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The Best Alternatives for Worcestershire Sauce

Ingredient Swaps
Worcestershire sauce in an earthenware bowl with a silver serving spoon

Worcestershire sauce is one of those ingredients that always seems to be hiding away in your cupboard until you need it. Luckily for you, there are plenty of ways you can replicate the unique umami flavour you get from Worcestershire sauce, using some common ingredients.

What is Worcestershire sauce?

Worcestershire sauce is a dark, savoury, fermented sauce, made using vinegar, sugar, tamarind and anchovies. It was invented in Worcestershire in the 19th century and is used to add flavour to steak pies, toasties, dressings and more.

Worcestershire sauce substitutes

Although it’s difficult to replicate the exact sweetness and saltiness of Worcestershire sauce, you can get close enough by using some similar ingredients, or by trying a combination of a few things.

Soy Sauce

Replacement ratio: Replace 15ml of Worcestershire sauce with 15ml of soy sauce, and an optional pinch of sugar

Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce are similar in appearance and texture, however, soy sauce isn’t as sweet as Worcestershire sauce. Soy sauce makes a good replacement for Worcestershire sauce, as you can replace it easily with the same quantities. You can also add a pinch of sugar if you want to replicate the sweetness of Worcestershire sauce.

Balsamic vinegar

Replacement ratio: Replace 15ml of Worcestershire sauce with 15ml of balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is another ingredient with a similar appearance to Worcestershire sauce. Vinegar is also the base ingredient of Worcestershire sauce, so they have a similar flavour profile. Both of these ingredients are sweet and tart, and work well when added into sauces and pies.

If you like, you can reduce your balsamic vinegar by half before adding it as a Worcestershire sauce substitute, to make it thicker and more concentrated like Worcestershire sauce.

Miso paste

Replacement ratio: Replace 15ml of Worcestershire sauce with 15ml of miso paste and add a splash of water

Miso paste is a fermented soy bean paste with a strong, punch flavour, and its flavours work well when used to replace Worcestershire sauce. Miso paste is thicker than Worcestershire sauce, so you’ll need to mix it with water to get the same texture. Miso paste works especially well as a replacement when used in salad dressings.

Oyster sauce

Replacement ratio: Replace 15ml of Worcestershire sauce with 15ml of oyster sauce

Oyster sauce offers a slightly sweeter alternative to Worcestershire sauce. Made using oyster extract, water, sugar and salt, it has a similar flavour profile to Worcestershire sauce. It also has added corn starch to give it a similar thickness and texture to Worcestershire sauce.

Maggi Sauce

Replacement ratio: Replace 15ml of Worcestershire sauce with 7.5ml of Maggi Sauce

Maggi Sauce is another versatile ingredient that you may find in the back of your cupboard. It’s much saltier and slightly meatier than Worcestershire sauce, so be sure to use just half as much Maggi Sauce as you would use Worcestershire sauce.

Red wine

Replacement ratio: Replace 15ml of Worcestershire sauce with 30ml of red wine

Depending on what you’re making, red wine can make an excellent substitute for Worcestershire sauce. It’s great for sauces and stews that are slow-cooked. You should add twice as much red wine as you would use Worcestershire sauce, as this will reduce whilst you cook it. This will also enhance the flavour, sweetness and acidity of the wine.

Anchovy paste

Replacement ratio: Replace 15ml of Worcestershire sauce with 15g of anchovy paste

Anchovy paste contains anchovies, olive oil and salt. Just like Worcestershire sauce, it’s often added to salad dressings, stews and sauces to add an extra layer of flavour. Worcestershire sauce is made using fermented anchovies, and both cupboard essentials are salty, versatile and can be replaced with each other using the same ratios.

Try and make your own Worcestershire sauce

Replacement ratio: Replace 30ml of Worcestershire sauce with 15ml ketchup, 7.5ml soy sauce and 7.5ml malt vinegar

If you have ketchup, soy sauce and malt vinegar lying around, you can combine these to create your own version of Worcestershire sauce. We’d recommend starting by using 1 part ketchup, ½ part soy sauce, and ½ malt vinegar, however, you can use whatever proportions you like, depending on what you’re making and personal preference.