How to counteract too much Worcestershire sauce? (5 ways)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much Worcestershire sauce?”. We will discuss different ways that will help you counteract too much Worcestershire sauce in a recipe. 

How to counteract too much Worcestershire sauce?

If you have added too much Worcestershire sauce in a recipe and are desperately searching for ways to counteract it, do not fret, here we have prepared a long list of ways to help you counteract too much Worcestershire sauce in a recipe, and to make it suitable to serve.

  • Dilute the recipe
  • Add something starchy
  • Add ketchup
  • Add more tomato puree 
  • Add red wine, sugar and lemon juice 

The market for condiments has been growing continuously in the last few years. Condiment sales grew 9.4% from 2007 to 2009, becoming the second largest category in the specialty foods market, with the largest category being cheese (1).

Different ways to counteract too much Worcestershire sauce in a recipe

Worcestershire sauce is a brown seasoning made up of vinegar, molasses, cloves, anchovies, tamarind, chilli peppers, shallots, garlic and onion, among other things. Worcestershire sauce is a fermented product, and if made with distilled vinegar rather than malt vinegar, it should be gluten-free, and the elimination of anchovies or oysters should make it vegan (3). 

It has a combination of savoury, sweet, and tangy flavours. It adds a strong umami flavour to a dish and is often used in marination and dipping. It is sour as it has vinegar and tamarind added to it. It also has some sweetness due to the sugar with a spicy tinge to it. 

Too much of the sauce will easily ruin the taste and there is a fine line between too less, just enough and too much. Hence, it should be added in the form of a few drops at a time.

The best way is to start with a quarter tsp per serving: a recipe that serves 4 persons will need about 1 tsp to build up the umami flavour in the dish. 

You can add more, a tsp at a time, but do not be in a rush. A little goes a long way. If the dish already has strong flavours you might need a bit more (or none at all) but delicate dishes like eggs can easily be overpowered by adding too much.

Dilute the recipe

You can quickly fix too much Worcestershire sauce in a recipe by adding more of the other ingredients. This will help neutralize the excess Worcestershire sauce, helping you save your dish. 

You can add more meat, extra oil, extra water, and everything that makes up the base of your recipe.

Dairy, meat and vegetables may be added to absorb spice molecules of the worcester sauce. Meat and dairy contains fat and may absorb molecules. Vegetables contain aromatic substances, which also help to mask flavors. Bitter compounds in  vegetables, such as glucosinolates and isothiocyanates found in cabbage and cauliflower can counteract the flavors (4).

Adding more water might affect the thickness of the sauce, but you can cover this up by adding some cornflour into the dish.

This method has the added benefit of making an extra amount which you can separate and save for another day. 

You may have to re-season your dish with some herbs and fresh spices after diluting to have a well-balanced flavour.

Add something starchy

You can also add a starchy ingredient to your dish that can help absorb the excess Worcestershire sauce.

Starch is composed of two different types of glucose polymer: the linear amylose, and the highly branched amylopectin backbone with linked side chains. The amylose to amylopectin ratio varies for waxy starches (mainly composed of amylopectin chains) and for high-amylose starches (where amylose exceeds 40% of the total starch). Linear amylose chains have been reported to possess greater capacity to interact with many plant compounds, such as phenolics, tannins, and alkaloids than highly branched amylopectin chains, thus forming non-inclusion complex at the external surface of the starch polymer, mainly through hydrogen bonds, hydrophobic interaction or electrostatic and ionic interactions (2). 

Adding a peeled potato will also reduce the effect of the Worcestershire sauce. Throw in a few raw potato slices into your dish. The potato will absorb the excess Worcestershire sauce and distribute starch into the dish, diluting it further. Discard the potatoes afterwards and proceed with your recipe as if nothing happened. 

You can also add a small dough of flour to neutralize the flavour. This will help absorb the extra Worcestershire sauce right away and also do not soak up any liquid, so be careful about how long you keep it in.

Add ketchup 

You can also add ketchup as required. This will also neutralize the flavour of the Worcestershire sauce. Add ketchup slowly, tasting after every addition to make sure that you do not add too much of it. 

Ketchup is typically a strong-tasting sauce that contains spices, vinegar, sugar, and salt and is commonly used to mask the flavor of food (5).

Add more tomato puree 

Increasing the amount of tomato puree will also help neutralize the taste of  Worcestershire sauce. Tomato puree contains salt, sugar and acids, which together may mask the taste of the sauce (5,6,7)

Add red wine, sugar and lemon juice 

To even out too much Worcestershire sauce in your recipe, you can mix some red wine and sugar into the recipe with a sprinkle of lemon juice. Acids can neutralize pungency of foods and sugar masks acids and pungent tastes (6,7)

Is excess Worcestershire sauce bad for you?

Yes, Worcestershire sauce if consumed in excess can be bad for you. That is because Worcestershire sauce has a lot of sodium and sugar, so the key is to consume in moderate amounts.

Worcestershire sauce is an ultra processed food. Population-based cross-sectional and cohort studies applying the NOVA classification system in high and middle-income countries find that a greater contribution of ultra processed foods to total energy intake results in poorer dietary quality, and also higher risks of all-cause mortality, obesity, cardio-metabolic diseases, cancer and gastrointestinal disorders (8).

However, consuming it in moderation can provide many health benefits. It may improve digestion and give strength to people with osteoarthritis, and improve the function of joints (9).

What can be substituted with Worcestershire sauce?

If you have run short of Worcestershire sauce, you can substitute it with any of the following:

  • Balsamic vinegar. 
  • Soy sauce + sugar
  • BBQ sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Coconut aminos
  • Anchovies

Other FAQs about Sauces that you may be interested in.

What can I use Instead of Chili Garlic Sauce?

How to thicken the sauce without flour or cornstarch?

What Can I Use Instead of Louisiana Hot Sauce


In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “How to counteract too much Worcestershire sauce in a recipe?”. We have discussed different ways that will help you counteract too much Worcestershire sauce in a recipe. 


  1. García‐Casal, Maria Nieves, Juan Pablo Peña‐Rosas, and Heber Gómez Malavé. Sauces, spices, and condiments: definitions, potential benefits, consumption patterns, and global markets. Annal New York Acad Sci, 2016, 1379, 3-16.
  2. Giuberti, Gianluca, Gabriele Rocchetti, and Luigi Lucini. Interactions between phenolic compounds, amylolytic enzymes and starch: An updated overview. Curr Opin Food Sci, 2020, 31, 102-113.
  3. Smith, J. Can you say Worcester? 2021. University of Illinois.  
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