The only thing I really miss since I started the whole rampant vegetarian thing is the taste of Worcester sauce in all sorts of dishes. Is there a way to get close to the flavour without doing anything rude to any anchovies?

13 Answers 13


I have found a few recipes on the web:

There are also a few hard to find ready-made vegan Worcestershire sauces on the market, such as Annie's.

When I read these recipes (which I have never made) I can tell that their flavor profile is missing some key aromas present in the original Worcestershire sauce. As strange as it may sound these sauces could use some of the aromas found in Parmigiano-Reggiano and in broccoli.  Whichever recipe works out, someone should write a blog post on this topic.

  • I'm going to try both of these. On the other hand, I'm also going to see if I can get Henderson's Relish shipped to me somehow. I'll post results, but it might be a few weeks.
    – Carmi
    Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 18:43
  • 2
    I suggested the Parmigiano because it shares aromas with anchovies and fish sauce, but I have no idea how to make it liquid. I'm very curious how it works out. Please let us know.
    – papin
    Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 22:39
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    +1: agreed completely! I’m a not-terribly-strict vegetarian, so I keep the vegan Worcestershire at home but often have the real thing when eating out, and there is definitely a difference along the lines you describe. Agreed that an investigation into replicating this would be fascinating. On the other hand, in some recipes that call for it, I think the veggie one actually works better — often it’s just the salty-fruity-sweetness that’s really wanted, not the anchovy aromas.
    – PLL
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 19:34

I had to do the same last year when I was making an egg-mayonaise salad, and found out too late we didn't have any Worcestershire sauce anymore.

What worked nicely for me was combining HP brown sauce (bought while on holiday in the UK) with a smoke-flavoured barbecue sauce. It was two teaspoons of one (probably HP, but I'm not sure anymore) and one of the other.

While the mixture itself seemed to resemble Worcestershire sauce only approximately, there wasn't any way to make out the difference in the finished dish. I did ask people who knew the recipe if they thought it was any different than usual, and nobody did.

HP Brown Sauce Heinz Barbecue Sauce

Both ingredients say "suitable for vegetarians" on the bottle, so I guess this should do...


If you can find it, Henderson's Relish is an excellent vegetarian substitute.

Henderson's Relish bottle

Sadly it is only well-known in a small area around Sheffield where it is made, and it is difficult to find it once you get some distance away.

  • +1 Thanks for this ... something I need to buy when I'm passing through Sheffield next year ...
    – takrl
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 14:56

If there is a Trader Joe's near you, I've found a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce there and it has been pretty good.

Also a quick Google search finds a few other options.


I use miso as a substitute. It adds some of the same type of depth that worcestershire sauce adds.


You could try experimenting with vinegar, sugar and tamarind, you should get a close approximation.


Try Hoisin sauce mixed with Soy sauce and a bit of vinegar. That'll get you close.


as the anchovies contain umami, maybe you could try miso mixed with vegan 'Parmesan' cheese as an alternative. I've not tried this, I'm just making an off-the-top of my head suggestion.

  • Parmesan? Strange, but I'd try it.
    – hobodave
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 23:24

you can try to make the original recipe without any fish sauce added, and even replace that perhaps with pommegrenate paste or something similar


Marmite or Vegemite with a splash of lemon juice or soy sauce with lemon juice is also a good replacement. Marmite is my favorite replacement so far but you only require a small amount dissolved in some hot water.


One of the best substitutes I've found is Mushroom Catsup.

Don't be fooled by the name, it is a thin, brown sauce with plenty of savory flavor, not really similar to the thick tomato stuff we are familiar with. Given the relative historical timing, it may be that Worcestershire sauce was a substitute for mushroom catsup in traditional cooking. I've tried several commercial vegetarian Worcestershire sauce versions - including cornet bay, bourbon barrel, and Annie's, and while they're all great I still prefer mushroom catsup.

The recipe I've used can be found here https://savoringthepast.net/2012/08/01/did-george-washington-use-ketchup/, or bottles of the Geo Wakins brand can be purchased through the site's store or on amazon.


There are quite a few vegan Worcestershire sauces on the market already. I've used both Annie's and The Wizard's lately, and both are adequate (I think I prefer the latter; it has a more traditional flavor).


You can get Vegetarian Oyster sauce which doesn't replicate the full Worcestershire sauce experience but does give some of it.

  • I have had Oyster sauce that is assured to be completely vegetarian. It wasn't easy to find and I have no idea what is used as a substitute.
    – Ian Turner
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 10:04

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