Out of Worcestershire Sauce and wondering what you can use instead? This collection of 21 substitutes for Worcestershire sauce includes delicious swaps easily found in your pantry or fridge.
Includes options that are suitable for gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, low carb Keto, and Paleo diets.
Worcestershire sauce is used in all kinds of recipes from meatloaf to crab cakes, to soups and stews, to barbecue and sauces.
The savory sauce adds a depth of flavor and an umami component to many dishes. It can be used as a steak sauce and is the ingredient that makes Bloody Marys so delectable.
I try to keep a well-stocked pantry, and we are big fans of Worcestershire sauce. But sometimes we just simply run out before I can replace the bottle. Worcestershire is savory and has BIG flavor. Just a few tablespoons or less can add intense flavor and seasoning to a dish.
Its all-purpose flavor makes it ideal for meat, fish, and so much more. I looooove to use it when I cook up dishes like delicious Air Fryer Mushrooms, Smoky Air Fryer Ribs, and this easy Instant Pot Venison Stew. And, it’s totally my secret ingredient in this How To Freeze Meatballs recipe.
So what happens when you’re about to whip up a favorite recipe, you reach for the bottle of Worcestershire and find that it’s completely empty? Is dinner ruined? You can save the day, or at least the meal, when you select the perfect sub for Worcestershire sauce from this list of more than 20 options to choose from.
What Is Worcestershire Sauce?
This savory, umami sauce is a fermented condiment that originated in Worcestershire, England in the 1800s. Still a staple in England, it is now popular all over the world, especially in the United States.
The sauce is a salty blend of vinegar, sugar, molasses, anchovies, garlic, onions, and other seasonings. The flavor, although unique, is similar to soy sauce and other dark, salty, fermented condiments.
And in case you’re not sure, the name is pronounced: “wooster-shire.” #themoreyouknow
So what exactly can you substitute for Worcestershire sauce? There is actually quite a long list of viable substitutes, so read on to find out which will work for your needs.
How To Substitute For Worcestershire Sauce
When substituting for Worcestershire you want to consider the flavors that make up the sauce. Worcestershire is a unique combination of sour, salty, sweet, spicy, and savory, all with a bit of funky thrown in. It’s a flavor that’s hard to pinpoint, and different aspects of the flavor are enhanced depending on its application.
In the end, a substitute is just that, a substitute. If you want an authentic Worcestershire flavor, use the real thing. If you’re in a pinch, a Worcestershire substitute can help you complete your dish and get dinner on the table.
1-to-1 Sub for Worcestershire Sauce
Each of these can be substituted measure for measure in your favorite recipes. Your selections may depend on the finished recipe or how the condiment is typically used.
1. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is fermented and is a great general substitute for Worcestershire. The flavor is rich, tangy, and salty, and has that same umami funk. Although it’s not quite as spicy, it’s an easy 1:1 swap.
2. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is made of salted fish or krill, so it has a pungent flavor that is both fishy and salty. This sauce plays on the anchovies usually found in Worcestershire and has some of that umami flavor.
Because it’s so strong, use it only in cooked applications such as meatloaf or burgers.
3. Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is quite a bit sweeter but has a similar flavor profile. Since it’s not as salty, be sure to check for the overall seasoning of the dish.
4. BBQ Sauce
BBQ sauce has a unique flavor that’s smoky, sweet, salty, and bold. Since barbecue sauce is often made with Worcestershire it has similar background notes. The sauce is quite a bit thicker, so you’ll want to take that into consideration when choosing it as a substitute.
5. Sherry Vinegar
Sherry vinegar has a strong acidic quality. It’s very similar to Worcestershire in many ways, although it lacks the mild spice and heat. Use in cook applications or sauces, but it will be too tart for drinks.
6. Coconut Aminos or Soy-Based Liquid Aminos
Both coconut aminos and soy-based aminos are salty with a rich complex flavor. They are very similar to soy sauce and make a quick and easy substitute.
7. Steak Sauce
Steak sauces, such as A1 steak sauce, are another great option that you probably have in your pantry. A1, in particular, is usually a little thicker but has similar flavors.
8. Red Wine
Any kind of red wine will work as a simple substitute. It is rich and flavorful and will be a bold choice in meat mixtures, sauces, stews, and more.
9. Pickle Juice
Although it sounds unusual, consider the sour, salty, sweet, spicy, savory, funky profile of Worcestershire, and this sub for Worcestershire sauce really makes sense. Spicy pickle juice is even better to match the slightly spicy notes of Worcestershire.
