20+ Excellent Worcestershire Substitutes
Making your classic meatloaf? Or maybe a simple and yet delicious Caesar salad? Or simply preparing a fab Bloody Mary? They all sound great! But what do you do if you are out of Worcestershire sauce?
Is there any way to replace it? Well, good news: there are about 40 options that work as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce. Bad news: it’s going to be a long read.
To be fair, after this long read you will discover some of the alternatives are probably in your pantry, not to mention the plenty of “a-ha!” moments. You won’t even believe just how easy and creative the process of finding Worcestershire alternatives is!
What is Worcestershire sauce?
Worcestershire sauce is a British staple. It’s used to flavor stews, salads, marinades, meats, dressings, soups, ragùs, cheesy dishes, braises, and even a couple of salty cocktails. You name it! And while its recipe is still a secret, we know this sauce is made from distilled white vinegar or malt vinegar, sugar, molasses, sugar, water, onions, anchovies, garlic, cloves, salt, tamarind extract, chili pepper extract, and some other natural flavorings, the secret; some say it could be soy, lemon essence, and pickles!
This sauce was invented in the shire of Worcestershire , England, before 1900. It’s that sauce nobody knows how to spell. Many wonder “what is that interesting flavor?” and some people just can’t stand it. Well, some alternatives are for those who don’t fully embrace Worcestershire ’s taste.
Others are quite similar to the tangy, funky, rich, and umami-like aroma this sauce has! But what does it taste like? We need to know that before we can find the best Worcestershire sauce substitutes.
Worcestershire sauce flavor profile
Worcestershire sauce packs quite the punch in terms of flavor. Adding just a drizzle can change the flavor of the food. You’ll taste even the smallest amount of it. And judging by the ingredients in it, it’s no wonder, right?! There’s plenty of savory there due to the garlic, salt and, anchovies. There’s also a lot of sour given that vinegar and tamarind. There’s also a sweet spot since it contains sugar and molasses. But there is also quite the funk due to the pickles and the fermenting process. And there’s plenty of spice and everything nice!
It could be salty. Or is it funky? Hmm, maybe sweet? Or is it sour? Well, let’s just say it has a distinctive taste. What can you replace Worcestershire sauce with? Well, try to mimic all the flavors we mentioned above and you’re good to go! Or you could just take a look at our research.
20 Simple alternatives for Worcestershire sauce
It’s suitable for England’s finest dishes. It’s a star in burgers. It’s used in Shanghai, Taiwan, Cantonese, and many other Asian cuisines. It’s a great dip for dim-sum. It’s that special flavor in Caesar salad. It devils the eggs even more, and it’s right there in your Bloody Mary. This sauce is so many things! And there are plenty of alternatives. Some of them may not taste like the real thing. But they do hit the spot.
1. Soy Sauce
Anything containing soy sauce makes a suitable substitute for Worcestershire sauce. They are salty, mildly sweet, tangy, and have that umami burst of flavors. They are fermented and they have a similar color.
Simple soy sauce can replace Worcestershire sauce in a 1:1 ratio. While it doesn’t have the same tartness or spicy flavor as the British sauce, soy sauce makes up for it with plenty of umami, salty and sweet. They also have similar colors and consistency.
2. Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar provides sweetness, tartness, and a dark color. It has a sufficiently aromatic profile to replace Worcestershire due to its sweet-acidic taste.
3. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce can easily replace Worcestershire sauce. It’s made from barrel-fermented anchovies and it has that salty-sweet and funky vibe of the English sauce. Still, this ingredient is rather pungent, so it’s best in cooked recipes involving Worcestershire .
4. BBQ Sauce
BBQ sauce is thicker in consistency and sweeter in flavor. It also has an intense onion flavor. But it can work, where there’s an emergency.
Chop some anchovies and there you have it. They have umami, depth, flavor, and saltiness. And they go well in salads dressings or as toppings.
6. Coconut Aminos
Aged coconut sap with sea salt has a soy-like flavor and it packs sufficient sweet flavor. Use it in a 1:1 ratio to replace Worcestershire .
7. Oyster Sauce
Oyster and Worcestershire can be swapped in a 1:1 ratio. It has the same sweet-salty-fishy-tartness-umami flavor you need your Worcestershire to have.
8. Sherry Vinegar
It’s sweet, malty, it’s funky and it’s sour. You can use sherry vinegar if you’re out of Worcestershire sauce.
9. Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is made from plums, fermented black beans, and garlic. It has a sweet & sour aroma with plenty of savory notes. It works great with meat.
