Worcestershire sauce is a famous ingredient that finds use in plenty of recipes. The sauce has been around for about 150 years and has an excellent culinary legacy. There are times when you might prefer Worcestershire sauce substitutes. You may be out of this sauce, prefer a vegan option, or maybe you just don’t like its taste.
We look at some of the best options to replace this famous and versatile sauce. Indeed, Worcestershire sauce finds use everywhere from salads to cocktails, so let’s see what the best picks available are.
Top Substitutes For Worcestershire Sauce
1. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce seems like a good replacement for Worcestershire sauce. One of the prominent ingredients for this sauce is fermented anchovies, while the Worcestershire sauce too uses anchovies as an ingredient.
You know fish sauce has a salty and tangy flavor, which lacks the sweetness that’s seen with Worcestershire sauce. Adding some tamarind paste (or sauce) with allspice should help with the taste profile.
2. Balsamic Vinegar
The flavorful balsamic vinegar is a key ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. So it’s no surprise that it can dutifully work as a substitute. The vinegar has its own bit of tart and tangy taste, but it will fall short of a few flavors as a substitute. A quick fix is to add tamarind paste. It will help with the color and also get that tangy sweet flavor that’s so iconic for this sauce.
3. Sherry Vinegar
Sherry vinegar is perhaps the cooler cousin of balsamic vinegar. It has a similar color, but a deeper taste profile. The taste, in part, is because this vinegar is made by aging sherry wine for at least six months. It lacks the spiciness of Worcestershire sauce, but works as a decent and simple substitute, should you need one.
4. Barbecue Sauce
Barbecue sauce comes in several flavors, but if you want one to replace Worcestershire sauce, pick one of the tangy-sweet flavors. BBQ sauce is a common ingredient, one that’s often available in most homes. This substitute will be thicker than the original, but it is flavorful enough to do the job.
5. Oyster Sauce
Relish the umami flavor with this sauce and you can appreciate the benefits of using it. Oyster sauce gets its name from using caramelized oyster juice as the key ingredient. Other ingredients include soy sauce and cornstarch.
6. Soy Sauce With Ketchup And White Wine Vinegar
Many substitutes for Worcestershire sauce tend to be exquisite. Chances are, you may not have access to many of these or they could be hard to get. That’s one reason why soy sauce based alternatives are a good option. Most people with an interest in cooking have soy sauce available.
Add tomato ketchup to this sauce to help with its thickness and bring a touch of sweetness. The tart and tangy flavor with a sweet side comes from white wine vinegar. Meanwhile, the soy sauce provides an excellent base, the color, and the overall flavor depth you’d want from this condiment.
7. Soy Sauce
Can’t be bothered with working on substitutes? Using just the soy sauce will do. Going minimalist might affect the flavor profile a bit, but it’s unlikely to be a dealbreaker. The sauce contains a fair amount of salt, but it brings an overall nice touch of umami flavor.
It will miss the sweet and tangy side of Worcestershire sauce, but you can get that with some additions, like ketchup and white wine vinegar (as mentioned here).
8. Coconut Aminos
Coconut aminos are a good choice for people looking for something specific in their condiments. This one’s gluten-free, soy-free, wheat-free and is a remarkable vegan option. Coconut aminos are made using a mix of sea salt and the sap of the coconut palm tree.
The biggest plus here is that it’s still got that deep, satisfying flavor with a salty and savory profile.
Anchovies form a key part of the unique flavoring of Worcestershire sauce. You can get a feel of the same flavor by using this fish as a substitute for the sauce. Finely chopped anchovies or anchovy paste could do the job. If it’s too thick, add some water to manage the consistency.
It’s important to keep in mind that anchovies are only a part of the Worcestershire sauce recipe. This substitute will only provide a small part of the flavor profile. While other ingredients could conceal the change in complex recipes, the downsides will absolutely make themselves known in simple recipes.
Learn more: 12 Best Substitutes for Anchovies
10. Miso Paste With Water
The umami taste of the fermented miso paste is something to relish. Since this paste is fermented and has soybeans as one of its key ingredients, it works decently well as a substitute. Its tangy taste with hints of sweetness makes this a good substitute for Worcestershire sauce.
MIso paste is thick, so there might be a need to adjust its consistency to match with the sauce. This part is simple enough – just add some water to the paste!
11. Fish Sauce With Red Wine Vinegar
Fish sauce, as we know, can be an acceptable substitute. However, it lacks the tanginess, sweetness, which form a highlight of Worcestershire sauce. You can work around this problem by adding some more ingredients to cover up what fish sauce lacks.
Using red wine vinegar is a good pick. It brings in some acidity and takes the edge off the fish sauce flavor. You could add a pinch of salt to the mix, but it usually isn’t necessary.
12. Chinese Rice Wine (Shaoxing Wine)
Chinese rice wines are flavorful and are desired ingredients for many recipes. You could use the famous Shaoxing wine as a substitute. Better yet, use Shaoxing cooking wine to match the flavor profile and some added salt. Though the wine isn’t very high in alcohol, it’s still better to use it for cooked dishes.
The cooking will allow a fair amount of the alcohol to evaporate, so the alcohol content of the recipe won’t be a problem. In my opinion, it’s best to use conventional shaoxing wine. The only thing that “cooking wines” offer is a small touch of convenience, with a big loss to flavor, and a very high amount of added salt!
13. Dry Sherry
Here’s another quick substitute. Dry sherry has a flavor profile very similar to shaoxing wine. Using this will add a depth of flavor, though it won’t get the tanginess and spiciness of Worcestershire sauce. Consider adding some salt with this substitute.
