Worcestershire vs. Soy Sauce | When to Use Which [Differences Explained]

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  November 28, 2020

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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.

Worcestershire vs soy sauce

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.

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:

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.

Favorite Asian Recipes

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:

Top Picks Worcestershire sauce brands

And now for our Worcestershire sauce brand recommendations:

Looking for a substitute for for Worcestershire Sauce? These 10 will work!

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.