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What is Worcestershire Sauce?

Worcestershire sauce is a rich and intensely flavored savory ingredient that is very popular in kitchens all over the world. The hearty, earthy, and deeply fermented flavor makes it a commonly used ingredient in sauces and marinades. But what is Worcestershire sauce? Even though most people have a bottle of it in their kitchen, many don’t know what this umami-packed sauce is, or how to use it. 

This cheap and powerful sauce can take your recipes to the next level with just a few drops. It’s such a great way to add a layer of complexity, richness, saltiness, and intensity to your recipes. So here’s everything you need to know about Worcestershire sauce, including 15 recipes for you to make with it.

What is Worcestershire Sauce?

Worcestershire sauce is a fermented fish sauce that originated in England and is now used commonly in the United States. While primarily used as an ingredient when cooking, it is also used as a condiment that you can put on top of foods, especially meats. The primary ingredients in this savory sauce are anchovies, distilled white vinegar, molasses, onions, tamarind, and salt or soy sauce. You can find certain brands that have vegetarian and vegan options if you don’t eat fish, make sure to check the ingredients!

Different brands of Worcestershire sauce arranged on a countertop.

How Is It Made?

The process of making this umami-rich condiment usually takes a few years. It includes fermenting anchovies for a very long time, before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients, including onions that have soaked in vinegar, usually for years. Once the sauce has been made, it spends a few months or years maturing in barrels, just like wine does. Only then is it ready to be bottled, sold, and eaten. 

What Does Worcestershire Sauce Taste Like?

Worcestershire sauce is packed with tons of intense flavors, and you can taste them all in the sauce. The primary flavor is umami, but it also tastes tangy, sour, sweet, fishy, and very salty. The onions add an earthy flavor, and the molasses gives a caramel taste to the sauce. 

How Do You Cook With It? 

Because this sweet and savory ingredient has such a strong flavor, you don’t need to use very much of it. Most recipes only call for a few drops or maybe a few teaspoons. One common way to use Worcestershire sauce is to put it in other sauces, either cooked or uncooked. It’s also a great addition to marinades because it not only adds a depth of flavor but helps tenderize the meat.

Adding Worcestershire sauce to any meat dish will help intensify and bring out the natural flavor of the meat, especially beef. And if you want to put it in a drink, it’s a traditional ingredient in bloody marys! 

A bowl full of Worcestershire sauce with a spoon scooping some out.

Do You Need to Refrigerate Worcestershire Sauce?

Because Worcestershire sauce is fermented, it usually does not need to be kept in the fridge. You can just store it in your kitchen or pantry, out of direct sunlight. However, always pay attention to labels. If you purchase a bottle and it says it should be refrigerated, then put it in the fridge.

14 Easy Recipes With Worcestershire Sauce

Now that you know what this rich, complex, sweet, and salty sauce is, it’s time to start cooking with it. Here are 15 easy and delicious recipes that show off the intense savory flavors of this unique condiment.

A plate filled with beef tips in gravy with parsley on top and a fork scooping up a bite.

Beef Tips and Gravy

This recipe uses a lot more Worcestershire sauce than most recipes do, but the results are incredible. The sauce brings out an intensely beefy flavor from the juicy and tender meat. Also flavored with beef bouillon, beef broth, and brown gravy packets, this is the ultimate meat lover’s meal.
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A spoonful of instant pot beef stew being scooped out of a white bowl.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

This recipe has everything you love about a hearty and comforting beef stew, but it’s so easy and quick to make in the Instant Pot. Loaded with veggies, tomato paste, Italian herbs and spices, and tender chunks of beef, this is the ultimate meal on a cold day.
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Baked beans in a white bowl on a picnic table.

Easy Southern Baked Beans

The next time you’re attending a barbecue or a cookout, you’ve got to bring these beans. Seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce, mustard, and brown sugar, and packed with bacon, this 40-minute recipe is rich, tangy, and nostalgic.
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Sloppy Joe sandwich with beef, meat sauce, and shredded cheese

Crockpot Sloppy Joes

Ever wondered how sloppy joes get that signature flavor that’s sweet, tangy, and ultra-meaty? The Worcestershire sauce is a big part of it. Combined with BBQ sauce, ketchup, vinegar, and mustard, this easy comfort food is about as flavorful as it gets. It’s spicy, acidic, and above all else, so savory and beefy.
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Close up of meatloaf.

