We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Worcestershire Sauce?

By Lisa Kaplan Gordon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Worcestershire sauce – pronounced wust-ter-shire, woos-ter-sheer, or woos-ter-sher – is a vinegar and molasses-based condiment used to beef up the taste of meat and add a dash of flavor to Bloody Mary cocktails. Although Worcestershire sauce is now the generic name for the popular condiment that also uses anchovies and the Indian spice tamarind, it is mostly widely associated with its first manufacturer, Lea & Perrins®. Lea & Perrins® Worcestershire Sauce, named for the English county of its birth, was first imported to the United States (US) in 1839 and is the oldest bottled condiment in the country – by contrast, Heinz launched its ketchup in 1876.

The sweet, tangy, salty taste of this sauce was inspired in the mid-1800s by Lord Sandys, a British nobleman who enjoyed the distinctive sauce he remembered from his travels in India. He asked Worcester chemists John Lea and William Perrins to attempt to duplicate the sauce, which combined vinegar, spices, fish, and molasses. The resulting recipe was so smelly and unpalatable that the chemists bottled their stock and forgot about it in the cellar. According to the company, Lea and Perrins stumbled upon the bottles a few years later and, to their surprise, the concoction had aged into a delectable sauce.

In 1837, Lea & Perrins® bottled and sold their sauce throughout Europe. In 1839, John Duncan, a New York businessman, began importing the sauce to the US. Bottles are still wrapped in paper that originally protected them from breakage during shipping and is now a symbol of the Lea & Perrins® brand. Although the recipe for Lea & Perrins® Worcestershire Sauce is a trade secret, ingredients labeled on the bottle include vinegar, molasses, anchovies, water, onions, salt, garlic, tamarind concentrate, cloves, and chili pepper extract. The sauce is aged in wooden barrels for 18 months.

Worcestershire sauce is used as a steak sauce and burger booster in the US, as a dipping sauce in Hong Kong, and as a dash of flavor for the ultimate cheese toast in the United Kingdom (UK). In 1921, Harry’s New York Bar in Paris splashed a bit of the sauce in a glass with vodka and tomato juice to create the first Bloody Mary. The sauce is gluten free, but it is not considered an appropriate sauce for vegetarians because it contains fish. The sauce does not need to be refrigerated, although refrigeration helps it stay fresh longer.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By StormyKnight — On Sep 19, 2010

Wow! I had NO idea that worcestershire sauce was made from anchovies. I have learned so many interesting things reading these articles!

By BoatHugger — On Sep 19, 2010

@kusinero: From what I have read, Worcestershire sauce came around after garum died out. Garum was a very popular fish sauce with the Romans. They fermented a fatty fish in brine and added other flavorings to make the garum.

To make garum, the fish, along with their intestines and salt were mixed together and then fermented in containers which were sealed. The use of garum died out with Roman Empire, but the fermented fish products survived in Western cuisines in the form of anchovy paste (allec) and Worcestershire sauce.

By WaterHopper — On Sep 19, 2010

I remember my children being little and not being able to pronounce Worcestershire sauce so they called it "rooster sauce". They still call it that to this day!

By kusinero — On Mar 03, 2010

I wonder how worcestershire sauce compares to garum?

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.