14. Red Wine
A bold, spicy red wine will be an acceptable substitute. It adds a good flavor profile and even some spiciness. It’s best to use this with cooked dishes, so the alcohol has an opportunity to evaporate.
15. Hoisin Sauce With Soy Sauce
The sweet and spicy hoisin sauce can be a wonderful substitute when paired with soy sauce. On its own, hoisin sauce has a knack for being a dipping sauce. It’s made from fermented black beans, plums, and garlic sauce. It’s a delicious sauce, but not quite the flavor we’re looking to substitute.
Add equal parts soy sauce, and we’re good to go! This gets the flavor profile and color to be a good match for Worcestershire sauce. This mix is thick and not the best choice for dressings and cocktails. Adding a dash of apple cider vinegar usually solves that problem.
16. Red Wine Vinegar With Tamarind Paste
Red wine vinegar brings some acidity and color profile to the table. Once you add tamarind paste, the mix gets a nice tangy and sweet taste, with a profile pretty close to our desired taste. This mix is sweeter and tangier than the sauce, but it will do its job pretty well.
17. Apple Cider Vinegar With Soy Sauce And Red Pepper Flakes
The red pepper flakes bring the heat to this mix, while apple cider vinegar and soy sauce work on the salty-sweet and tart flavor. The mix doesn’t need to be very hot, so use just a pinch of the chili. Apple cider vinegar used for this mix will be half the amount of soy sauce employed.
18. Soy Sauce With Apple Juice
This is something of a bold choice, but it can work where your top preference is sweetness matched with some umami taste. As with other simple substitutes for Worcestershire sauce, this mix won’t work as well with simple recipes. It is acceptable with complex recipes where many flavors compete for your attention.
19. Tabasco Sauce With Sugar
The hot tabasco sauce can come to the rescue when you need a quick fix. Adding some sugar makes this a sweet and spicy sauce, though it won’t have the complex flavor and umami notes of Worcestershire sauce.
This one too is best used for complex recipes where the sweet and spicy notes are more important than the other flavors that Worcestershire offers.
20. Soy Sauce And Hot Sauce With Lemon Juice And Sugar
Let’s try to hit the complex flavors of Worcestershire sauce with simple, easily available ingredients. Soy sauce is good as the base, while the hot sauce provides heat. Choose any hot sauce you like – tabasco, tapatio, and similar are all okay.
For a tablespoon of soy sauce, add a few drops of the hot sauce. To this, add a quarter tablespoon each of lemon juice and granulated sugar. Stir thoroughly to dissolve the sugar. We’ve got a pretty good likeness of the umami touch with a sweet and tangy flavor!
21. Soy Sauce With Hoisin Sauce And Apple Cider Vinegar
We’ve already seen a mix of soy sauce and hoisin sauce. If you feel this one lacks a zing, adding a bit of apple cider vinegar should fix that problem. It adds some acid, along with a touch of tart and sweet flavor.
22. A1 Steak Sauce
A1 Steak Sauce is a popular brown sauce that has been around for about two centuries now. This famous sauce has a tart salty-sweet taste with hints of pepper. Its color and consistency match Worcestershire sauce, so you’ve got a good alternative with an excellent depth of flavor.
23. Fish Sauce And Soy Sauce With Brown Sugar
Fish sauce and soy sauce combo comes close to replicating the umami taste of Worcestershire sauce. Throw in some brown sugar and you’ve got the sweetness of the sauce handled as well. Just make sure to stir thoroughly so that the sugar dissolves completely.
24. HP Sauce
HP Sauce is a brown sauce similar to A1 steak sauce in color and taste. To be fair, it has a different flavor profile and its color is lighter, but these sauces are both quite similar. HP sauce has a strong flavor of Worcestershire sauce coupled with a fruity sweetness. And these qualities are what make it a good alternative.
25. Liquid Smoke
Using liquid smoke is a bit out there, but it gives some interesting results. Use a dash of liquid smoke for some cooked dishes and dressings. Be prepared for a heavy dose of earthy and complex flavors. It doesn’t have much by way of sweet saltiness, but it does work for a few recipes.
FAQs And Related Points
Is there a vegan Worcestershire Sauce replacement?
Yes, there are plenty of vegan replacements you can use. A common choice is using coconut aminos, which has the added benefit of being gluten-free and soy-free. Speaking of soy, there are plenty of soy sauce options as well. These include mixing soy sauce with apple cider vinegar, soy sauce with ketchup and white wine vinegar, or soy sauce mixed with lemon juice, sugar, and hot sauce.
What can replace Worcestershire Sauce in Bloody Mary?
Worcestershire Sauce gives a nice zing and flavor to Bloody Mary. A good way to replace it is using soy sauce. If you don’t want to lose the sweetness, add some ketchup to the soy sauce for a decently similar taste.
Feeling bold? Well, try to use pickle juice as an alternative. This one’s a bit of a hit and miss. Some people absolutely love it, while others abhor the change in flavor.
Is Worcestershire Sauce good as a marinade?
Worcestershire Sauce, in general, goes pretty well with various meats. It works well with less flavorful cuts of meat and adds a whole new dimension to ground meat, meat loaf, and even hamburger patties.
Equally important, it has the basics of a good marinade all locked up. Its savory touches make the meat more flavorful while the vinegar tenderizes the meat. The sweet-saltiness of the sauce adds to the overall flavor.
Is There A Decent Substitute For Worcestershire Sauce?
As we see here, you can get a lot of pretty good options for a decent Worcestershire sauce substitute. Many of these are a quick fix, while others might even work better than the original. All said, it is best to have this sauce in your pantry and well-stocked. Worcestershire sauce is versatile, delicious, and well worth using in several recipes.