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Best Substitute for Worcestershire Sauce


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

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.

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.

Worcestershire Sauce Substitute List

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 could 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.

6. Tamarind Paste

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 harvested by removing the pods and later separating the pulp from the seeds that grow within after boiling.

It is common to find tamarind in a can, as a pod, or in cubes of seeds/pulp in the store. As Worcestershire is partly made from tamarind, you’ll find some similar flavors like sweetness. Alone, it lacks saltiness and the sour vinegar taste that Worcestershire sauce provides. It’s also a much thicker consistency.

Pros
You can add tamarind to sauces, dips, and marinades to provide a sweet flavor.

Cons
It lacks the additional flavors that Worcestershire provides. Tamarind paste is thicker, and you will need to alter it for this paste to work as a substitute.

Cooking Tip:

  • Use 1/3 parts tamarind paste, distilled vinegar, and soy sauce to replace the same amount of Worcestershire sauce.

7. A1 Steak Sauce

A1 sauce is most commonly used as a steak topper. However, its similar flavor makes it a great sub. The ingredients in this sauce include tomatoes, raisin paste, vinegar, corn syrup, salt, and seasoning, providing a sweet, salty, vinegary taste. You will notice heat and some spices missing from this swap.

There is also a difference in the consistency as a1 sauce is much thicker. However, 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.

This substitution works best in cooked dishes. Avoid using a1 sauce as a garnish or in drinks.

Pros
A1 sauce is available at grocery stores, gas stations, and even your local convenience store. It provides many of the flavors that you can find in Worcestershire. It also works well in nearly all cooked recipes as a swap.

Cons
While providing a similar flavor, a1 sauce is not a perfect taste match. You will be able to tell the taste is slightly different in certain dishes. You cannot use a1 sauce in drinks like Worcestershire.

Cooking Tip:

  • Use in a 1:1 ratio when replacing Worcestershire sauce.

8. Pickle Juice

Yes, pickle juice does seem like an odd replacement for Worcestershire sauce. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice it provides a vinegar flavor that is salty and slightly sweet. Many of the flavors in Worcestershire sauce can be found in pickle juice, making this a not-so-obvious substitution.

Pickle juice is versatile in its uses ranging from salad dressings to cooked recipes. The only exception is that this juice should not be used as a garnish. You will find that while pickle juice has a tangy taste and most of the flavor notes that Worcestershire does, it lacks a meaty flavor.

Pros
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. You can use pickle juice in place of Worcestershire sauce in most recipes.

Cons
The umami flavor that many love Worcestershire sauce for is not present in pickle juice. This juice provides different seasonings that will alter the taste of each recipe. It will give a strong pickle flavor that not everyone may enjoy.

Cooking Tip:

  • Use in a 1:1 ratio. You can always add more if you enjoy the flavor of pickles and pickle juice.

9. Anchovies

As anchovies are one of the ingredients in Worcestershire sauce, it’s an easy replacement in 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 not often sold in sauce form. You can blend or mash anchovies with water and additional seasoning to create a paste or sauce-like consistency. Then, you can add this ingredient to your dish.

Pros
A similar salty taste will be added to dishes using anchovies, as you might find in Worcestershire sauce. This replacement works well in cooked dishes as it will blend better with the other ingredients.
Cons
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.

Cooking Tip:

  • Use ½ tablespoon for one tablespoon of 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.

How do you tone down the taste of Worcestershire Sauce?

Sometimes, too much Worcestershire sauce is added to recipes making them too salty. There are a few ways to balance out the flavor of this sauce. Try adding some lemon juice, tomato sauce, or increasing the rest of the ingredients to make more sauce. If these options do not work, you may need to remake your dish.

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.

You can use wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic vinegar in dishes. These options are easier to find in stores. The above are only a few of the substitutions for Worcestershire sauce. If you cannot find the items listed, you can also use red wine vinegar. 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 her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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