Worcestershire sauce is a tasty condiment that adds a unique flavor to food. It is named after its place of origin, Worcestershire, England, and was created in the early twentieth century by John Lea and William Perrins, two pharmacists who founded the famous Lea & Perrins brand.
Worcestershire sauce has strong umami, savory flavor. With its slightly smokey tone, Worcestershire sauce adds an interesting twist to many dishes. You can use numerous ingredients as substitutes for Worcestershire sauce, such as soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, miso paste, and apple cider vinegar.
Best Worcestershire Sauce Substitute: Soy Sauce
The best substitute for Worcestershire sauce is soy sauce because soy sauce has a similar texture to Worcestershire sauce. They are both liquids with a pouring consistency, so substituting soy sauce for Worcestershire sauce will not adversely affect the texture of your dish.
Worcestershire sauce has a unique flavor that is a blend of savory, salty, sweet, and tangy with a hint of anchovy flavor. Because the recipe for Worcestershire sauce is a closely guarded secret, it is difficult to replicate its exact flavor and texture.
Soy sauce has a similar flavor to Worcestershire sauce and also has an umami flavor, with a strong savory taste. Soy sauce is saltier than Worcestershire sauce, while Worcestershire sauce has a smokey undertone.
When you use soy sauce as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce, you can usually use the same quantity, substituting 1:1.
Other Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes, Alternatives and Replacements
Soy sauce is just one possible substitute for Worcestershire sauce. There are numerous ingredients or combinations of ingredients that you can use in place of Worcestershire sauce.
Soy-based Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes
Soy Sauce and Ketchup Mixed
It is impossible to perfectly replicate the flavor of Worcestershire sauce, but a blend of soy sauce and ketchup can give you a close second.
You should use one part soy sauce to one part ketchup. Mix the two thoroughly to get a pourable liquid consistency.
A mixture of soy sauce and ketchup makes an excellent substitute for Worcestershire sauce in meaty dishes like hamburgers, stews, gravies, and meat-based soups.
Soy Sauce and Apple Juice
Adding apple juice to soy sauce gives it a sweet taste. This combination is a good substitute for Worcestershire sauce in dishes as it doesn’t have an overpowering savory or salty flavor. The apple juice counteracts the saltiness of the soy sauce and gives a balanced flavor.
Two parts soy sauce to one part apple juice works well as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce in dishes like stews, meatloaf, and other meat recipes.
Soy Sauce and Apple Cider Vinegar
In dishes suited to a tart flavor, like stir-fries or fish dishes, a blend of soy sauce and apple cider vinegar makes a good substitute for Worcestershire sauce. Soy sauce gives a salty, umami taste, while apple cider vinegar gives a subtle tartness.
Apple cider vinegar has a strong flavor, but be careful not to overdo it. Two parts soy sauce to one part apple cider vinegar is enough to give the right amount of tartness.
Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is a common ingredient in Asian cooking. It has a thick consistency, with a salty and sweet flavor accompanied by a subtle hint of garlic.
A mixture of soy sauce and Hoisin sauce in a 1:1 ratio is an excellent substitute for Worcestershire sauce when you want a sweet flavor without losing the salty taste. Hoisin sauce works well in stir-fries and sweet and sour sauces and is ideal for sweet and sour chicken or fish.
Soy Sauce, Tabasco Sauce, Brown Sugar, and Lemon Juice
Tabasco sauce is a hot sauce that adds an extra zing to food. When added in moderation with sugar and lemon juice, it is a delicious substitute for Worcestershire sauce in many dishes.
This recipe gives you the exact quantities:
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
Mix all the ingredients together and stir until well-blended. This substitute for Worcestershire sauce can keep in the fridge for up to two weeks, so it is worth making extra and saving some for later.
Soy Sauce, Tamarind Concentrate, and White Vinegar
Tamarind concentrate is a thick, syrupy liquid made from fresh, pureed tamarind pulp. It has a distinct tart flavor with a hint of sweetness.
Tamarind concentrate can be mixed with soy sauce and white vinegar and used as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce in dishes that need a tart, almost sour tang.
One teaspoon of soy sauce, tamarind concentrate, and white vinegar, blended well, will give you one tablespoon of a Worcestershire sauce substitute to use in recipes for meat dishes such as stews Bolognese, meatloaf, and soups.
Soy Sauce and Barbecue Sauce
A blend of soy sauce and barbecue sauce mixed together in equal parts makes a great substitute for Worcestershire sauce and is particularly good in meat dishes and marinades. Use this blend as a 1:1 replacement for Worcestershire sauce.
Soy Sauce, Apple Cider Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Mustard Powder, and Water
You can make an excellent substitute for Worcestershire sauce by combining the following ingredients:
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir well. Cook over medium heat until the liquid has reduced by half. Allow to cool and store in a glass jar. This sauce keeps well in the fridge and can be used 1:1 as a Worcestershire sauce substitute in most recipes.
