We both know that if you’re craving a hearty and warming sauce that intensifies the taste of just about any recipe, you can never go wrong with the Worcestershire sauce.
This majestic British ingredient is a favorite Voodoo seasoning for professional chefs as well as most culinary enthusiasts.
It adds an intriguing flavor that elevates boring salad dressings, meats, cheese sauces, ragus, meat marinades, tomato dishes, juicy burgers, and sweet-savory cocktails.
But what happens if you’re running out of it or in search of a vegan alternative because Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies?
Well, there are some tasty Worcestershire Sauce substitutes like soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, barbecue sauce, coconut aminos, or oyster sauce you can try today.
What Is Worcestershire Sauce?
Worcestershire sauce is a classic English bottled sauce from the 19th century that looks thin, spicy, and dark-brown.
This spicy, concentrated flavored sauce is used to hide a multitude of sins in various recipes.
Also, it can be used to give a little boost to casseroles, meat stews, pies, sauces, soups, and marinades. Or Sprinkle it over chops and toasted cheese, sausages, along with steaks, or even in drinks such as a classic Bloody Mary.
Since this sauce is strongly flavored, you only need a dash.
It has a complex flavor of taste. It is sweet, salty, and savory at the same time. This is because Worcestershire sauce is a combination of a multitude of ingredients.
The sauce is made of vinegar, salt, sugar, onions, molasses, garlic, tamarind extract, anchovies, chili paper extract, and a couple of other ”undiscovered” ingredients, which are then left to age in barrels.
Best Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes
These substitutes we’ll be discussing in this article have a similar taste that serves the exact same purpose.
Also, we’ll be doing some concoction – following the combinations of two or more sauces to form our own unique Worcestershire sauce substitutes.
1. Balsamic vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar is an essential ingredient in forging the almighty Worcestershire Sauce before other elements are added afterward to intensify its taste and flavor.
If that’s the case, in isolation, it will have a fairly similar flavor to Worcestershire sauce. So this makes it an excellent substitute.
Balsamic vinegar is prepared from grape juice that is not fermented. It has a deep brown color and a distinctively sweet, acid, tangy flavor, and a tart aftertaste.
Although, real balsamic vinegar is aged in barrels for months or even years and will cost you an arm and a leg in any grocery or liquor store.
Balsamic vinegar is a hero in marinades, salad dressings, and many other foods.
More importantly, there is a predominant active compound in balsamic vinegar called acetic acid — a trusted source, which contains strains of probiotic bacteria.
These probiotics do not only preserve food but also enable healthy digestion and improve gut health.
Aside from that, people use it as a low-fat additive and part of a heart-healthy diet.
When you use this Worcestershire sauce alternative, mix equal parts of balsamic vinegar and tamarind paste to bring thickness to the mixture.
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2. Soy sauce
This fermented paste of soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus sojae or Aspergillus oryzae molds with a strong umami flavor can take Worcestershire Sauce place anytime anywhere.
Soy sauce has this dark, sweet, and fermented umani flavor you are looking for when you use Worcestershire sauce, along with its thick consistency.
Unfortunately, for people with high blood pressure, Soy sauce is high in sodium.
Looking on the bright side, they may have Anti-cancer effects, reduce blood pressure, promote the immune system and digestion, and many more.
You can use it with steaks, pies, hamburgers, or as a marinade. And if you make it a one-to-one exchange with equal parts of ketchup, you will get the tart flavor in this sauce.
The reason is because it doesn’t do a great job replacing the sweet or spice flavors.
This is why you will definitely need to add other things like Ketchup, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, or mustard, to have that additional flavor kick.
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3. Coconut aminos
Ahhh, the Vegetarian option!
If you don’t like fish or you are a vegetarian, or you’re watching your salt intake, coconut aminos are your best bet.
They’re a healthier alternative to some of the soy sauce-based options, including Worcestershire sauce.
Coconut aminos are made from fermented ingredients —a mix of the fermented sap of coconut palm and sea salt.
Furthermore, they are gluten-free, wheat and soy-free, but paleo-friendly. It has a fantastic flavor with similar color and consistency to soy and Worcestershire sauce.
They taste delicious in any fish recipe, particularly Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese or Korean recipes in need of a big boost of flavor — whether it’s used as a dipping sauce or marinade.
Lastly, it’s good for people on a low sodium diet. When you use it to replace Worcestershire sauce, use equal amounts.
4. Fish sauce
Fish sauce is made with barrel-fermented anchovies — which might not be a good choice for vegetarians, but a Sure-fire sauce for meatatarians.
Like Worcestershire sauce, it has a salty and savory flavor punch but might not be as sweet.
