Worcestershire Sauce vs Teriyaki Sauce | Big Difference in Flavor

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Worcestershire sauce and teriyaki sauce are two popular condiments that are used to enhance the flavor of many dishes.

To the casual observer, Teriyaki and Worcestershire sauce appear to be very similar and even some of the ingredients in them are the same.

Both sauces have a distinct taste that is favored by many, but they also have several key differences.

Worcestershire Sauce vs Teriyaki Sauce | Big Difference in Flavor

The main difference between Worcestershire sauce and Teriyaki sauce is the flavor: Worcestershire sauce has a rich, umami (savory) flavor. Teriyaki sauce, on the other hand has a sweet and tangy flavor.

Both of these sauces can be used for marinating BBQ meat, glazing, stir-fries, rice bowls, making dipping sauces, dressings and more!

In this guide, you’ll learn how to tell the difference between Teriyaki and Worcestershire sauce, what they’re made of and how to best use each.

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What is Teriyaki sauce?

Teriyaki sauce is a sweet and tangy glaze that is most commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

It is made by combining soy sauce, sake (rice wine), mirin (a sweet cooking rice wine) and sugar to create a thick marinade or dipping sauce.

What is Worcestershire sauce?

Worcestershire sauce is a savory condiment that originated in the UK.

It is made from fermenting anchovies, molasses, garlic, tamarind, and other spices. The resulting product has a deep umami flavor that adds complexity to many dishes.

It’s used to give food a classic umami taste and it has a runny consistency.

What’s the difference between Worcestershire sauce and Teriyaki sauce?

The main difference between Worcestershire sauce and Teriyaki sauce is their flavor profiles. Worcestershire sauce has a savory, umami flavor and Teriyaki sauce is sweet and tangy.

Most brands of Worcestershire sauce contain fermented anchovies whereas Teriyaki sauce doesn’t so it’s not as umami. Instead it has a sweeter flavor from classic Japanese ingredients like mirin and sake.

Ingredients & flavors

  • Worcestershire sauce: savory, umami
  • Teriyaki sauce: sweet, savory, tangy

Teriyaki sauce has a sweet and tangy flavor, with a hint of soy sauce. It is characterized by a robust sweetness, saltiness, and tang.

Three distinct flavors—savory, sweet, and salty—would be ideal descriptors.

The main ingredients in bottled teriyaki sauce include:

  • soy sauce
  • mirin (a sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • sake (rice wine)
  • sugar

These ingredients give it its sweet and tangy flavor.

Bottled Worcestershire sauce usually contains:

  • vinegar
  • anchovies
  • molasses
  • tamarind
  • garlic
  • onions
  • spices

Worcestershire has a savory flavor with a slight sweetness that is similar to soy sauce.

It is commonly used as a marinade or condiment for meats like beef or pork, and sometimes in sauces and dips.

Teriyaki sauce is a sweet-salty marinade and glaze that is made from soy sauce, sugar, sake and ginger.

It has a strong flavor with a hint of sweetness and a slight tanginess that comes from the rice wine. It is often used to marinate fish or chicken, as well as other meats like beef or pork.

Thus, these sauces are quite different when it comes to taste – one is savory while the other is much sweeter.

Learn about the surprising origin of teriyaki sauce (why it is so sweet!)

Texture and appearance

Teriyaki sauce is a bit thicker than Worcestershire sauce and has a glossy sheen. Worcestershire sauce is thinner and more watery in texture.

Since teriyaki sauce is more viscous and glossy, it’s much better for glazing meat than Worcestershire sauce.

Even when grilled at high temperatures, teriyaki glazed meat will hold its sheen and not burn or stick to the grill.

When it comes to color, Worcestershire sauce has a dark, reddish-brown color. Teriyaki sauce is a light golden-brown color although some brands make a darker brown sauce.


When choosing between these two sauces for cooking, it is important to consider the flavor profile of each.

Worcestershire sauce is more savory and sweet, while Teriyaki sauce has a strong saltiness with a hint of sweetness.

Depending on what type of dish you’re making, one may be better suited than the other.

For example, if you are making a beef stew or stroganoff, Worcestershire sauce may be the better option.

If you are making a grilled chicken dish or a stir fry, Teriyaki sauce may be more appropriate.

In general, Worcestershire sauce is a great all-purpose sauce that can be used as a marinade or condiment pre-cooking to give meat an umami flavor.

However, teriyaki sauce is more popular in Asian cooking whereas Worcestershire is more popular in Western cuisine.

Teriyaki sauce is best used as a marinade or glaze for grilled or fried meats and fish.