10. Tamarind Paste
Tamarind is one of the best alternatives for Worcestershire sauce since it brings tartness and savory to the dish. The thing is it lacks sweetness, so maybe add it with some maple syrup, molasses, or honey.
11. Anchovie Paste
Anchovies are right there in Worcestershire sauce. So use anchovy paste to bring some umami to your food.
12. Dry Sherry
Dry sherry can be a good Worcestershire sauce alternative. It mixes earthy, floral, sour, tangy, funky, and yeasty flavors. It has plenty of umami so it can stand in for the British sauce. Especially in cooked dishes.
13. Red Wine
A spicy Shiraz will do great in meaty dishes and sauce-based foods. Meatloaf, burgers, stews, marinades, and braises with Shiraz will trick you into thinking you used Worcestershire.
Marmite is filled with umami flavors. It’s yeasty, earthy, rich, spicy, salty, and a touch of bitter. So it can replace Worcestershire. Add a little lemon juice and some maple syrup or sugar and there you have it!
Vegemite is similar to Marmite and also stands in for Worcestershire. It may be better with some soy sauce, lemon juice, and water, but it can work alone.
16. Shaoxing Cooking Wine
If you cook a lot of Chinese, we’re pretty sure you will have this substitute for Worcestershire sauce around. It’s quite similar to dry sherry and it can replace the English sauce.
17. Steak Sauce
This sauce reunites many of the tastes found in Worcestershire. With tomato purée, white vinegar, raisin paste, corn syrup, orange puree, and salt, this sauce can replace the British sauce. It is thicker than the original, but it will do.
18. Liquid Smoke
If you don’t have Worcestershire sauce, try liquid smoke, especially in cooked foods. It has a complex flavor with earthy tones. But it doesn’t have the sweetness and saltiness you would expect in Worcestershire. Maybe add some maple syrup and a dash of salt. Still, start with just a dash, since it could overwhelm the rest of the ingredients.
19. Pickles Juice
Vinegary, tarty, tangy, salty, sweet, spiced, aromatic, sometimes hot, and plenty of funky, due to the fermenting process. It can work in sauces, drinks, dressings, and sometimes in cooked dishes.
20. Maggi Seasoning
Containing fermented wheat, this condiment packs quite the umami flavor! It’s also sweet, salty, tangy, and it will pucker the mouth a little, just like Worcestershire. Make sure to use a 1:4 ratio, because it’s more pungent than the original.
Find your combo substitute for Worcestershire sauce!
Worcestershire sauce is the condiment with the longest name. And some of the following combos are long as well. But they can provide that umami-like flavor really well. Here are some concoctions that will work just fine as substitutes for Worcestershire sauce!
1. Soy Sauce + Hoisin Sauce + Apple Cider Vinegar
Hoisin sauce is a sweet and sour sauce made from plumps, fermented black beans, and garlic. As you can see, it already contains most of the flavor found in Worcestershire. Adding a splash of apple cider vinegar brings some tartness. And soy sauce will bring some salty and extra umami. In terms of texture and consistency, this mixture is darker and thicker, but it will work.
2. Soy Sauce + Apple Cider Vinegar + Red Pepper Flakes
Salty, sweet, spicy, and some funk. This concoction contains all the elements of Worcestershire sauce. What you need to do is to mix two parts soy sauce, one part vinegar, and sprinkle in some red pepper flakes.
3. Soy Sauce + Sugar
Soy sauce and a dash of sugar will work just fine to add complex flavors to stews, sauces, and usually rich, cooked dishes.
4. Soy Sauce + Ketchup
Mixing one part soy sauce and one part ketchup will bring together sour, sweet, salty, funky, and spicy. We recommend this mixture for hearty dishes such as stews and soups. And also for meaty foods, like burgers, grills, meatloaf. It can be too thick for salads, but not necessarily.
5. Soy Sauce + Apple Juice
One part apple juice and one part soy sauce and you get a mix of salty and sweet. You also get the tartness of apples and the umami depth of soy.
6. Miso Paste + Water
How to substitute Worcestershire sauce? Dissolve some miso paste with water and you’ll have the perfect texture and consistency that will remind you of the English sauce. Miso is made from fermented soybeans salt, koji, rice, barley, and seaweed, so umami and funky are in the house. It’s also salty and sweet, although it may lack that tang and tartness you get with Worcestershire.
