Did I just blow your mind? Because I don’t know about you, but it never occurred to me that I could make my own homemade Worcestershire sauce!
I dabbled in my kitchen until I replicated the same robust and heady sauce that comes in your Lea & Perrins brown paper bag-wrapped bottle. I not only compared the flavor but also the color.
This way, all of your recipes that use Worcestershire sauce will still look the same.
What is Worcestershire Sauce?
Worcestershire sauce is a widely used condiment with a distinctive and complex flavor profile. This thin sauce is known for its ability to add depth, umami richness, and a savory kick to a variety of dishes. Its origins trace back to Worcester, England, where it was first created.
Although the exact recipe is a closely guarded secret, Worcestershire sauce typically contains ingredients such as anchovies, vinegar (often malt vinegar), molasses, tamarind, garlic, onions, salt, sugar, and a blend of spices and seasonings. These components are carefully fermented, aged, and then strained to create the flavorful sauce used in many global cuisines.
The sauce’s popularity stems from its ability to balance sweet, sour, savory, and spicy elements, making it a versatile ingredient. This popular sauce adds a distinctive and robust flavor that elevates the overall taste of many dishes.
Use it as a marinade, a seasoning in sauces, or a flavor enhancer in cocktails and soups.
Why Make THIS Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
Why not just buy the bottle of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce? Welp, I still do, BUT I was out of Worcestershire sauce, and I needed some! I did look up substitutions for Worcestershire sauce, which I have also listed below, but they weren’t exactly the same in terms of flavor.
- Near Exact Ingredients– I based my sauce on the ingredient list on the actual Lea & Perrins bottle. Many of the other copycat Worcestershire sauce recipes use ingredients that don’t make an appearance on the actual label.
- Left Out Questionable Ingredients– With that said, I left out the anchovies. Not that I don’t enjoy them, but in a home kitchen, it is hard to get the smooth flavor, and I don’t like buying any ingredients when I only use a little bit. Instead, I used a touch of ground mustard for acidic enhancement.
- Naturally Gluten-Free– The original is gluten-free, using tamarind, but most of the copycat recipes use soy sauce, which is not gluten-free. Ours uses tamarind or liquid aminos.
- Chili Pepper Extract Swap– Chile pepper extract is hard to come by, and I don’t put things in my recipes that can’t be bought at local grocery stores or Walmart, so we used a few dabs of hot sauce.
Ways to Use Worcestershire Sauce
One of the funniest memes I’ve ever seen was a picture of a Worcestershire bottle and someone saying they only buy one every decade. Well, foodie friends, I use mine a lot and probably buy a bottle once per month!
It is a versatile condiment that adds a savory, umami-rich flavor to a wide range of dishes. Here are some popular ways to use Worcestershire sauce:
- Marinades: Combine Worcestershire sauce with other ingredients like olive oil, garlic, herbs, and spices to create flavorful marinades for meats, chicken, seafood, or tofu. It is also acidic, so it digs deep into fibers and helps to tenderize.
- Steak Sauce: Drizzle Worcestershire sauce over cooked steaks or mix it with melted butter for a classic steak sauce.
- Bloody Mary: Add a dash or two to your Bloody Marys for an extra layer of umami flavor and richness.
- Caesar Salad Dressing: Incorporate Worcestershire sauce into your Caesar salad dressing recipe to enhance the depth of flavor. Some even use it instead of anchovies.
- Barbecue Sauce: Use it as an ingredient in homemade barbecue sauces to give them a tangy and savory kick.
- Soups and Stews: Add a few dashes to soups and stews, such as beef stew or chili recipes, for a deeper, richer flavor in a flash.
- Burgers: Mix Worcestershire sauce into your ground meat when making burgers for added juiciness and flavor.
- Meatloaf: Incorporate this sauce into your meatloaf mixture for beefy flavor.
- Roast Vegetables: Toss roasted vegetables with a bit of Worcestershire sauce before serving for an extra layer of flavor.
- Gravy: Add a teaspoon to beef or mushroom gravy for a savory twist.
- Glazes: Create glazes for baked or grilled meats, such as ham or chicken, by combining Worcestershire sauce with other ingredients like honey, brown sugar, or Dijon mustard.
