Best Worcestershire sauce substitute: These 10 will work!

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  November 3, 2021

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Worcestershire sauce is a popular recipe ingredient mostly found in Western cuisine.

It’s a fermented liquid condiment that originated in Worcester, England in the 1900s and has a tangy, umami-like flavor.

Worcestershire sauce is used to add a savory punch to dishes. It can be used in dressings, meat marinades, burgers, stews, soups, and more.

But what if you don’t have any of this versatile condiment on hand?

Tips on the best Worcestershire sauce substitutes

Fortunately, there are plenty of other condiments that’ll make terrific substitutes.

If you’re looking for the best sauce to buy, here’s my favorite brand:

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

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Now, let’s look at some of the substitutes that are recommended:

The best Worcestershire sauce substitute: here’s 10

1. Soy sauce

Soy sauce is one of the best replacements you can use. It’s easy to find and you probably already have a bottle in your cupboard. Plus, it has a similar fermented taste!

Soy sauce works to replace Worcestershire sauce on a 1:1 basis. In other words, if the recipe calls for 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce, then you can use 1 tsp of soy sauce as a substitute.

Soy sauce is not as tart as Worcestershire sauce, but it has the umami flavor and plenty of sweetness to make up for it.

It can also be mixed with ingredients like:

  • Apple sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Lemon juice
  • Granulated sugar
  • Tamarind
  • Hot sauce

or any combination of these to produce a flavor that’s closer to what you’re looking for.

2. Miso paste and water

Miso paste has the fermented, salty, and sweet flavor that makes it the perfect Worcestershire sauce substitute.

Mix it with water in a 1:1 ratio to thin it out and, voila! You’ve got the perfect blend.

The only issue is that the paste will produce a cloudy appearance that isn’t great for clear or light-colored foods.

3. Fish sauce

Fish sauce has a sweet and salty taste. And like Worcestershire sauce, it’s made from anchovies, which means it ticks off all the boxes!

It can substitute Worcestershire sauce at a 1:1 ratio; however, it’s quite pungent. This makes it more suitable for dishes with stronger flavors, such as meats and chilis.

Fish sauce can also be mixed with ingredients like tamarind, red wine vinegar, salt, soy sauce, brown sugar, molasses, lemon and lime juice, ketchup, or any combination of these to help you get the taste you’re looking for.

4. Oyster sauce

Oyster sauce is made from caramelized oyster juices, soy sauce, and sugar, so it should come as no surprise that it makes the perfect substitute for Worcestershire sauce in a 1:1 swap.

It’s great for adding an umami taste to sauces and stir-fries. And it has less salt than other recommended substitutions, so it’s easy to control the salt content!

However, because it has a thick texture, it’s not recommended for foods with a thinner consistency, such as broths, thin sauces, and light dressings.

5. Anchovy paste and water

Worcestershire sauce is anchovy-based, so it makes perfect sense that anchovy paste makes a good substitute for the condiment.

Alternately, you can just take whole anchovy fillets and mash them up yourself and add them to dishes.

Combining the paste with an equal amount of water will help to thin out the consistency.

The paste can be used as an equal swap for Worcestershire sauce, but it’ll produce more of a fishy, salty taste.

That, along with the fact that it probably won’t have a completely smooth consistency, makes it more suited for cooked dishes.

6. Sherry vinegar

Sherry vinegar is great for producing that sweet and salty taste in foods, but it doesn’t have the same kick as Worcestershire sauce.

Consider adding your own spices to make up for this. It’s an equal swap for Worcestershire sauce in cooked dishes, but it can overpower soups.

7. Red wine

Any kind of red wine will give foods a flavor similar to that of Worcestershire sauce.

It’s best when used in cooked dishes, such as meatloaf and stews, but it should be kept out of cocktails and dressings.

8. Liquid smoke

You might not have guessed it, but liquid smoke is actually a great substitute. Liquid smoke provides earthy complex flavors similar to those found in Worcestershire sauce.

However, it doesn’t have the same sweetness. It’s also quite strong, so it’s best if used in moderation.

9. A1 steak sauce

A1 is made from ingredients like tomato puree, raisin sauce, salt, corn syrup, and crushed orange puree. In other words, it has many of the flavor notes as Worcestershire sauce, minus some of the spice and heat.

It makes a great tablespoon-for-tablespoon substitute, but it’s thicker in texture.

So it’s best for cooked dishes, as opposed to broths and dressings that have a thinner consistency.

10. Pickle juice

Pickle juice has a tangy, tart, salty, and sweet taste that makes it the perfect Worcestershire alternative.

It also has a consistency that’s ideal for cooked dishes and sauces alike. It should only be eliminated if you’re looking to use it as a garnish.

Use these Worchestershire sauce substitute options

The next time you reach for your Worcestershire sauce, only to find out the bottle is empty, you’re now well prepared to find a fitting substitute.

You can also always add a vegan homemade sauce like this one:

Which of these will you be adding to your dishes?

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.