Food Guide

Worcestershire Sauce: The Surprising Reason Why It’s Not Vegan

For vegans and those practicing a plant-based diet, the one thing that most people tend to miss the most is cheese.

While there are many vegan cheese brands and recipes out there to try, nothing quite compares to the real deal.

This is why many vegans choose to add nutritional yeast to their diet.

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast grown on a sugar solution, usually beet sugar, and is usually sold in the form of a yellow powder.

1. It’s Made With Meat

I can’t believe I’ve been vegan for over a decade and I’ve never thought to question if Worcestershire sauce was vegan.

I’ve always looked at the ingredient list, seen that it was made with vegetables and spices and assumed it was vegan-friendly.

Recently I was making a vegan version of a classic Worcestershire sauce recipe and one of the ingredients listed was anchovies.

I did a double-take and realized that Worcestershire sauce isn’t vegan.

At least not all of them.

This got me thinking about the wider topic of veganism and the assumptions we make about food and ingredients. Why did I automatically assume that Worcestershire sauce was vegan? Because it was made with vegetables? Because it didn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients? Because it was a condiment and I assumed it was vegan?

These questions and assumptions got me thinking about other foods and ingredients that are commonly thought of as vegan but may not be.

2. It’s Made With Fish

The traditional Worcestershire sauce is made with fermented anchovies.

While it is possible to make vegan Worcestershire sauce by altering the recipe to not include anchovies, many brands on the market contain this ingredient.

Vegan and vegetarian food products may also contain Worcestershire sauce, such as tofu, seitan, and soy milk.

Some brands of Worcestershire sauce are vegan-friendly, such as Annie’s Natural Worcestershire Sauce and Edward & Sons Organic Worcestershire Sauce.

Many brands of Worcestershire sauce contain anchovies, which may not be suitable for Vegan diets.

Vegan Worcestershire sauce can be made at home by following a recipe that does not include anchovies, such as one that uses mushrooms and garlic instead.

3. It’s Made With Milk

While the traditional Worcestershire sauce contains several animal products, such as anchovies, shrimp, and oysters, there are vegan Worcestershire sauce options available.

It’s made with milk is one of the original vegan Worcestershire sauce companies.

The vegan version of Worcestershire sauce is made with a blend of fermented activism and some unique, savory spices.

The result is a vegan sauce that is both flavorful and healthy.

It’s made with milk is also certified organic, which means it doesn’t contain any synthetic preservatives or artificial colors.

vegan Worcestershire sauce is ideal for anyone who wants to add a bit of spice and flavor to their food without the addition of any animal products.

It’s also perfect for anyone who is following a vegan or vegetarian diet.

4. It’s Made With Egg

The reason Worcestershire sauce is not vegan is because it contains anchovies.

The recipe is based on a fish sauce that the inventor of Worcestershire sauce, John Wheeley Lea, brought back from India.

Lea’s recipe for the sauce, which he called “vegan,” contained peanuts, lemon, ginger, and garlic, as well as the anchovies.

The anchovies were used as a source of salt and umami flavor.

Many vegans choose to avoid Worcestershire sauce because it contains anchovies.

Some vegan brands make their own versions of the sauce that are free of anchovies.

5. It’s Made With Honey

The traditional Worcestershire sauce is made with a fermented base of anchovies, garlic, and spices.

This is not suitable for vegans.

Some brands of Worcestershire sauce that are vegan-friendly are regulated by the Non-GMO Project.

These products do not contain any dairy, egg, or other animal-derived ingredients.

Worcestershire sauce is not typically considered vegan, as it contains anchovies, which are seafood.

However, some brands of Worcestershire sauce do not contain any animal-derived ingredients and are suitable for vegan consumption.

These products are regulated by the Non-GMO Project and do not contain any dairy, egg, or other animal-derived ingredients.


You wouldn’t expect a product with the word “vegan” in the name to contain meat, fish, or milk. So why does Worcestershire sauce have Tanneries as one of its main ingredients?

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Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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