What Can You Substitute For Worcestershire Sauce?

Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes

Looking to switch up your recipes with a Worcestershire sauce alternative? Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore some simple and delicious substitutes for Worcestershire sauce.

What is Worcestershire Sauce?

Worcestershire Sauce is a versatile condiment from England. Traditionally used with steak or eggs, it adds a unique salty umami flavor profile, making it a popular choice for many dishes. Think of it as the English version of soy sauce, with a hint of sweetness.

The ingredients in Worcestershire sauce include malt vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind paste, onion, garlic, spices, and flavorings.

The Best Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is an excellent substitute for Worcestershire sauce due to its tartness, sweetness, and complex flavors. It can be used in recipes like bolognese or marinades, giving your dishes a pleasant acidity. If you don’t have any balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice mixed with brown sugar can work as well. Plus, using balsamic vinegar is a great option for vegetarians and vegans.

Soy Sauce + Sugar

When Worcestershire sauce adds complex flavors to your recipes, soy sauce can be a suitable substitute. Start with half the amount of soy sauce and add a pinch of brown sugar for sweetness. To enhance the flavor profile, you can also add a little garlic powder or onion powder. Just remember to choose a gluten-free soy sauce if needed.

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BBQ Sauce

If you’re looking for a sweeter and thicker alternative to Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce is a great option. It provides similar complex flavors with a touch of onion-based goodness. While your dishes may taste a bit different, they will still be delicious. Alternatively, you can try using steak sauce for a similar effect.

Tomato Ketchup

Although sweeter and less savory than Worcestershire sauce, tomato ketchup can still add complexity to your dishes. It’s a great substitute when you don’t have Worcestershire sauce on hand. While it won’t provide the same umami flavors, it can still enhance the overall taste of your recipe.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce shares similar savory flavors with Worcestershire sauce since both are made from fermented anchovies. However, Worcestershire sauce has additional sweetness and flavors from spices, onion, and garlic powder. To use fish sauce as a substitute, start with half the amount and add a little brown sugar or molasses for sweetness.

Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos, a coconut-based version of soy sauce, is surprisingly similar to Worcestershire sauce in terms of sweetness and savory flavors. Although not as vinegary, it provides a good match. Keep in mind that coconut aminos may not be readily available in every pantry.


For an extra savory and salty flavor, try adding a few finely chopped anchovies or anchovy paste to your recipes. This can be a great substitute, especially in dishes like bolognese or Caesar salad dressing. However, it may not be the ideal choice for simpler dishes like Welsh Rarebit.

Hot Sauce

If you’re looking to add a zing to your meal, hot sauce can provide a different but equally enjoyable taste. A good hot sauce like Tabasco can give you the spicy kick you would get from Worcestershire sauce.

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Leave it Out

In recipes with multiple flavors, leaving out Worcestershire sauce won’t be too noticeable. However, for simpler recipes where Worcestershire sauce plays a prominent role, it’s better to use one of the alternatives mentioned above.

Worcestershire Sauce Flavour Pairings

  • Chicken & Worcestershire Sauce
  • Bacon & Worcestershire Sauce
  • Eggs & Worcestershire Sauce
  • Beef & Worcestershire Sauce
  • Cheese & Worcestershire Sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Worcestershire Sauce Gluten-Free?
Yes, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, created by William Henry Perrins and John Wheely Lea, is gluten-free.

Can I substitute Worcestershire sauce for soy sauce?
Definitely! Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce both have savory umami flavors, making them interchangeable. Just remember that soy sauce is saltier, so start with less and adjust to taste. For a closer match, you can add a little sugar or vinegar to the soy sauce.

What does Worcestershire sauce do to food?
Worcestershire sauce enhances the flavor of food, adding a salty, sweet, and umami taste. If your dish already contains strong flavors, you can omit Worcestershire sauce or use one of the alternatives listed above. In marinades, Worcestershire sauce acts as a flavoring agent while tenderizing the protein.

What are the cons of Worcestershire sauce?
Worcestershire sauce is not suitable for vegetarians as it contains fish from anchovies. Additionally, it contains processed sugar, although the amount used is generally small. One minor downside is that the name itself can be difficult to spell. Some people opt for calling it Worcester sauce for simplicity.

How to Store Worcestershire sauce
Worcestershire sauce can be kept in the pantry, even after opening, for well over six months. However, refrigeration can extend its shelf life even further.

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More Ingredient Substitutes

  • The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Collard Greens
  • Miso Paste
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Pesto
  • Tahini

Also, check out the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index for more ideas!

Have fun experimenting in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

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