What is Worcestershire sauce? Is it gluten-free? Is it vegan? The short answer is “Sadly, not always”. Here you can jump to the list of gluten-free brands or to the list of vegan brands. I actually found 3 brands that make vegan AND gluten-free Worcestershire sauce. See them below.
What is Worcestershire sauce?
It is a savory aka umami sauce that was created in England by Lea & Perrins. The original sauce is started out as a fermented fish sauce that was left to dust in storage as it was so inedible. When they found it years later, it has turned into a tasty savory sauce. You can read more about its background here.
Ingredients of the original Lea & Perrins
According to the original recipe of Lea & Perrins, the sauce is created by using these ingredients:
- Anchovies (fish)
- Tamarind (a fruit that is grown in India)
As the exact recipe of Lea & Perrins is a secret you have to pay attention to the ingredients list when you buy any Worcestershire sauce. Different brands will have different ingredients.
What does it taste like?
The taste of Worcester sauce is pretty close to soy sauce. No wonder some brands who would like to make a vegan version of it, use soy sauce instead of anchovies (fish sauce). But it is more. It is a mix of sweet, sour and spicy as well. A bit of sweet due to molasses and sugar, a bit of sour due to vinegar and a bit of spicy due to chili.
We call it the FLAVOR BOOSTER and we use it to enhance or deepen the flavor of certain dishes.
- The sauce is a great addition to spicy marinade e.g. for our cauliflower steak.
- We also like to add them to stew, chili, shepherd’s pie, lentil loaf or meatloaf.
- It is pretty great to spice up any tomato-based sauces like a marinara sauce or a bolognese sauce.
Don’t worry! If the recipe calls for Worcestershire sauce and you don’t have it in hand, Food52 collected 35 ways to substitute it.
Is Worcestershire sauce gluten-free?
The most important thing to look out for is what kind of vinegar the brand uses to make the sauce. If it is any type of malt vinegar, then sadly the Worchestershire sauce is NOT gluten-free.
The other thing to consider and check is whether the flavoring or the spices they use are gluten-free or not. If it is bold or underlined or highlighted among the ingredients then sadly the Worchestershire sauce is NOT gluten-free.
Here is a list of brands who confirmed that their product is indeed gluten-free. This means that neither the vinegar nor the flavoring nor the spices are contaminated with gluten. The star icon means it is an Amazon affiliate link.
- Colgin* – It is labeled as gluten-free on the bottle.
- French’s – It is confirmed on their website in the Q&A section that it is gluten-free.
- Heinz – It is listed that the only allergen is soy and fish, but not labeled as gluten-free.
- Kroger’s – It is listed that the only allergen is soy, but not labeled as gluten-free.
- Lea & Perrins in the US – As they use distilled white vinegar in the US bottles, they are labeled it as gluten-free.
- The Wizards* – It is labeled as wheat-free.
- Try Me Wine and Pepper* – There is no gluten among the ingredients and it is stated on the bottle that the only allergens are fish and soy.
- WanJaShan* – It is labeled as gluten-free.
Let us know in the comments if you find any other gluten-free Worcestershire sauce.
Not gluten-free brands
- 365 Everyday Value* – There is no gluten among the ingredients but sadly it is stated that it is manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat.
- Annie’s* – They use apple cider vinegar so that would be great, but the sauce contains soy sauce, so sadly not gluten-free.
- Bourbon Barrel Foods* – The same as Annie’s. They use apple cider vinegar so no malt, but there is soy sauce among the ingredients. Therefore, it is sadly not gluten-free.
- Bull-Dog* – It is the Japanese Worcestershire sauce. The only questionable ingredient is “distilled vinegar from alcohol”. There is no specification, so I would say it is highly unlikely to be gluten-free.
- Lea & Perrins in the UK – Sadly, the bottles in the UK contain malt vinegar (from barley), therefore not gluten-free.
Is Worcestershire sauce vegan?
Anchovies or fish sauce are usually among the ingredients. The original Worcestershire sauce recipe, therefore, is not vegan nor vegetarian. However, as the original recipe was not trademarked, there are several copycat brands that chose not to use any fish-related products. The taste might slightly be different, but they aimed to be as close to the original taste as possible.
Here is a list of brands that label the Worcestershire sauce as a vegan sauce. The star icon means it is an Amazon affiliate link.
- 365 Everyday Value* – It is a certified vegan product.
- Annie’s* – It is labeled as vegan.
- Bourbon Barrel Foods* – The product is labeled vegetarian, not vegan.
- Cajun Power – Only vegan ingredients, but not labeled as a vegan sauce though.
- Colgin* – It is labeled as vegan.
- Haddar* – It is explicitly stated on the bottle that “no fish ingredients”.
- The Wizards* – It is labeled as vegan.
- WanJaShan* – It is labeled as vegan.
Let us know in the comments if you find any other vegan Worcestershire sauce.
Gluten-free and Vegan Brands
Here are 3 brands that label its Worcestershire sauce both vegan and gluten-free: