Homemade Worcestershire Sauce

published Jan 8, 2022
Worcestershire Sauce Recipe

This version doesn’t take hours to make, nor is it fermented, yet it gives a rich flavor that tastes like it could have taken days.

Makes2 cups

Prep15 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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Worcestershire sauce in a white angled bowl with a lemon and ginger root in the background
Credit: Tara Holland

Worcestershire sauce is a British condiment and seasoning that dates back to the early 19th century and is a staple in most pantries in the United Kingdom and now worldwide. It’s traditionally a fermented anchovy-based condiment, flavored with garlic and secret spices, and sweetened with molasses and sugar. Tamarind concentrate is added to add a sweet yet sour flavor. The recipe is thought to have originated from Lea and Perrins’ travels in Bengal and was later created in Worcester, England. 

Being a Brit myself, I have been using and eating Worcestershire sauce practically since birth. “Worcester” sauce (as we called it in my neighborhood in North London) is probably one of the most used condiments in my kitchen — even now. My all-time two favorite uses are the following:

  • To add a generous splash to meat or Bolognese sauce, which elevates the flavor; I cannot recommend this highly enough if you’ve never tried it!
  • To make a snack called “Cheese on Toast,” which is basically an open-faced grilled cheese. Smother a piece or two (trust me, you’ll never want to stop at one!) of toast generously with sharp shredded Cheddar cheese, broil until the cheese is golden and bubbly, then splash an immense amount of Worcestershire sauce on top, so it almost soaks through the toast in places. It brings back happy memories of after-school snacks to tide us over until tea, and I still make it to this day! 

My version of homemade Worcestershire sauce doesn’t take hours to make, nor is it fermented, but its rich flavor tastes like it could have taken days to prepare. Although it may look like a lot of ingredients, most of the spices and aromatics are added all at once, so it’s very simple to make. I added two additional ingredients that I feel makes the flavor feel authentic: celery salt (to replace regular salt) and raisins to add a fruity sweetness.

Credit: Tara Holland

What to Use Worcestershire Sauce For

There are many ways to use the sauce. Here are a few of my favorites.

How to Store Worcestershire Sauce

Due to the high vinegar and sugar contents, homemade Worcestershire sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container or jar for at least a month. 

Worcestershire Sauce Recipe

This version doesn’t take hours to make, nor is it fermented, yet it gives a rich flavor that tastes like it could have taken days.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Makes 2 cups

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 3 large cloves

    garlic

  • 1 (1-inch) piece

    ginger

  • 1

    small lemon

  • 5

    large anchovies in oil (from a 2-ounce can)

  • 1 tablespoon

    anchovy oil from can

  • 1/4 cup

    tomato paste

  • 1 1/4 cups

    malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar

  • 3/4 cup

    water, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 cup

    raisins

  • 1/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup

    molasses (not blackstrap)

  • 1/3 cup

    tamarind concentrate

  • 1 tablespoon

    celery salt, plus more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cloves

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    curry powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel and coarsely chop 1 medium yellow onion, 3 large garlic cloves, and 1-inch piece fresh ginger. Finely grate the zest of 1 small lemon. Juice the lemon until you have 1 tablespoon juice. Finely chop 5 large anchovies.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon anchovy oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and slightly softened, about 8 minutes. Add the anchovies and 1/4 cup tomato paste, and cook, stirring occasionally, until anchovies are fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Add 1 1/4 cups malt or apple cider vinegar, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup molasses, 1/3 cup tamarind concentrate, 1 tablespoon celery salt, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 3/4 teaspoon curry powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper if using. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until well combined and very fragrant, 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the lemon zest and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to cool slightly and let the flavors meld.

  4. Transfer the sauce to a blender and purée until smooth. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl or jug, pressing and stirring with a rubber spatula to push the liquid through. This may take up to 10 minutes, as the sauce is very thick at this stage. Discard the solids in the strainer.

  5. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Taste and season with more celery salt as needed. If you feel the sauce is a little too thick, whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons water to loosen.

Recipe Notes

Anchovies: Opened canned anchovies will keep for 1 to 2 months in the refrigerator. Transfer leftover anchovies to an airtight container and pour over some extra olive oil to make sure fillets are submerged. Use the leftover anchovies in any of these recipes.

Storage: Refrigerate homemade Worcestershire sauce in an airtight container or jar for up to 1 month.