I am pretty sure everyone I know has a bottle of opened Worcestershire sauce in their refrigerator. You may have come across a recipe that calls for a few dashes of this iconic sauce. Then, the bottle gets stuck in a shelf on the refrigerator door and is forgotten about. But what about a substitute for Worcestershire sauce?
This versatile sauce has so many uses. It should not be ignored as a staple condiment in your pantry. A good Worcestershire sauce is a blend of salty, sweet, spicy, and sour ingredients that lends great flavor to otherwise bland dishes. It is so concentrated and intense that you don’t need very much of it to enhance your cuisine.
Here are some of the popular uses for Worcestershire sauce:
- Awesome steak sauce
- Marinade for beef, pork, and poultry to be grilled or smoked
- Jazz up a BBQ sauce
- Enhance pulled pork
- Perk up sloppy Joes
- Add to a meatloaf or meatball mix
- Terrific ingredient in salad dressings
- Splash it over French fries
- Great addition to grilled veggies
- Mix some in with burgers
- Spice up gravy
A little bit of history: Worcestershire sauce appears to date back to 1980s colonial India. It is said that a British lord picked up the recipe during his travels in Bengal. He apparently hired some chemists in Worcester, England to replicate the flavor. John Lea and William Perrins gave it a go and came up with the recipe known as Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce.
Lea & Perrins keeps its original recipe a secret. The main ingredients listed on the label are vinegar, molasses, sugar, onions, anchovies, salt, garlic, cloves, tamarind, and chili pepper extract. This is enough of a starting point to concoct your own homemade Worcestershire sauce.
I like making my own sauce because I can make the amount I need without having too much leftover. I truly get annoyed when I have to throw out a large bottle of the commercially produced sauce when it hits the expiration date. I have often wondered why they don’t offer this sauce in those tiny hot sauce sized bottles? A small amount of this sauce goes a long way. So, let’s make some Worcestershire sauce from scratch. We’ll call this a substitute for Worcestershire sauce, as the original recipe is trademarked.
Pro tip #1: Commercial Worcestershire sauce is noted as naturally gluten free. However, it is not vegan. You can leave out the anchovies or fish sauce for a vegan Worcestershire sauce substitute.
Making a Worcestershire sauce from Scratch: a Step-by-Step Guide
This sauce recipe does have plenty of ingredients. You can modify the ingredients to your liking. Preparation time is only 20 to 25 minutes. It needs to cook for approximately 15 minutes. This will yield approximately 1 cup of sauce.
Pro tip #2: For less sauce, cut the ingredients in half. Or, make a larger batch and gift it to friends.
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Small sauce pan
- Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
- Blender or food processor
- Small funnel
- Empty, clean, glass salad dressing or sauce bottle
- 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/8 cup soy sauce (substitute tamari for gluten free)
- Juice from 1/2 fresh lime
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon gluten free fish sauce (omit for vegan)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or ground cloves
Pro tip #3: Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is recommended. Did you know that it is a great source of beneficial probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals? Don’t be turned off by the cloudiness.
Step 1: Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and whisk together to combine well. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to come to room temperature. Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor. Blend or purée until smooth.
Step 3: Using a funnel, pour the sauce into a glass bottle with a cap. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to scrape all of the sauce out of the blender or processor.
Step 4: Seal the bottle well and store the sauce in your refrigerator for up to 4 to 6 weeks.
If you are like most people, Worcestershire sauce is a pantry staple in your home. This sauce is fabulous for the home pit master and weekend grilling fan. You can use it in marinades, barbecue sauces, and salad dressings. It is also a great addition to ground meat mixtures, such as meatloaf, burgers, sloppy Joes, and meatballs. I personally think it is essential in a smoked pulled pork or shredded beef brisket sandwich.
Making your own Worcestershire sauce is fairly easy and rewarding. It gives you the opportunity to substitute or tweak ingredients to personalize the blend to your liking. You can make it sweeter by adding more honey or tangier by adding more lemon juice. It is entirely possible for this sauce to be gluten free by substituting tamari for traditional wheat based soy sauce. For a vegan version, eliminate the fish sauce.
Now that you have the tools and steps to make your own Worcestershire sauce, why not make up a big batch and bottle it for yourself and your friends. I think you will enjoy the results and will impress your family and friends.