7. Soy Sauce + Lemon Juice + Sugar + Hot Sauce
We’re pretty sure you have these ingredients in your kitchen. Dissolve ¼ teaspoon of sugar in 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Add ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice and a touch of hot sauce. You’ll get salty, sweet, tangy, sour, and umami. And you can use this blend to replace Worcestershire sauce in every recipe.
8. Soy Sauce + Tamarind Concentrate + White Vinegar
If you have tamarind concentrate around you’ll get the tartness and sweet taste that will remind you of Worcestershire. It’s also quite dark in color and soy sauce will add more color and some salty in there. White vinegar will enhance the sour flavor.
They will both dissolve the syrupy consistency of tamarind concentrate. Mixing a teaspoon of each ingredient will create a good replacement for Worcestershire.
9. Soy Sauce + Lime Juice + Molasses + Garlic Powder + Apple Cider Vinegar + Sugar Hot Sauce
A mixture as long as the name itself, these ingredients will make a good substitute and we’re sure you will have them around! You need to add the liquids in equal amounts to get the sweet-salty-funky-earthy-tart-sour aroma. Sprinkle some sugar, a drizzle of hot sauce, and ta-da!
10. Soy Sauce + Water + Apple Cider Vinegar + Brown Sugar + Mustard Powder
This blend involving soy sauce would be good. The only difference is that you have to simmer the ingredients and let them cool. Combine ½ cup of vinegar with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and 1teaspoon of mustard powder. Cook until the sugar dissolves and the liquid reduces, becoming more syrupy. You can use this concoction on a 1:1 ratio to replace Worcestershire.
11. Fish Sauce + Tamarind Concentrate
Mix equal amounts of fish sauce and tamarind concentrate and you’ll obtain that sweet-salty-umami vibe. It may be darker in color and stronger in aroma, but it will do.
12. Fish Sauce + Lime Juice + Molasses
Equal amounts of these ingredients and you’ll get a substitute that can stand close to the original condiment.
13. Fish Sauce + Soy Sauce + Brown Sugar
Equal amounts of the liquid ingredients and some sugar that you make sure to dissolve. And there you have your homemade Worcestershire.
14. Fish Sauce + Red Wine Vinegar + Salt
Fish sauce with red wine vinegar and a dash of salt will make a good substitute for Worcestershire sauce. Mix equal quantities of the liquid ingredients and add a touch of salt. It will be sweet, salty, and funky enough. And it will pack enough acidity and tartness.
15. Fish Sauce + Soy Sauce + Tamarind Concentrate + Ketchup + Apple Cider Vinegar + Allspice
Fish sauce, soy sauce, and tamarind concentrate in equal amounts, ketchup and apple cider vinegar in half the amounts, and a touch of allspice. It will have a richer texture and a darker color but you’ll get the same umami-rich aroma you want.
16. Fish Sauce + Lemon Juice + White Vinegar + Pomegranate Molasses/Cranberry Juice
Again, you probably have these ingredients lying around. With equal amounts of each, you’ll get a salty-sweet-funky aroma, with a tartness to it. It will also have the dark color you’re used to seeing in Worcestershire sauce.
17. Anchovy Paste + Water
Mixing anchovy paste and water will get you a good Worcestershire sauce replacement. It may need something sweet and something tart, but it can work just as it is.
18. Red Wine Vinegar/Balsamic Vinegar + Tamarind Paste
Mix one part red wine vinegar or balsamic with one part tamarind paste. You can use the result as a replacement for the English sauce. It has the sweet, salty, and umami vibe of Worcestershire but it packs more tartness and tang. Use half of this mix to replace the English sauce.
19. Malt Vinegar + Molasses + Tamarind Paste
Add equal measures of the ingredients above. Mix them together well and add them to all cooked recipes that call for Worcestershire. It has a darker color and a thicker consistency but it can do the trick, as long as it’s not used as a dressing or dip.
20. Balsamic + Beef Stock + Molasses + Ground Ginger + Pepper + Garlic Powder + Salt
You need 1 cup of broth, ¼ molasses, 1 tablespoon of balsamic, a touch of ground ginger, some white pepper, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt. Then you need to simmer the mixture. You can use it in a 1:1 ratio to replace Worcestershire.
We’re pretty sure you’ve got this. You probably found your alternative, right? Well, if you want to get creative and discover your signature substitute for Worcestershire sauce, here’s what helped us. We thought about just what it is in each recipe that Worcestershire sauce brought to the table. Uncovering that will help you choose your substitute. Or discover a new one. The kitchen is your oyster!