- Seafood: Use Worcestershire sauce as a dipping sauce for seafood, such as oysters or shrimp cocktail.
- Beef Jerky: Include Worcestershire sauce in your homemade beef jerky marinade for a unique flavor profile.
When using Worcestershire sauce, remember that a small amount goes a long way — it has a strong and concentrated flavor. Start small and build.
What is In Worcestershire Sauce?
The actual recipe is proprietary, but there is an ingredient list on the bottle listed in the order of volume in the mix, so I did my best to figure it out… with a few alterations to make this into a more in-home friendly, easy recipe.
- White vinegar– Some recipes use apple cider vinegar, but white is what is used in the original.
- Water– With this list of robust ingredients, a little water dilutes the mix. Use more or less based on personal preference and the recipe it is intended for.
- Tamarind paste or liquid aminos– These are both naturally gluten-free, and tamarind is used in the original, but soy sauce can be used.
- Dark brown sugar– The original uses molasses and sugar, but using dark brown sugar will tackle both of these items.
- Ground mustard– Use dry mustard that can resemble the savory flavor of anchovy without using anchovy.
- Onion powder & Garlic Powder– Try to find powder and granulated, which is a coarser mealy blend that is fine for most recipes, but in this one, we are looking for it to nearly dissolve into the liquid.
- Coarse kosher salt– To amplify flavors and help to preserve the sauce long term.
- Hot sauce– Instead of chile extract, we used hot sauce, which is basically the same thing. Add more or less as desired.
Recipes that Use Worcestershire Sauce
There are many recipes that use Worcestershire sauce across our sites; here are a few, but click the link above for a full list.
We love to use Worcestershire sauce to boost the flavor in crab cake egg rolls, Skyline chili, and sloppy Joe sliders. It’s also a great addition to homemade turkey injection seasoning, skirt steak marinade, meatloaf glaze and remoulade sauce.
How to Make Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
You won’t believe how easy it is to replicate the store-bought version of this sauce at home with some simple ingredients. You may find that you even prefer this homemade version!
- Combine ingredients. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan.
- Whisk. Whisk together and simmer briefly.
- Store or use. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before storing, or use immediately in your favorite recipe.
This homemade Worcestershire sauce recipe will get you the closest to the original recipe, but there are different ways to switch it up, too.
- Vinegar – Choose a different variety of vinegar, from apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar to rice vinegar.
- Anchovy – If you keep whole anchovies around, try using them to make your own Worcestershire sauce. Or try using anchovy paste.
- Sauce – If gluten isn’t a concern in your home, you can use soy sauce — if you do, you may want to use a low sodium soy sauce or adjust the amount of salt. You can also try using a gluten-free soy sauce or fish sauce.
- Heat – For a spicier sauce, try adding more hot sauce, cayenne pepper, or one of your favorite chili powders. For gentle heat, try adding black pepper.
- Red Wine – Add a little wine and let the mixture reduce a little for even more layers of flavor.
- Syrup – For a unique sweetness, try substituting maple syrup for some or all of the brown sugar.
How Do You Store Worcestershire Sauce?
While the jury is out on whether it’s necessary to refrigerate Worcestershire sauce, it will most definitely last far longer in the fridge in an airtight container or mason jar — up to a couple of years.
You can freeze Worcestershire sauce, but since it keeps well in the refrigerator, there’s little need to do so.
Common Questions About Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
This is the best recipe for making a Worcestershire sauce substitute, but you can also try a mixture of ketchup, soy sauce, and vinegar.
Worcestershire sauce is a fermented blend of sweet and savory ingredients that results in a fairly thin sauce that creates a unique umami-rich flavor in recipes.
Worcestershire sauce adds immense depth to recipes for both food and drinks. Leaving it out leaves out rich flavor in the recipes that call for it.
Other Savory Sauces
Homemade Worcestershire Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons tamarind or liquid aminos
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1-3 dabs hot sauce
- Combine the vinegar, water, tamarind (or liquid aminos), brown sugar, ground mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and hot sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a low simmer.
- Simmer on low and whisk for 5 minutes.
- Cool and use or immediately.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how you liked it in the comments or star ratings.