent alternative if your focus is adding the umami flavor to dishes.

Fish sauce is not sweet like Worcestershire, and it also lacks the onion flavor. However, it has a similar consistency and color.

Pros
Fish sauce will add an umami flavor to dishes, making it perfect for sauces, dips, or as a flavoring for burgers before they are cooked. Fish sauce is also easily found in grocery stores – this option will also be in the Asian section.

Cons
Fish sauce lacks the sweetness and tang of Worcestershire sauce. Using this alternative will alter the way your dish tastes. Due to its salty flavor, you’ll want to use less fish sauce in each dish.

Cooking Tip:
Use ½ tablespoon fish sauce for every tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.
If you want to add sweetness to a dish, use a combination of fish sauce and a pinch of sugar or ½ tablespoon of ketchup.

5. Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are another option for Worcestershire sauce substitutes. They have a similar flavor profile as soy sauce, so you’ll get a tangy, umami flavor in dishes when using coconut aminos.

Coconut aminos are sweeter than soy sauce, so they match the flavor of Worcestershire sauce more closely. The exception is that coconut aminos don’t have the tang that is often found in Worcestershire sauce.

They also have a more subtle flavor than you’ll find in soy sauce. While most soy sauces contain gluten, coconut aminos are naturally gluten-free. This makes this substitution an excellent option for those with specific dietary restrictions.

Pros
They also contain much less sodium than is found in standard soy sauce. In that regard, coconut aminos are a healthier alternative.

Cons
Coconut aminos can be tricky to find at a local grocery store. They are easy to find online, though.

Cooking Tip:
Use coconut aminos in a 1:1 ratio as a substitution for Worcestershire sauce.

FAQs

What is Worcestershire made of?

Worcestershire sauce is a combination of quite a few ingredients. You’ll find the sauce to include anchovies, malt vinegar, sugar, salt, molasses, tamarind, onion powder, chili pepper extract, and other various spices.

Is Worcestershire sauce gluten-free?

Yes, most brands of Worcestershire sauce are gluten-free and safe to consume for those who have dietary restrictions. However, some brands may have gluten, so it’s best to check the label before consuming it.

Is Worcestershire sauce the same as soy sauce?

No, it is not the same as soy sauce. However, they both have a similar umami flavor, so they are often used as substitutes for each other.

Why is it called Worcestershire sauce?

Worcestershire sauce hails from the town of Worcester. Since it originated here, it was named after the town and Worcestershire county.

Summary

Worcestershire sauce is a versatile condiment that is used in more recipes than most people realize. Knowing the above available substitutions should ease you when you don’t have any Worcestershire sauce left.

Soy sauce and coconut aminos are excellent options that will provide the closest taste in dishes they are used in. If neither is available in your pantry, opt for balsamic vinegar. While it’s not a perfect match, it will add a tasty flavor to dishes.

Red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used instead of balsamic vinegar in dishes. They will be easier to find in stores. These are only a few of the many available substitutions for Worcestershire sauce. Reach for one of these options next time you’re cooking.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document easy real food recipes perfect for busy families. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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