Worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a fermented vinegar-based condiment used extensively in cooking, marinades, and as a table flavoring.

The ingredients that provide its unique taste include tamarind or extract, anchovies, soy sauce, onions, molasses, and garlic. The sauce is aged for at least two months – usually longer – before it is bottled.


The first attempt at making Worcestershire was a disaster. In the town of Worcester, England, business partners and chemists John Lea and William Perrins tried to make the concoction based on an Indian recipe. The offending liquid was stored and forgotten for two years. By that time, it had aged into the full-flavored sauce that is now popular around the world.

Since at least 1837, the recipe has remained a closely guarded secret. Competitors have managed to replicate the special ingredients to some extent and the original name is now generically used by all manufacturers.


Vegetarian sauces, minus the anchovies, are available. Some of these are organically produced.

Buying Tips

Lea and Perrins® is the only brand that can label its sauce “Original and Genuine.”

Pricing will vary widely among brands, based mainly on ingredients.

Storage Tips

  • Worcestershire sauces will remain stable for at least two years unopened at room temperature.
  • Refrigerate after opening and use within two months for optimum freshness. However, it will remain usable for much longer.
  • Cannot be frozen, unless as an ingredient in other foods.

Usage Tips

  • Always shake well before using.
  • It is the perfect marinade for any meat or poultry dish, especially cuts that need tenderizing.
  • Add to hamburger patties for extra juiciness.

Substitution Tips

  • Equal amount of steak sauce with additional water added
  • Soy sauce reduced by a third with water added.


Try one of our favorite Worcestershire sauce recipes:
Basting/injecting Sauce Recipe
Sloppy Joes
Mom's Sparerib Sauce


Suggested Pairings

Broth, chicken, fish, pork, meat, sauces, soups, stews, vegetables, vegetable juices