Difference between soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce

We recently checked out the difference between soy sauce and its similar cousin tamari sauce.

But let’s be honest – many of us maybe hadn’t heard of tamari sauce before. What about Worcestershire sauce?

Soy sauce and Worcestershire  sauce are always linked in my mind for some reason, even though Worcestershire  clearly has a much more complex flavor to it.

Let’s find out with the real differences are.

chopsticks holding a sushi roll about to be dipped in soy sauce


  • Soy sauce: a salty, fermented sauce much used on fish and other dishes in the Orient, prepared from soybeans.
  • Worcestershire sauce: a pungent sauce whose ingredients include soy, vinegar, and garlic.

Soy sauce: 

  • Originated in Asia.
  • Is made from mashed soybeans, wheat, enzymes, and salt.
  • Is fermented for about six months.
  • Has a very salty, almost sweet flavor.
  • Is used predominantly in Asian cuisine.

Worcestershire sauce:

  • Originated in India, first being sold in Worcester, England.
  • Is made from anchovies, vinegar, onions, molasses, cloves, chili pepper extract, high fructose corn syrup, garlic, and tamarind.
  • List of ingredients also includes “natural flavorings” which are believed to be soy, lemons, pickles, and peppers.
  • Is fermented for about two years.
  • Has a very complex and hard-to-describe flavor.
  • Is used with many different cuisines, pairing especially well with beef, sauces, and soups.

Reportedly, Worcestershire sauce was initially sold as a different kind of soy sauce, but didn’t do well because it in fact tasted quite differently.

In conclusion – soy sauce is more one-dimensional, with a very salty taste, pairing well with fish dishes, although some other foods as well. Worcestershire sauce has a much more complex flavor, is fermented for a longer period of time, and compliments many foods, particularly meat.

2 thoughts on “Difference between soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce

  1. Thanks for these comparisons. I saw the soy and tamari sauce comparison the other day. Of the three, I much prefer tamari–less salty than the soy sauce, and with more subtle undertones. I never cared for Worcestershire, so don’t buy it. Now I understand why. It’s the anchovies!

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