Homemade Worcestershire Sauce Recipe

Sauce being ladled on chicken
Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images
  • 5 hrs 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 5 hrs 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 cups (96 Servings)
Ratings (20)

The recipe for Worcestershire sauce, pronounced " Wust ta sheer," dates back to colonial India, when the British Lord Sandys acquired it during travels in Bengal. In 1835 he commissioned a pair of chemists back in his English hometown of Worcester to try and replicate the flavor he so enjoyed. John Lea and William Perrins gave it a go but were disappointed by the results. They stuck the jars in the cellar and forgot about them.

After a few years, Lea and Perrins found the bottles under a thick layer of dust and decided to give the sauce another chance. During the unintentional aging process, it had developed a rich and savory flavor identified by modern foodies as umami. The partners bottled more, and a taste for Lea & Perrins Worchestershire Sauce spread throughout Europe, to America, and across the world.

Now a generic term, Worchestershire sauce is marketed by many other brands with some proprietary variations in ingredients. Lea & Perrins closely guards its original recipe for the still-thriving company's Worchestershire Sauce, but the main ingredients include vinegar, anchoviestamarind, molassesgarlic and onions, along with sugar and undisclosed spices and seasonings.

Consider making your own Worcestershire sauce at home. It does contain a lot of ingredients, but the method is simple.

What You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 jalapeños, seeds removed and minced
  • 1/4 cup anchovies, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced

How to Make It

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until soft, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add the tamarind paste, garlic, ginger and jalapeños. Cook over medium-low heat for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, anchovies through lime, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 hours or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  1. Strain the Worcestershire sauce into glass bottles or jars and refrigerate. 

Notes:

The ingredient that most sets Worcestershire sauce apart from other brown sauces is tamarind, the fruit of Tamarindus indica, or "Indian date" in Arabic. The pods, which resemble a bulbous brown pea pod, contain thick, sticky pulp with the consistency of dates and a spicy date-apricot flavor. You can purchase whole pods, make your own paste from blocks of tamarind pulp or buy prepared paste.

Fresh Worchestershire sauce lasts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks. For longer storage, can it in a boiling-water canner according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Use Worchestershire sauce to add background flavor to meats, gravies, soups and vegetable juices. It is also a versatile table condiment and an essential ingredient in the bloody mary cocktail.