Fish-based Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes
Worcestershire sauce has a subtle fish flavor undertone. This is because anchovies are included in its ingredients. Substitutes for Worcestershire sauce can be made with certain fish-based ingredients.
Fish sauce works well as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce. Fish sauce is saltier than Worcestershire sauce, so you need to reduce the amount of salt in your dish when using fish sauce as a Worcestershire sauce substitute.
Fish sauce can be used in place of Worcestershire sauce in marinades and chili dishes. You should use it as a 1:1 replacement.
Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce, and Molasses
If you want to minimize the fishy flavor of fish sauce, you can mix it in equal parts with soy sauce and add some molasses. This will give you a tasty substitute for Worcestershire sauce that works well in most dishes.
Mix one tablespoon of fish sauce, one tablespoon of soy sauce, and half a teaspoon of molasses well. Use as a 1:1 substitute for Worcestershire sauce.
Fish Sauce and Tamarind Paste
Like tamarind concentrate, tamarind paste is made from the fruit’s pulp. It is slightly thicker than tamarind concentrate, but you can use either the paste or the concentrate in this substitute for Worcestershire sauce.
Mix equal parts fish sauce and tamarind paste to give you a Worcestershire sauce substitute that has a sweeter taste than fish sauce on its own. Use in stews, soups, marinades, and fish dishes as a 1:1 substitute for Worcestershire sauce.
Fish Sauce, Lime Juice, and Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is saltier than regular molasses and has a bitter undertone. When mixed in equal parts with fish sauce and lime juice, it works as a good substitute for Worcestershire sauce in salad dressings.
Fish Sauce, White Vinegar, and Honey
Fish sauce on its own can be used as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce, but if you want to lessen the fishy flavor, you can combine fish sauce with white vinegar and honey in equal parts. The vinegar adds a sour taste, which is balanced out by the sweetness of the honey. This Worcestershire sauce substitute is excellent in salad dressings and fish dishes.
Anchovy Paste and Water
In foods that will be enhanced by a hint of fish flavor, such as sweet and sour fish, you can thin some anchovy paste with a few drops of water and use this as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce.
Anchovy paste is very salty, so you should compensate for this by reducing the amount of salt in the recipe.
When using anchovy paste and water as a Worcestershire sauce substitute, it won’t have exactly the same taste as Worcestershire sauce, but the anchovy paste will give the sauce the same smoked fish tones as Worcestershire sauce. However, use this substitute sparingly by adding only half the suggested quantity.
Barbecue sauce can be a great substitute for Worcestershire sauce. Barbeque sauce has a similar salty flavor, with an extra tang. Some types of barbecue sauce have a subtle smokey undertone.
Barbecue sauce works well as a Worcestershire sauce substitute in many meat dishes and in marinades. It is particularly good in steak marinade. You should use barbecue sauce as a 1:1 Worcestershire sauce substitute.
Sherry and White Vinegar
Sherry and white vinegar can be used as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce in dishes that have a sweet but tart flavor. The sweetness of the sherry counteracts the sour taste of the vinegar.
Mix equal parts of sherry and vinegar. Use as a 1:1 substitute for Worcestershire sauce in sweet and sour dishes and Asian cooking.
Sweet and Sour Pickle Juice
Sweet and sour pickle juice has a tangy bite. It can be used as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce in many dishes. Sweet and sour pickle juice is perfect in salad dressings and marinades.
Use sweet and sour pickle juice as a 1:1 Worcestershire sauce substitute in stir-fries and other Asian dishes. Sweet and sour pickle juice will add a special flavor to your food.
Vegemite or Marmite and Hot Water
Vegemite and marmite are spreads that have a thick consistency. They have a similar taste and are both made from vegetable extracts with a blend of spices. They are salty and spicy.
Mix a tablespoon of Vegemite or Marmite with a few drops of hot water to give you a pourable liquid consistency. You can use this liquid as a 1:1 substitute for Worcestershire sauce in stews, soups, bolognese, and meatloaf.
Miso paste is made from soybeans, rice, and a blend of spices. It has a tart flavor and can be added to many dishes as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce. Miso paste is saltier than Worcestershire sauce, so you should adapt the salt content in your recipe accordingly.
Add miso paste to dishes like soups, stews, and marinades as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce. You should divide the quantity of miso paste by half, and for every one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, use half a tablespoon of miso paste.
If all else fails, and the only thing that you can find is plain salt, you can use it as a last-resort substitute for Worcestershire sauce.
Worcestershire sauce is salty. If you leave the Worcestershire sauce out of a recipe, the food may taste bland. You can compensate for this by adding extra salt.
For every tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, add ¼ of a teaspoon of extra salt.
While the dish won’t have the same unique flavor that Worcestershire sauce has, it is unlikely that anyone tasting the dish will notice.