ANSWER: Worcestershire sauce, in its original form, is not vegan because it contains anchovies or anchovy paste. Worcestershire sauce has a complex flavor profile and lots of different ingredients. The good news is that there are plenty of vegan versions that taste just like the real thing, and it is super easy to make your own if you're so inclined.
There are two main Worcestershire sauces that we recommend for Vegans which we've listed below. They taste pretty much exactly the same, and since anchovies are usually a small part of a recipe, you're unlikely to notice any difference!
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Worcestershire sauce is typically made with several distinct tasting ingredients such as vinegar, sugar, cloves, and garlic. This mixture then undergoes an aging process to deep the flavors. The sauce was created by two chemists from Worcester which is how it got its name.The names of these chemists were John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins. If those names look familiar it is because they created the company Lea & Perrin's which is one of the best known and best selling Worcestershire sauces on the market.
While its not quite a condiment per se like ketchup, mustard, soy sauce or sriracha, Worcestershire sauce is typically found in the same aisle of the supermarket. You technically probably can dip your food into it, but most people would find its flavor profile to be too strong.
We've taken the ingredients from the original Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire sauce and displayed it below. It's not simply about the ingredients in this sauce, but the aging of the ingredients which allows the flavors to develop.
Ingredients: Distilled White Vinegar, Molasses, Sugar, Water, Salt, Onions, Anchovies, Garlic, Cloves, Tamarind Extract, Natural Flavorings, Chili Pepper Extract
As you can see, anchovies are a staple in one of the biggest brand out there.
The Wizard's makes an organic and delicious Worcestershire sauce that is definitely worth trying. Annie's is another brand that makes pretty much the same thing. Either or are going to be great choices for replacing non-veg worcestershire sauce. We've linked to them above so be sure to check them out!
Here's the ingredient statement for Annie's:
Water, *Apple Cider Vinegar, *Molasses, *Soy Sauce (Water, *Soybean, Salt, *Wheat, *Alcohol), *Cane Sugar, *Tamarind, Sea Salt, *Cornstarch, Xanthan Gum, *Garlic, *Onion, *Clove, *Chili Pepper. *Organic Ingredients.
Annie's also makes some awesome vegan salad dressings!
Although a bit of a lengthy process, you can certainly make your own at home! Remember, the flavor comes from aging so instant gratification isn't going to be possible.
If you've got an immediate hankering, your best bet would be to purchase a pre-made sauce while you wait for your homemade batch to age. Just our two cents! Enjoy!
Cooking healthy, delicious, plant-based meals has been Joey’s true passion since he went vegan in 2015. He has a masters in Nutrition and Food Science and is committed to making the internet a place of education and knowledge rather than misinformation and clickbait. He currently lives in Delaware with his wife.