There is a substitute for Worcestershire sauce you can use if your trusty bottle is already empty. We have a whole list of alternatives you can try below.
Worcestershire sauce is one of those ingredients that happen to be in nearly every type of dish. You can find it in sauces, burgers, drinks, salad dressings, and much more.
Worcestershire sauce adds a slightly sweet and salty flavor to any dish you’ll add it to. It has an umami flavor. Also, this sauce has 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 that the sauce be sold to ships and used during mealtime. Because of this, the popularity of this sauce quickly spread.
It became a widely-used condiment worldwide. This sauce is no longer only produced in England. Now, it is also made in the United States.
Worcestershire sauce is a popular ingredient in meat marinades. Recipes often call for it, along with apple juice, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, oyster sauce, and black pepper.
When you don’t have this decadent sauce, your recipe will not taste the same.
You can make homemade Worcestershire sauce at home, but it will take time. If you’re in a hurry, opt for the alternatives below.
Soy sauce is often the first choice for Worcestershire sauce substitutes.
This is because it has a similar flavor profile and consistency as Worcestershire.
Both sauces are darker in color and have a sweeter flavor. They also both provide an umami flavor. For those unfamiliar with umami, it is a meaty flavor.
Soy sauce provides a very similar taste in dishes as Worcestershire. It also has a similar consistency making it easy to swap into recipes. Soy sauce is also easily found in stores.
Most soy sauce options have high amounts of salt. It’s best to use soy sauce in small quantities to avoid consuming too much sodium.
Soy sauce also lacks the tangy flavor provided by Worcestershire. So, the final dish may taste slightly different.
Balsamic vinegar is one of the best substitutes for Worcestershire sauce.
It is created from grape juice that’s 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 and vegetables. It also makes a great salad dressing.
Balsamic vinegar adds sweetness, tang, and a similar color to dishes you put it in.
Most people already have this condiment in their homes. So, it is an accessible swap to Worcestershire. It also contains acetic acid, which has probiotics.
The consistency of balsamic vinegar is much thinner than that of Worcestershire. It does not work well for cooked dishes, tough. This limits the number of recipes where you can use this alternative.
Barbecue sauce works as a Worcestershire sauce replacement too. This is due to its sweetness, tang, and thick consistency.
Yet, since BBQ sauce has distinct flavors, it can limit the recipes where it can be used.
Opt to use BBQ sauce as an alternative for meat and vegetable-based recipes. Avoid using it in salad dressings or as a garnish.
Barbecue sauce has a similar sweetness and onion flavor that Worcestershire typically does.
The consistency of BBQ sauce is much thicker than Worcestershire.
BBQ sauce usually has a good amount of sugar. Use it in moderation, or avoid it if you have dietary restrictions.
The fish sauce works as a replacement for Worcestershire sauce. After all, they both have anchovies.
This is an excellent alternative if you focus on adding an umami flavor to dishes. Fish sauce is not sweet like Worcestershire and lacks the onion flavor. But, it has a similar consistency and color.
This makes it perfect for sauces, dips, or as a flavoring for burger patties before they are cooked.
Fish sauce is easily found in grocery stores – this option can be found in the Asian section.
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.
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.
It is sweeter than soy sauce, so they match the flavor of Worcestershire sauce more closely. The downside is that it doesn’t have the tang.
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 preferences.
They also contain much less sodium than is found in standard soy sauce. In that regard, it is a healthier alternative.
It could be tricky to find at a local grocery store. They are easy to find online, though.
Tamarind paste originates from places like India, Africa, and Pakistan. The paste is produced inside pods that grow on trees in these locations.
It is made by removing the pods and boiling them. Then, the pulp is separated from the seeds.
It is common to find tamarind in a can, as a pod, or in cubes of seeds/pulp in the store. Worcestershire is partly made from tamarind, so you’ll find some similar flavors here.
Alone, tamarind paste lacks saltiness and the sour vinegar taste of Worcestershire sauce. It also has a much thicker consistency.
You can add tamarind to sauces, dips, and marinades to provide a sweet flavor.
This paste is relatively easy to find in stores, and it is affordable. It can also be made easily at home.
It lacks the extra flavors that Worcestershire provides. Tamarind paste is thicker, and you will need to alter it for this paste to work as a substitute.
A1 sauce is most commonly used as a steak topper. But, its similar flavor makes it a great sub.
This sauce includes tomatoes, raisin paste, vinegar, corn syrup, salt, and seasoning. Because of this, it provides a sweet, salty, vinegary taste.
The consistency is also different; the A1 sauce is much thicker. Yet, you can easily add a small amount of water to make this sauce thinner. Another option is adding some hot sauce to mimic the heat provided by Worcestershire.
A1 sauce is available at grocery stores and gas stations. Your local convenience store surely has it too. It provides many of the flavors that you can find in Worcestershire. This also works well as a swap in nearly all cooked recipes.
While providing a similar flavor, A1 sauce is not a perfect taste match. You can tell the taste is slightly different in certain dishes.
Pickle juice does seem like an odd replacement for Worcestershire sauce. Yet, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice it provides a vinegar flavor. It is also salty and slightly sweet.
Pickle juice is versatile. It can be used in almost anything, from salad dressings to cooked recipes. The only exception is that this juice should not be used as a garnish.
You will find that pickle juice has a tangy taste and most of the flavor notes that Worcestershire does. But, it lacks a meaty flavor.
You most likely have pickle juice in your fridge if you’re a pickle fan. If not, you can find it nearly anywhere, including gas stations.
A similar flavor is found in dishes that use pickle juice. That said, you can use pickle juice in place of Worcestershire sauce in most recipes.
The umami flavor that many love Worcestershire sauce for is not present in pickle juice. This juice has different seasonings that will alter the taste of each recipe. It will give a strong pickle flavor that not everyone may enjoy.
Anchovies are one of the ingredients in Worcestershire sauce. Because of this, it’s an easy replacement for certain dishes. If you are not a fan of fishy tastes or are squeamish in the kitchen around whole fish, you may want to avoid this option.
When using anchovies as a replacement, you will need to alter them. You cannot use anchovies as-is since they are rarely sold in sauce form.
To use it, blend or mash anchovies with water and additional seasoning first. This will create a paste or sauce-like consistency.
In this form, this replacement will work well in cooked dishes as it can blend with the other ingredients well.
A similar salty taste will be added to dishes when using anchovies. This is close to what Worcestershire sauce brings.
The flavor of anchovies is not for everyone. It may be a turn-off for certain family members as the flavor will be strong, and small fish pieces will be present. Due to the strong taste, this substitution will not work well in every dish.
Yet another good substitute for Worcestershire sauce is hoisin sauce.
Hoisin sauce is made from fermented soybeans and has a similar umami flavor. For this reason, it works well in dishes that call for a meaty taste.
It is noticeably thicker and sweeter than Worcestershire sauce, though. If you are looking for something that has the same consistency, this will not work.
Hoisin sauce is quite popular, so you can find it in most grocery stores. Plus, the umami flavor is perfectly captured in this alternative.
It can make your dish sweeter and thicker. Some hoisin sauce brands are not gluten-free. People with celiac disease might not find this suitable.
Like hoisin sauce, miso paste is made from fermented soybeans. It shares Worcestershire sauce’s salty and sweet flavors, so you can use it in its place.
Since this comes in a paste form, you should add liquid for it to work. This can make the dish look cloudy instead of clear.
Miso paste is easily found in stores. You may already have it if you are a fan of Japanese cuisine.
It is thicker than Worcestershire sauce, so adjustments need to be made before it can be used.
Not all of these swaps mentioned above will work for every dish. There are some factors you need to consider so you can pick the best one for you.
Here are some tips to help you choose the best Worcestershire sauce substitute:
Some people will opt for Worcestershire sauce substitutes because of their dietary needs. For this reason, you should be careful when picking one.
For instance, people who want to limit sugar consumption should skip barbecue sauce. Those watching their sodium intake should avoid soy sauce and fish sauce.
For people with gluten-free diets, coconut aminos is best. On the other hand, vegans should skip anchovies and opt for A1 steak sauce as it is certified vegan.
Certain substitutes for Worcestershire sauce do not share the same consistency. If consistency is crucial to your dish, choose something with the same thickness.
Among the ingredients that are as thin are soy sauce, fish sauce, and pickle juice.
If you want something thicker, barbecue and A1 steak sauce are great.
Yet, anchovies are your best option if you want a chunkier alternative.
Most swaps here are direct substitutes for Worcestershire sauce. This means you can use them as-is, so they are great if you are in a hurry. Soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and fish sauce can be used without needing adjustment.
On the other hand, anchovies need processing so that they will take you more time. For example, tamarind paste and barbecue sauce need extra liquids in your recipe. Without this, you’ll end up with a dish a tad too thick. If you are not willing to go through additional steps, skip them.
If you want something readily available, choose those you can find easily at home. You’ll be good with soy sauce, barbecue sauce, and pickle juice.
Avoid coconut aminos because they are not always available in grocery stores.
Some dishes need a swap that shares the same color as Worcestershire sauce. If this is the case, you can use soy sauce, bbq sauce, coco aminos, and balsamic vinegar.
If you don’t mind a little change in the appearance of your final dish, you can use anchovies and pickle juice.
Worcestershire sauce is a combination of quite a few ingredients.
It has anchovies, malt vinegar, sugar, salt, and molasses. This sauce also has tamarind, onion powder, chili pepper extract, and other spices.
Yes, most brands of Worcestershire sauce are gluten-free. They are safe to consume for those with dietary restrictions. Yet, some brands may have gluten, so it’s best to check the label before consuming it.
No, it is not the same as soy sauce. They both have a similar umami flavor, though. That said, Worcestershire sauce can be a soy sauce substitute and vice-versa.
Worcestershire sauce hails from the town of Worcester. It was named after the town and Worcestershire County.
Too much Worcestershire sauce makes recipes too salty. There are a few ways to balance out the flavor of this sauce.
You can try adding lime juice or tomato sauce. Lemon juice will also work. If these options do not do the trick, you may need to remake your dish.
Worcestershire sauce is a versatile condiment. It is used in more recipes than most people realize.
Knowing about the substitutions above should ease you when you don’t have any Worcestershire sauce.
Soy sauce and coconut aminos are excellent options. They will provide the closest taste. 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.
You can also use wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. These options are easier to find in stores. If you are totally out of options, you can also use red wine vinegar.