A lot of us love some staples like Caesar Salad, Meatloaf, and Devilled Eggs. However, all of these have a distinct umami taste that enhances their flavor profile.
Ever wondered where this umami flavor comes from? Well, it’s from one of the main ingredients present in all these staples. It’s Worcestershire Sauce!
But what happens when you want to make a Caesar Salad, and you check your kitchen cabinet, you realize you don’t have any Worcestershire sauce handy?
Where will the umami taste come from? Well, in that case, you will definitely need a bunch of Worcestershire sauce substitutes to go about with your recipes.
Read this article further to learn about the substitutes for Worcestershire sauce. Know the best combinations to get that perfect umami flavor!
So what are the best substitutes for Worcestershire sauce? Some substitutes for Worcestershire sauce are soy sauce, fish sauce, anchovy paste, balsamic vinegar, and oyster sauce.
Before we get into the substitutes, let us explore Worcestershire sauce a little more!
Quick Peek: Worcestershire Sauce
This section will help you understand better about Worcestershire sauce. Read on to know the flavor, taste profile, texture, and uses of Worcestershire sauce!
What Is Worcestershire Sauce?
Worcestershire sauce is a fermented, liquid condiment used to amp up the flavor of food. It is made from a base of vinegar and flavored with anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, garlic, and other seasonings. It gives food an umami flavor, which is also called the fifth original flavor.
Created in the city of Worcester in Worcestershire, England, this sauce is used in various dishes like Welsh rarebit and devilled eggs.
It is also an important ingredient in the Bloody Mary cocktail! Now, Worcestershire sauce is also added to many non-traditional recipes, like chili con carne and beef stew.
Describing Worcestershire Sauce: Flavor and Texture
The flavor of Worcestershire sauce can be best described as savory and spicy, with a tang from the vinegar. The sauce is brown in color and has a slightly thick consistency.
Worcestershire sauce has a distinct, strong smell because of the anchovies and the fermentation. Traditionally, the sauce cannot be used for vegetarian, vegan, or kosher meals. However, there are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free variants of Worcestershire sauce now available in the market.
Uses of Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce was originally used only in British cuisine. It is a vital ingredient in various British recipes like Welsh rarebit, devilled eggs, roasts, and shepherd’s pie. However, now, Worcestershire sauce is added in about anything and everything!
Worcestershire sauce has become an important ingredient in various soups and chilies, marinades, meat dishes, and even drinks!
Worcestershire Sauce On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Worcestershire sauce isn’t really an important source of any form of nutrients. It has a pungent taste and flavor in concentrated amounts. Hence, any recipe would only need a few dashes to a teaspoon for the entire recipe. However, this sauce is completely fat-free!
Though not a significant source, Worcestershire sauce does contain a minute amount of essential vitamins and minerals. It provides very small amounts of vitamin C, iron, zinc, copper, and potassium.
It does contribute sodium when added to a dish or used as a dipping sauce. This makes it neither great nor bad for one’s health.
That being said, let us get into the substitutes of Worcestershire sauce!
14 Best Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes
Now that we’ve discussed so much about Worcestershire sauce, let’s get to the substitutes!
Soy sauce is a great and very common substitute for Worcestershire sauce. Just like Worcestershire, soy sauce is also fermented and has a salty, tangy, and slightly sweet taste. It also has a distinct umami taste. Hence, it works as a great substitute.
Another great thing about using soy sauce as a substitute is, it can be paired with many other condiments and flavorings.
This will help match the taste of Worcestershire sauce even better. Some common condiments and flavorings soy sauce can be paired with are ketchup, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, chilly flakes, lemon juice, tamarind concentrate, etc.
All these condiments and flavorings help reduce the pungent, savory flavor of soy sauce. They also help adjust the consistency and can give a flavor very similar to Worcestershire sauce. If you don’t have soy sauce in your pantry, there are many things you can replace it with.
Here are some substitutes for dark soy sauce. Do check them out!
2. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is also a fermented condiment, just like Worcestershire and soy sauce. Fish sauce is very prominently used in Asian cooking and can work as a great substitute if you have it handy.
Pair the fish sauce with various other condiments and flavorings like ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and tamarind. The combination of fish sauce with tamarind or brown sugar works as the best substitute to match the taste profile of Worcestershire sauce.
Tamarind and sugar help bring down the sharp umami taste of the fish sauce. They help add a dash of sweetness and tang to the sauce, which ends up tasting very similar to our sauce in question.
3. Anchovy Paste
Anchovies are a type of small, saltwater fish. They have an extremely pungent taste and smell. They are very commonly used for cooking in many parts of the world.
Anchovies are one of the base ingredients in Worcestershire sauce, and so anchovy paste works wonders as a substitute. It has that umami kick you need.
However, to get rid of the sharp taste of anchovies, add some garlic, egg yolk, and lemon juice to the paste. This concoction will make a slightly thick, less pungent sauce which will be very similar in taste to the original Worcestershire.
4. Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce has many variants. However, the one primarily used is a thick, brown condiment made with oysters, sugar, salt, and cornstarch. It provides tons of umami flavor to your food.
Oyster sauce can be a great substitute for Worcestershire sauce as it provides a similar flavor palate. It is also less salty in taste as compared to soy sauce and can be used as a substitute as it is.
Balsamic vinegar is a thick, concentrated vinegar that works as a great substitute for Worcestershire sauce. Balsamic vinegar is also one of the base ingredients in Worcestershire sauce. Hence, it’s a substitute.
It provides a rich flavor to your dishes, especially dressings and marinades. Moreover, you can add salt, sugar, and some anchovy paste to balsamic vinegar to give it a taste extremely similar to Worcestershire sauce.