You’ll find Teriyaki sauce is commonly used for yakiniku (BBQ) and teriyaki food bowls with noodles and rice.

It’s most popular when paired with grilled chicken, but it can be cooked in a variety of ways, including the oven, broiler, stovetop, slow cooker, and wok for stir-frying.

Fish, chicken, beef, and pork all go well with teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki sauce adds flavor to chicken wings, dumplings, shrimp, and steak when used as a dipping sauce.

Teriyaki sauce is often used to enhance the flavor of stir-fries, rice, and vegetables too.

Many restaurants also used teriyaki sauce to glaze fish or make a dipping sauce for sushi and sashimi.

The teriyaki sushi sauce is quite popular because it pairs well with fish and seafood.

In comparison, Worcestershire sauce is a versatile condiment that can be used in marinades, dressings, sauces and dips.

It is also great for adding flavor to soups and stews. It pairs best with beef!


These two sauces have very different origins because they’re from different parts of the world.

The Japanese word teriyaki refers to a method of cooking where foods are marinated and grilled with a sauce made from soy sauce, sugar and ginger.

The Western version was invented in the 1940s, and was inspired by Japanese cuisine.

The bottled teriyaki sauce we know is actually an invention from Hawaii, meaning it’s an American-style teriyaki sauce.

Worcestershire sauce was first created in the 19th century in Worcester, England by two chemists Lea & Perrins (that’s the original brand).

The sauce was originally made from fermented anchovies but nowadays is made using various ingredients, including molasses, garlic, and tamarind.


When it comes to which sauce is healthier, Worcestershire sauce and Teriyaki sauce are both relatively low in calories and fat.

Both sauces are high in sodium, so it’s important to use them in moderation if you are watching your salt intake.

Teriyaki sauce is saltier and has more sugar so it’s less healthy than Worcestershire sauce.

In terms of vitamins and minerals, Worcestershire sauce contains a higher iron, calcium, copper, potassium, and vitamin C content.

Teriyaki sauce, on the other hand contains more vitamin B6, magnesium and phosphorous.

Teriyaki sauce is suitable if you’re on a low carb diet whereas Worcestershire sauce is better for low fat and low calorie diets.

Can I substitute Teriyaki sauce for Worcestershire sauce?

In most cases yes, you can use Teriyaki sauce as a substitute for Worcestershire sauce.

However, the flavor of the dish may be slightly different due to the difference in ingredients.

Additionally, the Teriyaki sauce may make the dish sweeter than if you used Worcestershire sauce.

So let’s say you’re cooking the famous Teriyaki chicken recipe, you’re not going to end up with the same sweet and sticky dish you’re used to if you use Worcestershire sauce instead.

But in terms of flavor, you can certainly substitute Teriyaki sauce for Worcestershire in some dishes. Just be sure to adjust the seasoning accordingly.

When it comes to the substitution ratio, a good rule of thumb is to use one part Teriyaki sauce for every two parts Worcestershire sauce.

The bottom line is that if you’re looking for a specific flavor profile, it’s best to use the sauce that is intended for a particular dish.

Popularity of Worcestershire vs Teriyaki sauce

When comparing Worcestershire sauce and Teriyaki sauce, it’s hard to say which one is more popular.

Generally speaking, both sauces are widely embraced in different parts of the world.

Dishes with a teriyaki base have been popular in Japan since the 17th century.

That’s why you’ll find teriyaki dishes on the menu at any restaurant that has a dedicated clientele that loves Japanese food.

Dishes prepared in the teriyaki style can be found in Japanese restaurants or specialty teriyaki eateries in many cities around the world today.

But since teriyaki sauce is a Hawaiian specialty, the sauce is quite popular in the USA & Canada.

In the nineteenth century, Worcestershire sauce was invented and began to gain popularity. The whole of the United Kingdom gradually became more and more fond of it.

After that, the sauce started popping up all over the world. It’s still one of the most commonly used sauces for beef.


Don’t be confused by the similar colors and flavors of Teriyaki sauce and Worcestershire sauce. These two sauces have very different origins, flavor profiles, nutrition facts, and uses.

Teriyaki sauce is a Japanese-style marinade that adds a sweet and savory flavor to dishes.

It is also great for glazing and making dipping sauces. Worcestershire sauce, on the other hand, is an English-style condiment with a more complex savory flavor profile.

In some cases, you can substitute one sauce for the other but it’s important to consider the end result before you make the switch.

Overall, Teriyaki sauce and Worcestershire sauce are both tasty condiments and are great for adding to all types of recipes.

So, why not try them both and find out which one you like best?

Let’s learn about some more different sauces. Can you tell Tonkatsu apart from okonomiyaki sauce?

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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.