10. Miso Paste
Miso paste is the secret ingredient in many Asian dishes. It’s made from fermented soybeans, so will be somewhat similar to using soy sauce. A little bit will add that rich, salty, umami flavor that makes the dish stand out.
11. Anchovy Paste
Worcestershire recipes usually contain anchovies, salted oil-cured fish, so Anchovy paste is a great substitute, especially in crab cakes, salmon, and other fish recipes. If you don’t have anchovy paste, you can add a few finely chopped anchovies.
12. Hoisin Sauce
Sweet and slightly spicy, hoisin sauce is found in many Asian dishes. It’s similar to BBQ sauce and has a slightly smoky flavor. It’s a great choice in meatloaf, burgers, and other meat-based dishes.
Not-Quite-Even Subs for Worcestershire
Some possible substitutes can be used, but their potency is a little higher, so you should use these a bit more judiciously.
13. Maggi Seasoning
This flavor enhancer is similar to soy sauce and comes in a liquid, powder, or cube. The liquid is easy to use, but you want to go easy. Add about a quarter of the amount of Worcestershire called for in the recipe.
14. Liquid Smoke
Liquid smoke is made by condensing wood smoke into liquid form. It’s not sweet or salty, so you can add just a few dashes for a lovely smoky flavor.
15. Tamarind Paste
Tamarind is used in Asia and Europe and adds a sour flavor with hints of citrus. It’s slightly sweet and a little spicy but can be overwhelming if you use too much. Taste for flavor, and don’t overdo it.
Sometimes getting just the right flavor requires mixing a few ingredients together.
16. Soy Sauce + Sugar
Worcestershire is a little sweeter than regular soy sauce. If your dish can handle the addition of sugar, mix 2 parts soy sauce with 1 part brown sugar to bring a bit more sweetness to the umami flavor.
17. Soy Sauce + Ketchup
Combine soy sauce with a bit of ketchup for a flavor that is sweet, salty, and a bit tomatoey. This is the perfect sub for Worcestershire when a thicker sauce will do, and the dish will benefit from the acidic flavor of the tomatoes.
18. Soy Sauce + Apple Cider Vinegar + Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Build additional flavor by adding a splash of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of crushed red pepper. The result will be salty, sour, and a bit spicier than Worcestershire.
19. Fish Sauce + Soy Sauce + Brown Sugar
Adding the fish sauce (or even a bit of anchovy paste) also with the soy and brown sugar hits on the main flavor notes found in Worcestershire. This blend is the perfect substitute for cooked dishes that will allow the sugar can dissolve.
20. Malt Vinegar + Tamarind Paste + Molasses
Thick, sweet, sour, and umami are how this combination can be described. This blend hits all the same flavor notes and is a great sub for Worcestershire, but the sauce is considerably thicker, so apply it to select dishes that can handle a thicker sauce.
Yeap, even with all these options, sometimes the best substitute is to not substitute anything at all. Depending on the dish, or how Worcestershire is used in a dish, simply omitting it altogether may be the best option.
Many brands of Worcestershire contain anchovies which would not be acceptable for vegan diets. Some brands are anchovy-free, so be sure to read the labels clearly.
This savory, fermented condiment adds an overall umami flavor to your favorite dishes. You can achieve a depth of flavor without the individual flavor of Worcestershire overwhelming the dish.
Serve your pick of awesome substitutes for Worcestershire with these recipes;
More Recipes You May Like
If you’re wanting more smart substitution tips and tricks, check out my handy collection of Marjoram Substitute ideas.
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Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes
Out of Worcestershire and not sure what to do? These 21 substitutes for Worcestershire Sauce have got you covered!
- Soy Sauce
- Fish Sauce
- Balsamic Vinegar
- BBQ Sauce
- Sherry Vinegar
- Steak Sauce
- Red Wine
- Pickle Juice
- Miso Paste
- Anchovy Paste
- Hoisin Sauce
- Coconut Aminos or Soy-based Liquid Aminos
- Maggi Seasoning
- Liquid Smoke
- Tamarind Paste
- Soy Sauce + Sugar
- Soy Sauce + Ketchup
- Soy Sauce + Apple Cider Vinegar + Red Pepper Flakes
- Fish Sauce + Soy Sauce + Brown Sugar
- Malt Vinegar + Tamarind Paste + Molasses