Worcestershire vs. Soy Sauce | When to Use Which [Differences Explained]
Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce are both great condiments that work wonderfully with a variety of dishes.
Soy sauce is traditionally made from fermented soybeans and originated in South East Asia.
Meanwhile, Worcestershire sauce is named after its birthplace in Worcestershire, England.
Read on for a simple, yet practical guide to these awesome flavors.
We’ll look at their uses, common Asian dishes they can be served with, as well as the best brands for each sauce.
In this post we'll cover:
Worcestershire vs. Soy Sauce: Taste
Soy sauce is typically predominated by a salty, yet slightly sweet flavor. It can also have a strong umami taste.
The umami flavor is often described as savory and meaty.
This broth-like flavoring is considered unique from the four accepted basic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter).
Worcestershire sauce is characterized by a sweet, salty, and tangy taste.
It is also valued for its umami flavor, which comes from its anchovies ingredient.
It’s also why anchovy sauce is so tasty!
Other common ingredients include vinegar, molasses, tamarind, onions, and garlic.
This mix of ingredients and balance of flavors adds to its spicy and seductive taste.
Worcestershire vs. Soy Sauce: Uses
Soy sauce is delightful as a sauce.
However, it has many other convenient uses:
- You can use it as a marinade for meat
- Mix it into your stews and stir-fries.
- Stirring soy sauce in with onions and other vegetables can be a great way to ramp up the umami flavor in vegetarian dishes.
- It also works well as a dipping sauce for finger foods such as spring rolls and dumplings.
- Finally, dark soy sauce can be used to add color to noodle dishes.
As a tangy sauce with a complex flavor, Worcestershire is frequently used to enhance the taste of other foods. It serves as an excellent condiment for sandwiches, steaks and burgers.
It can also be used as a seasoning for salads, added to dishes to give an umami flavor, and mixed into certain cocktails such as a Bloody Mary.
Worcestershire vs. Soy Sauce: Cooking Time
Worcestershire sauce can be added as food is grilled, fried, steamed, or baked.
However, due to its complex flavor, it is advised to add it sparingly at first.
It is at its best as a sauce when added to dishes after they have been cooked, although for marinades you would add it to your red meat, fish, or poultry before cooking.
The fermentation process for natural soy sauce can take several months.
The sauce itself is not affected by high heat and can therefore be added at any stage of the cooking process.
Worcestershire vs. Soy Sauce: Common Dishes
Worcestershire sauce can be served with many meals.
Some typical Asian dishes include chicken or beef stir fry, stir-fried vegetable rice, Chinese macaroni, and yakisoba noodles.
Since Worcestershire sauce is commonly made with anchovies, it is typically avoided by vegetarians, vegans, and those with fish allergies.
However, anchovy-free varieties do exist.
Soy sauce is typically served with ramen and rice-based meals.
Common dishes include Cantonese pan-fried noodles, egg fried rice, and See Yao Gai (soy sauce chicken).
As a dipping sauce, it is presented with sushi, sashimi, prawns, chicken, and kimchi fritters. It is also commonly found in Asian sesame salad dressings.
Worcestershire vs. Soy Sauce: Best Brands
When selecting a soy sauce brand, it can be useful to consider the flavor and fermentation procedure.
Top Picks Soy Sauce Brands
Here are some of our top picks:
- Yamaroku 4 Years Aged Soy Sauce is made in Japan and brewed using kioke wooden barrels, an ancient method that grants excellent mellow flavors.
- Kimlan Soy Sauce is an authentic Chinese soy sauce that is inexpensive and comes with a less salty flavor.
- Yamasa Soy Sauce has a brilliant red color and delicious flavor. It is the preferred brand used in many of Japan’s finest restaurants.
- Kishibori Shoyu Soy Sauce is a pure artisan soy sauce that is affordable and comes with a rich and full flavor.
- Kikkoman Less Salt Soy Sauce is ideal for those looking for a low-sodium variety.
Top Picks Worcestershire sauce brands
And now for our Worcestershire sauce brand recommendations:
- Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is an undefeated best-seller and the original Worcestershire sauce makers.
- French’s Worcestershire Sauce is gluten-free, dairy-free, and made with only the finest ingredients.
- The Wizards Sauces Worcestershire Sauce is both organic and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
- Bourbon Barrel Foods Handcrafted Worcestershire Sauce is an all-natural option that is aged in bourbon barrels and also suitable for vegetarians.
- Edward & Sons Organic Vegan Worcestershire Sauce is another anchovy-free variety that is organic and affordable.
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.