It can be very aromatic, especially when it is uncooked so take note if you consider using it in dressings and bloody Mary’s.
In cooked meats, however, the smell becomes faint so that you are only getting the flavor from it.
Use the same amount of fish sauce to get the taste of the Worcestershire sauce.
Even so, you can add various add-ons like sugar, spices, and orange juice to try and recreate a sweeter flavor note of the Worcestershire sauce.
If you’re doing this, you will have to adjust some of the quantity for consistency.
5. Barbecue sauce
While fish sauce is less amiable in taste, BBQ is even sweeter and thicker but has a lighter color than the Worcestershire sauce.
There are a couple of these out there, but if you want to have almost the same flavor profile as the Worcestershire sauce, use the sweet and tangy flavored BBQ.
This sauce can be used the same way you would use Worcestershire sauce to add on extra flavors to pizza or spaghetti, burgers, fries, hot dogs, and meatloaf, or also mix with ground meats cheese, and sour cream to use as a taco or potato filling.
But have it in mind that it’s sweeter and thicker than Worcestershire sauce, so you may have to cut it with water to balance it up.
6. Oyster sauce
Oyster sauce consists of caramelized oyster juices, soy sauce, sugar and thickened with cornstarch.
It is a staple for adding umami flavor and sweetness in stir-fries and sauces.
When used as a Worcestershire sauce substitute, make a 1:1 swap.
Good thing it’s less salty so you can control the amount of salt in your meal.
Although, due to its thicker texture, it might not be the best choice for beverages, thin sauces, and light dressings/vinaigrette.
7. Sherry vinegar
Sherry vinegar is a gourmet wine vinegar made from Sherry that has been aged in barrels for at least 6 months.
This Malty, funky, sweet, and sour sherry vinegar hits many of the same notes as Worcestershire — the only thing missing is a bit of spice and heat.
Although, you can recreate that missing heat flavor with some chili peppers and spices.
Swap it as a 1:1 substitute for Worcestershire sauce in your cooked dish, but please leave it out of drinks or as a garnish — as it can taste too sour.
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8. Soy sauce + apple juice
The combination of both soy sauce and apple juice will forge a salty-sweet-tart umami flavor profile that could be used to replace Worcestershire sauce.
You can add it to dishes that has more layered flavors to reach new flavors. For simpler/uncooked dishes, it might taste too apple-y, so ensure you use equal quality.
9. Soy sauce + hoisin sauce and apple cider vinegar
Another inspiring concoction to try is mixing equal parts of soy sauce as well as hoisin sauce to get a nice Worcestershire sauce substitute.
It could be thick, so a small splash of apple cider vinegar will help thin it out and add extra tartness.
Sadly, this concoction is unsuitable for salad dressings or cocktails because of its thicker texture and dark color.
10. Fish sauce and soy sauce+brown sugar
Half fish sauce, half soy sauce, and a handful of brown sugar will make an excellent sub for Worcestershire — as long as you dissolve the brown sugar properly.
This mixture is ideal for cooked dishes because of the sugar added, so there are no grainy remnants of sugar.
11. Anchovy paste + water
I think the combo would make a good Worcestershire sauce substitute since anchovies are among its ingredients.
This paste is made from salt-cured anchovy fillets, vinegar, olive oil, and sugar.
However, if this paste isn’t handy, you can mash whole anchovy fillets from the jar and add the same quality of water to form an alternative sauce that can be used in cooked dishes.
12. Fish sauce + lemon juice and cranberry juice
If you add an equal amount of each ingredient and mix them, you’ll arrive at a salty, sweet, tart, and funky flavor.
Then use it as a 1:1 substitute for Worcestershire sauce.
13. A1 steak sauce
A1 can be used in almost any recipe that calls for Worcestershire sauce as a one-for-one substitute.
This sauce is made of tomato puree, corn syrup, raisin paste, white vinegar, orange puree, and salt and has a remarkably similar taste to Worcestershire sauce.
Although, the only thing missing is the spice and heat profile. And the replacement could be a little thicker. Hence, you can add a little bit of water to thin it.
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In conclusion, if you are going for any Soy-based substitutes for whatever reasons, note there might be a need to adjust the recipe’s sweetness by mixing it with either ketchup, apple juice, or apple cider vinegar.
As for Fish-based substitutes, try it with soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, red wine, lime/lemon juice, molasses, or tamarind concentrate.
While wine-based substitutes are good for 1:1 switches, they’re neither spicy, savory, nor salty. But they are fermented and sweet, which makes them suitable.
Hence, with this arsenal of Worcestershire sauce substitutes, nothing is holding you from enjoying that salads dressings, meats, cheese sauces, ragus, meat marinades, tomato dishes, juicy burgers, or sweet-savory cocktails.