Easy Meatloaf

It can be difficult to find a meatloaf recipe that isn’t dry and crumbly. But this simple recipe is juicy, tender, and holds its shape. It’s also so delicious and has Worcestershire sauce in both the meatloaf and the sweet, sticky, and garlicky sauce. It’s a must-try meatloaf.
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close up of beef stew with carrots, peas, and potatoes

Crockpot Beef Stew

Beef stew is one of the ultimate comfort foods. With tender beef, hearty potatoes and carrots, and a cozy broth, it will always make you feel better. This recipe becomes so deeply flavored with the savory beef thanks to 8 hours in the crockpot, and a healthy dose of Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and beef bouillon.
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bowl of chili with cheese and sour cream on top

Crockpot Chili

The whole purpose of chili is to be rich, hearty, earthy, meaty, and overwhelmingly savory. And that’s exactly what Worcestershire sauce is, so it’s the perfect addition to this recipe, where it adds complexity and umami to the juicy ground beef, fire-roasted tomatoes, and three different kinds of tender whole beans.
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a bowl of shrimp and grits on a green and white napkin

Shrimp and Grits

While Worcestershire sauce is more commonly used to season meat than seafood, it’s the ultimate addition to creamy and comforting fish and grits. The shrimp cook in a smoky and spicy blend of bacon, cajun seasoning, garlic, veggies, and Worcestershire sauce, and absorb so many flavors. This is comfort food taken to the next level.
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A big platter of beefy onion crockpot meatballs.

Beefy Onion Crockpot Meatballs

This is the perfect recipe for if you like to take pre-made food and elevate it. All you do is put frozen meatballs in a crockpot with beef broth, garlic, onion soup mix, and of course, Worcestershire sauce. Cook it for 3-6 hours, thicken it with cornstarch, and you have tender, juicy, rich, and super beefy meatballs in a succulent sauce.
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a big bowl of crockpot baked beans

Crockpot Baked Beans

These hearty and smoky baked beans are loaded with umami and just the right amount of saltiness. They have more Worcestershire sauce than most baked beans recipes, and the flavor is increased by slow cooking for 4 hours. And of course, the recipe is loaded with thick-cut bacon!
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A ladle scooping out crockpot turkey chili out of a slow cooker.

Crockpot Turkey Chili

This recipe has everything you love about hearty and comforting chili, except it uses turkey instead of beef, so it’s a bit lighter and healthier. But just like with beef chili, Worcestershire sauce adds a complex meaty flavor to this slow-cooker turkey chili, which cooks for 4 hours with Rotel, chili seasoning, and three different kinds of hearty beans.
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Slices of meatloaf with roasted vegetables on a plate.

Meatloaf and Vegetables

This tender, mess-free meatloaf couldn’t be easier to make. You just need one mixing bowl and one baking dish to make juicy, smoky, and savory beef meatloaf, with roasted onions, carrots, and potatoes. This recipe uses a large amount of Worcestershire sauce, which really brings out the flavor in not just the beef, but also the bacon.
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Close up of a shrimp being dipped in remoulade

Remoulade Sauce

This Louisiana-style sauce is our favorite thing to dip fried food in, and it’s so much better when you make it at home than when you get it in a restaurant. Rich, creamy, tangy, and with a good kick of heat, this sauce is perfect for dipping everything from shrimp to onion rings to fried pickles. With Worcestershire sauce, cajun seasoning, horseradish, mustard, garlic, and hot sauce, homemade remoulade practically explodes with flavor when you eat it.
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Crockpot beef tips on top of egg noodles on a plate.

Crockpot Beef Tips

The Worcestershire sauce really seeps into the beef in this recipe, because it’s slow-cooked for 6-8 hours. That gives time for the Worcestershire sauce and other ingredients to add so much flavor, while the beef becomes so tender that it will practically fall off your fork.
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A landscape shot of homemade beef patties in gravy.

Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak is an easy comfort food dinner that is affordable and simple to make! Juicy, well seasoned ground beef patties are smothered in a savory brown mushroom gravy with onions to create this classic American dinner.
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Looking For More Easy Recipes? 

If you want even more delicious and easy-to-make recipes, then we’ve got you covered. Make sure to check out our recipe finder, where you’ll be able to search through hundreds of tasty meals, sides, and sauces that are easy to make.

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