Want to know an amazing marinade recipe using balsamic vinegar? Well, here’s the recipe for a delicious balsamic vinegar steak marinade.
6. Miso Paste
Miso paste is a traditional Japanese table sauce made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, which is a type of mold. It is extremely savory in taste due to the fermentation.
Miso paste also has a deep umami flavor, just like Worcestershire sauce, and can work as a great substitute for the same. Miso paste is low in cholesterol and fat. However, it does have a high amount of sodium and hence should be used in lesser quantities.
You know what else can you make with some white miso paste? Some delicious cup ramen. Here’s the recipe for some delicious homemade instant cup ramen.
Vegemite is an Australian staple spread that is thick and brown in color. It is made with leftover brewer’s yeast extract with vegetable and spice additives.
It was made in Melbourne in 1922. It also contains a high amount of vitamin B2. Vegemite on toast is the most common breakfast in Australia!
Vegemite is very salty in taste and provides a rich flavor to any food you add it to. When thinned down with a bit of vinegar, Vegemite can be used as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce.
Just like the Australian Vegemite, Marmite is a British staple spread. It is made with yeast extracts and also has an extremely pungent and savory flavor. It is a byproduct of beer brewing and was originally made in 1902.
Marmite has a very strong salty and umami flavor which is not preferred by everyone. However, it has a similar note of tanginess as Worcestershire sauce. If marmite is something you like, it can definitely be used as a substitute.
9. Pickapeppa Sauce
Pickapeppa sauce, also known as Jamaican ketchup, is packed with spices. It consists of ingredients like salt, pepper, raisins, ginger, mango concentrate, cloves, and thyme. The sauce is sweet, salty, and mildly spicy.
Despite not having the exact same ingredients like that as Worcestershire sauce, pickapeppa sauce has a similar flavor profile and umami taste. Hence, it can work as a great substitute for Worcestershire sauce.
10. ShaoXing Cooking Wine
ShaoXing Wine is a traditional Chinese wine made by fermenting glutinous rice, water, and wheat-based yeast. It is used as a beverage and in cooking. It does not contain too much alcohol and is sweet and tangy in taste.
This wine has a vinegar-like taste, very similar to that of Worcestershire sauce, and can give a very similar taste profile. So, it can be used as a substitute, especially in marinades.
Pickle Rick is out for a walk. What’s left? Some pickle juice! Pickle juice is the brine used to marinate cucumbers. It is a briney, vinegar-based liquid full of salt and other antioxidants. It also works as a rehydrating fluid and is recommended to be added to one’s daily diet.
Due to its saltiness and vinegar-like taste, it also provides umami flavor when added to food. Hence, it works as a great substitute. Want to know what else you can use pickle brine for? Here are some crafty ways that you can reuse pickle brine.
12. HP Sauce
HP Sauce is a brown table sauce extremely popular in the United Kingdom. It was named after London’s Houses of Parliament. It mainly consists of tomatoes and tamarind extract.
The tamarind extract gives HP sauce a tangy flavor. HP sauce works as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce due to its tangy flavor that adds zest to food.
13. Dry Sherry
Dry Sherry wine is made by complete fermentation and thus has a very minimal content from residual sugar of grape juice. It has a nutty flavor and is often used as a cooking or dessert wine.
Using dry sherry wine as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce adds a nutty flavor to food, and hence it works as a great substitute.
14. Coconut Aminos
Coconut Aminos is a dark-colored sauce, very similar to soy sauce. It is made from the sap of the coconut plant and not from coconuts.
It is healthier and has less salt content as compared to soy sauce. It is gluten-free and perfect for cooking. It gives a great sweet and sour flavor to food and hence can be used as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce.
After knowing so much about Worcestershire sauce and its substitutes, which one do you think would work best for you? Let me break it down further for you!
Most Suitable: Oyster sauce would be the most suitable substitute for Worcestershire sauce due to the similar flavor profile. Moreover, it is packed with umami flavor and hence can be used as it is, without any additives.
Easily Available: Soy sauce would be the substitute that has the easiest availability in any market.
Best Flavor Profile: To get a flavor profile almost the same as Worcestershire sauce, use balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar, when paired with other ingredients, gives a taste almost exactly the same as Worcestershire sauce.
Now that we’ve come to the end of the article, I hope it has given you enough information about Worcestershire sauce and its substitutes.
Worcestershire sauce does give a great hint of flavor to your food and especially to all your meaty delights. However, if used correctly, its substitutes can add a zing of flavor to vegetarian and vegan dishes too.
Most of the substitutes are vegetarian and will save you the trouble of looking for vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. That being said, use the substitute that best suits your recipe and flavor palate, and it is for sure going to add an abundance of taste to your food.
Let me know in the comments which substitute do you think fits best? I’ll see you next time. Until then, take care!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
How do you pronounce Worcestershire?
Worcestershire Sauce is pronounced as vu-sta-sha sauce.
Is Worcestershire sauce the same as soy sauce?
Soy sauce is made with fermented soybeans, whereas Worcestershire sauce consists of vinegar, anchovies, tamarind extract, and other seasonings and flavorings.
Is Worcestershire sauce bad for health?
Worcestershire sauce does contain a high amount of sodium. However, due to its pungent flavor, the quantity used in recipes is very minimal. Hence, it has neither a good nor a bad impact on health.
Is Worcestershire sauce vegetarian?
As it contains anchovies which are a type of fish, Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian.
Is vegetarian Worcestershire available?
Yes, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options of Worcestershire sauce are available in the market.
What is Worcestershire sauce primarily used for?
Worcestershire sauce can be used in marinades, for cooking, and also as a dipping sauce.